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A history of the Zambian copper flower, Becium centraliafricanum B homblei

A history of the Zambian copper flower, Becium centraliafricanum B homblei

Journal of Geochemical Exploration 65(2): 133-140

This contribution is a short history of the Zambian copper flower, Becium homblei (recently renamed B. centraliafricanum that has attracted attention as a plant associated with Cu-rich soils. It has a peculiar discontinuous distribution in Central Africa which has been explained in terms of biotype depletion. A field investigation into the ecology of the species shows that it is able to tolerate soil Cu concentrations of up to 15,000 mu g/g (ppm), and soil nickel concentrations of nearly 5000 mu g/g. B. homblei is also found on areas where soil metals are in trace quantities, and where soil bases, particularly Ca, are low. In spite of its tolerance to a wide range of edaphic conditions, the distribution of the species is very restricted in Zimbabwe, and this is almost certainly due to severe interspecific competition with a closely related species, B. obovatum, which is common on soils not unusually enriched in heavy metals. Pioneering work on geobotanical prospecting by use of Becium homblei was carried out by the late G. Woodward and others in the 1950s and 1960s. This species was used successfully for geobotanical prospecting for Cu. This present report is a brief history of these pioneering studies.

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Accession: 029661308

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DOI: 10.1016/s0375-6742(98)00068-5

Related references

Copper tolerance in Becium homblei. Nature, Lond, 230: 403, 1971

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