March 27, 2020

Lace balloons in the grass?

Sometimes when you are under Disaster Emergency Self-imposed I-refuse-to-get-coronavirus Quarantine, you get bored. I was wandering around the yard one day and got down on my knees to look at crane fly larvae. While I was there, I noticed these crazy lace balloons attached to the stems of Bur Clover (Medicago polymorpha).

It only took a second to spot the larvae, too.

I was fascinated watching the little larvae wiggle around in their lace balloons, but I couldn't tell if they were related to the egg stage or the cocoon stage. So I sent my field assistant (read: nephew) to bring my phone camera and collection supplies. I was able to open one of the lace balloons to see that it was a cocoon with a pupa inside.

But what ARE THEY? I suspected they were some kind of beetle (probably weevil based on the "snout" of the pupa,) but there were several species in the grass that day, so I collected a few cocoons to see what emerged.

And here it is... the Alfalfa Weevil.

I didn't know at the time to look for eggs in the stems or I would have had the full life cycle. Nevertheless, it was hands-on nature learning at it's finest.

#whatdidyouseetoday

You can read more about the Alfalfa Weevil life cycle here: http://extension.cropsciences.illinois.edu/fieldcrops/insects/alfalfa_weevil/

Posted on March 27, 2020 12:15 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 4 observations | 7 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2020

How to photograph terrestrial mushrooms to get an ID

Denis Benjamin, Mycologist at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, recently shared a document created by Billy Stone (also of BRIT) that outlines the photos needed to get a proper ID of terrestrial (ground growing) mushrooms. I thought it was very helpful information and worth sharing on iNaturalist!

Posted on March 17, 2020 18:52 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 6 comments | Leave a comment

February 27, 2020

Helpful Identification Guides

@lisa281 did something I've been longing to do, but never taken the time. She's put together a fantastic list of journal posts that iNat users have written about identifying certain topics. The list is still growing, so feel free to let Lisa know if you have posts you refer to!

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/31012-helpful-identification-guides

Posted on February 27, 2020 12:38 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 3 comments | Leave a comment

February 04, 2020

The Anemones Are Coming!

It’s time again for the Anemones to start blooming! We are seeing lots of observations of the leaves, so keep your eyes open for those beautiful blooms to come any time now!

Thank you to everyone who helped us last year to document the less common Carolina Anemone (A. caroliniana). We collectively documented 46 observations by 15 observers at ~19 locations! That’s quite an increase from the previous year of 4 total observations! Are you ready to make 2020 an even better year?

We would love for everyone to join us in looking for the Carolina Anemone! All you need to do is learn what to look for and post your observations to iNaturalist. That’s it! Your data is automatically included.

On the DFW Carolina Anemones project page there are links to all the important information, such as how to tell them apart from Tenpetal Anemones, where to look for them, and locations still needing to be checked. You can find all of that here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/carolina-anemones-of-dfw/journal/22090-important-links

Don’t think you’ll remember all that while you are skipping through the wildflowers? It’s ok! Take photos of the flower, entire stem, and leaves. Post your observation ID as “Anemone” and we’ll tell you which species it is.

If you are interested in coming to a field information session once the Carolina Anemone is in bloom, leave a comment below or email Kimberlie at kimberlietx@gmail.com to receive announcements on the date and location. (To be determined once Mother Nature gives us the go-ahead.)

Thank you for helping us to learn more about this lesser known Windflower! Your efforts are invaluable and greatly appreciated!

@kimberlietx and @pfau_tarleton

Posted on February 04, 2020 01:13 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 1 comments | Leave a comment

February 02, 2020

Illustrated glossary of leaves

I love these illustrations of the parts of leaves, but on the original website (Flora of Newfoundland and Labrador) they appear as slides, making it a bit more difficult to access. I'm linking to them here for my convenience and future reference.




























Posted on February 02, 2020 00:24 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 comments | Leave a comment

February 01, 2020

Rubus spp (of Texas) comparison of features



This post is Part 3 of my series on Rubus species in Texas.

