Serpentine Plant Tolerates Toxic Elements


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These plants are growing on serpentine soil which contains toxic elements. The insets show a close-up of serpentine rock and one of the plants called Tiburon Mariposa lily. This specially-adapted species is found only on this one hill in Tiburon near San Francisco, California. Source: Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 30). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

Serpentine Plant Tolerates Toxic Elements (Campbell Biology)

Some species became tolerant to environment containing toxic elements. One example is the serpentine plant communities. Serpentine is a mineral that contains high amounts of chromium, nickel, and cobalt. Most plants cannot grow in soil that forms from serpentine rock but a small number of species have adapted to survive in the presence of this toxic element. Probably, variants of ancestral, nonserpentine plants arose that could tolerate in serpentine soil, and following natural selection resulted in the distinctive formation of species we see in these areas today. Currently, there are studies involve in determining if serpentine-adapted plants can be used to take toxic metals in contaminated area and concentrating them for safer disposal.

– What is an uncommon soil type produced by weathered ultramafic rock such as peridotite and its metamorphic derivatives such as serpentinite?


Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology. Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.


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