May 21, 2015

Appreciating non-natives

Since I do a lot of my botanizing in an urban setting, a large number of my observations are for non-native species. Since I also work with invasive species data, it's easy to dismiss all non-natives as "bad" species. But documenting them through iNaturalist has started to change my perspective.

In view of my office is a grassy verge between two roads. It's covered in flowers right now, but probably only 2 or 3 of those are natives. Still, there are lots of bees, white-crowned sparrows, and ants, and it's pretty to look at. Would it be better if everything there were native? Sure. Should the one plant there that is listed as a noxious weed be controlled? Sure, and it has been. But for those plants that have been naturalized here, in some cases going on hundreds of years, I find my tolerance and appreciation has grown in the past few months.

These plants are not going to disappear from our urban landscape. If our native birds and bees can adapt and find the benefits of these non-invasive species, so can I. There is beauty in these, they are after all successful, living organisms, and I've enjoyed learning about them.

Posted on May 21, 2015 17:48 by wisel wisel | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 19, 2014

Online Resources For Pacific Northwest Naturalists

Plants:

Oregon Flora Project
Atlas of Oregon plant collections and observations, photo gallery, checklist, and in-progress updated flora of Oregon

Burke Museum herbarium
Washington atlas of collections, photo gallery, descriptions

Key to Ipomopsis of the PNW and photos
Discusses native, introduced, and hybridizing jewel weeds

Key to Knapweeds and Starthistles of the Pacific Northwest
An older reference first written in 1999, but it has excellent drawings and descriptions for many of our non-native Centaureas.

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers, Turner Photographics
Photos, general distributions, and descriptions

Flora of North America families list
Keys and technical descriptions for all plants in North America

Go Orchids
Keys, photos, descriptions of North America's native orchids.

Diagram of grass flower anatomy

Fungi:

The Helvella lacunosa species complex in western North America

Fungal Jungle keys and descriptons

South Vancouver Island Mycological Society keys to PNW fungi

Mushroom Observer
Large database of mushroom observations and discussions.

Mushroom Expert
Provides photos, descriptions, and keys to many mushroom groups in North America.

Birds:

Cornell Lab All About Birds
Americas distribution, photos, songs, descriptions

Mammals:

Oregon Wildlife Viewer (birds and herps too)
Oregon historic and current habitat, photos, descriptions, conservation status.

Oregon Dept. of Wildlife mammal page with brief species descriptions and photos.

Insects:

PNW Moths

Western Bumble Bees

Identification and Habits of Key Ant Pests in the Pacific Northwest
Poor title choice but a nice key and descriptions.

Pocket Guide to Willamette Valley Native Bees
Pretty limited info but a quick start to find a general bee category.

Native stink bugs and identification resources
From Oregon State University

Gastropods

OSU Slug Portal

Land Snails and Slugs of Oregon poster from Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

Crustaceans
Invasive crayfish in Oregon from Oregon SeaGrant

Photo comparison and key characteristics for Oregon crayfish

Intertidal

Field Guide to Oregon's Rocky Intertidal. Fantastic photo-key resource across many taxa including algae compiled by Kate Krieg.

Mt Rainier:

MORA Nature and Science page

Vegetation Classification of Mt Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks

Vascular Plant Inventory of Mount Rainier National Park published June 2010

Posted on September 19, 2014 21:17 by wisel wisel | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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