Diario del proyecto Metro Phoenix EcoFlora

11 de enero de 2021

January Events

Hello Neighborhood Naturalists,
Please see below for January events that might interest you. :)

ECOFLORA BOTANY SOCIAL
Tuesday, Jan. 19 | 5-6 p.m. MST
Join us for a virtual botany social. Bring your favorite beverages and snacks, and let's talk plants! We will play trivia, talk about plant books and shows and if you wear your best plant themed accessory or outfit you might win a prize. Everyone is welcome, even if you are not a project member or participant.
Register Here

DISCOVER ARIZONA INSECTS
Jan. 23 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. MST
Interested in improving your insect identification game? Join local entomologist Roberta Gibson on a journey to discover common groups of insects, insect anatomy and the many important roles insects play in nature. This class will be held at the Chandler Environmental Education Center near Veterans Oasis Park. Class cost is $14. Each in-person class is currently limited to 10 participants and everyone is required to wear a facemask. Tables and chairs are socially distanced and all surfaces are disinfected before and after classes.
Register Here

A STUDY OF STINKNET
Jan. 26 | 4-5 p.m. MST
Join CAZCA for their first speaker series of 2021 with Michael Chamberland from the Maricopa Cooperative Extension Office and explore this noxious weed. The invasive threat of stinknet (Oncosiphon pilulifer) is becoming widely recognized, including its potential to fuel wildfires and its harmful effects to human health. Chamberland will provide updates on our current understanding of stinknet, including 2020 fire effects and potential treatment options for residents.
Register Here

Ingresado el 11 de enero de 2021 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de diciembre de 2020

January 2021 EcoQuest: Seize the Cheese

Kickin' off the New Year with a new EcoQuest!

Join the January EcoQuest: Seize the Cheese.
Find and map as many cheeseweed plants (Malva parviflora) as possible.

An ambiguous leafy green plant, cheeseweed can be found all over metro Phoenix. Green and growing in January, this naturalized “weed” has both its uses and drawbacks.


Join the EcoQuest here: Seize the Cheese
See it on SEINet

Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora) is a somewhat low-growing forb that can form large, overtaking clumps, sometimes the size of small shrubs. It was documented in metro Phoenix in the early 1900s. The voucher below was created in 1940, in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa (Onk Akimel O’Odham and Xalychidom Piipaash) area. It is assumed to be introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1800s, possibly intended as an edible green.

The common name “cheeseweed” comes from the fruits resembling a tiny wheel of cheese (Garden Betty has some wonderful images here). No, they do not smell or taste like cheese, but these fruits are edible, along with the leaves. This plant has been eaten raw or cooked for ages in the Mediterranean Basin, often being used in ways similar to spinach. Medicinal uses have also been reported for cheeseweed. Pliny the Elder even wrote that “a spoonful of mallow would rid one of all diseases.” Caution needs to be taken, however, when harvesting and eating this plant, especially in urban areas. When growing in nitrogen rich soils, the leaves can accumulate high levels of nitrates, leading to nitrate poisoning. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant for food or medicine.


Image of flowers by Leslie Landrum. Cheeseweed fruit image credit: Ohio State Weed Lab, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org.

Ironically, cheeseweed can harm other crops. It can outcompete desirable crops and cause a decrease in yields. In addition, they can interfere with machines that are used for harvesting and can vector various viruses, including tomato spotted wilt, alfalfa mosaic, yellow leaf curl, and cotton leaf crumple. Once established, they are very difficult to remove due to their long taproot and seeds that can last for years in the soil. Since cheeseweed tends to grow close to farmland and pastures, it can be a considerable problem for farmers in the area.
In addition, cheeseweed can crowd out native plants and is considered invasive in certain regions. In our area, it has become naturalized (meaning it is a non-native that has been able to reproduce and maintain itself over time without human help). While not as tenacious as invasive grasses, it can be found in abundance in wilderness areas. Cheeseweed grows well in sites with disturbed soils, like vacant lots, alleys, and roadsides, which has landed it on ADOT’s list for maintaining right of ways. Near urban parks, playgrounds and sports fields, it can even be a trip hazard. Surprisingly, this plant has not been observed in abundance on iNaturalist.


Cheeseweed growing in the Superstition Wilderness area.

Fun Fact: Cheeseweed is in the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is related to the plant that marshmallow confections were originally made from (Althaea officinalis).

Cheeseweed is considered both an edible and medicinal plant, as well as a problematic weed. Data for these plants is lacking in metro Phoenix, with only a little over 100 observations.Observing and mapping cheeseweed in metro Phoenix can provide information about occurrences, population size and density, which has yet to be estimated. Using the observation map, we can possibly see areas where it could be beneficial to remove this plant. We can possibly see how it could be crowding out native species in certain areas, such as local parks. This observation data could also help farmers to prevent its spread and control disease.


WHAT TO OBSERVE:
Scientific Name: Malva parviflora
Common Names: Cheeseweed, common mallow
Spanish: Hierba de queso; malva de flor pequena
Pima: Tashmahak
Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

DESCRIPTION:
Duration: Annual or biennial, sometimes stated as perennial
Nativity: Non-Native
Lifeform: Forb/Herb
General: Introduced annual trailing or ascending herb, slightly pubescent to glabrate
Leaves: Orbicular or reniform, 2-7 cm long, crenate, undulate, or 5-7 lobed
Flowers: Usually May- October, 1-4 in leaf axils, short-pedicellate, calyx 3-4 mm long, accrescent to 7-8 mm in fruit, petals lavender or white, 4-5 mm long
Fruits: Nearly glabrous, mericarps around 10, rugose or wrinkled dorsally and winged at the angle between the dorsal and lateral walls
Ecology: Found on roadsides and in fields, disturbed ground and urban habitats from 1,000-7,000 ft (305-2134 m); flowers most of the year
Distribution: Native to the Mediterranean region, widespread as a weed in North America, but only reported once from the Chicago Region in a railroad yard. Can be found all over metro Phoenix, including natural areas
Ethnobotany: Decoction of leaves or roots used as a rinse for dandruff & to soften the hair after the hair wash. Infusion of leaves, soft stems and flowers used as poultice on swellings. Also used as a tea.
Notes: Malva parviflora is most similar to M. rotundifolia, but in that species the mericarps are not winged, its flower and fruit stalks are longer (at least 1 cm), and it tends to be a more low spreading plant. Also very similar is M. neglecta, but its flowers and fruit have much longer stalks, the mericarps are not wrinkled or pitted but are densely covered with short soft hairs, and the petals are obviously longer than the sepals.

WHERE TO OBSERVE:
Anywhere within the project boundary. Can be found largely in sites with disturbed soils, vacant lots, roadsides, alleys, urban parks, pastures and fields. Observations made anywhere there is not currently a group of observations are the most helpful!


Sources:
SEINet: https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=malva+parviflora&formsubmit=Search+Terms
Voucher: https://swbiodiversity.org/imglib/h_seinet/seinet/DES/DES00031/DES00031723.jpg
Native American Ethnobotany Database
http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=Malva+parviflora
Northern Arizona Invasive Plants
https://www.nazinvasiveplants.org/cheeseweed
University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74127.html
Plants for a Future
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Malva+parviflora
University of Arizona: Arizona Agriculture
https://www.azeconomy.org/2019/09/economy/arizona-agriculture-not-your-average-farmers/
https://climas.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/pdfcontribution-agriculture-maricopa-county.pdf
ADOT
https://azdot.gov/sites/default/files/2019/07/study-guide-for-row-herbicide-applicator-test.pdf




EcoQuests are month-long challenges that are part of the larger Metro Phoenix EcoFlora project.
You can learn more and join the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/metro-phoenix-ecoflora

Sign up for the newsletter at ecofloraphx@dbg.org.
Let's be social @ecofloraphx

PLEASE observe COVID-19 guidelines/recommendations.
This a great opportunity to get outdoors close to home as we all navigate the complications of COVID-19. However, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments and institutions (wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash your hands). Do what’s best for you and your community.

Arizona Office of Tourism: Responsible Recreation in AZ
https://tourism.az.gov/responsible-recreation-across-arizona

Please do not observe indoor houseplants or pets.
For your own safety and the protection of plants and wildlife, do not trespass when making observations. Please follow all posted rules and guidelines in parks/preserves and do not enter private property.
Do not remove or move natural materials (plants, animals, rocks).
Respect wildlife (do not touch, feed, or disturb animals and keep a safe distance).

Ingresado el 31 de diciembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de diciembre de 2020

EcoQuestions with Nathan Taylor

Join us for EcoQuestions with @nathantaylor and explore the world of sandmats.

Thursday, December 17th | 5 p.m. MST

You may have read about Nathan in the current EcoQuest: Spot Spurge. An avid and active iNaturalist user, Nathan has several projects and has likely identified some of your sandmat observations. Nathan is a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University working in the Department of Plant Biology, Ecology, and Evolution. His primary interest is sandmat spurges, focused in the high plains of Texas and New Mexico. Nathan will be sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm about these incredible plants, our local species, identification information and answering your questions.

This is a free virtual event open to the public. Click here to register.

Hope to see you there!

