ABSTRACT

Álvarez-Molina, L.L.; Martinez, M.L.; Lithgow, D.; Mendoza-González, G.; Flores, P.; Ortíz-García, S., and Moreno-Casasola, P., 2013. Biological flora of coastal dunes and wetlands: Palafoxia lindenii A. Gray.

Palafoxia lindenii A. Gray is a short shrub endemic to the coastal dunes located in the central region of the Gulf of Mexico, mainly in the state of Veracruz. In this study we assembled information on this species and described the taxonomy and variation of the species, its phylogeny and geographical distribution, plant communities, physiological ecology, population biology, reproduction, geomorphological interactions, biotic interactions, response to water levels, and economic importance. The genus Palafoxia includes 12 species, all of them native to North America. The size of seeds varies widely along the geographic distribution of the species, which is most abundant in hot but not very humid sites. This species produces seeds all year long, although individuals do not reproduce simultaneously. Seeds germinating at the onset of the rainy season have a better survival rate than late cohorts. It is one of the first mobile dune colonizers. Similar to other dune species, it not only tolerates burial by sand, but grows better after burial and because of this it is a good foredune builder and forms trailing-ridges. It has a strong association with mycorrhizal fungi, which enhance growth and survival, but only when the plant is not under stress. Because of its dune-forming ability, the plant is important for the beach and coastal dunes as well as for the protection of coastal infrastructure. The leaves contain flavonoids with important antioxidative effects that benefit human health. Development and tourism along the coast are rapidly reducing the habitat of this species.

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