Tom's Blog

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lion's foot in full bloom

Lion's foot (Prenanthes alba) is a nice savanna species that pops up in unpredictable places. Other common names are white lettuce, or rattlesnake root. It is monocarpic, which means that after the plant flowers it dies. The next generation has to arise from seeds, and the plants may grow for several years vegetatively before flowering. It is not as rare as the other members of the genus (aspera, crepidinia, and racemosa), but it is an attractive and somewhat elusive plant.

This year, probably because of the frequent rains, we have been finding it in almost all of our savanna areas. I haven't had time to go back over my field notes, but I suspect it is present in every one of our savanna units. I have never seen it in any of our prairies, although according to Cochrane and Iltis it can be found there also.


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