Dendrosenecios РSeptember 4, 2019

For the last week, we’ve been on Kilimanjaro and have seen different vegetation zones of the volcano. My favorite? Seeing the dendrosenecios, giant groundsels that evolved about 1 million years ago. They are well adapted for the high altitudes of Kilimanjaro; the ones pictured here are at 12,200 – 12,500 ft. All that withered and dead foliage you see? It’s to protect the stems, by insulating them from the cold. These senecios secrete a natural anti-freeze, known as ice-nucleating polysaccharide fluids. Finally, they are known for their nyctinastic leaf movements. This means that the leaves close when temperatures drop.