Cave dwelling nettle discovered in China

Dec 28, 2012
Flowers of a new species from the nettle family known only from caves, Pilea cavernicola, where it grows in very low light conditions. Credit: Alex Monro

South West China, Myanmar and Northern Vietnam contain one of the oldest exposed outcrops of limestone in the world. Within this area are thousands of caves and gorges. It is only recently that botanists have sought to explore the caves for plants. This exploration is yielding many new species new to science, that are known only from these habitats. The current study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

Kew botanist and nettle expert Alex Monro says, "When my Chinese colleague Wei Yi-Gang from the Guangxi Institute of Botany first mentioned cave-dwelling plants to me, I thought that he was mis-translating a Chinese word into English. When we stepped into our first cave, Yangzi cave, I was spell-bound. It had an eerie moonscape look to it and all I could see were clumps of plants in the nettle family growing in very dark condition".

Botanists Wei Yi-Gang, Guangxi Institute of Botany, and Alex Monro, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, standing within Yangzi cave with clumps of plants from the nettle family nearby. Credit: Alex Monro

The plants do not grow in complete darkness but do grow in extremely low light levels, deep within the entrance caverns of the (sometimes, in as little as 0.04% full sunlight). The British and Chinese authors have been collecting plants from the Nettle family in this limestone landscape for several years and have just published a paper describing three new species, one from a cave and another two from deep gorges.

The cave-dwelling nettle species in question, was found growing in two caves in the Guangxi province of China. Of the species discovered in gorges, one is known from an unusual and striking rock mineral formation called petaloid travertine. Petaloid travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs that over time forms large petals of rock, in this case clinging to the vertical walls of a gorge.

Petaloid travertine formation in the Malinghe Gorge, habitat of anther new species from the nettle family, Pilea guizhouensis. Credit: Alex Monro

These are members of a genus of Nettles known as Pilea, that is believed to have over 700 Worldwide, up to one third of which may remain undescribed.

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More information: Monro AK, Wei YG, Chen CJ (2012) Three new species of Pilea (Urticaceae) from limestone karst in China. PhytoKeys 19: 51–66. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.19.3968

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RealityCheck
1 / 5 (7) Dec 28, 2012
Passing thought/question: How does the relevant light-energy flux compare in intensity to that of ocean-dwelling photosynthetic cyanobacteria-corals etc? Is the efficiency at same light flux levels different for the (near-opening of) cave-dwelling plants compared to that of algae/coral systems? Cheers and safe new year, everyone!
msadesign
not rated yet Dec 29, 2012
I wonder if .04% is really 4%, a common enough mistake? The first figure would be truly stunning.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2012
Passing thought/question: How does the relevant light-energy flux compare in intensity to that of ocean-dwelling photosynthetic cyanobacteria-corals etc?

You know - you're really fast becoming the scourge of these commenting sections?

First you don't know what the words mean you are using (which is OK for a kids forum or a Star Trek website, but not here).

Then you don't bother to read the articles you comment on (which may be good enough for FOX news but not here). The number you seek is right in the text.

THEN you don't bother to think before posting (which may be good enough for religion forums but not here). Cyanobacteria don't live at a specific depth. Ocean currents and water movements are FAR stronger than their ability to move about.

Take a hint: your passing thoughts don't pass muster. They are - to use a technical term - dumb. Silence would make you seem much more erudite.
bamfarooni
not rated yet Dec 29, 2012
From the article: "0.04-2.78 % full daylight".
So, not a misprint.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2012
You know - you're really fast becoming the scourge of these commenting sections?

First you don't know what the words mean you are using (which is OK for a kids forum or a Star Trek website, but not here).

Then you don't bother to read the articles you comment on (which may be good enough for FOX news but not here). The number you seek is right in the text.

THEN you don't bother to think before posting (which may be good enough for religion forums but not here). Cyanobacteria don't live at a specific depth.


You seem upset; like a frustrated control freak. Relax.

Who said algae doesn't occur at different depths/locations? Water column has algae/corals at various depths transiently (free floating algae) and permanently (anchored coral/algae). Those algae/corals whose light environment is comparable to the cave levels would be interesting to compare photosynthetic pathways. That is obvious to everyone but those who want to make a federal case out of my post/comment.

