30 de noviembre de 2022

On Identifying Queen Anne's Lace (= Wild Carrot = Daucus carota)

iNaturalist has over 14,000 "needs ID" observations of Daucus in North America, although we have only two Daucus species and one (D. carota) is abundant and usually easily identified. Please help get more of these identified!

Here are some things I learned when working on this.

A. Daucus carota has an array of tiny white flowers, the ones on the outer edges a little enlarged. Lots of other plants have the same pattern, so this by itself isn't enough for identification.

B. Daucus carota often has a dark purple flower in the very center. If present, this allows identification! (in North America) Its absence means nothing, though. Example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/143044211

C. The bracts at the base of the flower cluster (compound umbel) in Daucus carota are moderately long and have 3 to 7 slender lobes. Example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/142548223 This is unusual in North American members of the Carrot Family, so if the plant looks good otherwise, this will tip me over to identifying it as D. carota.

D. The nest-like structure formed as the seeds mature is distinctive -- the easiest way to identify Daucus carota! Example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/143284547 Late in the fall, the outer branches may spread out again. CAUTION: Visnaga daucoides, introduced to California and the Gulf Coast has slender nest-like fruiting heads, but each has a whole tangle of many, many bracts at the base and the seeds have very short bristles. CAUTION: In the native annual Daucus pusillusthe fruiting structure is similar but flatter, more cup-like, and very dense, with shorter bracts with short lobes.

E. Daucus carota stems are coarsely hairy. That's not enough to identify one, but it it's smooth, it's not D. carota.

F. In the Carrot Family, leaves are often useful for identification. Unfortunately, Daucus carota leaves look a lot like those of some other species, including the weed Scandix pecten-veneris. (On the other hand, leaves that look like D. carota leaves and are posted as D. carota leaves usually are D. carota leaves . . . . )

Ingresado el 30 de noviembre de 2022 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de agosto de 2022

Tall Oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius) -- not quite discouraging.

The good news: The North American "Research Grade" observations of Arrhenatherum elatius were nearly all correct! (Or too distant to identify with certainty -- oh, well). The bad news: There were almost three times as many "Needs ID" observations of this species, and at least half of them were clearly not A. elatius while many of the rest were not really identifiable to species. So the filter of needing two agreeing ID's to reach "Research Grade" is working (good news!).

Arrhenatherum elatius is an almost generic grass, so misidentifications were not unexpected. The breadth of misidentification did exceed my expectations, though. (Four different Lolium perenne observations??) The misidentifications didn't have a unifying theme, as did those of Phleum pratense.

Here's a list of names I found on North American "Needs ID" Arrhenatherum elatius observations today:

Anthoxanthum odoratum
Avena sativa
Bromus inermis
Bromus sp. (weedy annual; B. japonicus?)
Dactylis glomerata (in early bud)
Danthonia sp.
Festuca sp.
Leymus mollis
Lolium/Festuca/Schedonorus arundinaca (many, many observations)
Lolium perenne (at least 4!)
Phalaris arundinacea
Poa pratensis
Triticeae (at least 2 species)
and something lily-like, with wide, soft leaves

Ingresado el 26 de agosto de 2022 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de julio de 2022

Letters to a Pre-Scientist program

I strongly recommend the Letters to a Pre-Scientist (LPS) program. It connects 5th to 8th graders in certain poor U.S. schools (poor as judged by the percent of students who get free lunch) with college students and professionals in various fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The student and his/her STEM pen pal exchange letters four times over the school year. The kids are really interested in this process, which is unlike anything else they do.

The program needs more STEM folks this year because it's expanding. I hope you will look into this and participate and/or share the information with others who may be interested. Registration to be a pen pal is now open!

Can you correspond in a language other than English? LPS tries to match students whose first language isn't English with STEM people who can use the same language.

A couple of notes: All students in the class participate, from the top to the bottom in scholarship. You can specify if you only want to correspond with the brightest, but remember that each student needs a pen-pal. Also, LPS tries to have more STEM people than students, so students can pick someone whose field sounds interesting. Therefore, each year some people don't get picked. But maybe next year! It's worth hanging around.

Here's information and a link from one of the LPS organizers:

Great news -- STEM professionals can register now to be pen pals during the 2022-2023 school year! 🎉

Letters to a Pre-Scientist connects students with real scientists through eight snail mail letters to demystify STEM careers, humanize STEM professionals, and empower all students to see themselves as future STEM professionals.

This will be our biggest year yet: we will match over 3,000 scientists with student pre-scientist pen pals! We're seeking passionate STEM professionals ready to broaden student's awareness of the possibilities that STEM has to offer.

