Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) is one of the two flowering plants found in the Antarctic region, along with Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hair grass). It occurrs on the continental edge, as well as the South Orkney Islands and the South Shetland Islands. The plant has a cushion-like growth habit, giving it a moss-like appearance, and bears white flowers. It reaches a height of about two inches (5 cm).
Due to a recent warming trend, more seeds are germinating, creating a large number of seedlings and plants. Reports indicate a five-fold increase in these plants, which have extended their ranges southward and cover more extensive areas, wherever found. This species extends south of 56 degrees south latitude.
Botanical synonyms include Sagina quitensis Humboldt, Bonpland & Kunth.
Plants in Antarctica
Pearlwort & Hairgrass picture
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Colobanthus quitensis