In plant systematics Epidendroideae is a subfamily of the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Epidendroideae is larger than all the other orchid subfamilies together, comprising more than 15,000 species in 576 genera. Most Epidendroid orchids are tropical epiphytes with pseudobulbs. There are, some terrestrials such as Epipactis and a few myco-heterotrophs, which are parasitic upon mycorrhizal fungi, they contain the remaining orchids with a single, fertile anther, fully incumbent to suberect. The anther form arises from early anther bending; the incumbent anther is pointed backward in many genera. Most have hard pollinia, i.e. a mass of waxy pollen or of coherent pollen grains. The pollinia are without; the stigma are three-lobed. The apical part of the middle stigma lobe forms a stipe; the ovary is unilocular. The leaves are distichous or spiraling; the Epidendroideae are difficult to classify. They have been divided in “lower epidendroids” and “higher epidendroids”. Epiphytes are plants which grow on top of other plants.
They are not parasitic. By growing on other plants, the epiphytes can reach to the light better or where they can avoid struggling for light. Many mosses and lichens are epiphytes, as are 10 per cent of all seed plants and ferns. Epiphytes are common in some groups of plants, such as ferns, mosses and algae. Over half of the 20,000 species of orchids are epiphytes. Most epiphytic seed plants and ferns are found in tropical and subtropical rainforests because they need high humidity to survive; the areas which most epiphytes grow are the montane rainforests. Epiphytic orchids are found on many positions of the host tree, depending on species requirements and size, some large species will grow in a fork, whereas some small species scramble through thin branches, other species will climb up the trunk etc. etc. The trees provide many habitats with different conditions of temperature and light. In temperate places, epiphytes are most common in moist forests, such as the rainforests in Queensland. Epiphytes are not adapted to droughts in the same way are other flora, because they don’t have access to the ground, but they still have some mechanisms to help them survive.
Some become dormant for months at a time. They contain absorptive plants that are capable at taking up water when it is available and preventing drought when water is scarcer. CAM can be impeded by higher night-time temperatures, dehydrated tissues, high saturation deficits in the surrounding air, which lower the "stomata conductance" of the epiphytes, reducing the CO2 uptake, which in turn reduces growth and reproduction and induces carbon loss. Higher temperatures, strain on evaporation, contact to light cause CAM-idling, the epiphyte closing its stomata when it becomes stressed, that brings down the range of habitats a species can inhabit. Epiphyte species work biomasses are much more sensitive to different relative moisture levels than other plants; the Epidendroideae subfamily is divided into two clades or subgroups known as the higher epidendroids and the lower epidendroids. The higher epidendroids are monophyletic and polyphyletic; the tribes are listed below: This classification has a rather ephemeral nature and is prone to frequent revision.
Changes are to occur as new morphological and genetic data become available. A phylogenetic analysis of the Orchidaceae - evidence from rbcL nucleotide sequences Orchid Tree: a phylogeny of epiphytes on the tree of life
The Andes or Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km long, about 200 to 700 km wide, of an average height of about 4,000 m; the Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, separated by intermediate depressions; the Andes are the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest after the Tibetan plateau; these ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, the Wet Andes. The Andes Mountains are the world's highest mountain range outside Asia; the highest mountain outside Asia, Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m above sea level.
The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorian Andes is farther from the Earth's center than any other location on the Earth's surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth's rotation. The world's highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6,893 m; the Andes are part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. The etymology of the word Andes has been debated; the majority consensus is that it derives from the Quechua word anti, which means "east" as in Antisuyu, one of the four regions of the Inca Empire. The Andes can be divided into three sections: The Southern Andes in Chile. In the northern part of the Andes, the isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range is considered to be part of the Andes; the term cordillera comes from the Spanish word "cordel", meaning "rope".
The Andes range is about 200 km wide throughout its length, except in the Bolivian flexure where it is about 640 kilometres wide. The Leeward Antilles islands Aruba and Curaçao, which lie in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela, were thought to represent the submerged peaks of the extreme northern edge of the Andes range, but ongoing geological studies indicate that such a simplification does not do justice to the complex tectonic boundary between the South American and Caribbean plates; the Andes are a Mesozoic–Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of volcanic activity that encompasses the Pacific rim of the Americas as well as the Asia-Pacific region. The Andes are the result of tectonic plate processes, caused by the subduction of oceanic crust beneath the South American Plate, it is the result of a convergent plate boundary between the Nazca Plate and the South American Plate The main cause of the rise of the Andes is the compression of the western rim of the South American Plate due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate and the Antarctic Plate.
