Archivos de diario de abril 2021

10 de abril de 2021

Identifying Smilax sprouts

Both Lanceleaf and Laurel-leaf Greenbrier produce thick, asparagus-like “reacher” sprouts in springtime that can grow two meters or more without producing leaves. I was interested in ways to distinguish the two species at this stage. I visited six known patches of each species and inspected the “reachers” The results at least in Jackson County Mississippi were pretty clear.

Lanceleaf (Smilax smallii) sprouts all had brown mottling or streaking.

By contrast, Laurel-leaf (Smilax laurifolia) sprouts all lacked the brown streaking and were plain green.

Sample observations

Smilax smallii:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41952116
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41900217
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41547665

Smilax laurifolia:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41938157
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41547669

Ingresado el 10 de abril de 2021 por janetwright janetwright | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

18 de abril de 2021

The changeable life of Lance-leaf Greenbrier.

The greenbriers (Smilax) are infamously variable, but one species has what almost seems like a "larval" and "adult" form. Lance-leaf Greenbrier, Smilax smallii, grows primarily in woods. As a young plant (or what I assume is a young plant), it grows like a ground-cover low on the surface, with leaves designed to capture the minimal light that penetrates to the ground: large leaf surface, wide thin blades, and light color. I believe during its young years on the ground, it's storing up a large underground tuber. When the tuber reaches sufficient size, Smilax smallii sends up an amazing thick shoot that grows straight up, leafless but armed with prickles, toward the canopy. Once it encounters a branch it latches on with tendrils and then makes its way to the outer surface of the canopy, where it grows a dense covering of small, leathery, dark leaves, designed for high exposure.

One trail that I frequent has a large amount of Smilax smallii at ground level and in the canopy. Some canopy plants were recently felled in Hurricane Zeta. I took this opportunity to make observations to show the morphological variation.

(1) Ground-level S. smallii (large, triangular, variegated leaves with wavy margins; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68238364).

(2) Canopy-level (smaller, dark, lanceolate leaves, densely spaced; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68238366).

(3) The relatively rare intermediate low-climbing form (mid-size, slightly variegated, intermediate shape leaves; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68238365).

(4) Here is one of the spectacular "reachers" growing straight up from ground to canopy (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/41900217).

(5) And here is an example of the massive underground tuber that Smilax smallii stores as it grows (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/51459612)

Ingresado el 18 de abril de 2021 por janetwright janetwright | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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