Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet or climbing nightshade) has a circumpolar distribution, generally in mesophytic environments, but it is also capable of living in dry dunes or permanently flooded ponds. This reflects both phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaptations. In the flooded condition, bittersweet also displays an interesting modification of adventitious root development that makes it relevant to even broader studies of flooding, even for crops.
Isatis tinctoria, aka Isatis indigotica, has long been used as a source of the blue dye, indigo, and numerous phytopharmacological agents. As such, it has received a different kind of attention at the transcriptomic level than other species, broadening our perspective on the study of eXtremophytes.
Sporobolus stapfianus is a member of one of the largest and most important plant families, the Poaceae, but, alas, as Gaff et al. have put it, it is “obscure”. In this case, the desiccation tolerance is not apparent in all tissues, but is restricted to immature leaves of intact plants, and an as yet uncertain portion of the root system. Young leaves can tolerate drying to a comparable to the dryness of seeds for at least a year. Additional stress tolerances are to ionizing radiation, extreme temperatures and salinity to at least 215 mM NaCl.
A. arenosa is a wonderful model for understanding the mechanisms and effects of repeated genome duplication and hybridization events, and for studying ecological adaptation. It is found throughout Europe in a variety of disturbed area types (mountain slopes, forest margins, roadsides, railroad tracks, river banks and grassy and sandy areas), and from sea level up to 2000 m, with genetic specializations to a wide variety of edaphic conditions.
Suaeda maritima has long been used as a model to investigate the cellular basis of salt tolerance in plants, contributing significantly to the accepted emphases on compatible solutes and osmotic adjustment, selected transporters, and vacuolar sequestration. Physiological studies are slowly being extended toward transcriptomics.
Two species of Xerophyta – X. viscosa and X. humilis – have been studied at the molecular level. Both are native to southern Africa. Like other monocots, Xerophyta spp. lose their chlorophyll during desiccation. Seedlings also lose desiccation tolerance briefly upon germination and recover it gradually during seedling development. X. viscosa, the only species with a sequenced genome, is a chasmophyte. It is also self-incompatible and thus shows a high degree of heterozygosity. In contrast, X. humilis, for which transcriptome resources are available, is a non-chasmophyte.
Schrenkiella parvula – a 7 chromosome member of the Brassicaceae – has an eXtreme ability, in the natural world, to function in the hypersaline conditions surrounding Lake Tuz in central Anatolia, Turkey. It is also notable for its tolerance of high levels of other cations, especially Li+ and Mg2+ and of Boron. These extreme adaptations were central to the initial decision to sequence the genome of this species.