06 de agosto de 2022

Pesky Acanthaceae: How to tell Justicia croceochlamys from Schaueria calytricha

Justicia croceochlamys showing its distinctive anthers.
Justicia croceochlamys: Type locality is Colombia. Yellow calyx. White flowers to 4 cm long. Yellow bracts subtending the flowers to 3.0 cm long by 0.5 mm wide. Bractlets (?) can be longer.
Two anthers. Anthers two lobed, upper lobe attached at an angle (but with no tail), lower lobe attached parallel to filament and with a short tail.
From: The Acanthaceae of Colombia. Emery C. Leonard. 1958. In: Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Volume 31, published by the Smithsonian Institution.
Full text available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Page 532: Original species description in Latin.
Page 533: Illustration (including anther) & English description.

Schaueria calytricha: Type locality is Brazil. Yellow calyx. Yellow flowers to 4.5 cm long. Yellow bracts to 1.1 cm long by 1.0 mm wide.
Two anthers. Anthers two lobed, both lobes attached parallel to the filament and lacking tails.
From: Côrtes, Ana Luiza A., Thomas F. Daniel, and Alessandro Rapini. "Taxonomic revision of the genus Schaueria (Acanthaceae)." Plant Systematics and Evolution 302, no. 7 (2016): 819-851.
Full text available at Researchgate.
Page 826: Key to the species of Schaueria.
Page 820: Decsription of anthers found in the monophyletic Schaueria. Page 829, 831, 832: Description of S. calytricha. Page 830: Illustration of S. calytricha.

**Côrtes et al. (2016) recognize 14 species of Schaueria, three with yellow flowers and the others with white flowers. Many of these have relatively long, narrow calyx lobes or bracts among the flowers and iNaturalist has few (or no) photos of them, so be cautious when assigning species-level IDs.

Ingresado el 06 de agosto de 2022 por m_whitson m_whitson | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de abril de 2022

The NKU Bio-Alumni Birds & Blooms Hike Returns

Saturday, April 16, 10:00 am

After being scotched by COVID restrictions in 2021 and being rained/snowed/sleeted out last Saturday, intrepid alumni of Northern Kentucky University's Biology Department and various NKU faculty met at Boone County's spectcular Middle Creek Park to see what we could see. We joked that it should be Birds, Blooms, & Boulders this year, since we had someone with geology background (Dr. Cooper-- former NKU student & current NKU faculty) join our normal compliment of botanist and ornithologist.

Finding a site that has both good bird-watching potential and diverse wildflowers to admire can be tricky, as birding opportunities peak here in May and the birds are easiest to see in open areas, while the wildflower show peaks in late April and is best under huge trees. Nonetheless, we pulled it off today.

Dr. Walters, our bird expert, had a list of over 30 species of birds encountered by the time we finished our 2 hour amble out along Middle Creek. We heard more than we saw, as we were under a canopy of giant sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and poplars (Populus deltoides). The trees were alive with birdsong and woodpeckers drumming, everyone busily defending their territories. We heard Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, Eastern Towhees, Redwing Blackbirds, and several distant hawk cries. We got a lovely closeup view of a male Northern Parula, saw a pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes and a kingfisher along the creek, spotted an American Kestrel drifting down to land in a treetop, and got a good look at a magnificent Pileated Woodpecker as it zipped over a clearing on its way to more large trees. We even startled up an astoundingly huge Great Blue Heron when we strayed too close to the creek.

Cute Northern Parula
A Red-eyed Male Towhee

We've had a cool spring, and the wildflowers weren't at their peak yet, but there was still color everywhere. The Blue Eyed Marys (Collinsia verna) were just beginning to tint the forest floor with sky blue. We spotted one white-flowered individual among all the blue and white bicolors. Both species of native Dicentra were in profuse bloom-- Dutchman's Breeches (D. culcullaria) and Squirrel Corn (D. canadensis) -- and they were joined by their pretty little yellow-flowered relative, the Pale Corydalis (C. flavula). The reddish-flowered toadshades (a sessile Trillium) were abundant, as was Mayapple (Podophyllum) and white-splashed waterleaf (Hydrophyllum) foliage. We saw blooming Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and Paw-paw (Asimina triloba) branches covered in knobby brown bloom buds. The Woodland Phlox (P. divaricara) provided splashes of blue, lavender, and pinkish, and at least three species of violets (Viola spp.) added white, yellow, and purple punctuation. There were even a few Virginia Bluebells (Meternsia virginica), and of course plenty of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica).

Lovely Woodland Phlox
Virginia Bluebells Just Starting
Squirrel Corn Showing Off

The temperatures were cool but very pleasant, but combined with a mostly gray morning, they kept the insect activity muted. We saw a rusty orange butterfly (perhaps a Questionmark) and a little Spring Azure. We saw a fuzzy big bumblebee checking out some violets, and a tiny bee visiting chickweed flowers. Along the creek, there was one large dragonfly zipping around and one mayfly fluttering by.

On the banks of the creek, we admired 400+ million-year-old bryzoan fossils, rounded quartz pebbles and other smoothed rocks dropped off by glaciers, and what was perhaps a fossilized chunk of deer skull (coffee brown with age). In rocky stretches, you could see interesting little caddisfly larvae stuck to the flat stones, including some that made amazing little spiral shells that could pass for snails. The water was a little too cloudy today to easily spot darters, but I'm sure they were out there.

Strange Spiral Caddisflies

Overall, a great hike, and fun organisms to suit everyone's fancies.

Even Fungi

Ingresado el 17 de abril de 2022 por m_whitson m_whitson | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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