flax

A Dash to the Outcrop, Part II: Not Everything Here is Friendly

There are so many flowers here today that they wouldn’t all fit in one post.  Sigyn is happy to see them. She especially likes this penstemon because the flowers are so big.

penstemon

I sort of like the old plainsman.  What looks like a single flower is actually a cluster of tiny ones.  They can be hard to key out since the classifications keep changing–I like that too.  A frustrated human female is more fun!

hymenopappus

This barbara’s button is constructed the same way.  Before the head matures, it’s easier to see that it’s made up of many tiny little florets.  But I suppose only dorky botanists really care about that.

marshallia

Idunn’s little green apples!  The human female is dropping slanty Latin names right and left.  Where I see some boring yellow flowers, she sees Tetraneuris linearifolia, Medicago lupulina, and Linum berlandieri.

flax

Aha!  This is more like it.  This is the wickedly poisonous DEATH CAMAS!

Schoenolirion

We saw it  (and the penstemon and the old plainsman) when we were here two years ago.  But note the date on that old post–about a MONTH later than today.   The flora is behaving bizarrely this year.  Plants that usually flower in January or  February and those the human female usually finds in April are all piling into March.  Something is definitely weirdAnd I didn’t do it

Um, Sigyn, you might want to head back to the car.

I really don’t want her to see these next bits.  Judging by all the little plates, this used to be what humans around here call an armored dillo.

exarmadillo

And this, unless I miss my guess, is the part of the bunny that goes over the fence last…

bunnytail

Nature in action, folks.   I think I need to hustle my beloved out of here.  Anything big enough to take apart a cute bunny is big enough to take apart a cute Sigyn!

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The Great Bog Adventure, Part V: Work Begets…More Work

It seems as if ages have passed since Sigyn and I accompanied the human female on her botanical expedition to the bog in the next county over.  We got muddy and collected a whole fat press full of plants, Sigyn had a wonderful time, and I got to laugh at the human female when she got her boots stuck in the muck and almost fell in.  I thought that was an end of it.

Apparently not.  The human female spent several long evenings identifying plants, and today she and another botanist are having what she calls a “workshop” with some of her fellow-bog-trotters, teaching them some identification skills.

The visitors have a preliminary plant list, made from tentative identifications in the field.

plantday1

The”experts” are supposed to fill in the holes and answer some of the questions.  (The idea of the human female as an “expert” anything makes me laugh, but I suppose she does know a thing or two about plants.)

plantday2

Sigyn has the list of grasses and grass-like plants.  The human female can identify those, but her colleague is better.

No, the human female has identified all the things with showy flowers.  Now she is making her students key out a few of them as practice.

plantday3

Microscope? Check.  Plant sample?  Check.  Book with keys?  Check.  Obscure botanical shorthand?  Check.

Sleipnir’s monstrous farrier bill!   She is making them work hard!  It’s as if she thinks she can cram a whole semester’s worth of botany into their poor heads in one morning by making them look at “glandular teeth on the inner sepals,” whatever that means.

The human female says that little plant is something called a Hypericum.   She also said that one of the other plants was a different Hypericum.  But ehehehehe!  She was WRONG!  Now she has to admit to everyone that she can’t tell  johnnywart from flicks.

What’s this?   The students, who are supposed to have duplicates of all the plants for their club collection,  have brought some plants that the human female doesn’t have!  (I guess the collecting at the bog wasn’t as organized as she thought.)  So now the human female has to identify things on the spot.  Can she do it?

plantday4

This one’s not so difficult.  It is a little, carnivorous blabberwort, and there just aren’t that many to choose from.

This one might be a little tougher.  Idunn’s little apples!  The human female is counting how many little thread-like segments are on each of the frothy leaves.  (Not sure how that’s going to help. She can only go as far as five.)

plantday5

All this counting and peering into microscopes.  (shudder.) It is much too much like work.  Have you had enough keying for one day, Sigyn?  Let’s leave all the plant nerds and go get some lunch.

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