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A new species of poplar is recognized based on abundant specimens from the early Middle Eocene Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation in eastern Utah and western Colorado and compared with two other contemporary species. A rare twig bearing both leaves and fruits serves as a Rosetta stone, linking the vegetative and reproductive structures that formerly were only known from dispersed organs. Fruit and foliage characters distinguish Populus tidwellii sp. n. from Populus cinnamomoides (Lesquereux) MacGinitie (typified on specimens from Green River Station, WY), to which the isolated leaves had formerly been attributed. In addition, new data from fruits and foliage confirm that there were two distinct...
The canopies of woody plants in semiarid ecosystems modify the microclimate beneath and around them, with canopy patches usually having lower soil temperatures than intercanopy patches. However, lacking are studies that have evaluated how heterogeneity in soil temperature, induced by woody plant canopies, influences soil evaporation rates and the consequent effects on plant-available water. Soil temperatures were measured and soil evaporation rates were estimated for canopy and intercanopy patches in a semiarid pinyon-juniper woodland (Pinus edulis and Juniperus monosperma) in northern New Mexico. Soil temperature was measured at 2-cm depths in four canopy and four intercanopy locations during 1994. Maximum soil...
A new genus is described based on fossilized winged fruits from former lake deposits of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and British Columbia, ranging in age from latest Paleocene to early Middle Eocene. Lagokarpos lacustris McMurran et Manchester gen. et sp. nov. fruits have an elliptical to globose seed body and a conspicuous pair of apical wings with pinnate venation. These windâ€ï¿½dispersed fruits are compared with and distinguished from similar extant winged fruits such as Dipterocarpus Gaertn f. (Dipterocarpaceae), Gyrocarpus Jacq. (Hernandiaceae), and Alberta E. Meyer (Rubiaceae). No modern fruit was found to exhibit the combination of characters seen in Lagokarpos, and we conclude that it represents an extinct...
A new genus is described based on fossilized winged fruits from former lake deposits of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and British Columbia, ranging in age from latest Paleocene to early Middle Eocene. Lagokarpos lacustris McMurran et Manchester gen. et sp. nov. fruits have an elliptical to globose seed body and a conspicuous pair of apical wings with pinnate venation. These wind?dispersed fruits are compared with and distinguished from similar extant winged fruits such as Dipterocarpus Gaertn f. (Dipterocarpaceae), Gyrocarpus Jacq. (Hernandiaceae), and Alberta E. Meyer (Rubiaceae). No modern fruit was found to exhibit the combination of characters seen in Lagokarpos, and we conclude that it represents an extinct...
Plant and soil resource spatial patterns were measured in pinyon-juniper communities in northern New Mexico over an elevational gradient that also served as a water-availability gradient to examine the role of resource competition and resource availability in determining plant spatial patterns. Total canopy coverage increased with increasing elevation. Percent coverage of juniper declined with elevation and, with the exception of one site, that of pinyon increased. Water appeared to be a strong factor in the maintenance of stand structure and plant distribution in this pinyon-juniper ecosystem. Plant water stress was greater during the dry season at the low-elevation, low-density sites than at the upper-elevation,...
Ephedra (Gymnosperma, Gnetales, Ephedraceae) includes 13 species in the arid American Southwest that have three morphological types of propagules. We performed field and laboratory experiments on five species (E. torreyana, E. antisyphilitica, E. viridis, E. funerea, and E. nevadensis) that represent the three morphological types (dispersal syndromes) and two intermediate forms. Ephedra torreyana has large, winged cone bracts and small seeds that are largely ignored by animals and that are dispersed by the wind. Ephedra antisyphilitica has succulent cone bracts that are eaten by birds that disperse the seeds in their feces. Ephedra viridis has large, conspicuous seeds that are attractive to some rodents, which gather...
We hypothesize that predominance of Gutierrezia sarothrae in the rangeland plant community depends on its ability to take up water more effectively from soil depths below 30 cm. Gutierrezia seedlings grown in 30-cm-deep pots were allowed to develop deep lateral roots out of pots into subsoil. The deep laterals were then excised and photosynthesis and stomatal conductance of the test plants measured before and after root pruning. Photosynthesis (A) and stomatal conductance (g) were at least 49% greater (P < .05) before than after root pruning. Photosynthesis and g were more affected by the removal of four deep roots 30 cm below the surface than by the removal of four shallow roots in the top 30 cm of soil. The soil...
Nine species of the permineralized stems of Tempskya were investigated from the upper Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain and Burro Canyon Formations, and the lower Upper Cretaceous Dakota Formation in central and southeastern Utah. Tempskya jonesii, T. stichkae, and T. readii are new and are differentiated on the basis of the radial orientation of their dorsiventral stems, their internodal lengths, the lack of sclerenchyma in the inner cortex of T. jonesii, the three nearly continuous zones of sclerenchyma in the inner cortex of T. stichkae, and the completely sclerotic inner cortex of T. readii. Specimens of T. jonesii and T. minor were collected in growth position near Castle Dale, Utah, which is the first time Tempskya...