Oxalis Genus: plasticity of form (single taxon)

Oxalis luteola [attached observation]

  • Thicker and more stout conjunction of rootstock and basal leaf buds
  • Underground tuber somewhat wedged under the packed stones in hard ground
  • Pillose hairs on leaf underside, with scatterings on margin (UV diffusion from sunlight stones?)
    = Adapted for stability and midday sun exposure in shallow, stony soil. No abnormal length in flowering stem

Oxalis luteola [not posted]

  • seen growing in marshier habitat, with seasonally waterlogged soil and amongst lush vegetation of uniform height
  • No telling adaptation with conjunction of stem and leaf bases, no longer truly basal but held aloft with longer petioles
  • No visible hairs on leaf underside
  • No seeming difference with tuber orientation, but tubers slightly smaller?
    = Adapted to compete with densely growing, higher canopy vegetation for consistent pollinator attraction and associated dispersal - flowering stem >30cm long!

Q: What causes this plasticity in a single species? Moisture saturation of seedlings and length of said exposure? Light/shade differences in growing environment for newly sprouted seedling?
Q: How did this species or greater taxon (Oxalis) come to be so adaptable to very different growing conditions?
Perhaps other associated neo-endemic species with maximum genetic vitality displaying similar plasticity?

Posted on July 11, 2024 12:31 AM by anthonywalton anthonywalton


Photos / Sounds


Golden Sorrel (Oxalis luteola)




May 12, 2024 12:03 PM SAST


Growing in deep stoney soils in localized scree
Leaves without heavily angled margins


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