Journal archives for February 2020

February 19, 2020

The thrill is the hunt

After stumbling upon a pair of Lycium macrodon plants yesterday at the Reach 11 Recreation Area in the City of Phoenix, I was re-invigorated to search for a plant that I futilely hunted 8 or 10 years ago. This specimen of L. macrodon was collected in 1965 by the eminent Arizona botanist Elinor Lehto along "Scottsdale Road, 2 miles North of Bell Road."
Knowing that this area is Arizona state trust land, I lamented that I had not renewed my Arizona State Land Recreation Permit recently. In the past, the permit was only available by traveling to the state land department on West Adams just east of the state capitol. In the early days of the permit process, the office to which one applied was downstairs in the basement in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door reading "Beware of the Leopard." In more recent years it was possible to apply by printing out a form and mailing it in with a check.
But now we have entered the electronic age and I secured a permit within minutes by filling out this form and paying the permit fee and a one dollar surcharge. I printed out pdf's of the recreational permit and the dashboard vehicle permit and went to bed confident that I could continue the search instanter.
My search today also proved futile, but it was a fine adventure nonetheless. At that elevation the bellyflower annuals are flowering and fruiting moreso than where I live. It also demonstrated to me that in general people are awful. The quantity of flotsam and jetsam of modern life that have been deposited in piles or broadcast across the landscape was remarkable. It reminded me of the line from Yente in Fiddler on the Roof: "If god lived on earth, people would break his windows."

Posted on February 19, 2020 04:30 AM by stevejones stevejones | 43 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

February 26, 2020

Bluedicks confusion

For some time I've been blithely marking observations of bluedicks (a name which induces tittering among elementary school students on field trips, encouraging the use of the alternate common name "desert hyacinth" with that audience) as Dichelostemma capitatum. Correct, as far as it goes, but there are two subspecies, capitatum (the nominative subspecies) and pauciflorum. Only the latter is found in Arizona. Unfortunately, the SEINet range map has a sizeable number of Arizona collections labeled as ssp. capitatum. As I explained here:

"There's a large number of specimens labeled Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum on the SEINet range map. All of these were originally identified as either Dichelostemma pulchellum (the vast majority) or Brodiea capitata. When the names of these two taxa were updated to D. capitatum in the SEINet database they were assigned to the nominative subspecies. Oops. FNA has accurate distribution maps of the subspecies capitatum and pauciflorum."

I've been trying lately to be sure to add subspecific names where known or where identifiable, because occasionally a subspecies or variety is "promoted" to species or otherwise renamed.

(Thanks to @rupertclayton for tipping me to the subspecies issue.)

Posted on February 26, 2020 10:13 PM by stevejones stevejones | 7 comments | Leave a comment