One summer long past, we posted a “Flight of Whimsy” about plants growing in pavement cracks, rain gutters and parking lots and labeled them “eXtreme mesophytes”. Before that, when the site was started, we essentially required that the environment, ecosystem or habitat in which the plant is growing be a hostile one, i.e. that it is itself extreme. There were two errors in that… first, it assumed the hostile area is big. Second it assumed that the plant only grew in that environment.
In this model/system group, we will explore mesophytes that, through high phenotypic plasticity or genetic variability, are able to live in the “meso”, but also at one or more extremes. For example, the first species we’ll consider is Solanum dulcamara which is found not only in open areas or moist understoreys, but also in permanently flooded or on highly drought prone sand dunes.
As we (hopefully) go forward with other mesophyte species, we can expect to find more and more that have something to tell us about life in the eXtreme albeit hidden to the casual observer who looks only in its “typical” habitat.