Grey matplant (Tiquilia nesiotica)

loading
Grey matplant growing in volcanic habitat
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Grey matplant fact file

Grey matplant description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderLamiales
FamilyBoraginaceae
GenusTiquilia (1)

Growing in sparsely distributed clumps, Tiquilia nesiotica is one of the few plants that can tolerate the arid, ash-covered volcano slopes of the Galapagos (2). This species is a low-growing, small shrub, which spreads itself along the ground, forming a mat-like structure. Tiny, light-coloured hairs found on the stems and leaves reflect sunlight, giving this species a grey, rather than green, appearance (3). The base of Tiquilia nesiotica is woody (4), and clusters of small leaves grow from the ends and joints of the twigs, with tiny white flowers hidden amongst them (2).

Top

Grey matplant biology

In order to survive in its harsh environment, Tiquilia nesiotica has evolved various strategies. Competition for water forces the individual plants to grow widely spaced apart, spreading their roots horizontally beneath the surface to maximise the uptake of any available moisture. Like many plants in arid regions, the small leaves and grey appearance of Tiquilia nesiotica are adaptations to reduce the amount of heat the plant receives, preventing damage to its photosynthetic tissue and reducing moisture loss (3). As one of the few plants able to colonise the barren volcanic slopes of the Galapagos, Tiquilia nesiotica plays an important ecological role, as its roots stabilise the loose, ashy soil (5), its flowers provide food for lava lizards, and its pollen and nectar are a source of nutrition for insects (2).

Top

Grey matplant range

Endemic to the Galapagos Islands (1), Tiquilia nesiotica is particularly abundant on the island of Bartolomé (3).

Top

Grey matplant habitat

Tiquilia nesiotica occupies the arid zone of the Galapagos, an inland area that stays extremely dry for most of the year, where it mainly grows on the ash-covered slopes of volcanoes (2).

Top

Grey matplant status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

Top

Grey matplant threats

With its restricted range, and populations clustered around the slopes of a small number of volcanoes, it is possible that, in the future, the effects of human activities or unforeseeable natural events could rapidly cause Tiquilia nesiotica to become Critically Endangered or even Extinct (1). One obvious human-induced threat to this species is people climbing the scenic volcanoes that it grows upon, causing disturbance to the loose substrate and thereby destroying the plants (6).

Top

Grey matplant conservation

The Galapagos National Institute (INGALA) employs a number of measures to reduce the impact of tourists on the Galapagos’ environment. Regulations for tourist conduct are well enforced and trails and walkways are provided to prevent degradation and destruction of the local wildlife (7). Nevertheless, threats to the Galapagos such as introduced species and increased demand for resources are ongoing, and continuous conservation action is required in order to preserve the islands’ unique environment (8).

Top

Find out more

To learn more about conservation in the Galapagos visit:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Photosynthetic
Plant tissue capable of photosynthesis, a metabolic process in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2008)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Jackson, M.H. (2001) Galapagos: A Natural History. University of Calgary Press, Calgary.
  3. Williams, E.H. (2005) The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors. Oxford University Press US, New York.
  4. Horwell, D. and Oxford, P. (1999) Galapagos Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide. Bradt Travel Guides, Chalfont St. Peter.
  5. Stephenson, M. (2000) The Galapagos Islands: The Essential Handbook for Exploring, Enjoying & Understanding Darwin's Enchanted Islands. The Mountaineers Books, Washington.
  6. Kricher, J.C. (2006) Galapagos: A Natural History. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  7. The Galapagos National Institute (October, 2008)
    http://www.ingala.gov.ec/galapagosislands
  8. The Galapagos Conservation Trust (October, 2008)
    http://www.gct.org
X
Close

Image credit

Grey matplant growing in volcanic habitat  
Grey matplant growing in volcanic habitat

© Martin Withers / www.flpa-images.co.uk

FLPA - images of nature
Pages Green House
Wetheringsett
Stowmarket
Suffolk IP14 5QA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1728 861 113
Fax: +44 (0) 1728 860 222
pictures@flpa-images.co.uk
http://www.flpa-images.co.uk

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Grey matplant (Tiquilia nesiotica) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog