Friday, December 9, 2011

spelling of Ribes nevadense

Its plain that Albert Kellogg was, reasonably,  avuncular, yet peculiar, in his choice of plant names.  Take Marah – the etymology of which drove Kate Brandegee nuts.

Rines Navadaensis was founded on the lower left-column of page 63 the Proceedings California Academy of Natural Sciences on July 16, 1855 in San Francisco.  Dr. Lanswweert was in the Chair, and the meeting recorded “Donations to the Cabinet”.  Perhaps if all copies of the Academy proceedings had perished along with the herbarium in the 1906 earthquake and fire, we would not be left with a problem. The problem is Ribes nevadense Kellogg.  That is, how to spell the epithet of this common Sierra Nevada gooseberry. 

First, we credit Dr. Lanswweert because, from his Chair in the chair, he noted the “wild Black Mountain currant” the fruit ‘by a little culture would undoubtedly improve in every respect.”  On the upper right hand column of page 64 “The Academy and the public are indebted to the generosity of the Pacific Express Company for these value able acquisitions.

That is, the currant came to Kellogg in San Francisco via “pony express”.  The era was, as I make it out it, one of start ups:  Adams & Company was an express begun in 1849, and following that company's failure in Feb, 1855, cowboys out of a job formed the Pacific Express Company “under the leadership of Russell G. Noyes.” Instead of supplementing Wells Fargo, they offered competition.  [see:]

Thusly, the type of Ribes nevadense Kellogg, which is imaged at CAS, does not look all too fresh. That’s fine considering having bounced down in saddlebags to Sacramento, then onto a paddle wheeled steamer to The City.

The crux of the problem is this: the printed ‘protologue’ attached to the holotype, which is not the actual protologue, spells the name Ribes nevadense Kellogg – current and historic usage. 

O.k. is it Ribes nevadensis Kellogg, Ribes nevadaense Kellogg (as in Tropicos), or Ribes nevadense? Navadaensis seems to be just a typographical error: lead type set by hand ought to have such errors very frequently. In fact. the typographer coined a new genus “Rines” at the same instant (perhaps "b" was in short supply). Given what is at hand, Kellogg’s name was intended to denote “of the Sierra Nevada” –nevadensis, and not “of Nevada” – nevadaensis.  Thus, Ribes nevadensis Kellogg ought to spelled as such.  This spelling saga is now recorded.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

albino phenotype in Sequoia sempervirens

albinistic mutations are often recorded in Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens).  Popular literature indicates these mutations are 'very rare' in S. sempervirens: Discover Magazine has “25 of these trees are known to exist around the world, eight of which are at Henry Cowell State Park in California”, while “Field Notes by Barry Evans”, The Journal, Humboldt County “Only about 50 are known to exist”.  Exactly how frequent these mutations occur is uncertain.  

Insofar as I find in literature, there is no certainty as to the type of mutation that results in albinsitic crown sprouts in S. sempervirens.  In general, the albino phenotype in vascular plants results from mutations in either nuclear genes that code precursors for plastid biogenesis, or in chloroplast genes, and at least in grasses, plants with nuclear mutations often have plastids with only carotenoid pigments present, producing a faint yellow in the affected leaves.   The color of the mutant S. sempervirens below suggests no mature carotenoid pigments form, as there is no hint of yellow pigment.

This albino S. sempervirens occurs near Nisene Marks State Park, Santa Cruz, County.  This particular clump has been essentially this size, about 2 meters tall, for nearly 2 decades now, although individual stem axes die and are replaced.    The principal factor seemingly associated with the state of this particular clump is that it gets ‘smothered’ by litterfall, which has broken or bent down individual stem axes over the years. 

The albino phenotype of S. sempervirens was reported upon by George J. Peirce in Proceedings California Academy of Sciences, Third Series, Botany, Volume 2, p. 83-107 (1900-1904), and reading his article it seems these albino trees were known from throughout the Bay Area early on.  Peirce termed them  “not an especially rare peculiarity” and “I have entirely failed to detect even rudiments of plastids” on plants from near La Honda, while albino mutants from near Redwood Retreat (vicinity of Gilroy) he states “contained chromatophores which ranged in size from those about half as large as the average chloroplastids in the normal green leaves down to indistinguishable rudiments.”  His observations might therefore suggest that these albino forms can result from a mutations either in nuclear or chloroplast genes.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ramet ‘germination’ in Poa sierrae

My dormant ramets of Poa sierrae, collected at the type station on 1 August 2011, were potted up soon thereafter and were kept well watered throughout the late summer.  Not until daylength began to shorten about Halloween, and the wet season returned, did they begin new growth, however.  In this view, the ramet piece shown in the middle photo of the 18 September 2011 post on Poa sierrae has grown out, and a secondary ramet has formed.  Ramet reproduction thus seems to be a strong tendency under gene (vs. allelic) control in this member of Madropoa.    In some respects, the strength of ramet reproduction contradicts the narrow geographic range of this Sierra Nevada dioecious endemic: it seems odd, because on the surface the ease of vegetative  reproduction would otherwise be characteristic of a vagile or even invasive species of grass.  Go figure.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hooveria, a new genus liberated from Chlorogalum

Chlorogalum as treated traditionally is a genus of 8 taxa endemic to the California Floristic province, extending in the north from its northern limit near Myrtle Creek, Josephine County, Oregon southward to far northern Baja California.   Four of the 8 taxa are rare
The genus clearly consists of two distinct elements: three pale to deep purple flowered, diurnal taxa
n = 30    Chlorogalum purpureum Brandegee var. purpureum
n = ???   Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum Hoover
n = 30    Chlorogalum parviflorum S. Watson
and 5 white flowered, verpertine taxa
n = 17       Chlorogalum angustifolium Kellogg
n = ??       Chlorogalum grandiflorum Hoover
n = 18      Chlorogalum pomeridianum (DC) Kunth var. divaricatum (Lindley) Hoover
n = 18      Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. minus Hoover
n = 15, 17 Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum

In 1940, Hoover (1) did not know of the tetrapolid nature of the two n=30 species, C. parvifolium and C. purpureum; he did remark on the floral differences.  Cave (2) then documented chromosome numbers in the genus, postulating they represented a distinct clade and noted their karyotpyic links with Hastingsia alba.   Now, Halpin (3) has shown that the diurnal-flowered plants are not monophylletic within Chlorogalum.  

