Monday, 28 September, 2015
Last week we started talking about coastal plants growing on the banks of rivers and lakes. But there are many specialized species of plants grow in these waters, so this week we are still talking about them.
All these species are ecologically important for several reasons: purified water, help to contain flood level and thus slow the erosion of the banks. Also, they give protection to many animals, especially waterfowl. On the other hand, also give value to the landscape, it's already much nicer to see a body of water surrounded by a green border that devoid of vegetation.
We start talking about the reed (Phragmites communis), which is probably the most cosmopolitan and common riparian plant. Sure it looks familiar to you! It's from the family of grasses, like wheat and barley.
It grows over two meters high and is located on every continent, both can grow in the tropics and in temperate and cold regions. It's present even in the oases of the Sahara desert. In Fuerteventura it grows abundantly around the dam of La Peñita in Catalina Garcia Pond and Pond Rosa del Taro, besides several smaller wet areas. In years of low rainfall, where dams are without water, it becomes dry, but soon rhizome sprouts that remain in the ground as wet conditions are restored.
As such cattail, which we presented last week, the reed has very small seeds surrounded by a tuft of hair, ideal to be carried through the air over long distances. This explains its wide distribution.
Stalks of reed mats, windbreak fences, roofs covered with huts and many handmade objects are manufactured. It serves as pasture for cows and other animals and in times of shortage the leaves, seeds and roots have even served as human food. It is less known that the plant also has applications in popular medicine. Apart from this, the high biomass is usually present it makes it ideal for producing biofuel, becoming part of this mass alcohol.
Don't miss this week in our social networks, where you will learn many more interesting facts about these beautiful riparian plants!