Lithraea caustica

Lithraea caustica (commonly known as the litre tree,[1]:237 and historically as llithi or liti[2]) is a species of flowering plants in the soapberry family Anacardiaceae. This plant is endemic to central Chile; an example occurrence is in the area of La Campana National Park and Cerro La Campana.[3] The tree is a well known allergenic and can cause a rash of the skin, the effects and susceptibility of which can vary greatly from person to person.

Lithraea caustica
Lithrea caustica.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Lithraea
Species:
L. caustica
Binomial name
Lithraea caustica

DescriptionEdit

Litre is evergreen, with oval leaves with a smooth or undulating border. It can grow to be a full tree when undisturbed;[4] the tree-like formation was formerly common, but it is now most frequently found as a shrub due to changing patterns of land use.[5] It has dense leaves due to the high levels of lignin and cellulose. It grows large, underground burls from which new growth with emerge after it is cut or burned down;[4]:98 it shares this trait with most of the woody plants in its region.[6]

ToxicologyEdit

The leaves and branches of litre induces severe dermatitis after contact with human skin. The dermatitis characterized by swelling and itching in some people.[7] The allergenic agent of litre is 3–pentadecyl (10–enyl) catechol (litreol), an urushiol similar in structure to the allergens from poison oak and poison ivy.[8]

MetabolismEdit

Lithraea caustica has been studied for diurnal variation in photosynthetic function in various seasons. In early summer the photosynthetic peak occurs relatively soon in the morning and declines steadily the remainder of the day; whereas, in late summer there is a morning peak, midday low and a late afternoon peak.[9]

EcologyEdit

Litre grows in matorral climates (i.e., areas with similar climates to the southern Mediterranean); its range in Central Chile is the broadest of any matorral shrub in the region.[4] It has been found to increase in abundance in response to grazing.[5]

The plant propagates through the dispersal of seedlings.[6]:252 Instrumental in this dispersal are both birds (Turdus falklandii, Mimus thenca, Phytotoma rara) and foxes (Pseudalopex spp.)[10]:300 [11]

It is drought resistant, due to its deep and extensive root system.[4]:98[12]:191

Probably due to its toxicity, litre is one of the least disturbed plants in its habitats. The plant and its surrounding soil have been found to be home to 29 families, 57 genera and 69 species of beetles.[13]

Scientific HistoryEdit

Litre has been described in the scientific literature since at least the early 18th century. Explorer and botanist Louis Feuillée reported that sailors on his expedition experienced severe reactions after cutting down some 'Llithi' trees.[2][14] It was given its first binomial name, Laurus caustica, by William Jackson Hooker and George Arnott Walker-Arnott in 1832.[2][15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wagstaff, D. Jesse (2008-07-07). International Poisonous Plants Checklist: An Evidence-Based Reference. CRC Press. ISBN 9781420062533.
  2. ^ a b c Sprague, T. A. (1921). "Plant Dermatitis". Journal of Botany. 59: 308–310.
  3. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2012-10-17). "Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis ) - photo/images/information  - GlobalTwitcher.com". Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  4. ^ a b c d Dallman, Peter R. (1998). Plant Life in the World's Mediterranean Climates: California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean Basin. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520208094.
  5. ^ a b Fuentes, Eduardo R; Muñoz, Mauricio R. (1995). "The Human Role in Changing Landscapes in Central Chile: Implications for Intercontinental Comparisons". Ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean ecosystems in Chile, California, and Australia. Kalin Arroyo, Mary T., Zedler, Paul H., Fox, Marilyn D. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 401–417. ISBN 978-0387942667. OCLC 29846995.
  6. ^ a b Keeley, Jon E. (1995). "Seed-Germination Patterns in Fire-Prone Mediterranean-Climate Regions". Ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean ecosystems in Chile, California, and Australia. Kalin Arroyo, Mary T., Zedler, Paul H., Fox, Marilyn D. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 239–273. ISBN 978-0387942667. OCLC 29846995.
  7. ^ Kalergis, Alexis M.; López, Carolina B.; Becker, Maria I.; Diaz, Marisol I.; Sein, Jorge; Garbarino, Juan A.; De Ioannes, Alfredo E. (January 1997). "Modulation of Fatty Acid Oxidation Alters Contact Hypersensitivity to Urushiols: Role of Aliphatic Chain β-Oxidation in Processing and Activation of Urushiols". Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 108 (1): 57–61. doi:10.1111/1523-1747.ep12285632. ISSN 0022-202X. PMID 8980288.
  8. ^ López, Carolina B.; Kalergis, Alexis M.; Becker, María Inés; Garbarino, Juan A.; De Ioannes, Alfredo E. (1998). "CD8+ T Cells Are the Effectors of the Contact Dermatitis Induced by Urushiol in Mice and Are Regulated by CD4+ T Cells". International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 117 (3): 194–201. doi:10.1159/000024010. ISSN 1018-2438. PMID 9831807.
  9. ^ Perspectives of biophysical ecology. Gates, David M. (David Murray), 1921-2016,, Schmerl, Rudolf B.,, University of Michigan. Biological Station. New York: Springer-Verlag. 1975. ISBN 978-3540067436. OCLC 1031395.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Hoffman, Alicia J.; Armesto, Juan J. (1995). Ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean ecosystems in Chile, California, and Australia. Kalin Arroyo, Mary T., Zedler, Paul H., Fox, Marilyn D. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 289–310. ISBN 978-0387942667. OCLC 29846995.
  11. ^ Jaksi, F. M.; Schlatter, R. P.; Yanez, J. L. (1980-05-20). "Feeding Ecology of Central Chilean Foxes, Dusicyon culpaeus and Dusicyon griseus". Journal of Mammalogy. 61 (2): 254–260. doi:10.2307/1380046. ISSN 1545-1542. JSTOR 1380046.
  12. ^ Canadell, Josep; Zedler, Paul H. (1995). "Underground Structures of Woody Plants in Mediterranean Ecosystems of Australia, California, and Chile". Ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean ecosystems in Chile, California, and Australia. Kalin Arroyo, Mary T., Zedler, Paul H., Fox, Marilyn D. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 177–210. ISBN 978-0387942667. OCLC 29846995.
  13. ^ Briones, Raúl; Jerez, Viviane; Bemítez, Hugo (2013). "Vertical Diversity of Beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) Associated with Lithraea caustica (Anacardiaceae) in Patches of Sclerophyllous Forest in Central Chile". Journal of the Entomological Research Society. 15 (3): 41–52.
  14. ^ Feuillée, Louis (1725). Journal des observations physiques, mathématiques et botaniques faites par ordre du roy sur les côtes orientales de l'Amérique méridionale de 1707 à 1712; Part II: Des Plantes Medecinales (in French). Paris: Jean Manette. pp. 33–34.
  15. ^ Hooker, WIlliam Jackson; Walker Arnott, G. A. (1841). The Botany of Captain Beechey's voyage. p. 15. Retrieved 2018-12-07 – via Internet Archive.

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