In my estimation, Chlorogalum purpureum and C. parviflorum ought to be segregated within a new genus.  The name Hooveria is available for these plants, and would be a fitting tribute for Robert Francis Hoover, one of California’s most able field botanists.

1.  Hoover, RF 1940  Madrono 5:137-147
2.  Cave, MS 1970 Univ. Calif. Pubs. Bot. 57:1-51
3.  Halpin, KM. 2011.  Thesis, Oklahoma State Univ. 103 pp.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How many species of Santa Cruz Cypress are there?

Botanists have not agreed upon use of categories to classify hierarchical variation pattern.  As I see it, trinomials are a type of botanical hedge-fund.  We name a taxon (‘we buy it’), then we purchase a derivative against its being ‘lumped’ as a hedge by treating it as an infrataxon.  Moreover, there are no regulatory mechanisms governing the choice of category in the hierarchy.  Sound familiarly like a financial meltdown?  Some authors publish boatloads of new combinations because it is their habit to use solely a single category of infrataxon.  Literature pollution?

The utility of recognizing infrataxa is not well codified in modern usage.  Hamilton & Reichard (1) document the fact that most taxonomists employ only a single hierarchical category below the rank of species, and that two schools of thought are evident: those whom use the category “subspecies” or those that use “variety”. but few botanists use both.  As Fosberg (2) notes there is no specific prohibition against the practice, perhaps due to an instinctive aversion to quadranomials.  The vast majority of authors fail to provide a rationale for their choice of infraspecific category, or for their viewpoint upon the question of parsing variation into a hierarchical topology. 

Recently, the question arises in the case of the Santa Cruz Cypress. and endangered tree: Silba (3) named 5 subspecies.  Adams & Bartel (4), eventually after some hemming, treat 2.  One might choose to treat the Silba infrataxa as varieties within subspecies; others would want to make them formae (although the nature of forma seem to lack consensus in the literature: mostly forma are taken to be sporadic, rare phenotypes that may not have a genetic basis, that is, the condition may be developmental; or, their genetic basis is viewed as a mutation, albinism in flower color is an example.    There is arboricultural utility in considering the Silba infrataxa as cultivars would be o.k. as “C.V.” would eliminate confusion, but unfortunately horticultural nomenclature in practice is in my experience inaccurate.

Fernald (5) would probably have treated H. abramsiana ssp. abramsiana and within it H. abramsiana var. locatellii, H. abramsiana var. neolomondensis and H. abramsiana var. opleri, and H. abramsiana ssp. butanoensis. 

I could question the decision as to how to parse variation within H. abramsiana by noting that for some individuals of ‘neolomondensis’ their chemical profile was as distinct as is ssp. butanoensis, and ‘opleri’ was about as removed in the ISSR ordination but it also differed in mean cone width, length and number of scales.  Faced with practical necessity, the Adams and Bartel treatment is useful, but one could also craft an alternative classification just as readily. 

The pattern of relationships Adams & Bartel find are suggestive of genetic drift following upon segmentation of a variable, ancestral panmictic population: in some respects, one answer is there are either no subspecies of Santa Cruz cypress, but there are five groves.

I will also make reference to the choice between treating these plants in Cupressus as has been traditionally done: Little (6) made out our cypresses to be polyphylletic  within Cupressus.  By aversion to lumping them into Juniperus (6) out Hesperocyparis was cleaved.  There is also evidence that all cupressus are a single clade (7)  I like the latter approach because by their very nature genera are small (8) and in this instance the Hesperocyparis-Cupressus division is a deep one. 

1. Hamilton, C. and S. Reichard.  1992.  Taxon 41:485-498
2. Fosberg, F. 1942.  Rhodora 44:153-157
3.  Silba, J.  2003 Intern. Conifer Pres. Society 10:1-49
4.  Adams, R and J Bartel. 2009 Phytologia 91(2):287-299
5.  Fernald. M. 1941.  Rhodora 43:156-167.
6. Little, D. 2006 Syst. Bot. 31:461-480.
7. Mao, K. et al. 2010.  New Phytologist 188: 254–272
8.  Cronk, Q.C.B. 1989.  Taxon 38(3):357-370.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cladoptosis in Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

Cladoptosis is the shedding of plant canopy units.  

In many conifer 'leaves' – needles – are retained for a period of years, then are usually shed as units consisting of the needles, sheathing bracts, and associated short shoot.   In Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), leaf surface area in the canopy is renewed by shedding of sheathing bracts, long shoots and associated needles.  The location and expression of an abscission zone is such that often two or perhaps three year old leaves are often shed, but sometimes abscission occurs after one year.  One potential function regulation of cladoptosis in Redwood could involve the value of the leaf area vs. the propensity for the leaves to become colonized by lichens.  Lichen covered leaves presumably are less effective photosynthetically, so their renewal and replacement would be a function of lichen interactions.    The dynamics of this process suggests that abscission might have a regulatory feedback controlled by leaf ‘worth’.

The photo shows two leaf segments of Redwood that were shed as a single unit, the lower segment 2 yr old, with lichen colonization over about one-third of the two year old portion of the leaf unit, and a few new lichen'ets' beginning on the tip of the one year old portion of the leaf unit

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rare Plant Density by County in California

A total of 2260 native plants are listed as rare in California.  On a density basis, the mean density is 0.33 plants/km2 (based on October 2011 CNPS Inventory records) for the 406,388 km2.  The inequality on a density basis is evident in the map:  the counties with the highest density statewide are in the San Francisco Bay region, generally.    Most of the northern counties of the state have a density that is less than the mean density, while the larger area counties of southern California have a density that is <1/4 of the mean (that is, below 0.16).  Another hot-spot are the southern three coastal counties. 

Of course absolute numbers for many low density counties are high: Inyo County supports 275 rare plants and San Bernardino County 374, yet on a density basis these jurisdictions are very low.  Kings County supports only 22 plants and is also low density.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ramets in Poa sierrae

Poa Section Madropoa is mostly restricted to high mountains of western North America: the exception is one species, Poa cuspidata of the ne U.S.  Of the 25 taxa total in the Section (FNA Vol. 24), most species are fairly widely distributed (except P. chambersii).  P. porsildii, an alpine calciphile, is the sole taxon, outside the limits of the western Cordillera (Rocky Mountains-Cascade-Sierra axis). 

Within the California Floristic Province, there are 8 endemic taxa of Poa Section Madropoa, a distinctive concentration. 

CAFP endemics
“Poa nervosa complex”
Poa rhizomata and Poa sierrae
Subsection Madropoa
Poa douglasii, Poa diaboli, Poa piperi and Poa atropurpurea
Subsection Epiles
Poa stebbinsii and Poa pringlei

Poa sierrae is odd in the clade: it is characterized by being rhizomatous, dioecious and by the distinctive scaly ‘bulbils’ produced on the rhizomes.  These ramets doubtless propagate by fragmentation, so it is puzzling why P. sierrae is quite narrowly distributed.  These ramets are nicely afforded 2x the page space in FNA Vol. 24 (p. 550) –fame!

This season, I visited “Lewisia rock” in the Feather River canyon, and collected P. sierrae at the type station.  On August 1st, the plants were still green but had flowered perhaps mid-June.  Collecting the material, I retained some rhizomes to cultivate.  Now, 6 weeks later after being potted and water, new growth is underway.

The top photo shows ramets field collected along a rhizome, in the fully dormant state.

The middle photo shows the larger ramet of the top photo after being potted where the base was set just at the soil surface, and after 6 weeks has not yet left dormancy: about 2 cm long

The lower photo shows two ramets: the left one is about 2 cm long and nicely expanding.  The smaller right-hand one is about 0.5 cm long and has just triggered.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Genets in Brodiaea matsonii

Today I de-potted a pot of Brodiaea matsonii. The 1-gal pot was the only pot of 4 pots which flowered in 2011; upon inspection, the mode of vegetative propagation was readily apparent. Daughter bulbs begin on the stem (putative in the sense that I refer to the portion of the corm just apical of the root pad). Being lax, I did not consult literature (Mecalf & Chalk would probably prove me anatomically wrong). The photo shows three large corms, each with a genet attached (Left to Right: 3 o’clock, noon, and 7 o’clock).

In monocots such as Brodiaea, vegetative propagation is perhaps numerically more important demograpically than sexual reproduction.

Friday, June 17, 2011

16000 western North American Herbarium Specimen Records - DWTaylor

I have posted a tabulation of 16,000 of my 21,000 vascular plant herbarium specimen records on Google Fusion. Search on 16000 western North American Herbarium Specimen and DWTaylor to pull up the dataset. There are a few records that are mapping screwy. About 1,000 records are of sufficiently poor quality for label information that they are as yet not georeferenced. For about half of these records, a known accession number is given. A sizable number of accessions at DAV are not yet posted on the Consortium of California Herbaria database.

An approximate tabulation by location is:
Alaska 19
Alberta 18
Arizona 58
Baja California Norte 142
Baja California Sur 93
British Columbia 64
California 12,845
Colorado 445
Hawaii 3
Idaho 318
Montana 55
Nevada 443
New Mexico 186
Oregon 830
Texas 49
Utah 52
Washington 179

Monday, June 6, 2011

Current 2011 Herbarium Specimen Density for California

A key took to understanding the California flora is the availability of observation and specimen records. The CCH web portal shows statistics for specimen density for each of the 58 California counties. Here, I summarize these data by county. With 1.2 million specimens databased, the mean collection density state wide is 3.2 specimens/square kilometer. The striking pattern obtained by mapping specimen density within quartiles on a county basis is the inequality pattern: slightly over half of counties fall below the mean. but a sizable number of counties (San Benito, Fresno, Shasta, Glenn, Stanislaus, Imperial, Madera, Lassen, Merced, San Joaquin and Kings) fall in the lower quartile (that is, below 1.6 specimens/km2). The undercollected nature of Kings County can be attributed to little remaining natural habitat, as might be argued for Madera and Fresno Counties. However, if we discount the ag portions of these counties (at roughly half their area), their specimen density still falls below the median. Understandably, the lower herbarium specimen density for Shasta and Lassen counties is owing to remoteness.

as Jepson's bookplate admonished "something is still lost beyond the ranges, over yonder go ye' there"

But go ye to the lower quartile counties.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Provisional Plant Checklist tabulation for McGee Peak, Shasta County.

Magee Peak, Shasta County is a subalpine summit situated about 20 miles northward from Mt. Lassen. MaGee Volcano exploded with a caldera eruption about 220kA ago. The peak has an extensive cirque on the north facing caldera wall and floor, and a blast zone to the north containing about 70 lakes of various sizes. McGee Peak (8549 ft) and Crater Peak (8683 ft) are the highest summits on the rim of the caldera. The region is designated as the Thousand Lakes wilderness, although about 930 lakes shy of that number.

