Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Larry's Rod (Golden)

One of the cool things about living in a rare place on this planet is learning about the rare things that live here. We have several plants that are rare, threatened, or even endangered that call Whites Creek home. We also have a goldenrod that acts as a ground cover and then sends its bloom stalk up on a rhizome instead of coming out of the center of the basal rosette like most of them do. Goldenrods are blooming and going to seed right now and nobody is sneezing because of them. They don't cause allergies, in spite of all you were told growing up.  I had the pleasure today of going out to collect  specimens of our local goldenrod so that it can be sent around to other botanists for evaluation. It appears that ours is undescribed to science. That will change soon. 

Dr. Larry Pounds is my go-to guy for plants. He has led several field trips in the gorge and is a patient teacher. He is also the person who identified the unusual nature of this goldenrod and has located several other rare plants that live here. It was fun to dig in the dirt and follow the underground connection from plant to plant as we realized that a given patch of goldenrod is more than likely just one plant and its offshoots.

Dr. Pounds examines a specimen he is about to put in the press for preservation. A previous specimen sent to U. T. was lost. We now have several new ones for evaluation by other botanists.

This is one patch we sampled in its ground cover phase. It is a beautiful plant even without the blooms. I'll keep you posted on the process and whether it is determined that this is a new species or a variant of one already described.  

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