Part 1 - Taxonomy of Dewberries, Blackberries, and Brambles in Texas (Rubus spp)
Part 2 - Key to Rubus spp of Texas (Dewberries, blackberries, and brambles)



In Part 2 I presented a guide to Quick ID the three most common Rubus species in Texas. This post takes species identification to the next level. It is an extract and comparison of the detailed characteristics of each species from the Flora of North America website. There is much value in looking closer at the leaflet shape and size, for example, in helping to determine species for observations that are inconclusive from the Quick ID guide. The botany terminology is heavy, so if you have a dictionary handy you will want to get it.

 R. trivialis R. pensilvanicus R. flagellaris
HABIT Shrubs to 3(–7) dm, moderately to densely armed Shrubs 10–30 dm, armed Shrubs to 3 dm, armed
STEMS biennial biennial biennial
initially low-arching, then falling and creeping (or climbing higher through other vegetation) erect to arching usually creeping, sometimes low-arching and then creeping , flowering branches usually erect
glabrous or moderately hairy glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy glabrous or densely hairy
sparsely to densely short- to long-stipitate-glandular eglandular or sparsely to moderately, rarely densely, sessile- to short-stipitate-glandular eglandular or sparsely sessile- to short-stipitate-glandular
not pruinose not pruinose not pruinose
PRICKLES moderate to dense prickles sparse to dense prickles sparse to dense
recurved erect or slightly retrorse hooked
sometimes distally slender, 1–4 mm, broad-based stout, 4–10 mm, broad-based sometimes distally slender, 1–4 mm, broad-based
BRISTLES absent or sparse to dense absent
erect to retrorse
red to purple, rarely green
slender, weak
gland-tipped
LEAVES persistent or semipersistent deciduous deciduous, some sometimes semipersistent
ternate to palmately compound palmately compound ternate or palmately compound
lustrous not lustrous not lustrous
Stipules stipules filiform, linear, or lanceolate; 2–12(–15) mm filiform to narrowly lanceolate;  (3–)5–15(–20) mm stipules filiform or linear to lanceolate, 3–20 mm
Leaflets leaflets 3–5 leaflets (3–)5(–7) leaflets 3–5
Terminal shape terminal narrowly elliptic or ovate to obovate terminal ovate to lanceolate terminal ovate or elliptic to suborbiculate
Size 5–15 × 3–13 cm 3–11 × 2–7.5 cm
Base base rounded to cuneate base rounded to shallowly cordate base broadly cuneate or rounded to shallowly cordate
Lobes unlobed unlobed usually unlobed, rarely shallowly lobed
Margins margins moderately to coarsely serrate to doubly serrate margins finely to coarsely singly or doubly serrate margins moderately to coarsely serrate to doubly serrate or serrate-dentate
Apex apex acute to acuminate apex acuminate to long-attenuate apex acute or acuminate to short-attenuate
Abaxial surface abaxial surfaces with hooked prickles on midvein abaxial surfaces green, usually with retrorse prickles on midvein abaxial surfaces with prickles on midvein or unarmed
glabrous or sparsely to moderately hairy moderately hairy sparsely to moderately hairy
eglandular or sparsely short-stipitate-glandular along central vein eglandular or sparsely to moderately sessile- to short-stipitate-glandular along veins eglandular or sessile- or short-stipitate-glandular along largest veins.
INFLORESCENCES terminal, on short shoots usually appearing axillary terminal, on short shoots usually appearing axillary terminal, on short shoots usually appearing axillary
1(–3)-flowered (2–)5–12(–16)-flowered 1–3(–8)-flowered
cymiform, racemiform, or thyrsiform racemiform
Flowering Jan–Jun Flowering May–Jul Flowering Mar–Jun
PEDICELS prickles and, often, bristles moderate to dense, recurved unarmed or prickles sparse, erect unarmed or prickles sparse to moderate, retrorse to hooked
moderately to densely hairy glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy moderately to densely hairy
sparsely to moderately sessile- to short-stipitate-glandular eglandular or sparsely to moderately sessile- to short-stipitate-glandular usually sparsely to densely sessile- or short-stipitate-glandular, rarely eglandular
FLOWERS bisexual bisexual bisexual
petals white to pink petals white petals white
elliptic to obovate, 10–16(–25) mm usually obovate to elliptic, rarely suborbiculate, 8–40 mm elliptic, obovate, or oblanceolate, 8–20 mm
filaments filiform filaments filiform filaments filiform
ovaries glabrous ovaries glabrous ovaries glabrous
FRUITS black black black, sometimes dark red
globose to ovoid, 1–1.5(–2) cm globose to cylindric, 1–2 cm globose to cylindric, 1–2 cm
drupelets 10–50 drupelets 10–100 drupelets 10–40
strongly coherent, separating with torus attached strongly coherent, separating with torus attached strongly coherent, separating with torus attached
Rubus trivialis is distinguished from other species of Rubus by its frequently glandular-bristly and generally creeping stems, abundant recurved prickles, and typically persistent or semipersistent, lustrous primocane leaves with relatively narrow leaflets. Although emerging primocanes typically reach to 30 cm above the ground, vigorous plants can have new primocanes standing erect to 70 cm that later fall to the ground or onto adjacent vegetation as they continue to enlarge.

