Nov. 11, 2018

Tapertip hawksbeard

Here's a shot of the hawksbeard plant.  In Weber and Wittman's latest edition of Colorado Flora, they call these Psilochenia acuminata.  Psilochenia separates our native hawksbeards from their Eurasian brethren.  So why do other references still call this Crepis.  In searching for the answer, I found out that I'm no botanist!  Jeannette Whitton at UConn researched the genome of various members of this tribe of the Aster family.  This new name was one her results.  Reading her dissertation had me looking up more words than I have since highschool German!  A definite difference between a pro and an amatuer.  But it was fun finding out about parsimony analysis, and even maximum parsinomy.  Sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't.  It turns out she had a good idea, but other authorities decided it only justified a separate division within Crepis.  Occasionally I get introduced as a botanist at functions I attend.  I had given up protesting.  Got to go back to it, but thanks for the compliment people!