Journal archives for December 2021

December 03, 2021

Notes on Ageratina in Texas

Shrubby Boneset (Ageratina havanensis)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Other species (A. wrightii) less than 5 RG observations
BONAP range
Glossary of Leaves for convenience

A. havanensis A. altissima
Form Shrub Herbaceous Perennial
Woody Stem?

Yes
(though younger plants may not develop this yet)

No
Leaf shape

Deltate to broadly ovate or somewhat hastate
(Leaning towards triangular?)

Deltate-ovate to ovate or broadly lanceolate
(Can get more ovular in shape)

Petiole length 3-10 mm 10-30 mm
Leaf margins

Dentate, sometimes bluntly
and bordering on crenate

Coarsely and doubly serrated/incised

Cypsellae texture
(the seed)

Hispid (Stiff hairs/bristles) Glabrous

It's been observed that the anther filaments do not stick out as much/are less prominent. This does seem true... Not confident about reliability yet but looks promising.
Also according to FNA,
"Ageratina havanensis apparently is the only species of the genus in the flora area with evergreen-persistent leaves."

Links:
FNA:
http://beta.floranorthamerica.org/Ageratina_havanensis
http://beta.floranorthamerica.org/Ageratina_altissima
GBIF (Herbarium specimens)
https://www.gbif.org/species/5400768 A. havanensis
https://www.gbif.org/species/5400552 A. altissima

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64215732

Posted on December 03, 2021 06:12 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 24, 2021

What is iNaturalist? A Video Introduction and a Nutshell Explanation

So for those of you wondering… what is iNaturalist?


I'd start by watching my favorite video explaining the gist of iNaturalist and how to use it, created by Dr. Joe Hanson on It's Okay to Be Smart. Or read what's below. Or both!


So, where to start...

Have you ever caught butterflies or bugs before? Think about iNaturalist as a tool, where instead of catching something with a net and keeping it in a tank/cage, you catch it with your lens and then keep it as an observation on iNaturalist, on the web forever! It’s more friendly than actually catching a butterfly or bird, and still a lot of fun!

But wait: there’s more!

On iNaturalist, you can learn what type/species of organism you’ve observed. There’s a built-in AI (or as it's called Computer Vision) that will be able to tell you what organism you found. The AI isn't always right, and can struggle with similar species, but it usually gets pretty close. No need to spend time running through the internet to find what that plant or butterfly is called. User and beginner friendly.

But wait: there’s more!

iNaturalist isn’t just a tool; it’s a community. Other users can agree with your identifications, and add comments as well. You can find people ranging from casual birders and nature enthusiasts (like me) to Master Naturalists and academic researchers. There's even one user who has done their PhD on the systematics of the Family Polemoniaceae!
(In all seriousness, he's an incredible person, check out his profile!)

You can:

  • Talk to people within your observations
  • Get advice from other users on differentiating species and whatnot, which can be very insightful. Or you can always ask.
  • Check out other observations in your area and see what others have found! Also read discussions in other observations
  • Often those that are favorited (have a star on them) can have interesting discussions.
  • Write journal posts and view posts that other people wrote
  • Journal posts can be used to make notes or reflect on what you've found. Or they can be used to share something interesting with other people. Identification guides are common topics for journal posts as well.
  • Message people and follow them to get updates on their new observations
  • It's a good way to communicate with friends, share your findings, and help each other identify what you find!
  • Go to the iNat forum (https://forum.inaturalist.org/), where you can read and contribute to discussions, ask questions, submit bug reports, and even suggest feature requests

And a lot more.
Basically, it’s social media. For naturalists. Very cool.

One last thing!

By adding your observations onto iNaturalist, you are actually contributing to citizen science. These observations make up a giant database that can be used by scientists. There are research papers written thanks to this site.
And besides the research potential, there have been some incredible discoveries made on this site: The Dumbéa River pipefish and the recently discovered Gonolobus naturalistae are examples of that.
And who knows? Maybe you will be the next one to find an important discovery...


