Balanophora coralliformis Facts
- The Balanophora coralliformis makes for a rather distinctive looking plant. So far, researchers know of only 50 individual plants.
- The endangered status occurs due to the fact that this rather incredible, and visually distinctive species, only currently seems to exist in a rather specific habitat type.
- It also owes this status to the fact that the region it inhabits currently has no protection.
- Due to this, the IUCN currently lists it as Endangered, pending further information.
Balanophora coralliformis Physical Characteristics
The Balanophora coralliformis makes for a rather strangely shaped parasitic plant. As with other parasitic plants, it does not possess chlorophyll and thus remains incapable of photosynthesis.
This herbaceous species forms in clumps up to 12 in (30 cm) in height. The rather unique species produces numerous branches reminiscent of the shape of coral. This became the source of the scientific name.
The species appears to be dioecious in nature. The branches develop tube-shaped and attain lengths of as much as 2 in (5 cm).
In color, the Balanophora coralliformis is a random combination of various shades of brown.
Each plant also produces only 2-3 leaves, which are typically a darker yellow in color.
No fruits have yet been observed on any specimens found.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Santalales
- Family: Balanophoraceae
- Genus: Balanophora
- Species: B. coralliformis
Balanophora coralliformis Distribution, Habitat, and Conservation
Also, all currently known individuals live at elevations between 4,800-5,600 ft (1,465-1,735 m).
In addition, within these areas, it has been found exclusively in forest regions with heavy concentrations of moss.
The greatest threats to the species consist of slash and burn agricultural practices, as well as illegal logging in the area it exists in.