Nice photo, Keith! Out of curiosity and for our other readers, what characters are you using to distinguish this one from G. andrewsii these days?
Thanks Scott. I learned the gestalt of each species a long time ago and have never had trouble telling them apart, though I couldn't do it vegetatively. Here are the observations I've made: G. saponaria has flowers that are wider and more blunt at the tip, while G. andrewsii has flowers more tapering into a narrower tip. G. saponaria has paler colored flowers that are often pale lavender or pale blue, sometimes almost whitish with subtle hints of color, while those of G. andrewsii are usually deep blue. G. saponaria grows in open damp sand, while G. andrewsii likes partial sun, and has a special affinity for aspen thickets (also on damp sand). Finally, G. saponaria plants are much shorter, usually a foot tall, while G. andrewsii grows to 2 feet tall or more. Hope this helps!
Knowing the gestalt of a species is also very important in birding. We shorten the word to jizz or giss (general impression of size and shape). It may be more important as as aid to identification in birding because of a bird's propensity to move away from you at a high rate of speed.
Thanks for the excellent field characters, Keith. I'm always stuck trying to figure out if the plaits are longer than the petals and if the calyx lobes are longer than the calyx tube, and there always seems to be some discrepancy. These additional characters will certainly help.
So, Keith, when are you going to find this species in Berrien Co., MI?
Brad, you mean it's not known from Berrien County? That's incredible! I'll keep an eye out for it.
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