So yeah, that’s iNaturalist in a nutshell.
But there’s only so much that words can explain...
...so the best way is to jump on the bus and find out!

Cheers,
arnanthescout

Posted on December 24, 2021 10:20 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Be Amazed of the Diversity of Plants... But Don't get Overwhelmed by it.



Some plants are really easy to tell apart!
Others have... well... have a lot of discussion and debate in the botanical world.
I mean, look at this forum post on the Dandelions!

But anyways, my goal is not to overwhelm you with minute taxonomic complexities. It's rather to allow you to read the plants, appreciate their incredible yet hidden diversity, and reveal their hidden ecology, edible and medicinal uses, all manner of plant lore. Don't get too bogged down or overwhelmed by every extremely tiny morphological differences. Particularly with the dandelions.

I want you to see the great diversity of plants. We can get into deeper botanical discussions on smaller species differences if you want, but not too much. It's interesting to a point. Unless you're planning to be a botanist when you grow up, I think you might lose the fun in studying plants 😉



Now, I'm probably going to struggle with this a lot with you people (because I am a nerdy botanist person and tend to get obsessed with the tiny nitty gritty taxonomic details).

That's why I'm planning on doing larger field expeditions using iNaturalist and sharing observations with each other next semester. Because that's where things get fun.
The struggle is going to be with getting people to use iNaturalist correctly, so that might take some time...

...but if we can get to that point then you will get see the world in a completely different way. It's like seeing again.

You will learn to notice, to pay attention to fine details, which will help you with much more than just plants.
You will appreciate the many beautiful species of plants (such as milkweeds, and learn to get excited when you see a new and uncommon species like the Texas milkweed with its pure white flowers - I've always wanted to see one in person!)


Copyright CC BY-NC 4.0, @caadams07 on iNaturalist

You will understand the weird and wonderful things about plants, from the Erodium seeds that somehow manually drill themselves into the ground, to the unusual behavior of the Resurrection Fern.
And, with that knowledge, you will be able to work with plants much closer and start to use them to their fuller extent, such as:

  • Foraging wild dewberries
  • Making Yaupon tea, from the only natural caffeinated plant in North America
  • Daring one other to eat a Chiltepin pepper—just make sure to properly identify it first!
  • Using certain plants for healing poultices (yarrow for helping blood clots, for example)
  • Weaving baskets out of willow twigs... or creating a rooting hormone from it!

By identifying plants, the natural world becomes your playground, your workshop. It's a bit like playing Minecraft. It even carries over to the gardener's branch; You will know which plants would grow best in a garden on campus... because you'd have observed where they grow in the wild.

That's one of my greater visions for the naturalist's branch, and what makes me excited for this club!


I want you to be amazed at the diversity of plants, but not overwhelmed by it. Don't boggle your mind too much about some of this crazy taxonomy stuff (remember this is science, so things can change). Otherwise you're going to start hating plants. And we don't want that.

Stay happy,
arnanthescout

Posted on December 24, 2021 10:44 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 26, 2021

Notes on Darcy's Sage

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/475236-Salvia-darcyi
https://www.calfloranursery.com/plants/salvia-darcyi
https://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=2421
https://www.plantdelights.com/products/salvia-darcyi
https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/106615/
http://prairiebreak.blogspot.com/2012/09/burning-bush-salvia-darcyi.html

From Wikipedia, 12 December 2021:

"Salvia darcyi is a herbaceous perennial shrub native to a very small area at 9000 ft elevation in the eastern range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental. Discovered in the wild in 1991, it has since been sold in horticulture under several names. Botanist James Compton named the plant after fellow British botanist John d'Arcy after a trip they made to the region in 1991.

Salvia darcyi reaches 3 feet in height, with stoloniferous roots that spread over time and deltoid pastel green leaves that are very sticky. The bright coral red flowers are 1.5 inches long on inflorescences that reach up to 2 feet."