With gratitude,

Program Manager, Pre-Scientist, Inc.

P.S. Share the pen pal registration link with other STEM professionals you know!

Ingresado el 16 de julio de 2022 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de mayo de 2022


I'm very slow to identify observations and respond to tags right now. I apologize. I'm currently very, very busy with an iNaturalist project plus another project plus spring. This will improve about June 12. Until then, all I can do is apologize.

Ingresado el 09 de mayo de 2022 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de febrero de 2022

An Ambitous Rat, Foiled

A female Bufflead took off running across the water. In the middle of the inlet she stopped and looked back ( https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106387592 ). I couldn't see what was disturbing her, though a big of wood was floating in the water -- no, swimming! Swimming energetically toward her. What could it be? A pair of Mallards swam closer to investigate. If this mammals was trying to catch the Bufflehead, it ought to be an otter, but the amount of brown mammal visible above the water's surface was only about big enough for an otter's head. Size and the rapidly churning legs so close to the front end also ruled out nutria, muskrat, and beaver. Could this possibly be a rat? I think so! ( https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106387593 )

While the Bufflehead kept a careful distance, the Mallards closed in on this intriguing object. They didn't actually touch it, but they kept close, especially the female Mallard. The rat gave up on the Bufflehead and turned back toward shore. The Mallards convoyed with it. The rat pulled out on a rock and groomed. It was kind of cute, actually, with big ears. (It's tail was longer than its head plus body, but never visible in its entirety except in brief glimpses I couldn't photo.) The rat jumped toward land, landing a bit short, and ran off into cover. What?? The perplexed female Mallard walked onto the land. She stood looking around for a long time. ( https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106387594 ) Finally she gave up and joined her drake in the water.

This occurred in Waldport, in the part of the bay visible at the junction of Mill Street and Highway 34.

Ingresado el 27 de febrero de 2022 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de agosto de 2021

Timothy, more of a mystery than you might think

I've been checking identifications of Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense) since mid-2019. The level of misidentification on iNaturalist is . . . interesting. My list is below. If the plant is not a grass, its family name is added in parentheses. Sorry about providing only scientific names.

Note: These misidentification have been corrected. Of course, there are no doubt others I haven't found (yet).

Plants identified as Phleum pratense. The first four species listed are very commonly misidentified as Phleum pratense on iNaturalist, and I've seen the others at least once. (Updated 2022)

Alopecurus pratensis
Alopecurus arundinaceus
Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae)
Phalaris aquatica
Agastache sp. (Lamiaceae)
Agropyron cristatum
Agrostis sp.
Alopecurus aequalis
Alopecurus brachystachyus
Ambrosia sp., probaby A. artemsiifolia (Asteraceae)
Anemone cylindrica (Ranunculaceae)
Anthoxanthum odoratum
Apera interrupta
Holcus lanatus, immature
Baptisia sp., immature (Fabaceae)
Betula sp., catkin (Betulaceae)
Carex acutiformis (Cyperaceae)
Carex barbarae (Cyperaceae)
Carex heteroneura (Cyperaceae)
Carex kelloggii (Cyperaceae)
Carex nebrascensis (Cyperaceae)
Carex obnupta (Cyperaceae)
Carex pendula (Cyperaceae)
Carex sect. Racemosae (Cyperaceae)
Carex sp. (Cyperaceae)
Celosia spicata (Amaranthaceae)
Chamaelirium luteum (Melanthiaceae)
Cynosurus cristatus
Dalea candida (Fabaceae)
Dalea purpurea (Fabaceae)
Dactylis glomerata, immature
Eleusine indica
Elymus sp.
Gastridium phleoides
Hilaria mutica
Hordeum brachyantherum
Hordeum pusillum
Hordeum sp.
Hypochaeris radicata, in bud (Asteraceae)
Itea virginiana (Iteaceae, formerly Saxifragaceae)
Koeleria sp.
Lagurus ovatus
Lepidoptera (a moth caterpillar on a grass stem)
Liatris spp. (Asteraceae)
Luzula spp. (Juncaceae)
Muhlenbergia ringens
Muhlenbergia sp.
Pennisetum glaucum
Pennisetum setacea
Phalaris arundinacea
Phalaris caroliniana
Phalaris coerulescens
Phleum alpinum
Phleum arenarium
Phleum sp.
Plantago coronopus (Plantaginaceae)
Plantago media (Plantaginaceae)
Plantago patagonica (Plantaginaceae)
Poa arachnoidea
Polypogon monspeliensis
Populus tremula, catkin (Salicaceae)
Rostraria sp. (probably)
Salix sp., catkin (Salicaceae)
Secale cereale
Setaria faberi
Setaria pumila
Setaria viridis
Trifolium angustifolium (Fabaceae)
Triticum aestivum (club wheat, T. a. compactum)
Triticum aestivum (an awned wheat)
Turritis glabra (Brassicaceae)
Verbascum thapsus (Scrophulariaceae)
a blond middle school boy with freckles (likely correct, in one sense)

