plants

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plants

Postby jordon7 » Dec 15, 2010 2:16 pm

hello all,

i have been noticing a lot of these little plants in some of the caves in the Organ Plateau. they are not very big plants by any means maybe about 3-4 inches high with two little leaves at the very top. If these plants have the time to grow large enough they will produce a tiny yellow flower in the middle of the two leaves. The most remarkable thing about these plants is that the two leaves at the top are green. I have spoken to a Biologist about these plants and he says that the high nitrogen level in the soil ,of this particular cave that i found them in first, was the cause of the green leaves. I figured he was right until monday when i went into a tiny little cave in the bottom of a sinkhole. this cave was on average two feet high for the whole 500ft long. at about 300ft in i found the same plant growing in this cave. I do not believe it is the nitrogen causing these plants to be green because there was no evidence of nitrogen in this tiny cave. The other cave i found these plants in was full of nitrogen because it was a huge cave and full of salt peatier.

Basically I am wondering if anyone out there has the answer to my mysterious plants. If you do i would love the help. I am going into the first cave this Monday to test the soil and see if it is indeed high enough in nitrogen to produce green plants.

p.s. these plants i am finding are up to a half a mile deep in the cave so i know for a fact there is zero light getting to them.
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Re: plants

Postby BrianC » Dec 15, 2010 3:35 pm

jordon7 wrote:hello all,

i have been noticing a lot of these little plants in some of the caves in the Organ Plateau. they are not very big plants by any means maybe about 3-4 inches high with two little leaves at the very top. If these plants have the time to grow large enough they will produce a tiny yellow flower in the middle of the two leaves. The most remarkable thing about these plants is that the two leaves at the top are green. I have spoken to a Biologist about these plants and he says that the high nitrogen level in the soil ,of this particular cave that i found them in first, was the cause of the green leaves. I figured he was right until monday when i went into a tiny little cave in the bottom of a sinkhole. this cave was on average two feet high for the whole 500ft long. at about 300ft in i found the same plant growing in this cave. I do not believe it is the nitrogen causing these plants to be green because there was no evidence of nitrogen in this tiny cave. The other cave i found these plants in was full of nitrogen because it was a huge cave and full of salt peatier.

Basically I am wondering if anyone out there has the answer to my mysterious plants. If you do i would love the help. I am going into the first cave this Monday to test the soil and see if it is indeed high enough in nitrogen to produce green plants.

p.s. these plants i am finding are up to a half a mile deep in the cave so i know for a fact there is zero light getting to them.


Has the cave flooded recently? Pigment in plants usually require energy, nitrogen will give lots of energy. Do the green leafs soon die? I do see algae strains develop many different colors without light, only requiring carbon dioxide and nitrogen at very low temps below 65 deg.. I have never seen algae grow into a structured plant, but who knows, the possibility of a structured plant thriving on nitrogen and CO2 is certainly possible.

Do these plants have a root structure? If they were to survive by CO2 absorption, they would not necessarily require a root structure, but would need some submersion in nitrogen and CO2 rich water.
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Re: plants

Postby jordon7 » Dec 15, 2010 3:51 pm

No. These plants are in the caves year round. And it def hasn't flooded in awhile. we were in a drought all summer and fall. I will post a pic on here of what the plant looks like. I am thinking it is a symbiosis of some sort between fungi and plants. If it is then then it could be producing a spore/seed out of the flower of it and spreading to other caves via animals, such as bats. As far as life span goes it's fairly long considering the ecosystem it is living in.


Image
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Re: plants

Postby Phil Winkler » Dec 15, 2010 4:06 pm

Interesting. It could very well be a type of fungus/mold. I'd collect a specimen and find a good biologist to help ID it. There isn't that much green in the 'leaf' as I imagined. Green would indicate chlorophyll which requires sunshine as I recall.

I recall seeing a large flowering fungus/mold bloom on fecal material in Odyssey Cave in Florida many years ago and wrote an article about it about why some caves smell the way they do. :)
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Re: plants

Postby BrianC » Dec 15, 2010 4:08 pm

jordon7 wrote:No. These plants are in the caves year round. And it def hasn't flooded in awhile. we were in a drought all summer and fall. I will post a pic on here of what the plant looks like. I am thinking it is a symbiosis of some sort between fungi and plants. If it is then then it could be producing a spore/seed out of the flower of it and spreading to other caves via animals, such as bats. As far as life span goes it's fairly long considering the ecosystem it is living in.


Image


I would like to see pictures, it would awesome to see this green leaf plant that deep inside a cave. I have some pictures of a buckeye germinating inside a cave where no light is available. The roots reach deep and the plant gets a few feet high, with no pigment, then soon dies.

Now that I see the picture, it looks like a plant seed germinated, It should soon die.. If you have a picture of the plant flowering, That would be interesting?
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Re: plants

Postby BrianC » Dec 15, 2010 4:19 pm

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Re: plants

Postby jordon7 » Dec 15, 2010 8:53 pm

hopefully there will be some blooming monday when i get back into the cave. I have only seen the actual flower on it twice and of course i didn't have a camera with me.
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Re: plants

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 15, 2010 9:08 pm

These aren't that rare. They are epigean sprouts. In english it means a seed was carried into the cave and sprouted as someone said. In some cases, a plant that reproduces from root sprouts will invade a cave from above. They can have greenish leaves. The flower is probably just a very small rosette of new leaves.

trace the plant back and look for an acorn.......
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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