Vegetation strategy of Vellozia crinita (Velloziaceae)
Biomedical and Life Sciences
Plant communities in which the herb layer is dominated by Vellozia crinita were surveyed in seven mountain ranges with a complex comprising open herbaceous or savanna-like montane vegetation overlying quartzite and sand, locally known as campos rupestres in the State of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, by means of 92 vegetation relevés (totaling approx. 4629 m2). Vellozia crinita displayed a growth strategy which is rare among the Velloziaceae south of the Espinhaço mountain chain.While most species of Vellozia are phanerophytes with erect caudices and grow exclusively on or among rock outcrops, V. crinita is a caespitose chamaephyte with a profusely branched, repent caudex which grows under the ground or very slightly exposed. It forms cushions which stabilize convex mounds of colluvial sand, thus occupying a distinct niche in the campos rupestres . One association, two subassociations and two variants of the white-sand vegetation component are described as new.