This checklist is based on CCH specimen records and on my 1974-1975 collections: Frank W. Peirson collected on Magee Peak in 1932. A total of 318 specimen records are databased.

My intention is to complete a florula of the region, for comparison with nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is well documented.

  1. Aceraceae Acer glabrum var. torreyi
  2. Apiaceae Osmorhiza chilensis
  3. Apiaceae Perideridia lemmonii
  4. Apiaceae Perideridia parishii subsp. latifolia
  5. Apocynaceae Apocynum androsaemifolium
  6. Apocynaceae Cycladenia humilis
  7. Apocynaceae Cycladenia humilis var. humilis
  8. Aristolochiaceae Asarum hartwegii
  9. Asclepiadaceae Asclepias cordifolia
  10. Asteraceae Ageratina occidentalis
  11. Asteraceae Antennaria corymbosa
  12. Asteraceae Antennaria media ssp. media
  13. Asteraceae Antennaria rosea ssp. confinis
  14. Asteraceae Arnica dealbata
  15. Asteraceae Chaenactis nevadensis
  16. Asteraceae Chrysothamnus humilis
  17. Asteraceae Chrysothamnus nauseosus X Ericameria bloomeri
  18. Asteraceae Ericameria nauseosa ssp. speciosa
  19. Asteraceae Erigeron compositus
  20. Asteraceae Hieracium albiflorum
  21. Asteraceae Hulsea nana
  22. Asteraceae Madia glomerata
  23. Asteraceae Oreostemma alpigena var. andersonii
  24. Asteraceae Stephanomeria tenuifolia
  25. Boraginaceae Cryptantha affinis
  26. Boraginaceae Cynoglossum occidentale
  27. Boraginaceae Plagiobothrys hispidulus
  28. Boraginaceae Plagiobothrys hispidus
  29. Brassicaceae Boechera howellii
  30. Brassicaceae Boechera lemmonii
  31. Brassicaceae Boechera platysperma
  32. Brassicaceae Boechera retrofracta
  33. Brassicaceae Boechera sparsiflora
  34. Brassicaceae Boechera suffrutescens var. suffrutescens
  35. Brassicaceae Cardamine bellidifolia var. pachyphylla
  36. Campanulaceae Campanula scabrella
  37. Caprifoliaceae Lonicera conjugialis
  38. Caprifoliaceae Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea
  39. Caprifoliaceae Sambucus racemosa ssp. racemosa
  40. Caryophyllaceae Eremogone congesta var. congesta
  41. Caryophyllaceae Eremogone kingii var. glabrescens
  42. Caryophyllaceae Minuartia nuttallii ssp. gracilis
  43. Caryophyllaceae Silene douglasii
  44. Caryophyllaceae Silene lemmonii
  45. Cupressaceae Cupressus bakeri
  46. Cyperaceae Carex brainerdii
  47. Cyperaceae Carex breweri var. breweri
  48. Cyperaceae Carex deflexa var. boothii
  49. Cyperaceae Carex festivella
  50. Cyperaceae Carex gymnoclada
  51. Cyperaceae Carex lenticularis var. impressa
  52. Cyperaceae Carex lenticularis var. lipocarpa
  53. Cyperaceae Carex luzulina var. ablata
  54. Cyperaceae Carex mariposana
  55. Cyperaceae Carex multicostata
  56. Cyperaceae Carex nebrascensis
  57. Cyperaceae Carex phaeocephala
  58. Cyperaceae Carex spectabilis
  59. Cyperaceae Carex straminiformis
  60. Cyperaceae Carex subfusca
  61. Cyperaceae Carex utriculata
  62. Cyperaceae Carex vesicaria
  63. Cyperaceae Carex whitneyi
  64. Dryopteridaceae Athyrium alpestre var. americanum
  65. Dryopteridaceae Polystichum kruckebergii
  66. Ericaceae Arctostaphylos nevadensis
  67. Ericaceae Arctostaphylos patula
  68. Ericaceae Cassiope mertensiana ssp. californica
  69. Ericaceae Kalmia polifolia ssp. microphylla
  70. Ericaceae Phyllodoce breweri
  71. Ericaceae Vaccinium cespitosum
  72. Ericaceae Vaccinium uliginosum ssp. occidentale
  73. Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia crenulata
  74. Fabaceae Trifolium kingii var. productum
  75. Grossulariaceae Ribes nevadense
  76. Hydrophyllaceae Phacelia hastata ssp. compacta
  77. Hyperciaceae Hypericum anagalloides
  78. Juncaceae Juncus drummondii
  79. Juncaceae Juncus indet.
  80. Juncaceae Juncus mertensianus
  81. Juncaceae Juncus mexicanus
  82. Juncaceae Juncus nevadensis
  83. Juncaceae Juncus orthophyllus
  84. Juncaceae Juncus parryi
  85. Juncaceae Luzula comosa
  86. Juncaceae Luzula divaricata
  87. Lamiaceae Monardella odoratissima
  88. Lamiaceae Scutellaria nana
  89. Liliaceae Allium campanulatum
  90. Liliaceae Calochortus nudus
  91. Liliaceae Fritillaria atropurpurea
  92. Loasaceae Mentzelia dispersa
  93. Loasaceae Mentzelia montana
  94. Malvaceae Sidalcea oregana subsp. spicata
  95. Onagraceae Clarkia rhomboidea
  96. Onagraceae Epilobium hallianum
  97. Onagraceae Epilobium obcordatum
  98. Onagraceae Gayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum
  99. Onagraceae Gayophytum humile
  100. Orobanchaceae Boschniakia strobilacea
  101. Poaceae Achnatherum lemmonii
  102. Poaceae Achnatherum occidentale ssp. californicum
  103. Poaceae Achnatherum occidentale ssp. occidentale
  104. Poaceae Agrostis variabilis
  105. Poaceae Bromus
  106. Poaceae Bromus orcuttianus
  107. Poaceae Danthonia californica var. americana
  108. Poaceae Danthonia intermedia
  109. Poaceae Danthonia unispicata
  110. Poaceae Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. cespitosa
  111. Poaceae Deschampsia elongata
  112. Poaceae Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides
  113. Poaceae Elymus glaucus
  114. Poaceae Elymus multisetus
  115. Poaceae Elymus scribneri
  116. Poaceae Festuca idahoensis
  117. Poaceae Koeleria macrantha
  118. Poaceae Leymus cinereus
  119. Poaceae Leymus triticoides
  120. Poaceae Melica bulbosa
  121. Poaceae Poa fendleriana ssp. longiligula
  122. Poaceae Poa pringlei
  123. Poaceae Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia
  124. Poaceae Poa secunda subsp. secunda
  125. Poaceae Poa wheeleri
  126. Poaceae Trisetum canescens
  127. Poaceae Trisetum spicatum
  128. Polemoniaceae Collomia tinctoria
  129. Polemoniaceae Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima
  130. Polemoniaceae Ipomopsis congesta ssp. congesta
  131. Polemoniaceae Leptodactylon pungens
  132. Polemoniaceae Linanthus harknessii
  133. Polemoniaceae Navarretia divaricata
  134. Polemoniaceae Navarretia leptalea subsp. leptalea
  135. Polemoniaceae Phlox diffusa
  136. Polemoniaceae Polemonium pulcherrimum var. pilosum
  137. Polygonaceae Aconogonon davisiae var. davisiae
  138. Polygonaceae Eriogonum marifolium
  139. Polygonaceae Eriogonum ovalifolium var. ovalifolium
  140. Polygonaceae Eriogonum umbellatum var. dumosum
  141. Polygonaceae Eriogonum umbellatum var. humistratum
  142. Polygonaceae Eriogonum ursinum
  143. Polygonaceae Oxyria digyna
  144. Polygonaceae Polygonum douglasii
  145. Polygonaceae Polygonum kelloggii
  146. Polygonaceae Polygonum minimum
  147. Polygonaceae Polygonum polygaloides ssp. kelloggii
  148. Polygonaceae Polygonum shastense
  149. Portulacaceae Calyptridium umbellatum var. umbellatum
  150. Portulacaceae Lewisia nevadensis
  151. Portulacaceae Lewisia triphylla
  152. Pteridaceae Cryptogramma cascadensis
  153. Pyrolaceae Chimaphila menziesii
  154. Pyrolaceae Orthilia secunda
  155. Pyrolaceae Pyrola picta ssp. dentata
  156. Ranunculaceae Anemone drummondii
  157. Ranunculaceae Aquilegia formosa
  158. Ranunculaceae Delphinium nuttallianum
  159. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus alismifolius var. alismellus
  160. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus alismifolius var. hartwegii
  161. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus eschscholtzii var. oxynotus
  162. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus eschscholtzii var. suksdorfii
  163. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus flammula
  164. Ranunculaceae Ranunculus occidentalis var. ultramontanus
  165. Rhamnaceae Ceanothus prostratus var. prostratus
  166. Rhamnaceae Ceanothus velutinus
  167. Rhamnaceae Rhamnus rubra ssp obtusissima
  168. Rosaceae Amelanchier pallida
  169. Rosaceae Drymocallis rhomboidea
  170. Rosaceae Holodiscus microphyllus var. glabrescens
  171. Rosaceae Horkelia fusca var. brownii
  172. Rosaceae Horkelia tridentata ssp. tridentata
  173. Rosaceae Ivesia gordonii var. alpicola
  174. Rosaceae Luetkea pectinata
  175. Rosaceae Potentilla bruceae
  176. Rosaceae Potentilla flabellifolia
  177. Rosaceae Potentilla fruticosa
  178. Rosaceae Prunus emarginata
  179. Rosaceae Prunus virginiana var. melanocarpa
  180. Rosaceae Purshia tridentata var. tridentata
  181. Rosaceae Rubus leucodermis
  182. Rosaceae Sanguisorba occidentalis
  183. Rosaceae Sibbaldia procumbens
  184. Rosaceae Spiraea densiflora
  185. Rosaceae Spiraea douglasii
  186. Rubiaceae Galium aparine
  187. Rubiaceae Galium bolanderi
  188. Rubiaceae Kelloggia galioides
  189. Salicaceae Salix lemmonii
  190. Salicaceae Salix scouleriana
  191. Saxifraga Micranthes aprica
  192. Saxifragaceae Micranthes tolmiei
  193. Saxifragaceae Saxifraga aprica
  194. Scrophulariaceae Castilleja arachnoidea
  195. Scrophulariaceae Collinsia torreyi var. latifolia
  196. Scrophulariaceae Collomia grandiflora
  197. Scrophulariaceae Mimulus breweri
  198. Scrophulariaceae Penstemon davidsonii var. davidsonii
  199. Scrophulariaceae Penstemon gracilentus
  200. Scrophulariaceae Penstemon neotericus
  201. Scrophulariaceae Penstemon newberryi var. newberryi
  202. Solanaceae Chamaesaracha nana
  203. Violaceae Viola purpurea ssp. integrifolia
  204. Viscaceae Arceuthobium campylopodum f. abietinum
  205. Viscaceae Phoradendron densum

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recognize the Chelonaceae

Classification is a system of coding and organizing objects, be they books, species or whatever. In the library stacks, we expect to find books with largely corresponding subject matter shelved together. Similarly, in a local, regional or continental flora, we expect to find similar plants 'shelved' together. Placement of Penstemon and allied genera in the Plantaginaceae is the funcitonal equivalent of placing floras in with the cookbooks: it does not serve direct discovery.

Users of floras use floras because they want to know the name of a plant. Although polyphylletic, the "Scrophs" served this objective. Find a tubular corolla, often brightly colored, often 2-lipped, capsular fruit plant and fish about in the key to Scrophs...

Taxonomy and classification are often incorrectly equated, to do so is to conflate. Taxonomy is a system of classification, A taxonomic system is a particular type classification: a classification based on phyllogenetic relatedness is one system. An alternative 'system' often used in flora guidebooks is flower color.

Placement of Penstemon, Collinsia, Kecklilla, Tonella (California plants) and others (Chelone, Chinophila, Russelia,
Tetranema etc) in the Plantaginaceae, along with dozens upon dozens of equally diverse tribes and genera creates a discordant grouping. An expanded Plantaginaceae is a discordant grouping. Recognizing Plantaginaceae becomes difficult. What key feature does one use to equate these plants? In my opinion, none!

The point: in a regional flora, if one is such dire need to use a phyllogenetic system, why be bashful? After all, we no longer grumble about splitting up artificial, aggregate genera (vis Stipa into many genera) although sometimes revert to these aggregates.

Penstemon is a member of the Chelonaceae Martinov, containing Chelone, Chinophila, Collinsia, Keckiella, Pensteomon, Russelia, Tetranema, Tonella and Uroskinnera. All are New World, bird or bee pollinated, large showy flowered (or for Collinsia, unusual in their "pseudo-papillanceous flowers). Placement of Brookea auriculata of Asia is the only outlier in that genus should it belong here.

The problem with an expanded Plantaginaceae is that is a library where no two books shelved next to one another share much information. Make families that are closely related lineages consisting of groupings of genera and their radiant species. The expanded Plantaginaceae is not a natural family.

California botanists, recognize the Chelonaceae.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brodiaea matsonii in cultivation

Brodiaea matsonii has been maintained in cultivation since 1997. I was originally given a single one-gallon pot by Gary Matson which contained about 30 or so corms with leaves present. In growing this plant, its tendency to propagate vegetative became quickly apparent. From the original lot of corms, by the onset of the first summer in cultivation, many young corms had begun to form from offests. Vegetative reproduction is not uncommon in many native California liliaceous endemics: several taxa of Brodiaea do this, others do not.

The offset corms arise at the ends of short (10 cm or so) threadlike structures (rhizomes?), which terminate in a new small corm, which then puts up a leaf. A second season of growth, and this corm is sufficiently large to itself produce more offsets. Larger corms, about 3 yr, flower.

In the space of three or so years, the original pot was packed, and so it was divided when the corms became dormant in late summer. Replanted, that original pot became several one-gallon pots. In 2007, one of these was referred to Dr Robert Preston, a botanist familiar with the taxonomy of Brodiaea, whom has recently described California’s newest, and perhaps most-narrow endemics.

In cultivation in Aptos, Brodiaea matsonii flowers readily in cultivation in pots. The plants have been maintained just as they were given to me: one gallon plastic pots, about 2/3rds full with potting soil mixed with pea gravel.

More on Brodiaea matsonii soon...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breeding system Camissonia sierrae ssp. alticola


The first flowers of Camissonia sierrae ssp. alticola have appeared on 20 April 2011, 157 days after sowing. By contrast to the known breeding system of C. benitensis, which is matinally selling, C. sierrae alticola is positioned more toward the outcrossing end of the spectrum. On the night before opening, anthers of either C. benitensis and C. lacustris (blogged on xxx) are deployed with the filaments arching toward the stigma and pollen has been liberated. In C. sierrae alticola (grown from seed collected at Hetch Hetchy, in 2010) the anthers are not forced against the stigma, the anthers are do not open before the petals unfold, hence pollen is not deposited on the stigma at anthesis.


If we take the matinally selfing behavior of C. benitensis equal to that of a rapscallion, then C. sierrae alticola is more     sang-froid.




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matinal selfing in Camissonia lacustris

Selfing in Camissonia benitensis (Taylor 1990) was found to be direct and occurred before the flower bud opening. Here, I report the same similar matinal selfing in Camissonia lacustris, based on cultivated material derived from JEPS109727 collected at Wawona, Yosemite National Park.

Plants were sown out-of-doors in Aptos, CA on October 1st 2010. On March 30, 2011 the first flowers began to open. The photograph is of an unopened bud taken in early am, before opening. At this stage, the night before opening, the anthers are adherent to the spherical stigma, with abundant pollen. Under magnification, pollen tubes were observed under high magnification.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spot patterns in Yellow Mimuli

Mimulus, the "Monkey Flowers", with about 100 or so species, is nearly worldwide in distribution, with a concentration of narrow endemics in California, particularly in the central Sierra Nevada, where I work, is worthy of more genetic study: in this post, I pose the question, "why flowers with nothing but large spots only ".

The basis for the question is based on my inspection of the large array of yellow mimulus photos posted on the web (Calphotos, Flickr). In most of the species, combinatorial of spots occur on the corolla: many have 3 large spots on each of the lower corolla lobes, along with an array of smaller spots near the throat. In some species, individuals are spotless (i.e. M. primuloides, M. tilingii, M. floribundus and M. guttatus, of which the three photos show spotless, small spots only, and large and small spots conditions). In other species, some individuals have only small spots, and lack the 3 large spots.

