Actinorhizal Plants


Morella pensylvanica (bayberry), New Jersey, D. Benson Understory Ceanothus velutinus, Sierra Mtns. D. Benson Elaeagnus angustifolia Sevier Co., Utah. J.S. Peterson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Links to the actinorhizal plant families are found to the right >>>>>

Actinorhizal plants are a diverse group of woody species found on all continents (except Antarctica). Many are common plants, like alder, bayberry, sweet fern, etc. that one might pass every day. Others live in remote parts of the world.

Most actinorhizal plant species are pioneers on nitrogen-poor soils. They colonize "new" soils behind retreating glaciers, after volcanic eruptions, in new sand dunes after coastal erosion or clear cuts in the forest. They are abundant in temperate forests (Alnus sp.), in dry chaparral and matorral (Ceanothus, Colletia, Trevoa, Chamaebatia, Cercocarpus, Purshia), in coastal dunes (Casuarina, Myrica, Hippophae), and in some alpine communities (Alnus) and cool climates (Alnus, Dryas) such as in Scandinavia, Canada, Alaska or New Zealand where legumes are insignificant or absent.  They help to establish and maintain forests and shrublands, particularly on occasions where climate change or human activities disrupt ecosystems. 

Some actinorhizal plants can be used as sources of biomass for generating energy or for carbon storage; some have been used for remediating stressed or contaminated soils. 

The recent availability of three Frankia genomes may help clarify the evolution of prokaryote/plant symbioses, environmental and geographical adaptation, metabolic diversity and horizontal gene flow among symbiotic prokaryotes.

PLANT LINKS

Betulaceae

Casuarinaceae

Coriariaceae

Datiscaceae

Elaeagnaceae

Myricaceae

Rhamnaceae

Rosaceae

Plant Phylogeny

FRANKIA LINKS
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