Euphorbia of Oman

Morawetz lands the front and back cover of the April edition of the International Euphorbia Society’s journal.

Euphorbia smithii

In April, Jeffery Morawetz, RSABG Fletcher Jones Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, was a key contributor to Euphorbia World (vol. 6, no1, April 2010), the scientific journal dedicated to the study of Euphorbiaceae.

The images were taken from his collection trip to Oman during his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan supported by a Euphorbia Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI) grant.

Euphorbia PBI’s website describes the internationally collaborative project’s mission to create a comprehensive, online resource of the global inventory of the spurges. No small task considering Euphorbia is one of the largest genera of plants on Earth and has an incredible range of variation from cactus-like succulents to leafy spurges such as poinsettia to trees including rainforest giants that can be 50m tall. Plants identified as spurges produce a milky, often toxic, latex sap when cut.

The Euphorbia PBI grant paid for Morawetz’s travel expenses and equipment. The project supports collaborative work among Euphorbia experts conducting critical fieldwork and research on the plant genus.

Morawetz’s photos appeared on the front and back covers as well as a four-page photo essay in the center of the journal. He was also a co-author for the second installment in the ongoing series “Euphorbia Seed Atlas,” which chronicles seed diversity of the Euphorbia species. The journal publishes descriptions of new species and fieldwork reports.

Camels in Jebel Qara

Here at RSABG, Morawetz is continuing his research in parasitic plants: plants that form parasitical connections with others, appropriating water or both water and nutrients from the host plant. His work will take advantage of the superbly equipped anatomy laboratory at RSABG to study the intricacies of the interface—at the cellular level—between parasite and host.

Read more about Morawetz’s Oman trip on Euphorbia PBI’s website. 

View a slideshow of his trip on the University of Michigan’s Herbarium website.

Photo credit: Jeffery Morawetz (Euphorbia Planetary Biodiversity Inventory), 2010