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Spring 2014
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Nature’s Pincushion
Not all relatives have a family resemblance.

By Assistant Professor of Biology Casey Dunn 

This photograph of Leucospermum erubescens was taken in South Africa. Leucospermum belongs to Proteaceae, a group of plants that are mostly found in the Southern Hemisphere and include many species with large beautiful flowers. Oddly enough, recent work has shown that the closest relatives of Proteaceae are the groups that include sycamores and the lotus flower. This relationship was not anticipated based on studies of plant structure, but has been strongly borne out by DNA analyses.

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