Sampling a peculiar Moricandia

Within the context of the project Hidden extinctions: Losing plant diversity in Iberian arid zones as a consequence of the anthropic-mediated expansion of weeds, we sampled on 9 March 2018 individuals of the taxon Moricandia moricandioides pseudofoetida, a narrowly distributed endemism inhabiting some badlands of the Región de Murcia (SE Iberian Peninsula).

Photo by F. Perfectti
M. moricandioides pseudofoetida


This taxon is interesting because, despite belonging to a lineage with highly pigmented flowers, it bears whitish flowers. Do we have here another example within the genus Moricandia of evolution towards pale flowers in arid habitats? To explore this and other related questions, we collected tissue for genetic, phenotypic and functional analyses, determined the pollinator assemblage, and quantified floral shape, size and color.



A few meters away we find several individuals of M. arvensis, but these were located in slightly humid areas, unlike M. moricandioides pseudofoetida that inhabits drier eroded slopes.


We spent a very nice day, pleasantly ended with a sumptuous meal where we tasted a marvelous Murcia-style paella with rabbit and snails.