Tips on Photographing and Identifying Asteraceae, Symphyotrichum in Texas

The reputation of identifying Asteraceae is evident with the use of the acronym DYC. Properly done though, one may get enough information from photos to determine a species ID.

The draft treatment of East Texas Asteraceae from Flora of East Texas is one of the most up to date treatment on Texas Asteraceae so far, and available online at no cost. I gratefully acknowledge George Yatskievych for bringing this to my attention.

There is also FNCT, also available online at the BRIT website, which has illustrations for many species that may come in handy. If one is lucky enough to have one on hand (and skilled enough to interpret it), Correll and Johnston's Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas may also be a useful resource.

I would highly recommend using a good botanical glossary with these - lacking such a resource one may utilize the GoBotany pictorial glossary and any other online resources that may be of use. Multiple glossary sources may need to be consulted. It may be useful to rewrite the information in a way that is useful to you.

Regarding photography: it is front of the flowers that everyone takes pictures of... yet very often it is the phyllaries behind those ray and disc flowers that are most important. As such, a clear photo of the side of the flower is of great value. This can be difficult for thinner, smaller plants. One may need to use manual focus, a macro lens, or both. Flower array can be useful: isolate a branch for a clear photo, and maybe one showing the overall form.




The size of the flowers can make things easier or harder. Smaller phyllaries are way harder to take photos of.


Leaves are important. Note different sizes/forms, sessile or petiolate, margins, texture. Abaxial and abaxial sides (top and bottom), if you wish to be sure. Show where the leaves are attached to the stem to show the petiole (or lack thereof).

Seed heads are useful, if you can capture them in detail. Brush aside a few seedheads to reveal the achenes.

While one may not be able to prepare for all the Asteraceae one may come across, reading and synthesizing information on the taxa of interest before going out to document them will give you a clear idea of what to photograph. Learn it as you go along.

Posted by arnanthescout arnanthescout, November 04, 2022 01:57 AM

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Annual Saltmarsh Aster (Symphyotrichum divaricatum)

Observer

arnanthescout

Date

October 6, 2022 04:58 PM CDT

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