Rubus flagellaris is extremely polymorphic, ranging from plants with low-arching (and later creeping) stems and relatively few prickles to low, creeping plants with abundant prickles. Individual plants in some years will produce abundant, arching, poorly armed stems, and in others creeping, well-armed stems. Prickle shape also varies in these plants both within a year and among different years. Local variants seem to readily intergrade with other variants.

Apparent consistent features of Rubus flagellaris are terete primocanes to 7 mm diam. near the base and presence of rigid, hooked primocane prickles to 4 mm. Primocanes that tip-root and are low and long-running are nearly consistent features of R. flagellaris. Flower number per inflorescence throughout most of the geographic range of R. flagellaris is one to three or, rarely, five.

Posted on February 01, 2020 23:18 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 4 comments | Leave a comment

January 31, 2020

Key to Rubus spp of Texas (Dewberries, blackberries, and brambles)



This post is Part 2 of my series on Rubus species in Texas.

Part 1 - Taxonomy of Dewberries, Blackberries, and Brambles in Texas (Rubus spp)
Part 3 - Rubus spp (of Texas) comparison of features



In June, 2019 I tackled the Taxonomy of Dewberries, Blackberries, and Brambles in Texas (Rubus spp) in a journal post. If you are questioning why there are only 6 valid species of Rubus in Texas, you'll want to head there first. If you are looking for a quick way to figure out which species is which, you can start here.


Two things to keep in mind before we start...
1) Approximately 90% of all Rubus species in Texas are Rubus trivialis. All of the others combined make up the remaining 10%.
2) Common names lead people to pick the wrong ID on iNaturalist, and *MANY* of the existing observations are identified (and agreed upon) incorrectly because of it. Those darn common names!

This post looks at the three most common species in Texas: R. trivialis, R. pensilvanicus, and R. flagellaris.

For a quick species level ID, you need to photograph or note at least the following:
Habit - Low growing/creeping/trailing vs upright over 3 feet
Stems - With or without bristles
Leaflets - # of leaflets and luster (shiny/not shiny)

For a higher confidence species ID, or to key out your observation at Flora of North America you will also need the following:
Leaflets - Shape of the terminal leaflet, underside of leaflets showing the midveins and surfaces, and pedicels (leaflet stems)
Stipules - (Small leaflike appendages typically in pairs at the base of the leaf stalk.) Shape of the stipules
Flowers - Number of flowers per stem, color of petals


The next thing you will want to be aware of is the difference between bristles and prickles.
Bristles - stiff hairs
Prickles - sharp outgrowth from the stem, similar to a thorn


If your stem has both, it is automatically R. trivialis.



Rubus trivialis ("Southern Dewberry")

QUICK ID:


Low growing, under 1 foot high

Stems with prickles and bristles
3 or 5 shiny leaflets, somewhat narrow

"Rubus trivialis is distinguished from other species of Rubus by its frequently glandular-bristly and generally creeping stems, abundant recurved prickles, and typically persistent or semipersistent, lustrous primocane leaves with relatively narrow leaflets."

