Geissorhiza Research Update

Evan Eifler
Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:18:03 PDT
Aad: Of the 103 described species of Geissorhiza, many have white to cream
flowers with a pink flush beneath so it's characters of the leaf that can
be particularly important and particularly difficult to photograph.
Specifically the shape of the leaf in cross-section and the placement and
consistency of trichomes (plant hairs). Leaf shape in cross-section can
range from flat to H-shaped (imagine an I-beam) to appearing almost
corrugated with hairs either throughout the leaf, just on the leaf edges,
or on each of the parallel veins. The corms are also one of the most
important diagnostic characters and although easy enough to photograph,
still require pulling the plants up.

Elaine: You are also absolutely right. My specimens will be preserved in an
herbarium potentially for all time, but a long time at least and can be
used by future researchers. I haven't tried extracting DNA from preserved
Geissorhizas, but I would like to in the near future - at least somewhat
recent collections. When I collect my specimens in the field, I preserve
them by drying them rapidly in silica gel (like the little packets you get
in shoe boxes and tech packages) before the DNA has a chance to decay. So
it's possible some of the herbarium specimens were dried quickly enough to
preserve their DNA.
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