NEVER, in all of the photos I inspected, did I find an individual with only 3 large spots whilst the smaller spots were absent. The genetics of spot inheritance and assortment are worthy of study; are large spots linked in some complex fashion such that when any spot genes are expressed, 3 large spots are mandatory?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carex divulsa – the un-Berkeley sedge, invasive in California

Once upon a time, California native plant horticultural enthusiasts offered Berkeley sedge (Carex tumulicola Mackenzie, Section Phaestoglochin Dumortier) in the California trade. Sedges, being a perhaps the most speciose natural genus of angiosperms (perhaps 2000 species), are confused, is confusing, and confuse. Whence, a transposition occurred: Carex divulsa Stokes (also of Sect. Phaestoglochin), but native to Eurasia, was somehow conflated in the horticultural trade with C. tumulocola. The result: Carex divulsa is now sold widely: in California easily obtained, used frequently in "native" or "xeric" or "drought resistant" landscape plantings.

Carex divulsa, at least in mesic, coastal central California, is thus established. The photograph is of a seeding, one of many, that volunteered on the periphery of a C. divulsa purchased at a generic-grade garden center of a major hardware retailer (names withheld to protect the innocent).

Carex divulsa is neither xeric nor native. Its ecological preference in its native range is as a moderate to obligate mesophyte or subhydrophyte.

Carex divulsa will be spreading in Californa. One only has to visit the planting beds in the vicinity of the UC Santa Cruz Science Library to witness this: these plants are now, perhaps 8 yr after coming out of a 1-gallon can, clumps to 2 feet diameter and spreading babies about with abject rapaciousness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A seed dispersal date for Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

Seed maturation and dispersal data for conifers is often anecdotal, as a quick perusal of "Silvics of North America" (Burns & Honkala 1990) indicates. For Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Olson et al. (1990) state "Redwood cones are terminal and are 13 to 29 mm (0.5 to 1.1 in) long. They mature in autumn of the first year after flowering and are open from early September until late December. Although cones persist for several months, they open and shed seeds soon after ripening."

In the Santa Cruz Mountains yesterday, Feb 1 2010, seed dispersal occurred after a minor windstorm overnight. Seed density falling in a ca. 1 acre opening in otherwise moderately dense S. sempirvirens canopy was on the order of 250 seeds per sq. meter (the photo is the density on a 1 ft square tile)

Although this report yet another anecdote, this date extends the reported date by about a month, and moreover, suggests to me that dispersal is both a function of maturation sequencing and more strongly, environmental factors (specifically wind).

Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, tech. coords. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 p.

David F. Olson, Jr., Douglass F. Roy, and Gerald A. Walters. Sequoia sempervirens, in Burns & Honkala 1990

Monday, January 24, 2011

Evergreen Valley Oak (Quercus lobata)

Quercus lobata is the signature oak of the Great Valley of California and adjacent areas. These trees are notable for they are amongst the largest in the genus (Jepson 1910). Quercus lobata is placed in Section Quercus (Nixon & Muller 1997) which includes both evergreen and deciduous members. Nixon (2002) considered Q. lobata most closely related to two other deciduous species: Q. garryana and Q. douglasii. However, there are evergreen members of Section Quercus: hybrids with Q. pacifica (which Nixon & Muller 1997 term "subevergreen", implying retention of some leaves year-round) are known.

Canopy retention into the very late fall or early winter in Q. lobata can be observed throughout its geographic range. Here I report a seedling that has essentially retained its leaves year-round for the past three winters.

This particular seedling originated from acorns gathered in John Muir's house in Martinez, California. This tree is growing essentially in a frost free coastal setting (Aptos, CA where frost over the past 3 yr has occurred only for 4 hours total). The essentially evergreen character of this seeding suggests a juvenile feature, which might be expected to change with maturity. The photograph is of the sapling (now about 6 feet tall) on Jan 24, 2011

Nixon, K.C. and C.H. Muller. 1997. Quercus Section Quercus. Flora North America, Vol. 3.

Nixon, K.C. 2002. The Oak (Quercus) Biodiversity of California and Adjacent Regions, pp. 3-20 in Standiford, Richard B.; McCreary, Douglas; Purcell, Kathryn L.; technical coordinators; Proceedings of the fifth symposium on oak woodlands: oaks in California's changing landscape. 2001 October 22-25; San Diego, CA. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184.

Jepson, W.L. 1910. Silva of California. Memoirs University of California, Berkeley.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Germination of Bolander's woodreed (Cinna bolanderi)

Cinna bolanderi is a grass endemic to the central Sierra Nevada: its overall distribution is closely tied to that of Sequoiadendron groves. Cinna bolanderi grows in moist to wet but not overly saturated meadows at mid-elevation settings. Cinna bolanderi is a CNPS List 1B rare plant in California.

This past summer, Cinna bolanderi was recollected at the type location in the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, where the type was collected in 1866 (144 years between reports is about the normal speed for botany under sloth). On September 21, 2010 Cinna bolanderi inflorescences in the Mariposa Grove were about 95% finished for the year (defined by complete drying of the glumes, which were straw colored, a few florets could be found with photosynthetic tissue)

At the time of collection, the ripe florets were easily dislodged: after taking several specimens, a nice tidy little pile of florets remained in my collecting bag, so I planted them. Inspection of these showed a high proportion has filled seed. A subset of florets were set outdoors in a pot on October 1st. By November 12, 2010 seedlings began to appear. The germination behavior observed suggests rapid, very high germination. Similarly, mature florets were planted in pots of potting mix, moistened, and kept cool in the refrigerator for 60 days. Removed on December 1st, germination was observed within two weeks. Again, germination was rapid and a at very high proportion.

Both of these little germination vignettes suggest that C. bolanderi fecundity is high, and that its overall distributional rarity is due to factors other than a reproductive barrier related to seed output. Cultivation for restoration seems a relatively straightforward horticultural exercise?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crooked Foot Lily: aka Foetid adders tongue, later Slink Pods

Scoliopus bigelovii

In flower, the common name Fetid Adders tongue is used, whereas in fruit Slink Pod applies, one of the very few plants who changes its common name through the year. This coastal lily is endemic to California, ranging from Humboldt County southward. Etymology: Greek skolios (crooked) and pous (foot). Sciopolis bigelovii flowers very early in coastal central California. The photograph shown is at Aptos, Nisene Marks SP, January 14, 2011.

