The Biological Flora of Coastal Dunes and Wetlands:Retama monosperma(L.) Boiss.

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Abstract

Muñoz Vallés, S.; Gallego Fernández, J.B., and Cambrollé, J. 2013. The biological flora of coastal dunes and wetlands: Retama monosperma (L.) Boiss. Journal of Coastal Research, 29(5), 1101–1110. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749–0208.

Retama monosperma (L.) Boiss. (white bridal broom) is a legume shrub that establishes mainly on coastal sands and dunes in zones under a Mediterranean climate. The species is able to tolerate salt spray, high temperatures of substrate and air, and low levels of soil nutrients and humidity. It is important in middle stages of dune succession, functioning as a key species in structuring the plant community, and it can play an important role in geomorphology. Retama monosperma enriches soil with N and other nutrients, ameliorates the typical harsh environmental conditions in dunes for other plants, and provides refuge and food for wildlife and forage for livestock. Leaves fall rapidly after emergence, and gas exchange is carried out in photosynthetic stems (cladodes), thereby reducing salt-induced stress. Some compounds isolated from the species show potential in pharmacological applications. It has high fruit production and effective associated seed dispersers. Recently, it has been reported that R. monosperma displays invasive behaviour in coastal areas in different parts of the world, including within its natural range, showing potential to negatively affect singular and protected coastal dune flora. Here we present a summary of the biology of R. monosperma.

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