Friday, December 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
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.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
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
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
Monday, June 6, 2011
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
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.
- Aceraceae Acer glabrum var. torreyi
- Apiaceae Osmorhiza chilensis
- Apiaceae Perideridia lemmonii
- Apiaceae Perideridia parishii subsp. latifolia
- Apocynaceae Apocynum androsaemifolium
- Apocynaceae Cycladenia humilis
- Apocynaceae Cycladenia humilis var. humilis
- Aristolochiaceae Asarum hartwegii
- Asclepiadaceae Asclepias cordifolia
- Asteraceae Ageratina occidentalis
- Asteraceae Antennaria corymbosa
- Asteraceae Antennaria media ssp. media
- Asteraceae Antennaria rosea ssp. confinis
- Asteraceae Arnica dealbata
- Asteraceae Chaenactis nevadensis
- Asteraceae Chrysothamnus humilis
- Asteraceae Chrysothamnus nauseosus X Ericameria bloomeri
- Asteraceae Ericameria nauseosa ssp. speciosa
- Asteraceae Erigeron compositus
- Asteraceae Hieracium albiflorum
- Asteraceae Hulsea nana
- Asteraceae Madia glomerata
- Asteraceae Oreostemma alpigena var. andersonii
- Asteraceae Stephanomeria tenuifolia
- Boraginaceae Cryptantha affinis
- Boraginaceae Cynoglossum occidentale
- Boraginaceae Plagiobothrys hispidulus
- Boraginaceae Plagiobothrys hispidus
- Brassicaceae Boechera howellii
- Brassicaceae Boechera lemmonii
- Brassicaceae Boechera platysperma
- Brassicaceae Boechera retrofracta
- Brassicaceae Boechera sparsiflora
- Brassicaceae Boechera suffrutescens var. suffrutescens
- Brassicaceae Cardamine bellidifolia var. pachyphylla
- Campanulaceae Campanula scabrella
- Caprifoliaceae Lonicera conjugialis
- Caprifoliaceae Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea
- Caprifoliaceae Sambucus racemosa ssp. racemosa
- Caryophyllaceae Eremogone congesta var. congesta
- Caryophyllaceae Eremogone kingii var. glabrescens
- Caryophyllaceae Minuartia nuttallii ssp. gracilis
- Caryophyllaceae Silene douglasii
- Caryophyllaceae Silene lemmonii
- Cupressaceae Cupressus bakeri
- Cyperaceae Carex brainerdii
- Cyperaceae Carex breweri var. breweri
- Cyperaceae Carex deflexa var. boothii
- Cyperaceae Carex festivella
- Cyperaceae Carex gymnoclada
- Cyperaceae Carex lenticularis var. impressa
- Cyperaceae Carex lenticularis var. lipocarpa
- Cyperaceae Carex luzulina var. ablata
- Cyperaceae Carex mariposana
- Cyperaceae Carex multicostata
- Cyperaceae Carex nebrascensis
- Cyperaceae Carex phaeocephala
- Cyperaceae Carex spectabilis
- Cyperaceae Carex straminiformis
- Cyperaceae Carex subfusca
- Cyperaceae Carex utriculata
- Cyperaceae Carex vesicaria
- Cyperaceae Carex whitneyi
- Dryopteridaceae Athyrium alpestre var. americanum
- Dryopteridaceae Polystichum kruckebergii
- Ericaceae Arctostaphylos nevadensis
- Ericaceae Arctostaphylos patula
- Ericaceae Cassiope mertensiana ssp. californica
- Ericaceae Kalmia polifolia ssp. microphylla
- Ericaceae Phyllodoce breweri
- Ericaceae Vaccinium cespitosum
- Ericaceae Vaccinium uliginosum ssp. occidentale
- Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia crenulata
- Fabaceae Trifolium kingii var. productum
- Grossulariaceae Ribes nevadense
- Hydrophyllaceae Phacelia hastata ssp. compacta
- Hyperciaceae Hypericum anagalloides
- Juncaceae Juncus drummondii
- Juncaceae Juncus indet.