These have been misidentied as Phleum alpinum (in the broad sense):
Betonica, maybe B. hirsuta (Lamiaceae)
Carex breweri (Cyperaceae)
Carex scopulorum scopulorum (Cyperaceae)
Carex spectabilis (Cyperaceae)
Carex section Ovales (Cyperaceae)
Cynosurus echinatus
Phyteuma nigrum (Campanulaceae)
Trifolium pratense in fruit (Fabaceae)

On the other hand, these names have been applied to what was actually Phleum pratense:
Acorus calamus (Acoraceae)
Agastache sp. (Lamiaceae)
Alopecurus pratensis
Ammophila breviligulata
Carex sp.
Koeleria macrantha
Phalaris canariensis
Phalaris aquatica
Toxicoscordion venenosa, in fruit (Melaniaceae, formerly Liliaceae)

Although I'm sure humans often misidentified Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) without computer assistance, I think many of these names originated as suggestions by the CV (computer vision program), which seemed to consider anything with a more or less cylindrical inflorescence made up of many little bits to be Timothy. Given the state of identifications for Timothy, this was understandable; the computer is trained on iNaturalist photos and if many of them are misidentified, errors result. I hope that recent corrections help the latest CV version to recognize Timothy more precisely. Of course, even if CV improves, we humans have to choose from among the CV suggestions and are also entirely capable of misidentifying Timothy independently.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2021 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 13 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de agosto de 2021

What to photo -- Carex sedges

Identifying Carex on iNaturalist is really hard. Why? First, Carex are diverse (about 2000 species worldwide, close to 500 in North America north of Mexico), and these simple plants have fewer traits than most. Second (partly a result of the first), differences between species are often subtle and often involve a combination of multiple traits. Third, the photos on iNaturalist often don't show the needed traits. You can do something about that third one.

The list below explains the most important traits to photo for Carex identification. Of course, even perfect photo sets may languish unidentified for a while, because Carex identification knowledge is mostly local (another result of that diversity) so even Carex "experts" don't know many of them.

What if you don't photo all these things? Sometimes you don't need to. Sometimes one or two photos are enough. Trouble is, if you don't know what species you're dealing with, you probably don't know which traits you need.

  1. Habitat. Most Carex are microhabitat specialists, so this can be an important clue. You can just make notes, rather than photo, but was it growing in water? In a bog? Lake margin? In upland forest? Prairie? Roadside salted in winter? On serpentine or pumice or other unusual soils?
  2. General appearance. Is the plant cespitose (growing in one clump) or rhizomatous (spreading by rhizomes)? Is the inflorescence nodding or erect? Is it obviously green or blue-green? If the photos don't show these traits well, try to get enough information to remind you, and write about it.
  3. Inflorescence. Are the spikes crowded or separate? Is the lowest inflorescence bract longer or shorter than the whole inflorescence? In some cases (especially if the individual spikes are short) it's important to know if the staminate flowers were at the base or top of the spike, so include a close photo.
  4. Perigynia. Unless the spikes reveal most of the length of the perigynia ( +/- = utricles, fruits), break up a spike and spread the perigynia on your hand (or any other convenient surface) and photo them. Try to show both sides. Get close enough to see the hairs, if the surface is hairy. While you're doing it, include some of the scales (bracts) that grow between the perigynia.
  5. Leaf sheath front. As in grasses, the sedge leaf consists of a blade (usually flat, the part we think of as a leaf) and a sheath (which wraps around the stem). Where's the front? The blade attaches to the back of the sheath -- think of Superman's cape attaching to his shirt. The front of the sheath is the other side, where the big S is on Superman's shirt. The front is usually hyaline (transparent when fresh, whitish when dry). In a few species, it may be green and veined like the back. The front may be brownish or coppery. It may have tiny red dots. The top of the sheath (at the level where the blade attaches) may be flat across or concave, but in a few species it extends upwards like a sheath. In a few species the top is thickened. The sheath may be "cross rugulose," with horizontal waves or corrugations. In many species, the leaf sheath decays leaving a network of fibers.
  6. Plant bases. Some Carex are green all the way down, but in some the lower parts of the leaf sheaths are conspicuously reddish, brown, or black.

(6.5) In certain Carex of eastern North America, the leaf sheath back is also important. Not so much in the Pacific Northwest.

