Thursday, February 7, 2013

Geo 365: Feb. 7, Day 38: Darlingtonia

Following yesterday's discussion of how the geological setting affects plant life, I'm compelled to post a photo from Darlingtonia Wayside, a pocket park just north of Florence, Oregon. These odd plants, Darlingtonia californica, are elegantly adapted to capture and digest insects, to supplement the paucity of nutrients available in the water-saturated, nitrogen-poor, soil of this low spot in the dune environment. The geological situation is somewhat different here from yesterday's setting. Obviously, sandy dunes are very water-permeable. Streams coming out of the coast range in this area frequently terminate in lakes on the east side of the dunes, and drain as groundwater to the ocean. In this spot, a low area ended up below that groundwater table, and turned into a peat bog. Because of a lack of aeration in the water, organic material decays very slowly, and the nutrients bound therein are not released. This is exactly the kind of environment in which carnivorous plants compete best.

Photo unmodified. September 21, 2010. FlashEarth Location.

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