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Monochoria africana N.E.Br. is an extremely rare plant with limited distribution in Kenya. Rare plant species are often specialists for a rare microhabitat and there is all likelihood that Monochoria africana is a habitat specialist. Our research on distribution of this species in Kenya has so far located it in a very small isolated microhabitat in the Tana River delta, coastal region of Kenya. So far, this plant has only been located in one community farm in a small village called Ozi, near Kipini, Latitude 2°30’33’’S and Longitude 40°27’20’’E. The methodology used in this study entailed direct observations, line transects, meander and patterned searches in its narrow area of endemism.
In this short communication, the authors hypothesize various reasons for the limited distribution of this rare species. Viz: diverse edaphic factors, inbreeding depression, low levels of seed set, genetic bottlenecks, specialized pollination systems etc. At the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) department of Botany greenhouses, we have embarked on some studies to try and unravel probable reasons for rarity of Monochoria africana.
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