(6.6) The ligule is important in some species, though I don't use it in the ones I know. To photo, pull the leaf blade a little away from the culm (stem) and photo the triangular area where the blade is held tight to the culm by a little membrane.

Ingresado el 06 de agosto de 2021 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de julio de 2021

Effect of recent heat wave on Douglas-Fir on Highway 20 in the Cascade Range

The unusually hot weather at the end of June had negative effects of people, plants, and other organisms. However, the damage was patchy. I documented the extent of damage to conifers along Highway 20 in Lincoln and Benton Counties, Oregon by driving the road and stopping to photograph plants, then uploading the photos to iNaturalist. Observation numbers, species, and results are results are listed below, along with the approximate location of the observations.

No damage was observed close to the coast, but damage was obvious from a little west of Toledo to approximately the Lincoln/Benton County border. No obvious damage was observed east of there into the Willamette Valley at Corvallis. On some hillsides, nearly all the conifers appeared damaged, but that was not always the case.

Damage consisted of dead young branches on the southwest (to west and south) side of trees. For that reason, it was not obvious when driving west toward Newport but was easily seen when driving east. The great majority of the damaged conifers were Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-Fir) because that is by far the most common conifer in the area, but damage was also seen on Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) and Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock). Most deciduous trees appeared undamaged, although those Alnus rubra higher above waterways had lost upper leaves.

The surprising result of this survey is that the conifers in the eastern Coast Range lacked obvious heat damage, while those in the western Coast Range (except very close to the coast) were damaged.

Explanation of the table. Observations are sorted by species, then by location, west to east. The phrase "Heat damage" indicates that damage was photographed; if that phrase is lacking, heat damage was not observed. To visit an observation, insert the observation number (Obs_#) into the URL https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/88346965

Obs_# scientific_name tag latitude longitude
88333205 Picea sitchensis 44.63607995 -124.0328932
88333208 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.63610385 -124.0323103
88333894 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.63440526 -124.0187767
88333895 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.63411399 -124.0183787
88334894 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.63122203 -124.0063891
88334896 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.6314221 -124.006172
88334899 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.6315 -124.00662
88335502 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62938707 -123.9878988
88335503 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62832175 -123.985544
88335943 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62527 -123.98189
88335944 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62527 -123.98189
88336330 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62671 -123.9707
88336331 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62671 -123.9707
88336332 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.62678233 -123.9706562
88338291 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62923 -123.96184
88338293 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.630804 -123.9598403
88339124 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.629454 -123.9550403
88339125 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.629454 -123.9550403
88339127 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.629454 -123.9550403
88339131 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.629454 -123.9550403
88346964 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6324318 -123.9474903
88346965 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6324318 -123.9474903
88347712 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64085 -123.934
88347713 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64085 -123.934
88348966 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.644036 -123.9240517
88348969 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.644036 -123.9240517
88348974 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.643964 -123.9247132
88413571 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.646373 -123.9195653
88413572 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.646318 -123.9194544
88413574 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6471 -123.91927
88413575 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6471 -123.91927
88413577 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6471 -123.91927
88414544 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65177 -123.91726
88414545 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65177 -123.91726
88414547 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65177 -123.91726
88415632 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6605 -123.9118093
88415633 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.660465 -123.9118093
88417488 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6631685 -123.904519
88417489 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6624695-123.9072625
88417490 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66159 -123.90747
88419690 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.674892 -123.8909007
88419691 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.675017 -123.8900689
88419692 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.674863 -123.8897006
88420894 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66827 -123.85067
88421558 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66423 -123.84913
88421559 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66423 -123.84913
88421560 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66423 -123.84913
88422206 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66106 -123.84942
88422207 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66106 -123.84942
88422208 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.66106 -123.84942
88422773 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65121 -123.83172
88422775 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65121 -123.83172
88422777 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65121 -123.83172
88422779 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65121 -123.83172
88422784 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.65121 -123.83172
88487612 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64798 -123.8219997
88487613 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64798 -123.8219997
88487621 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64798 -123.8219997
88487626 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64797 -123.8221048
88488401 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64373 -123.81301
88488402 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.64373 -123.81301
88490931 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63969 -123.8013472
88490936 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63969 -123.8013472
88490937 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63969 -123.8013472
88490938 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63969 -123.8013472
88490941 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63937 -123.799139
88490942 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63698 -123.8016364
88490943 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.63866 -123.7968973
88491807 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62763 -123.76401
88551722 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61745 -123.73053
88551724 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61745 -123.73053
88551725 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.61745 -123.73053
88551730 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.61745 -123.73053
88552778 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62075 -123.71294
88552779 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62075 -123.71294
88552781 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62075 -123.71294
88552784 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.62075 -123.71294
88553578 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61874 -123.6836
88553581 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61874 -123.6836
88553582 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.61874 -123.6836
88553585 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61874 -123.6836
88553587 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.61874 -123.6836
88554532 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6202 -123.6492
88554533 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.6202 -123.6492
88554534 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6202 -123.6492
88554538 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.6202 -123.6492
88681198 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.61614321 -123.6303367
88681200 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.61478212 -123.6303738
88681994 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60427 -123.6223094
88681995 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60427 -123.6223094
88681996 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60427 -123.6223094
88681997 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60401 -123.6222084
88682483 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60229 -123.609793
88682486 Pseudotsuga menziesii Heat damage 44.60229 -123.609793
88683531 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683532 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683533 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683535 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683536 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683537 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683540 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683543 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88683545 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59507 -123.58834
88684345 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59970597 -123.5515906
88684346 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59970597 -123.5515906
88684347 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59970597 -123.5515906
88684352 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59970597 -123.5515906
88684353 Pseudotsuga menziesii 44.59970597 -123.5515906
88415631 Thuja plicata Heat damage 44.65981846 -123.9115014
88417493 Thuja plicata Heat damage 44.66159 -123.90747
88419696 Thuja plicata Heat damage 44.67441246 -123.8906934
88490933 Thuja plicata Heat damage 44.63969025 -123.8013472
88490946 Thuja plicata Heat damage 44.63969025 -123.8013472
88420887 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.66853046 -123.8478076
88420888 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.66853046 -123.8478076
88420890 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.66853046 -123.8478076
88420891 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.66853046 -123.8478076
88487614 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.64797541 -123.8219997
88487616 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.64797541 -123.8219997
88487618 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.64797541 -123.8219997
88487619 Tsuga heterophylla Heat damage 44.64797541 -123.8219997