Relax.
RealityCheck
1.5 / 5 (6) Dec 30, 2012
Hi antialias_physorg: PS: I am beginning to regret having given you a "5" for your post of December 28, 2012, 12:43 pm in the "One step closer: Scientists help explain scarcity of anti-matter" thread. It seems to have set you off somehow, adversely so. Please take it easy. Relax. The "5" was genuine. I rarely rate anyone's posts because I try to avoid 'feedback wars'. If my "5" upset you somehow, I'm sorry. Won't happen again. Relax.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 30, 2012
You seem upset; like a frustrated control freak. Relax.

Nh, I am relaxed. People on the internet aren't worth enough bother to get blood pressure up even by one point.
But someone seriously needs to tell you that you aren't a tenth as smart, creative, original (or generally worth anyone's time reading) than you think you are. You're posts are probably more at home on some stranger's status update comment section on facebook.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2012
You seem upset; like a frustrated control freak. Relax.

Nh, I am relaxed. People on the internet aren't worth enough bother to get blood pressure up even by one point.
But someone seriously needs to tell you that you aren't a tenth as smart, creative, original (or generally worth anyone's time reading) than you think you are. You're posts are probably more at home on some stranger's status update comment section on facebook.


Your 'opinion' noted. Thanks. It takes all kinds in science as in anything else. I have proven my approach more productive in discourse/discovery. How is your 'censoring' approach working out when it comes to actually advancing/encouraging new ideas/discoveries? I hope and trust it has worked for you in the way you wanted. Softly softly, a_p. :)
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2012
It takes all kinds in science as in anything else

Ya know: I've worked for over 10 years as a scientists - and no: it doesn't take all kinds. It takes SMART people. Dumb people aren't helpful to science at all - because they only think of dumb/superficial things. And they can never fathom that their 'grand idea' is something that smart people have thought off before they even entered advanced educational systems (and discarded because they had the ability to think the stuff through and see the problems with it)

The fact that you post stuff that is so blindingly, obviously wrong after 5 seconds of thought (like kevin, or the EU/cold fusion bunch) means that you're incapable of even that small a mental effort. That should give you a hint: you are not a help to science. You're part of the dumb people who have an overinflated sense of self.

Posterboy for the Dunning-Kruger effect if ever I saw one:
http://en.wikiped...r_effect
RealityCheck
1.6 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2012
Arrogance and elitism hasn't served science well sometimes. It sometimes makes for missing the bleeding obvious which 'the dumbest' can see but 'the smartest' have missed due to arrogant/elitist 'blinkers'. Read the history of science before you equate 'unorthodox' with 'dumb'. It's generalizations and stereotyping like yours which sometimes makes for disrespect and counterproductive results....and even for delays in discoveries/advances which have to be 'discovered' long after the initial discovery was made but disregarded because it was 'not made by an approved' or by a 'dumb' outsider having no business thinking and making discoveries before they are 'trained' to accept orthodoxy by the arrogant/elitist snobs who missed the initial discovery. Tone down the disparagement of others' intelligence. Intelligence is not a 'trained' attribute. It is inherent and even the most untrained/uneducated can be brilliant in many ways. Humility is also good for discourse/discovery. Thnx.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 30, 2012
Arrogance and elitism hasn't served science well sometimes.

This is something that we can agree on. Luckily it isn't prevalent in scientific circles. The last time arrogance and elitism really hindered scienec was during mideval times when the church had all science vetted through religious filters.

Scientists are a pretty open bunch IF you have stuff to present that makes sense.

It sometimes makes for missing the bleeding obvious which 'the dumbest' can see but 'the smartest' have missed due to arrogant/elitist 'blinkers'.

You don't seem to understand this: the smart ones don't miss this stuff. We think of this stuff too - we just don't express it because we IMMEDIATELY see that its bunk.

Like a chess master: he sees all the stupid moves, too. But he doesn't make them (or comment on them) - he discards them.

You can be a 'stupid' chess player all your life who sees the 'bleeding obvious' - but that still means you will never win a game of chess. Ever.

antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2012
Tone down the disparagement of others' intelligence.

