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New southernmost record for Antarctic flowering plants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

R. I. Lewis Smith
Affiliation:
British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET
Sally Poncet
Affiliation:
Yacht Damien II, c/& Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.

Extract

Smith (1982) reported the discovery in 1981 of Antarctic hair grass Deschampsia antarctica Desv. on the largest of the Refuge Islands (68° 21' S) in Marguerite Bay, off the south-west coast of Antarctic Peninsula (Figure 1). This, was at the time the southernmost record of one of Antarctica's two native flowering plants. The only ecologically suitable area for vascular plants south of these islands appeared to be the Terra Firma Islands, 40 km along the coast, which Smith had been unable to reach due to dense pack ice. Earlier reports of grass and grass-like plants on the Terra Firma Islands could not be accepted as reliable in the absence of accurate descriptions, specimens or photographs, for elsewhere the bushy grey-green or yellow lichens Usnea antarctica and U. fasciata have been mistaken for grass when viewed from a distance. However, both Deschampsia antarctica and also Antarctic pearlwort Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl., Antarctica's other flowering plant, have now been positively identified at a site on Barn Rock (68° 42' S, 67° 32' W) in the Terra Firma group.

Type
Notes
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1985

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References

Bennett, M. D., Smith, J. B. and Smith, R. I. Lewis. 1982. DNA amounts of angiospenns from the Antarctic and South Georgia. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 22(3): 307–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, R. I. Lewis. 1982. Farthest south and highest occurrences of vascular plants in the Antarctic. Polar Record, 21(131): 170173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar