Blog

Jan. 4, 2022

Also called prostrate or carpet vervain. This one was by the parking at Mesa Verde NP.

Dec. 30, 2021

RIP

Zipping along the interstate. Stop! Backup! Hop out, admire, and shoot. My wife has often told that story. So it was amazing to hear Nicole Wallace tell it yesterday on MSNBC. But of course this time the photographer wasn't me. It was John Madden. Turns out he enjoyed those kind of adventures. Wish I had known. Goodbye, John.

Dec. 28, 2021

Here you see one of the evening-primroses in the Oenothera biennis complex. This group of plants has been exhaustively studied, so by now they have it all figured out. The eight species are separated by characters of villosity, glandularity, and the structure of those little lobes you can see at the ends of the buds. OK, so if we know so much now, how come FNA says Oenothera nutans grows in Michigan, and Michigan Flora specifically says no? Because we're still studying and learning and searching for that clear cut specimen from Michigan that gives us an indisputable answer. Watch for ones that look like O. biennis but have completely glabrous inflorescences and larger petals.

Dec. 27, 2021

Here's my favorite image of one of my favorite flowers. The Oenothera biennis complex has always fascinated. Classification of them has been a centuries long contest between the splitters and the lumpers. The new volume of FNA comes out on the side of the splitters, as do most authorities these days. But then we learn that, "Oenothera biennis is a PTH species and usually forms a ring of 14 chromosomes or a ring of 12 and one bivalent in meiosis, and is self compatible and autogamous. It has plastome II and a BA or AB genome composition across different populations." Or, as in my case, you can read all that and not learn a thing. It may take a full semester class to turn reading into understanding. For now I will just marvel at the vision of those chromosomes all dancing in rings instead of lining up in rows. Picture a square dance circle, with partners changing in mysterious and random patterns.

Dec. 26, 2021

Yesterday I was gifted with the knowledge that plants learn. Actually, I had seen that sensitive plant stopped being sensitive if you touched it repeatedly. But I didn't fully understand. Then I was gifted with Flora of North America North of Mexico, Vol. 10. Twenyfour of a planned thirty volumes have now been published, starting in 1992.. Volume ten is full of good stuff, including evening-primroses. Yeah! Many years ago I spoke with one of their staff, and he predicted they would not be done in my lifetime, but I'm still in the running! And now I understand the deeper meaning in that. They will never be done! Knowledge keeps expanding forever! This image is false mermaid, Floerkea proserpinacoides, the floral emblem of the FNA project. Thanks to the thousands that have made FNA possible.