Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The I20 Amateur Count (Part III, Debi's non-flowering plants)

Update: 2008-09-17
I found the names of the spurges that were missing. It took some digging (Euphorbia is a big family!) but I did and am so happy. Guess where I ended up finding it? Yep, at one of Sibley Center's Photo Essays from September of last year.

I'm calling this "non-flowering plants," but really I should say merely these are plants that were not in bloom at the time I took the picture. I believe I'm not using the term "non-flowering"properly. But one step at a time.

I sent these in to Mr. Burr Williams and he was able to identify most. I've included his comments on them here.

Click on any to see larger image.

First we'll start with a photo of a plant and a mushroom. It's the only fungus I saw, or knew that I saw, if you know what I mean. The big one is about the size of a half dollar. I wondered if the mushroom had a relationship with the plant since that is the only place I saw it growing..

Burr wrote, "The mushroom probably does not have a relationship with it, but with buried rotten wood underneath it."

The plant is spurge, or Euphorbia albomarginata, but that's not a 100% identifcation as per the Sibley site. Mr. Williams said that some of the spurges require investigation under a microscope to confidently identify them.

I mentioned how much I liked this plant.

Burr replied this plant "is Tiquilia canescens. I call it pygmy sand bells, for it does have a tiny turquoise bloom. It is a perennial, and I have seen it used as a ground cover by serious xeriscape gardeners -- and have even seen it for sale."

About this plant and the first one under the mushrooms, Burr writes they are spurges, "but there are 15 plus species in west Texas and all of them need microscopes to see their 'parts'." So for now it's simply one of the spurges.

Hoary Sandmat. Euphorbia lata, but further research indicates it has gone through a name change; it is now renamed as Chamaesyce lata

I figured grasses would be hard to identify. And I don't think I provided enough for him to look at in this picture. See? I'm getting smarter through my mistakes.

"I am not going to hazard a guess. It appears to have awns on the seeds, but I don't know the habitat, nor the leaves near the bottom."

I see this all the time. It's especially beautiful when backlit in the bar ditch on a weary drive home around sunset. I'm glad to learn from Mr. Williams its name.

"This is cane bluestem. The grass belly deep to a horse and the mythical height of grass at the time of settlement (which occurred in good years). Bothriochloa barbinodis is its Latin name."

This photo adventure has taught me tons already. And tomorrow I'll show you the flowers, which were the reason I picked that spot to start with. =)


Bev said...

I have enjoyed reading Mr William's comments, especially the comment about the cane bluestem, which is poetical.

Interesting to find out that the pink bug is actually the head of a caterpillar, and not actually a little round bug. As I was looking at all these exotic species I assumed it was some little round bug, native to Texas, which I, of course, have never seen before lol

Great names, which do roll off the tongue. I like 'leaffooted' bug.LOL

Frances said...

wow Debi - I am really enjoying this. How great to have someone around who can name things and tell you about them.
A real teacher. And you are passing it on to the rest of us. Fantastic. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

"There once was a spurge in Nantucket...."

I covet your camera and maybe your eye.


Frances said...

I love euphorbias.
They plant themselves everywhere and look so alien.
I allow them to grow when they turn up and pretend they aren't weeds - are they all biennials?
We have some in our garden which are teeny and some which are 5 feet high.

Irene said...

Debi, in my other life I used to be such a gardener. I knew a lot about plants, but since I have been in this life, I seem to have forgotten all those things. I don't have a garden anymore either. It is interesting to me to see all these plants that are native to Texas, that we might want to cultivate here, I sure see some very pretty ones. I can't wait to see the flowers.