To the east, the Andes range is bounded by several sedimentary basins, such as Orinoco, Amazon Basin, Madre de Dios and Gran Chaco, that separate the Andes from the ancient cratons in eastern South America. In the south, the Andes share a long boundary with the former Patagonia Terrane. To the west, the Andes end at the Pacific Ocean, although the Peru-Chile trench can be considered their ultimate western limit. From a geographical approach, the Andes are considered to have their western boundaries marked by the appearance of coastal lowlands and a less rugged topography; the Andes Mountains contain large quantities of iron ore located in many mountains within the range. The Andean orogen has a series of oroclines; the Bolivian Orocline is a seaward concave bending in the coast of South America and the Andes Mountains at about 18° S. At this point, the orientation of the Andes turns from Northwest in Peru to South in Chile and Argentina; the Andean segment north and south of the orocline have been rotated 15° to 20° counter clockwise and clockwise respectively.
The Bolivian Orocline area overlaps with the area of maximum width of the Altiplano Plateau and according to Isacks the orocline is related to crustal shortening. The specific point at 18° S where the coastline bends is known as the "Arica Elbow". Further south lies the Maipo Orocline or Maipo Transition Zone located between 30° S and 38°S with a break in trend at 33° S. Near the southern tip of the Andes lies the Patagonian orocline; the western rim of the South American Plate has been the place of several pre-Andean orogenies since at least the late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic, when several terranes and microcontinents collided and amalgamated with the ancient cratons of eastern South America, by the South American part of Gondwana. The formation of the modern Andes began with the events of the Triassic when Pangaea began the break up that resulted in developing several rifts; the development continued through the Jurassic Period. It was during the Cretaceous Period that the Andes began to take their present form, by the uplifting and folding of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the ancient cratons to the east.
The rise of the Andes has not been constant, as different regions have had different degrees of tectonic stress and erosion. Tectonic forces above the subduction zone al
In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, in a ring species. Among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, each clone is a microspecies. All species are given a two-part name, a "binomial"; the first part of a binomial is the genus.
The second part is called the specific epithet. For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the genus Boa. None of these is satisfactory definitions, but scientists and conservationists need a species definition which allows them to work, regardless of the theoretical difficulties. If species were fixed and distinct from one another, there would be no problem, but evolutionary processes cause species to change continually, to grade into one another. Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped. Charles Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection; that understanding was extended in the 20th century through genetics and population ecology. Genetic variability arises from mutations and recombination, while organisms themselves are mobile, leading to geographical isolation and genetic drift with varying selection pressures.
Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer. Viruses are a special case, driven by a balance of mutation and selection, can be treated as quasispecies. Biologists and taxonomists have made many attempts to define species, beginning from morphology and moving towards genetics. Early taxonomists such as Linnaeus had no option but to describe what they saw: this was formalised as the typological or morphological species concept. Ernst Mayr emphasised reproductive isolation, but this, like other species concepts, is hard or impossible to test. Biologists have tried to refine Mayr's definition with the recognition and cohesion concepts, among others. Many of the concepts are quite similar or overlap, so they are not easy to count: the biologist R. L. Mayden recorded about 24 concepts, the philosopher of science John Wilkins counted 26. Wilkins further grouped the species concepts into seven basic kinds of concepts: agamospecies for asexual organisms biospecies for reproductively isolated sexual organisms ecospecies based on ecological niches evolutionary species based on lineage genetic species based on gene pool morphospecies based on form or phenotype and taxonomic species, a species as determined by a taxonomist.
A typological species is a group of organisms in which individuals conform to certain fixed properties, so that pre-literate people recognise the same taxon as do modern taxonomists. The clusters of variations or phenotypes within specimens would differentiate the species; this method was used as a "classical" method of determining species, such as with Linnaeus early in evolutionary theory. However, different phenotypes are not different species. Species named in this manner are called morphospecies. In the 1970s, Robert R. Sokal, Theodore J. Crovello and Peter Sneath proposed a variation on this, a phenetic species, defined as a set of organisms with a similar phenotype to each other, but a different phenotype from other sets of organisms, it differs from the morphological species concept in including a numerical measure of distance or similarity to cluster entities based on multivariate comparisons of a reasonably large number of phenotypic traits. A mate-recognition species is a group of sexually reproducing organisms that recognize one another as potential mates.