From "Prairiebreak" blog:

"I have referred to Salvia darcyi glancingly in many posts over the last few years. Perhaps it's time to grasp the thistle (so to speak) and acknowledge this uber-sage, this conflagration, this burning bush of garden plants. Just a few days ago, Mark Kane (an old gardening friend and great horticulturist) commented casually as we strolled past a planting of this sage at DBG) that he was with Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey (of the famed Yucca Do and Peckerwood Garden) in 1988 in Nuevo Leon when they first collected this taxon: at the time they thought it was Salvia oresbia. A few years later James Compton and William D'Arcy accompanied the Yucca Do meisters to the same spot, and the plant was subsequently named (or renamed?...I am not sure Charles Christopher Parry's collection of S. oresbia in 1878 might not be the same plant incidentally--which would wreak a bit of nomenclatural havoc...)"

From San Marcos Grower's website:

"This plant was originally discovered by Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey of Yucca Do Nursery near Galena, Mexico, in 1988 and in 1991 they guided a British expedition that included British botanist James Compton to a site where it was found growing along a rocky limestone ravine at 9,000 feet in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. Though originally called Salvia oresbia, Compton officially described it in a 1994 issue of the journal of Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, naming it after Canadian born botanist William G. D'Arcy, who accompanied him on the collection trip and so it is also commonly called Darcy's sage."

Primary source? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8748.1994.tb00406.x
Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 2. May 1994.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION by Compton: "Herbs to 1.5m or more; stems and leaves densely glandular-pubescent; inflorescence whorls with 4-6 flowers... S. darcyi"

Names:
Carl Schoenfeld
https://www.texaslegacy.org/narrator/carl-schoenfeld/
John Fairey
https://jfgarden.org/about/
http://www.kleinfuneralhome.com/obituary/john-fairey
Owners of Yucca Do Nursery
Main initiators on the "Yucca Do Expeditions," a series of excursions into the remote Mexican mountains. Their interest in the area came from an initial trip in 1988 with Lynn Lowery, where they gained their fascination with the region and its plants.

Info on one of their expeditions https://www.juniperlevelbotanicgarden.org/content/learn/expeditions/1994_mexico/

James Compton
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Compton-5
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/James_A._Compton
William G. D'Arcy - The plant is named after him
http://www.efloras.org/person_profile.aspx?person_id=1444

Lynn Lowery, horticulturalist and plant explorer
https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/heroes/lowrey2.html
https://www.texaslegacy.org/narrator/carl-schoenfeld/ Carl Schoenberg discusses his impressions of Lynn Lowery in an interview

Locations:
Denver Botanical Gardens
Galena, Mexico/Sierra Madre
Yucca Do Nursery
John Fairey Garden/Peckerfield Garden - https://jfgarden.org/ and https://www.gardenconservancy.org/preservation/preservation-news/peckerwood-nursery-opening

The last two are the same location, the Peckerfield Garden was apparently built over where the Yucca Do Nursery used to be.

Noticed:
-Longer petiole than Tropical Sage
-Scabrous texture, "papery" as described in an iNat observation
-"Pastel" green color
-Leaf deltoid, cordate base tapering inward to an attenuate margin
-Height of plant is quite tall, 3-4 feet?
-Some sort-of distinct aroma associated with it - a "pleasant aroma" as San Marcos Growers say, "herbaceous cat urine" as described in an iNat observation, or "sulfur" as a commenter on Prairiebreak blog suggests.
-Large prolific blooms, long blooming season

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/98352372
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95174441
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96689402

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95557248

Synonym Salvia oresbia?

Posted on December 26, 2021 05:10 AM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 30, 2021

Identifying plants - Advice from Nathan's Identifier profile

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/56161-identifier-profile-nathantaylor

http://floranorthamerica.org/Ageratina
http://www.bonap.org/

Looking up specimens:
iNaturalist observations/images in general are not very reliable, so try to use specimens.
https://plants.jstor.org/ but I'm not in college yet so I don't have an account =(((
https://www.gbif.org/species/search?q=

Posted on December 30, 2021 06:08 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment