White-haired tournefortia (Tournefortia pubescens)
|Size||Height: up to 4 m (2)|
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).
The white-haired tournefortia is a shrub from the Galapagos Islands that owes its name to the whitish hairs that cover its young branches and the lower surface of the leaves. The dark-green leaves have the form of elliptic or egg-shaped blades, while the fragrant inflorescences comprise tightly-packed alternating ranks of small, tubular, five-lobed flowers. The flowers are white with a greenish-yellow throat, and the fruit are small, white and thin fleshed (2) (3).
Endemic to the Galapagos Islands, where it occurs on the islands of Floreana, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Pinzón, Santiago, Fernandina, Isabela and Wolf (2).
Found in the arid lowlands and moist uplands, from sea level up to around 800 metres (2) (3).
Although little is documented about the biology of this species, a study on another closely related and easily confusable Galapagos tournefortia, T. rufo-sericea, found that the majority of its flowers set fruit through self-pollination (4).
The white-haired tournefortia is not considered to be threatened, but like much of the Galapagos’ flora it is probably affected by habitat loss, invasive alien plants, and introduced herbivores such as feral goats and donkeys (5).
There are no specific conservation measures in place for the white-haired tournefortia, but botanical research carried out by the Charles Darwin research station is focused on the conservation of the Galapagos’ native and endemic flora (5).
For further information on the conservation of the endemic flora of the Galapagos see:
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- Endemic: a species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Self-pollination: transfer of pollen within the same individual plant- either within the same flower, or between different flowers.
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- McMullen, C.K. (1999) Flowering Plants of the Galapagos. Cornell University Press, New York.
- Wiggins, I.L. and Porter, D.M. (1971) Flora of the Galapagos Islands. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
- McMullen, C.K. (2007) Pollination biology of the Galápagos endemic, Tournefortia rufo-sericea (Boraginaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 153: 21 - 31.
Charles Darwin Foundation (June, 2009)