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.

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 April 18, 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 April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. 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:
from the past week

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