Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gypsies, graveyards and mysterious plants

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists have confirmed the identity of a strange grass-like sedge discovered in a Mississippi graveyard, and believes the appearance of the potentially invasive plant is linked to the final resting places of several members of a royal Gypsy family.

ARS botanist Charles Bryson has identified a potentially invasive plant as blue sedge (Carex breviculmis). Its appearance in North America is believed to be linked to the final resting places of several members of a royal Gypsy family.
Credit: Stephen Ausmus

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has confirmed the identity of a strange grass-like sedge discovered in a Mississippi graveyard, and believes the appearance of the potentially invasive plant is linked to the final resting places of several members of a royal Gypsy family.

Related Articles


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) botanist Charles Bryson was asked by Mississippi State University graduate student Lucas Majure to help classify a plant Majure had found in Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian, Miss. Bryson works at the ARS Crop Production Systems Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

After several months of searching, Bryson identified the plant as blue sedge (Carex breviculmis), a native of Asia and Australia and previously unknown in North America. He also found it growing along railroad tracks, campgrounds used by transients, and in or around four cemeteries in Meridian, including Rose Hill Cemetery.

Visitors from all over the world come to Rose Hill Cemetery to pay their respects at the gravesite of Kelly Mitchell, the Queen of the Gypsies, who was buried there in 1915. Her husband and other family members were also laid to rest in the cemetery.

Given the plant's restricted and distinctive distribution in the region, Bryson thinks that global travelers introduced the sedge to Mississippi, possibly via seeds trapped in clothing or by leaving plants or soil at the gravesites of the Gypsy royalty. Then cemetery caretakers may have spread plant material from the first introduction site to the other cemeteries via contaminated clothing and lawn care equipment.

At two sites where it is now established, the plant exhibits weedy characteristics and reproduces and spreads profusely. To Bryson, these traits suggest that the Old World sedge could someday cause problems in U.S. lawn and turf systems, as well as in fruit and nut crop production.

Bryson and Majure published their findings in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Gypsies, graveyards and mysterious plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024850.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, October 20). Gypsies, graveyards and mysterious plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024850.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Gypsies, graveyards and mysterious plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024850.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins