Sunday, September 28, 2008

Regional Variation in C-value. Why?

The Rotala ramosior post of a few days ago got me thinking. Scott mentioned that it has a C-value of 10 in the Chicago region. In Missouri, it has a C-value of 4. In Indiana it has a C-value of 2. Swink and Wilhelm say, as reiterated by Scott, that it occurs in ditches and areas of recent excavation. Unless ditches and recently excavated sites are pristine, pre-settlement natural community types, I don't see how it could possibly be a 10. Even Running Buffalo Clover, a disturbance dependant species, has a C-value of 3 in Indiana.

Because of this regional bias, I am increasingly convinced that C-values should not be regionally specific. In my opinion, a species’ behavior, as expressed by its fidelity to undisturbed habitat, does not vary from region to region. Rotala ramosior is as weedy in Missouri as it is in the Chicago region and Indiana. Therefore it should have the same C-value regardless of region. Am I missing something? Can anyone give me a reason to believe otherwise?

Latest Plant Quiz

Here is the next quiz. Let's hope fish n' chips95 doesn't get it first.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Fall is here. Today, in LaPorte County, Indiana, I saw Hamamelis virginiana (Hamamelidaceae) in bloom. Below is a photo.

I can't imagine anyone has claimed the Hamamelidaceae yet, so I'll claim it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plant Quiz Answer - Rotala ramosior (these quizzes are just too easy)

It's nice to know that Justin is safe and sound... I hadn't heard anything from him lately, and was beginning to wonder if "goooooood girl" had gotten ahold of him (see the post on Gentiana saponaria if you're lost).

Rotala ramosior has a C-value of 10 in the Chicago Region, and is a plant of Special Concern in Michigan. It is found most commonly in wet, sandy soils with little competition, often around ponds, in ditches, and where excavation has taken place. It therefore can be considered an early successional species that requires some form of disturbance. This plant was photographed several years ago in Southwest Michigan, growing around an excavated pond with Hemicarpha micrantha (Special Concern in Michigan) and Gratiola virginiana (Threatened in Michigan).

Nice work, Justin. Looking forward to your next quiz.

Your Next Plant Quiz

I'm running out of photos to use for quizzes! Here's the next one... it's an old photo, so the quality isn't great.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cleistogamy - Another Try!

Here's a second try at posting the cleistogamous flowers picture, since the other won't expand when selected.

Polygala polygama v. obtusata it is!

Great work, Scott! Racemed Milkwort is one of those admirable denizens of the dry country, showing up in places that are very hot and well-drained.

Polygala = much milk, a reference to the milky sap. Polygama = many marriages, a reference to the many flowers, some of which are cleistogamous and attached to the roots, or on short racemes (above ground) at the base of the plant. Several species of Polygala smell like wintergreen near the base and among the roots. The plant in the second picture was re-planted (and even watered) after the picture was made.

Photographed July 2, 2008 in a Black Oak savannah in Porter County, Indiana. The next plant quiz is yours, Scott.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Plant Quiz Answer - Gentiana saponaria

You've got it, Keith! Nice work. The quiz photo was of Gentiana saponaria.

This species of gentian is found in sandy moist prairies and in black oak savannas in the Chicago Region. The photos of this plant were taken in September 2007 in a savanna in NW Indiana.

Keith, the next quiz is yours...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time for a New Plant Quiz!

Good luck!

Amaranthaceae - Amaranthus tuberculatus

I'm not sure that anyone is still playing the family game, except for me. In fact, I don't even know if our scorekeepers are still keeping score! Nonetheless, I'm claiming the fantastic Amaranthaceae with Amaranthus tuberculatus (aka Acnida altissima).

Amaranthus tuberculatus is one of the dioecious members of this family. In the photo above, you can see the staminate flowers. I collected both a staminate plant and a pistillate plant to accurately identify this common species.

Amaranthus tuberculatus is found in muddy ground and ditches throughout much of the United States. This plant was photographed in Moline, Illinois on September 11, 2008.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Plant Quiz Answer: Galeopsis tetrahit

No one correctly guessed the most recent plant quiz, Galeopsis tetrahit, common hemp nettle. Below are photos of the plant in flower.

The genus name Galeopsis means "looks like a weasel," which is supposedly a reference to the flowers. I don't see it. This plant was found in Superior, Wisconsin, but as I said earlier, it is non-native and found throughout much of northern North America.

Since no one got this quiz correct, do I post the next one?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Liparis loeselii

While performing the last session of monitoring for this growing season at Cabin Creek Bog in Randolph County, Indiana, I found an orchid I had never seen and that had not been collected at the bog or even in Randolph County. They were growing under the shrubby cinquefoil, between the tussocks.

Currently blooming in the fen are Agalinus purpurea, Lobelia kalmii, Parnassia glauca, and Spiranthes cernua. The Gentianopsis procera is up, but not blooming yet. I like the fall fen flowers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Aster (or Canadanthus) New to Wisconsin?

Nicole Kalkbrenner and I are currently in Superior, Wisconsin doing some botanical inventory work at a boreal forest restoration. We have been working with local botanists Gary Walton and Paul Hlina. Today, we came across an Aster that I'd never seen.

In examining this plant, it appeared similar to Aster novae-angliae, but without the strongly auriculate-clasping leaves, and with stipitate glands only in the inflorescence.

Gary suggested that maybe this plant could be Aster modestus. Upon keying this plant several times, I am fairly convinced that it is indeed Aster modestus (now known as Canadanthus modestus). Below are additional photos of the stem and leaves.

Note that leaves are not strongly clasping.

Scabrous pubescence on top surface of leaves.

Soft pubescence on bottom surface of leaves.

We believe that this would be a new state record for Wisconsin. I made a collection and plan to submit it to the herbarium at Madison.

Do any of you have any experience with this plant? Any thoughts on this would be welcomed.


The Next Plant Quiz

Below is the next plant quiz. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Plant Quiz Results: Ambrosia bidentata

YES! It IS Ambrosia bidentata. Nice work, Scott.

This little fella is most commonly encountered along gravel roads in Missouri, but it also occurs on our glades as well as prairies in the SW part of the state. It is quite aromatic when crushed and always reminds me of summer nights, cruising gravel roads and drinking beer when I was in high school; a true Ozark right of passage.

Below is a photo of the blooming plant. Try not to sneeze.