HABIT: Trailing, or erect but low growing; under 1 foot high
STEMS: Armed with prickles and bristles, glabrous (no fine hairs), not pruinose (dusty or frosted looking)
PRICKLES: broad-based, recurved (curved backward)
BRISTLES: glandular tipped, absent to sparse to dense
LEAVES: 3-5 leaflets, relatively narrow and lustrous (shiny) on top
FRUIT/FLOWERS: 1-flowered (sometimes up to 3), petals white to pink. (In MY experience, this species fruits first in the season and has larger fruit, but I haven't verified that.)

The full description of R. trivialis can be found at Flora of North America.



Rubus pensilvanicus ("Pennsylvania Blackberry")

QUICK ID:

Grows upright 3-9 feet Stems with only prickles
5 rounded leaflets

HABIT: Grows upright 3-9 feet
STEMS: Armed with prickles, glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy
PRICKLES: Erect (straight out) or retrorse (pointing backward/down the stem)
BRISTLES: Absent
LEAVES: 5 rounded leaflets, but can be anywhere from 3-7 leaflets, not lustrous (shiny) on top
FRUIT/FLOWERS: 5-12 flowered

- The full description of R. pensilvanicus can be found at Flora of North America.



Rubus flagellaris ("Common Dewberry")

QUICK ID:

Low growing, under 1 foot high Stems with only prickles
3-5 rounded leaflets, not shiny

HABIT: Creeping, or low-arching and then creeping; under 1 foot high
STEMS: Armed with prickles, glabrous (without hairs) or densely hairy, not pruinose (dusty or frosted looking)
PRICKLES: broad-based, hooked, sparse to dense
BRISTLES: Absent
LEAVES: 3-5 leaflets, not lustrous (shiny) on top, terminal leaflet is usually on a short pedicel (leaflet stem) and lateral leaflets are sessile (without a stem) but this can also be seen in R. trivialis.
FRUIT/FLOWERS: 1–3 flowered, petals white
*Note - R. flagellaris can be extremely polymorphic (variable characters)

- The full description of R. flagellaris can be found at Flora of North America.






CONDENSED FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA KEY TO (TEXAS) RUBUS SPECIES


Added 3/28/2020

I've found the need to refer back to the FNA key a few times, so I'm including the key with only relevant couplets here. You can see the full N. America Rubus key here.


1




+
Growing up to 1 foot tall (rarely to 2 feet in R. trivialis, but then falling); stems usually creeping, sometimes erect but low growing, or higher only when using other vegetation for support

Growing over 1 foot tall; stems erect or arching
2




3
2



+
Stems: bristles absent; leaves deciduous, some occasionally semipersistent, not lustrous; inflorescences 1–3(–8)-flowered; petals white.

Stems: bristles absent or gland-tipped, red to purple, rarely green, slender; leaves persistent or semipersistent, lustrous; inflorescences 1(–3)-flowered; petals white to pink.
R. trivialis



R. flagellaris
3


+
Leaflet abaxial surfaces usually closely, densely white-hairy or gray-hairy

Leaflet abaxial surfaces usually glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy or puberulent, (not white-hairy or gray-hairy)
4


R. pensylvanicus
4


+
Inflorescences thyrsiform, elongate, (projected well beyond subtending leaves), 10–60(–100)-flowered.

Inflorescences cymiform to thyrsiform, compact, (not projected well beyond subtending leaves), 3–15(–25)-flowered.
R. bifrons


R. pascuus

Posted on January 31, 2020 21:23 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 23 comments | Leave a comment

Recurved, Retrorse, Reflexed/Refracted

I got out my terminology book (finally) which has images of all three terms. If I get time to find better images, or scan the book images which are good, I'll update them. At least this way I can find them again!