I'm not disparaging. I'm neutrally assessing. What you seem to take as a rant is actually a very level headed analysis (that's a bit of a problem on the net, I admit, distinguishing emotionally charged statements from calm/measured/methodical ones)

and even for delays in discoveries/advances which have to be 'discovered' long after the initial discovery was made but disregarded because it was 'not made by an approved' or by a 'dumb' outsider having no business thinking and making discoveries

Like? Even for those few discoveries which didn't immediately get picked up the one making the discoveries wasn't some uneducated fool blindly throwing together brainfarts. These people did know what they were talking about. You, very obviously, don't. So don't kid yourself: unless you pick up your game in a VERY MAJOR way you will not make a contribution to intelligent discourse (much less science).
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2012
Tone down the disparagement of others' intelligence.
I'm not disparaging. I'm neutrally assessing. What you seem to take as a rant is actually a very level headed analysis ...
and even for delays in discoveries/advances which have to be 'discovered' long after the initial discovery was made but disregarded because it was 'not made by an approved' or by a 'dumb' outsider having no business thinking and making discoveries
Like? Even for those few discoveries which didn't immediately get picked up the one making the discoveries wasn't some uneducated fool blindly throwing together brainfarts. These people did know what they were talking about. You, very obviously, don't. So don't kid yourself: unless you pick up your game in a VERY MAJOR way you will not make a contribution to intelligent discourse (much less science).
Your opinion of what you are doing is that you are "neutrally assessing"? Oh, if you say so, that's alright then! Relax. :)
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2012
PS: a_p: If you say that all these others weren't considered by the elitist arrogant orthodoxy/authorities as 'dumb/outsiders', then why did they not heed and so confirm the discovery at the time instead of burying both the person and the idea under personal/ignorant attacks from positions of 'authority' which they abused to CENSOR and DISPARAGE for their own agendas? If you keep up with that approach, not good for discourse/discovery from unexpected directions. Relax....and read all the history, not just the bits which you like. :)
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 30, 2012
If these others weren't dumb/outsiders, then why did the arrogant orthodox elitists not heed them and so confirm the discovery instead

Because, and this may come as a shock to you: Science is hard.
It's not something you do 'off the cuff'.
When someone publishes a new paper that doesn't mean everyone else immediately understands it. 'Smart' does not equate to 'omniscient'. (But before you get your hopes up: that doesn't mean dumb people can come up with something smart people don't understand/haven't though of)

for their own agendas?

And what agenda would that be? Top scientists have tenure. There is nothing they need to protect. There is nothing they need to push for.

not good for discourse/discovery from unexpected directions

Ya know. That's about as good as saying: "you're not prepared for tsunamis to come out of the desert but just you wait!" - and I'd agree for the very same reason (because the substance for it is missing there, too)
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2012
Because, and this may come as a shock to you: Science is hard.
It's not something you do 'off the cuff'.
When someone publishes a new paper that doesn't mean everyone else immediately understands it. 'Smart' does not equate to 'omniscient'. (But before you get your hopes up: that doesn't mean dumb people can come up with something smart people don't understand/haven't though of)

And what agenda would that be? Top scientists have tenure. There is nothing they need to protect. There is nothing they need to push for.

not good for discourse/discovery from unexpected directions

Ya know. That's about as good as saying: "you're not prepared for tsunamis to come out of the desert but just you wait!" - and I'd agree for the very same reason (because the substance for it is missing there, too)


Blinkered is as blinkered does. In any field. "Top scientists" are fallible and sometimes corrupted by power/authority. As history shows; too often. You have blinkers on. Have fun. :)
meerling
1 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2012
RealityCheck & antialias_physorg

Shut Up!
This is not the place for your petty argument. You don't like each other, and we get that, but go piss at each other in private or get back to the topic of the article.

Thank you (contingent on you actually getting back to subject and stop your dickwaving)
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2012
RealityCheck & antialias_physorg...Shut Up! This is not the place for your petty argument. You don't like each other, and we get that, but go piss at each other in private or get back to the topic of the article. Thank you...
No problem, mate. :) But for the record, you are mistaken there, at least regarding myself. I have always liked a_p. Recently I even gave him a "5" for one of his posts! Unfortunately (mistaken identity, I suspect), a_p suddenly attacked me personally, soon after I had given him that "5". So please note well, everyone: I dislike no-one 'personally'. Not my thing. I trust that any misapprehensions about my 'disliking' a_p have been dispelled?

FYI: Some time back at another site, I also had to advise there existed others on the internet having 'similar' names ("realitycheck" etc) who are NOT me, "RealityCheck" (ONE word, capital "R", capital "C"). I HAVE NO OTHER internet personna. Thanks.

PS: I may be too busy to post much for few weeks. Play nice, all!