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Pollination habits of endangered Texas rice revealed to help preservation
Date:7/15/2008

nderground water into springs that feed the river is also decreasing as the Central Texas population expands and drinking water needs increase.

"Nobody intends to shut down access to the river because of these plants" Oxley said, "and I've been surprised at how respectful of the plant people are when they learn that it is an endangered species that grows only in the San Marcos River and nowhere else in the world. Texans are very proud and protective of their natural history, and I believe they will take care of Texas wild-rice if we just let them know about it."

It doesn't hurt, she added, that Texas wild-rice serves as home for tiny invertebrates that have nasty feeding habits.

"People who swim through Texas wild-rice risk picking up these aquatic hitchhikers and may end up with itchy behinds for their efforts," she said.

Texas wild-rice is a food source and home for endangered fish called fountain darters, and is a cousin to several rice species cultivated for food purposes. But it is among more than 200 plant species of concern in Texas whose fundamental value isn't understood because so little information has been available to guide conservation or other decisions.

"We don't know what overall purpose this plant serves in the ecosystem, and we don't know what's going to happen if this plant goes away," Oxley said.


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Contact: Barbra Rodriguez
brodriguez@wildflower.org
512-232-0105
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert  

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