Date of Award




First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Drenovsky


Gypsum soils are a unique soil type with high levels of calcium and sulfur, which creates a harsh living environment for plants. To survive these conditions, plants have evolved a suite of mechanisms to survive these excess minerals, such as sulfur. In this study we aimed to determine if gypsum status was related to sulfated flavonoid production in plants of the Asteraceae. Flower and leaf tissues were collected from herbarium specimens representing gypsophiles, gypsovags, and gypsofuges. These tissues were analyzed for the presence of sulfated flavonoids using Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). We observed sulfated flavonoid production in leaf and flower tissues of many of our focal taxa. Within our data set patterns of sulfated flavonoid production were related to phylogeny, but not gypsum status. Future research should include a broader sampling of taxa to better elucidate these patterns. Further, our work suggests another potential mechanism for surviving on gypsum soils.