Expanding on this to allow for post-mating isolation, a cohesion species is the most inclusive population of individuals having the potential for phenotypic cohesion through intrinsic cohesion mechanisms. A further development of the recognition concept is provided by the biosemiotic concept of species. In microbiology, genes can move even between distantly related bacteria extending to the whole bacterial domain; as a rule of thumb, microbiologists have assumed that kinds of Bacteria or Archaea with 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences more similar than 97% to each other need to be checked by DNA-DNA hybridisation to decide if they belong to the same species or not. This concept was narrowed in 2006 to a similarity of 98.7%. DNA-DNA hybri
The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are colourful and fragrant known as the orchid family. Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants; the Orchidaceae have about 28,000 accepted species, distributed in about 763 genera. The determination of which family is larger is still under debate, because verified data on the members of such enormous families are continually in flux. Regardless, the number of orchid species nearly equals the number of bony fishes and is more than twice the number of bird species, about four times the number of mammal species; the family encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants. The largest genera are Bulbophyllum, Epidendrum and Pleurothallis, it includes Vanilla–the genus of the vanilla plant, the type genus Orchis, many cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis and Cattleya. Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species into cultivation in the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.
Orchids are distinguished from other plants, as they share some evident, shared derived characteristics, or synapomorphies. Among these are: bilateral symmetry of the flower, many resupinate flowers, a nearly always modified petal, fused stamens and carpels, small seeds. All orchids are perennial herbs, they can grow according to two patterns: Monopodial: The stem grows from a single bud, leaves are added from the apex each year and the stem grows longer accordingly. The stem of orchids with a monopodial growth can reach several metres in length, as in Vanda and Vanilla. Sympodial: Sympodial orchids have a front and a back; the plant produces a series of adjacent shoots, which grow to a certain size and stop growing and are replaced. Sympodial orchids grow laterally following the surface of their support; the growth continues by development of new leads, with their own leaves and roots, sprouting from or next to those of the previous year, as in Cattleya. While a new lead is developing, the rhizome may start its growth again from a so-called'eye', an undeveloped bud, thereby branching.
Sympodial orchids may have visible pseudobulbs joined by a rhizome, which creeps along the top or just beneath the soil. Terrestrial orchids may form corms or tubers; the root caps of terrestrial orchids are white. Some sympodial terrestrial orchids, such as Orchis and Ophrys, have two subterranean tuberous roots. One is used as a food reserve for wintry periods, provides for the development of the other one, from which visible growth develops. In warm and humid climates, many terrestrial orchids do not need pseudobulbs. Epiphytic orchids, those that grow upon a support, have modified aerial roots that can sometimes be a few meters long. In the older parts of the roots, a modified spongy epidermis, called velamen, has the function of absorbing humidity, it can have a silvery-grey, white or brown appearance. In some orchids, the velamen includes spongy and fibrous bodies near the passage cells, called tilosomes; the cells of the root epidermis grow at a right angle to the axis of the root to allow them to get a firm grasp on their support.
Nutrients for epiphytic orchids come from mineral dust, organic detritus, animal droppings and other substances collecting among on their supporting surfaces. The base of the stem of sympodial epiphytes, or in some species the entire stem, may be thickened to form a pseudobulb that contains nutrients and water for drier periods; the pseudobulb has a smooth surface with lengthwise grooves, can have different shapes conical or oblong. Its size is variable; some Dendrobium species have long, canelike pseudobulbs with short, rounded leaves over the whole length. With ageing, the pseudobulb becomes dormant. At this stage, it is called a backbulb. Backbulbs still hold nutrition for the plant, but a pseudobulb takes over, exploiting the last reserves accumulated in the backbulb, which dies off, too. A pseudobulb lives for about five years. Orchids without noticeable pseudobulbs are said to have growths, an individual component of a sympodial plant. Like most monocots, orchids have simple leaves with parallel veins, although some Vanilloideae have reticulate venation.
Leaves may be ovate, lanceolate, or orbiculate, variable in size on the individual plant. Their characteristics are diagnostic, they are alternate on the stem folded lengthwise along the centre, have no stipules. Orchid leaves have siliceous bodies called stegmata in the vascular bundle sheaths and are fibrous; the structure of the leaves corresponds to the specific habitat of the plant. Species that bask in sunlight, or grow on sites which can be very dry, have thick, leathery leaves and the laminae are covered by a waxy cuticle to retain their necessary water supply. Shade-loving species, on the other hand, have thin leaves; the leaves of most orchids are perennial, that is, they live for several years, while others those with plicate leaves as in Catasetum, shed them annually and de
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, the 8th-most densely populated of the U. S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States; the Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital. Florida's $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth largest in the United States. If it were a country, Florida would be the 16th largest economy in the world, the 58th most populous as of 2018. In 2017, Florida's per capita personal income was ranking 26th in the nation; the unemployment rate in September 2018 was 3.5% and ranked as the 18th in the United States. Florida exports nearly $55 billion in goods made in the 8th highest among all states.
