Day: May 8, 2020

Back to the Herbarium, Part II: Making Messy Mischief Makes Me Merry

In the end, I decided that NOT deleting the herbarium database was the way to go.  If I deleted the whole thing, most likely she’d give up and abandon the project, not wanting to re-enter upwards of 200,000 records one by one.  And then what fun could I have wreaking merry havoc in the collection?  No.  I don’t want her slumped on the sofa in despair—I want her here, squinting through the microscope, pulling her hair out, and swearing in ways that would make Volstagg blush!

Let’s see if she can find all the mischief I’ve left in her path today…

Today she is working on GaillardiaGaillardia is not nearly as confusing as Eupatorium.  For starters, there are just fewer of them, and the parts are big and showy–so it should be quick work to sort them all out, yes?

First up is what to do with the handful specimens identified as G. winkleri.  That name isn’t anywhere in the modern references!  I saw to it that whoever filed them and put them in the database originally just treated them as Gaillardia sp.

Let’s see how long she spends trying to sort it out:


Rats!  The human female has done some googling and quickly discovered that this was a name used for pink-flowered varieties of Gaillardia aestivalis.

I guess this one with the typo won’t slow her down then, either.


If I can’t trip her up with old synonyms, maybe I can just give her a headache with mysteries.

Such as what THIS thing is.


With no roots, no leaves, and poorly-pressed flower heads half-eaten by the little beetles I sprinkled in the cabinet, there isn’t much to go on.  G. aristata shouldn’t be anywhere near Bee County, but she can’t prove or disprove anything from the specimen.  It’ll just eat at her.  Slowly…

Well, human, maybe you can figure out what this correctly-determined sheet of Gaillardia pulchella was doing in one of the “unidentified Gaillardia” folders?


AND databased as “Gaillardia sp.” to boot?

Or why this flowerless, unkeyable sheet of what may actually BE Gutierrezia texana…


was ALSO databased and filed as “Gaillardia sp.”?

There!  There’s the baffled, completely beaten, slump-shouldered mortal I know and loathe.

Good work today, Loki, if I do say so myself!

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