- Juncaceae Juncus mertensianus
- Juncaceae Juncus mexicanus
- Juncaceae Juncus nevadensis
- Juncaceae Juncus orthophyllus
- Juncaceae Juncus parryi
- Juncaceae Luzula comosa
- Juncaceae Luzula divaricata
- Lamiaceae Monardella odoratissima
- Lamiaceae Scutellaria nana
- Liliaceae Allium campanulatum
- Liliaceae Calochortus nudus
- Liliaceae Fritillaria atropurpurea
- Loasaceae Mentzelia dispersa
- Loasaceae Mentzelia montana
- Malvaceae Sidalcea oregana subsp. spicata
- Onagraceae Clarkia rhomboidea
- Onagraceae Epilobium hallianum
- Onagraceae Epilobium obcordatum
- Onagraceae Gayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum
- Onagraceae Gayophytum humile
- Orobanchaceae Boschniakia strobilacea
- Poaceae Achnatherum lemmonii
- Poaceae Achnatherum occidentale ssp. californicum
- Poaceae Achnatherum occidentale ssp. occidentale
- Poaceae Agrostis variabilis
- Poaceae Bromus
- Poaceae Bromus orcuttianus
- Poaceae Danthonia californica var. americana
- Poaceae Danthonia intermedia
- Poaceae Danthonia unispicata
- Poaceae Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. cespitosa
- Poaceae Deschampsia elongata
- Poaceae Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides
- Poaceae Elymus glaucus
- Poaceae Elymus multisetus
- Poaceae Elymus scribneri
- Poaceae Festuca idahoensis
- Poaceae Koeleria macrantha
- Poaceae Leymus cinereus
- Poaceae Leymus triticoides
- Poaceae Melica bulbosa
- Poaceae Poa fendleriana ssp. longiligula
- Poaceae Poa pringlei
- Poaceae Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia
- Poaceae Poa secunda subsp. secunda
- Poaceae Poa wheeleri
- Poaceae Trisetum canescens
- Poaceae Trisetum spicatum
- Polemoniaceae Collomia tinctoria
- Polemoniaceae Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima
- Polemoniaceae Ipomopsis congesta ssp. congesta
- Polemoniaceae Leptodactylon pungens
- Polemoniaceae Linanthus harknessii
- Polemoniaceae Navarretia divaricata
- Polemoniaceae Navarretia leptalea subsp. leptalea
- Polemoniaceae Phlox diffusa
- Polemoniaceae Polemonium pulcherrimum var. pilosum
- Polygonaceae Aconogonon davisiae var. davisiae
- Polygonaceae Eriogonum marifolium
- Polygonaceae Eriogonum ovalifolium var. ovalifolium
- Polygonaceae Eriogonum umbellatum var. dumosum
- Polygonaceae Eriogonum umbellatum var. humistratum
- Polygonaceae Eriogonum ursinum
- Polygonaceae Oxyria digyna
- Polygonaceae Polygonum douglasii
- Polygonaceae Polygonum kelloggii
- Polygonaceae Polygonum minimum
- Polygonaceae Polygonum polygaloides ssp. kelloggii
- Polygonaceae Polygonum shastense
- Portulacaceae Calyptridium umbellatum var. umbellatum
- Portulacaceae Lewisia nevadensis
- Portulacaceae Lewisia triphylla
- Pteridaceae Cryptogramma cascadensis
- Pyrolaceae Chimaphila menziesii
- Pyrolaceae Orthilia secunda
- Pyrolaceae Pyrola picta ssp. dentata
- Ranunculaceae Anemone drummondii
- Ranunculaceae Aquilegia formosa
- Ranunculaceae Delphinium nuttallianum
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus alismifolius var. alismellus
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus alismifolius var. hartwegii
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus eschscholtzii var. oxynotus
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus eschscholtzii var. suksdorfii
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus flammula
- Ranunculaceae Ranunculus occidentalis var. ultramontanus
- Rhamnaceae Ceanothus prostratus var. prostratus
- Rhamnaceae Ceanothus velutinus
- Rhamnaceae Rhamnus rubra ssp obtusissima
- Rosaceae Amelanchier pallida
- Rosaceae Drymocallis rhomboidea
- Rosaceae Holodiscus microphyllus var. glabrescens
- Rosaceae Horkelia fusca var. brownii
- Rosaceae Horkelia tridentata ssp. tridentata
- Rosaceae Ivesia gordonii var. alpicola
- Rosaceae Luetkea pectinata
- Rosaceae Potentilla bruceae
- Rosaceae Potentilla flabellifolia
- Rosaceae Potentilla fruticosa
- Rosaceae Prunus emarginata
- Rosaceae Prunus virginiana var. melanocarpa
- Rosaceae Purshia tridentata var. tridentata
- Rosaceae Rubus leucodermis
- Rosaceae Sanguisorba occidentalis
- Rosaceae Sibbaldia procumbens
- Rosaceae Spiraea densiflora
- Rosaceae Spiraea douglasii
- Rubiaceae Galium aparine
- Rubiaceae Galium bolanderi
- Rubiaceae Kelloggia galioides
- Salicaceae Salix lemmonii
- Salicaceae Salix scouleriana
- Saxifraga Micranthes aprica
- Saxifragaceae Micranthes tolmiei
- Saxifragaceae Saxifraga aprica
- Scrophulariaceae Castilleja arachnoidea
- Scrophulariaceae Collinsia torreyi var. latifolia
- Scrophulariaceae Collomia grandiflora
- Scrophulariaceae Mimulus breweri
- Scrophulariaceae Penstemon davidsonii var. davidsonii
- Scrophulariaceae Penstemon gracilentus
- Scrophulariaceae Penstemon neotericus
- Scrophulariaceae Penstemon newberryi var. newberryi
- Solanaceae Chamaesaracha nana
- Violaceae Viola purpurea ssp. integrifolia
- Viscaceae Arceuthobium campylopodum f. abietinum
- Viscaceae Phoradendron densum
Thursday, May 19, 2011
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 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.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.