Recurved - curved backward like a bow.
Ex: The petals of this Lilium sp

Retrorse - directed or downward or backward
Ex: The hairs on the stem of this grass

Reflexed or Refracted - Bent backward or downward
Ex: The petals of this flower

Posted on January 31, 2020 00:23 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 5 comments | Leave a comment

December 14, 2019

Texas Woolly Oak Galls

In an effort to simplify the identification of woolly looking oak galls in Texas, I pulled this info from BugGuide. It's just a first draft, so comments and suggestions are very welcome!

Charley Eiseman advises that galls on Texas oaks are largely understudied. The data for the Texas observations on BugGuide is VERY limited. Keep in mind there are probably several/many unidentified species, too.

If you are interested in helping to document galls (any, not just woolly ones) for identification, I recommend the following:

  • Photograph the whole leaf, top and bottom.
  • Photograph the gall up close.
  • If possible, break open the gall and photograph what is inside.
  • Perhaps most importantly, note the host plant.

Galls are frequently specific to a genus (oaks, elms, hackberries, etc) and to where they occur on the plant (upper-/lowerside of leaf, leaf midrib, petiole, stem, etc.) They also may or may not have features that affect the opposite side of the leaf which can help in identification.


Gall-forming Insect Hosts Gall type Gall description Sources
Andricus pattoni
WHITE OAKS
Post Oak (stellata)
White Shin Oak (breviloba)
Sand Post Oak (margarettae)
Leaf midrib, underside Begins to develop in August. Galls similar to Andricus quercusflocci (which is not a TX species.) "Woolly, dirty white, of 2-10 seed-like bodies attached by one end on midrib on upper or lower side, in fall."

Unconfirmed in TX
BugGuide
BG See also
Andricus quercuslanigera
"Wool-bearing Gall Wasp"
LIVE OAKS
Southern Live Oak (virginiana)
[Texas Live Oak (fusiformis)]
Leaf midrib, underside "Hemispherical or irregular tufts 1/2 inch long of rather long, whitish or reddish wool covering, 2 to 6 irregular brown, seed-like kernels on under side of midrib, diameter 1/12 inch, on live oak, summer."
BugGuide
Callirhytis furva
"Furry Oak Leaf Gall Wasp"
RED OAKS Leaf, upperside "Probably on all the red oaks"
"Small cluster of globular galls, 3-4 mm, each covered with short, straight brown hairs, upper side, fall"
"Galls drop from leaves in October; adults emerge in the second or third spring in late March."

Unconfirmed in TX
BugGuide
Callirhytis lanata
"Woolly Oak Gall"
RED OAKS Leaf, underside "Forms woolly, detachable galls on leaves of various species in the red oak group. The galls drop in October and adults may emerge in the second, third, or fourth spring." BugGuide
Callirhytis quercusoperator
"Woolly Catkin Gall Wasp"
RED OAKS Flower "Oval masses 2 to 3 inches in diameter, hairs greenish white or rose tinted, sometimes deep red, there may be 150 or more cells each less than 1/10 of an inch in diameter." BugGuide
Callirhytis seminator
"Wool Sower Gall Wasp"
WHITE OAKS
Post Oak (stellata)
Stem
"Spring; White with pink spots, detachable stem gall. Many celled. Around 20mm in diameter." BugGuide
Neuroterus quercusverrucarum
"Oak Flake Gall Wasp"
WHITE OAKS
Bur Oak (macrocarpa)
Chinkapin (muehlenbergii)
Post Oak (stellata)
Leaf, underside "Causes fuzzy, white to brown galls, about 2.5 mm across, on the undersides of leaves of oaks in the white oak group. Adults emerge from galls in April."
Typically many scattered on one leaf.
BugGuide

Images linked from BugGuide. All rights retained by individual photographers listed on the linked pages.

Posted on December 14, 2019 17:02 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 6 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2019

Another successful BioBlitz! Thank you to everyone that came!

Thank you to everyone that came to participate in our 2nd Overton Ridge Park BioBlitz! We had around 40 folks come out! I see the observations starting to roll in and I'm thrilled with what we observed!

Posted on October 01, 2019 22:20 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 comments | Leave a comment