One of the interesting aspects of flowering progression through the season in S. bigelovii is the delayed development of leaf area, and the sequential, progressive production of flowers from within a basal vase formed by the developing leaves. At flowering, the vase is often filled with water.

The southerly distributional record for this lily is uncertain: there is no CCH specimen record for Monterey County. Moreover, both Matthews (1997) and Yadon (1995) fail to list it for their region. Ostensible, the southerly limit thus may be the large colony along Aptos Creek in the Forest of Nisene Marks state park. However, one CCH specimen is labeled from San Luis Obispo, but this lily was not known to Hoover (1970). Field verification of any record south of Santa Cruz County along the Big Sur Coast and southward is thus worthy of mention.

Hoover, R.F. 1970. Vascular Plants of San Luis Obispo County, California. UC Press.

Matthews, M.A. 1997. An illustrated field key to the Flowering Plants of Monterey County. CNPS, 401 p.

Yadon, V. 1995. A Checklist of the vascular plants of Monterey County, California. Monterey Bay Chapter, CNPS. 85 pp.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Maytennus magellanica in California?

This post pertains to UC1755439, my number 21,098, collected 28 October 2010. The report may be the first detection of a second non-native Maytenus for California.

Maytenus magellanica (Lam.) Hook. f. (Celastraceae) is a large shrub native to the southern portion of South America (Argentina and Chile). Enciclopedia de la Flora Chilena (2010) attributes it to south of 36oS. The genus Maytenus consists of about 225 species, according to Maberly, topical to warm Old World and Australasian distribution, with only Maytenus phyllanthoides Benth. being native to the se U.S.

I have had this putative taxon of Maytenus under observation for many years. A small colony, consisting of multiple age cohort plants, grows in Aptos, Santa Cruz County. The plants are tall shrubs to ca. 4 meters tall and with multiple branched stems to ca. 15 cm basal diameter.

Photographs of authentic Chilean material show a taxon with bright red flowers, whereas the plants under discussion here have greenish and less showy flowers. In this respect, the Aptos plants of Maytenus are more similar in appearance to the USDA Plants database photo of Maytenus cymosa Krug & Urb., which is native to the Caribbean. Maytenus boaria Molina is a commonly seen plant in coastal California gardens, known for its distinctive pendant branches; it is now sparingly naturalized in California. Clearly, our plant is not this taxon.

The taxonomic assignment of UC1755439 DWT#21098 requires assessment of a monographer, and awaits treatment of Celastraceae for FNA. Regardless, the report herein is an early detection and requires monitoring and assessment for invasibility.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is the magnitude of introduction of non-native plants in California?

here is the calculus I use:


1. there are on the order of 450,000 species of vascular plants


2. perhaps half of those are adapted to places that are too warm or too cold to grow in California, that leaves 225,000


3. let us for sake of sanity, cut 225,000 in half and we will sleep better


4. in California we have ca. 2000 non native plants and 7000 natives, total ca. 9000


5. Subtract 9000 from 125,000 and we get 116,000 plants that might some day come hither


6. the challenge of introductions is daunting. Which become invasive, if only 1% of those might be invasive, that is far too many: amongst the 1160 of the 1% there are going to be a host of horror stories. Halloween and botany do not mix well (except for the requirement of fully ripe pepos). Early detection and eradication is the most economical solution to the problem. Detect the zebra mussel early – after all it had stripes – and you save a bundle. Fail to provide botanists whom can make detections, fail to allow the detection botanists to roam, and you guarantee the next star-thistle will be on our doorstep.


The problem seems daunting but daunting problems are a fun element of challenge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Red Berries coastal California, winter it is not, coincidence neither

An obvious feature of coastal central California settings at the turn of the new year is the presence of both native and introduced shrubs and trees with fully ripe, red fruits. Red fruit = bird dispersal. At this time of year in coastal central California it is hardly winter for many vascular plants, as temperature is suitable for growth and moisture is no longer limiting. In the Santa Cruz Mountains we have toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) as the sole native red berried shrub. Close by one finds madrone (Arbutus menziesii) which in some regions this year are very heavily laden with ripe pendant clusters of fruit. One of the common names of toyon is Christmas berry.

Non-native shrubs, largely Rosaceae, are juxtaposed against the natives: cotoneaster (C. franchetii and C. pannosa) and pyrracantha (P. angustifolia). Often one can see mixed stands of both native and non-native red berried shrubs. One can, and I do, also point to a non-rosaceous, but relatively rarely encountered red fruited shrub, Ilex aquifolium, English holly (Aquifoliaceae), an asterid eudicot contrasts to the others, which are rosids. Coincidence of red fruits? No. Clearly selection for bird dispersal which has produced this syndrome in unrelated lineages.

Interesting, there are known genetic variants of both native and non-native rosaceae with orange rather than red fruit. The photo is such a variant of pyrracantha, perhaps P. fortuneana. A named race of toyon, H. arbutifolia var. cerina (Jepson) E. Murry with yellow fruits is a similar genetic variant. In the case of the pyrracantha in the photo, the variant is orange vs. red

Plant taxonomists are a wishy-washy bunch, as if they do not want to be ever caught with their names in parenthesis, so the yellow variant of toyon is not considered a 'taxon'. Get real folks, it is genetically based, is it not? Ought names be coined to facilitate our use, and ought not those names, when used, be taken to refer to specific genome features? Taxonomists: recognize H. arbutifolia var. cerina please, and get over species denial.