Pilar Herrera
Biological Sciences / Botany
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima, Peru)
Makishi Lab

Host Institution: State University of New York, Oswego
Host Lab: Bachelier Lab

Orthopterygium is a monotypic genus which is highly endemic of the Andean western slopes  of  Peru  (Leon et  al. 2013). Like its  Mexican  sister  genus  Amphipterygium (Schlechtendal  1843),  it  is  dioecious and  has strongly  dimorphic  reproductive  structures with similar lax male inflorescences referred to as “catkins”, and unique cupular winged female inflorescences which are so unusual that the two genera were first placed in their own  family,  Julianiaceae  (Hemsl,  1906). Little  is  known  about  the  reproductive  structures,  biology,  and  ecology  of  this  rare and threatened genus. Therefore, a small project designed by my professors to promote its  conservation  was  recently  submitted  and  funded.  With  the  support  of  the  microMORPH  grant,  I  hope  to  contribute  to  this  project  by  studying  the  development  and morphology of reproductive structures in Orthopterygium, in collaboration with Dr. Julien Bachelier at SUNY Oswego, NY.

The proposed research will examine the structure of male and female inflorescences and flowers of Orthopterygium huaucui from populations in the vicinity of Lima. Most  populations  of O.  huaucui  (A.  Gray)  Hemsl.  known  to  date  are  located  in adjacent valleys of Lima and seem to be extremely affected by urban expansion, mining and  livestock  activity,  as  well  as  a  changing  climate  with  prolonged  droughts. Unfortunately,  like  other  endemic  species  in  Peru, Orthopterygoum has  not  yet  been registered  to  date  within  Peru's  system  of  protected  areas  (Leon  &  Monsalve  2006). Orthopterygium huaucui may also be of biomedical relevance.