The Miami Metropolitan Area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017. This is more than twice the number of the next metro area, the Tampa Bay Area, which has a GDP of $145.3 billion. Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida; the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who called it la Florida upon landing there in the Easter season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida. Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845, it was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, racial segregation after the American Civil War. Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues; the state's economy relies on tourism and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.
Florida is renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, as a popular destination for retirees. Florida is the flattest state in the United States. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the U. S. state of Florida. Florida's close proximity to the ocean influences many aspects of daily life. Florida is a reflection of multiple inheritance. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, continues to attract celebrities and athletes, it is internationally known for golf, auto racing, water sports. Several beaches in Florida have emerald-colored coastal waters. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States 1,350 miles, not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. Florida has a total of 4,510 islands; this is the second-highest number of islands of any state of the United States.
It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is characterized by sedimentary soil. Florida has the lowest high point of any U. S. state. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south; the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, manatee can be found in Everglades National Park in the southern part of the state. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, is the only continental state with either a tropical climate or a coral reef; the Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world. By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans. The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513, he named the region Florida. The story that he was searching for the Fountain of Youth is mythical and only appeared long after his death. In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land, he described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet, with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult. The Spanish introduced Christianity, horses, the Castilian language, more to Florida. Spain established several settlements with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was abandoned by 1561.
In 1565, the settlement of St. Augustine was established under the leadership of admiral and
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service known as the Soil Conservation Service, is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers. Its name was changed in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton to reflect its broader mission, it is a small agency comprising about 12,000 employees. Its mission is to improve and conserve natural resources on private lands through a cooperative partnership with state and local agencies. While its primary focus has been agricultural lands, it has made many technical contributions to soil surveying and water quality improvement. One example is the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, set up to quantify the benefits of agricultural conservation efforts promoted and supported by programs in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. NRCS is the leading agency in this project; the agency was founded through the efforts of Hugh Hammond Bennett, a soil conservation pioneer who worked for the Department of Agriculture from 1903 to 1952.
Bennett's motivation was based on his knowledge of the detrimental effects of soil erosion and the impacts on U. S lands. On September 13, 1933, the Soil Erosion Service was formed in the Department of the Interior, with Bennett as chief; the service was transferred to the Department of Agriculture on March 23, 1935, was shortly thereafter combined with other USDA units to form the Soil Conservation Service by the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1935. The Soil Conservation Service was in charge of 500 Civilian Conservation Corps camps between 1933 and 1942; the primary purpose of these camps was erosion control. Hugh Bennett continued as chief, a position he held until his retirement in 1952. On October 20, 1994, the agency was renamed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994. NRCS offers financial assistance to farmers and ranchers; the financial assistance is authorized by the Farm Bill, a law, renewed every five years.
The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated 23 programs into 15. NRCS offers these services to private land owners, conservation districts and other types of organizations. NRCS collects and shares information on the nation's soil, water and plants; the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill provides the funding to agricultural producers, a conservation plan must be included. All of these programs are voluntary; the main programs include: The purpose of EQIP is to provide assistance to landowners to help them improve their soil and related natural resources, including grazing lands and wildlife habitat. Conservation Stewardship Program CSP is targeted to a producers who maintain a higher level of environmental stewardship. Regional Conservation Partnership Program RCPP consolidated four programs from the prior 2008 Farm Bill, it aims at more watershed scale projects, rather than individual farms and ranches. Agricultural Conservation Easement Program ACEP was another consolidation effort of the 2014 Farm Bill, which includes the former Grasslands Reserve Program and Ranch Lands Protection Program, Wetlands Reserve Program.
ACEP includes technical and financial help to maintain or improve land for agriculture or environmental benefits. Landowners volunteer to protect forests in 30 or 10 year contracts; this program hands assisting funds to participants. The objectives of HFRP are to: Promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act Improve plant and animal biodiversity Enhance carbon sequestration Serves 10 states in the Midwest United States in helping to reduce Nitrate levels in soil due to runoff from fertilized farmland; the project began in 2010 and focused on the Mississippi Basin area. The main goal of the project is to implement better methods of managing water drainage from agricultural uses, in place of letting the water drain as it had done in the past. In October 2011, The National "Managing Water, Harvesting Results" Summit was held to promote the drainage techniques used in hopes of people adopting them nationwide. Includes water supply forecasts and the Surface Water Supply Index for Alaska and other Western states.
