Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anulocaulis annulatus

Wet leaf or valley ringstem

A member of the four-o-clock family, Anulocaulis annulatus is a perennial found in the Death Valley region of the Mojave desert. Growing in rocky canyons, these plants are visually distinctive because of their extreme glandularness. Large, white trichomes cover the leaves, while the stem internodes bear a thick, resinous ring at the mid point. This extreme glandularness may be a defensive mechanism against herbivory, as the resin probably gums up the mouth parts of any animal that tries to consume it.

The plant's early growth form is a basal rosete. When entering the flowering stage, they bolt, sending up long flower stalks, which can reach nearly 1.5m in height. The flowers of A. annulatus are very pretty, and form clusters at the tips of the plant's stems. After pollination, the flower develops into a ribbed nut.

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