Ingresado el 26 de julio de 2021 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 1 observación | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de julio de 2021

What is the Blackberry That Ate The Pacific Northwest?

It's a member of the European Blackberry Complex, which includes R. fruticosa, R. armeniaca, R. bifrons, R. ulmifolia, and others. There's a basic, biological problem with members of this complex. (This explanation is somewhat simplified.)

Most species reproduce sexually. A very common, widely used definition of the species is a group of organisms that breed with one another, producing fertile offspring. Even if they looks a bit different, they're the same species if they breed together. Consider variation within the species humans, or mallard ducks, or dogs, etc. We can tell where the species boundaries are by who breeds with whom (producing fertile offspring). Within sexually reproducing species, genes get mixed up, so you can have blonds with blue eyes, blonds with brown eyes, brunettes with brown eyes, brunettes with blue eyes, etc.

Some species don't have sex; they are asexual. Many of these reproduce by bulbs, rhizomes, or other obviously asexual means, but some plants are apomictic, producing seeds without sex. In asexual species, the genes don't get mixed up, so you might get only blue-eyed blondes and brown-eyed brunettes, no other combinations, for example. Mutations introduce some variation to asexual species. To accommodate that variation, we tend to use broad species concepts for completely asexual species, though not all biologists agree.

Members of the European Blackberry Complex reproduce in a way that really messes with our species concepts. They mostly set seed asexually. What seem to be distinct individuals are actually clones, and a single clone might cover a whole county or more. However, blackberries also have sex. They may have sex even with distantly related members of the complex. The offspring of such crosses can look a bit different from the blackberry clones that were already spreading around the area. Are these clonal populations best thought of as different species or just different genetic individuals? Should every slightly different type be called a species? (Some people would argue yes, which is why you have 2000 named dandelion species in Europe.) If not, how much difference is necessary to name a species? This really messes with biologists minds. We don't agree. We probably will never agree.

Meanwhile, the blackberries go their merry way, spreading asexually through their stems (canes), asexually through seeds, and occasionally through sexually produced seeds. They do not care about our human need for neat, mutually exclusive names for talking about the kinds of blackberries.

This is why when people disagree about the species concepts of Rubus bifrons, R. armeniacus, and R. ulmifolius, I Don't Care. Call it what you want. I'll try to follow the herd when/if there is evidence of agreement about what species names we will arbitrarily apply to these plants that don't have species concepts the way we wish they would.

Ingresado el 10 de julio de 2021 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de mayo de 2021

FB page on learning how to ID plants!

You may be interested in this. It has some good graphics and other resources. Good to browse through, or search for a group of interest.


Ingresado el 25 de mayo de 2021 por sedgequeen sedgequeen | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario