New to Science: Quillwort Discovered in Vermont
Green Mountain Quillwort (Isoetes viridimontana) was discovered in 2010 by Michael Rosenthal, an amateur botanist from Vermont and recently described as a new species.As reported in American Fern Journal, the Green Mountain quillwort is special for a number of reasons. Perhaps most interesting to local botanists is the fact it is currently known from only one location in the world, which makes it a high priority for conservation efforts. Surveys to locate additional populations will be important, but the aquatic habit and difficulty of identifying quillworts (which are primarily identified by the size and ornamentation of minute spores that require at least 40× magnification for viewing) will hinder field surveys. The Green Mountain quillwort is also special in that it is a diploid species: it has only two sets of chromosomes, while many northeastern quillworts have multiple sets of chromosomes. This suggests that the Green Mountain quillwort may have had a role in forming other species through hybridization, providing insights into the evolution of this group of plants. Read the journal paper.