NRCS agents collect data from snowpack and mountain sites to predict spring runoff and summer streamflow amounts. These predictions are used in decision making for agriculture, wildlife management and development, several other areas; these predictions are available within the first 5 days of each month from January to June. Is a blanket program which involves conservation efforts on soil and water conservation, as well as management of agricultural wastes and general longterm sustainability. NRCS and related agencies work with landowners, communities, or developers to protect the environment. Serve to guide people to comply with acts such as the Highly Erodible Land and Conservation Compliance Provisions acts; the CTA can cover projects by state and federal governments. Is a program to assist gulf bordering states improve water quality and use sustainable methods of farming and other industry; the program will deliver up to 50 million dollars over 2011-2013 to apply these sustainable methods, as well as wildlife habitat management systems that do not hinder agricultural productivity, prevent future over use of water resources to protect native endangered spe
Asparagales is an order of plants in modern classification systems such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web. The order takes its name from the type family Asparagaceae and is placed in the monocots amongst the lilioid monocots; the order has only been recognized in classification systems. It was first put forward by Huber in 1977 and taken up in the Dahlgren system of 1985 and the APG in 1998, 2003 and 2009. Before this, many of its families were assigned to the old order Liliales, a large order containing all monocots with colourful tepals and lacking starch in their endosperm. DNA sequence analysis indicated that many of the taxa included in Liliales should be redistributed over three orders, Liliales and Dioscoreales; the boundaries of the Asparagales and of its families have undergone a series of changes in recent years. In the APG circumscription, Asparagales is the largest order of monocots with 14 families, 1,122 genera, about 36,000 species; the order is circumscribed on the basis of molecular phylogenetics, but is difficult to define morphologically, since its members are structurally diverse.
Most species of Asparagales are herbaceous perennials, although some are climbers and some are tree-like. The order contains many geophytes. According to telomere sequence, at least two evolutionary switch-points happened within the order. Basal sequence is formed by TTTAGGG like in majority of higher plants. Basal motif was changed to vertebrate-like TTAGGG and the most divergent motif CTCGGTTATGGG appears in Allium. One of the defining characteristics of the order is the presence of phytomelanin, a black pigment present in the seed coat, creating a dark crust. Phytomelanin is found in most families of the Asparagales; the leaves of all species form a tight rosette, either at the base of the plant or at the end of the stem, but along the stem. The flowers are not distinctive, being'lily type', with six tepals and up to six stamina; the order is thought to have first diverged from other related monocots some 120–130 million years ago, although given the difficulty in classifying the families involved, estimates are to be uncertain.
From an economic point of view, the order Asparagales is second in importance within the monocots to the order Poales. Species are used as food and flavourings, as cut flowers, as garden ornamentals. Although most species in the order are herbaceous, some no more than 15 cm high, there are a number of climbers, as well as several genera forming trees, which can exceed 10 m in height. Succulent genera occur in several families. All species have a tight cluster of leaves, either at the base of the plant or at the end of a more-or-less woody stem as with Yucca. In some cases the leaves are produced along the stem; the flowers are in the main not distinctive, being of a general'lily type', with six tepals, either free or fused from the base and up to six stamina. They are clustered at the end of the plant stem; the Asparagales are distinguished from the Liliales by the lack of markings on the tepals, the presence of septal nectaries in the ovaries, rather than the bases of the tepals or stamen filaments, the presence of secondary growth.
They are geophytes, but with linear leaves, a lack of fine reticular venation. The seeds characteristically have the external epidermis either obliterated, or if present, have a layer of black carbonaceous phytomelanin in species with dry fruits; the inner part of the seed coat is collapsed, in contrast to Liliales whose seeds have a well developed outer epidermis, lack phytomelanin, display a cellular inner layer. The orders which have been separated from the old Liliales are difficult to characterize. No single morphological character appears to be diagnostic of the order Asparagales; the flowers of Asparagales are of a general type among the lilioid monocots. Compared to Liliales, they have plain tepals without markings in the form of dots. If nectaries are present, they are in the septa of the ovaries rather than at the base of the tepals or stamens; those species which have large dry seeds have a dark, crust-like outer layer containing the pigment phytomelan. However, some species with hairy seeds, berries, or reduced seeds lack this dark pigment in their seed coats.
Phytomelan is not unique to Asparagales but it is common within the order and rare outside it. The inner portion of the seed coat is completely collapsed. In contrast, the morphologically similar seeds of Liliales have no phytomelan, retain a cellular structure in the inner portion of the seed coat. Most monocots are unable to thicken their stems once they have formed, since they lack the cylindrical meristem present in other angiosperm groups. Asparagales have a method of secondary thickening, otherwise only found inDioscorea. In a process called'anomalous secondary growth', they are able to create new