Ingresado el 09 de diciembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de diciembre de 2020

November 2020 EcoQuest Results

The November EcoQuest was seeking desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides, with a focus on dense urban areas where data is lacking. As an added challenge, we were on the lookout for great purple hairstreak butterflies (Atlides halesus), who favor this plant.

Adding in the 105 observations made during this EcoQuest, there are now 318 observations of this plant in metro Phoenix. Way to go! Is there anything you notice about the location of the observations? Did you notice pollinators while making observations? More female or male plants?

By looking at the map, we can see that the majority of plants that have been observed tend to be near water or places that are close to areas with some natural features. Could this mean that heavy urbanization reduces desert broom populations? This could also support the necessity for natural areas to be woven into urban environments.

Although no observations were made of great purple hairstreak butterflies, there were sightings of bees and other pollinators. @kristen-c observed what looks like a ceraunus blue butterfly. (Hemiargus ceraunus). There were very few observations of great purple hairstreaks to begin with, but not seeing any this year could be due to a number of factors. Below is a summary from the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy's Parsons Field Institute butterfly count from this October.


Results by the numbers:

Totals:
105 observations by 22 observers
Most Observations:
@ecoexplorers with 28 and @donnawalkuski a very close second with 27

The graphs below also show the sex of plants that have been given an annotation.


We hope this EcoQuest helped you learn about this ecologically important native plant.

Thank you for your contributions, Neighborhood Naturalists!

Ingresado el 03 de diciembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de diciembre de 2020

EcoFlora Survey and Quick-Quests

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays!

As the year comes to a close, we have feelings of immense gratitude for how far the project has come and excitement for what will come with the new year. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and participation in the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora. We cannot state enough that the project would not be what it is without you!

If you don't already know, the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora is part of a larger program across the country, with partner gardens in New York, Chicago, Denver and Sarasota-Manatee, each with their own EcoFlora. To help us continue to build upon and improve the overall EcoFlora, we really want to hear from you! Do you enjoy being a part of the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora? Has it increased your appreciation of plant life or understanding of urban biodiversity? Let us know with this short survey. The survey will close December 15th.
Take the Community Survey
Thank you!


In addition to the EcoQuest this month, there are two Quick-Quests. These "mini-EcoQuests" work just like EcoQuests, except for a shorter amount of time. From December 4-14, see if you can find desert mistletoe, and from December 18-28, look for Christmas cholla. These Quick-Quests are focused on urban areas only, meaning anywhere outside of natural areas like parks and preserves. There are currently less than five observations of these species in urban areas, can we change that? Join in on the fun and see if you can beat the clock to find these species in urban areas of metro Phoenix. All observers who can find these plants in urban areas will receive a Metro Phoenix EcoFlora sticker.
Quick-Quest: Desert Mistletoe
Quick-Quest: Christmas Cholla

One more note: again, if you have not signed up for the newsletter, we highly encourage you to do so. It is a great way to make sure you're in the loop about EcoQuests, events, and all things EcoFlora.
Newsletter Signup

That's it for now. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and wonderful holiday season!

Ingresado el 02 de diciembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de diciembre de 2020

December 2020 EcoQuest: Spot Spurge

Join the December EcoQuest: Spot Spurge.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are often a botanical highlight of the holiday season, but this month we are taking a look at one of their relatives: sandmats. The red, white, and green colors of these plants and their matted growing habit can bring garland or knit sweaters to mind. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these tiny tenacious “weeds.” Get into the holiday spirit, get your closeup lenses ready and see how many sandmat spurge plants you can spot.


Join the EcoQuest here:
December EcoQuest: Spot Spurge
Species seen in metro Phoenix on iNaturalist


This EcoQuest is focused on sandmat spurge plants (Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum)

Overcoming some of the harshest urban conditions, these evolutionary champions can be found all over metro Phoenix. Often going unnoticed until they frustrate gardeners or lawn care enthusiasts, sandmats use their prostrate growing habit and exponential seed production to the best of their ability.
There are so many species of sandmats that they have their own section with nearly 400 different species. Sandmats are in the section Anisophyllum. This section is in the genus Euphorbia. A section is a taxonomic rank above species and below genus. The reason for botanical sections is to help with organization, especially when genera are very large, like this one.
Sandmats have interesting adaptations that make them well equipped for survival. They have evolved to grow in a prostrate form, meaning most of the plant grows on or just above the ground. This adaptation helps them go unnoticed underfoot and avoid being eaten by animals. The milky latex sap they produce when broken is also an animal deterrent. Adding to their survival expertise, these plants are allelopathic and each plant can produce several thousand sticky seeds that are explosively dehiscent. Allelopathic means they exude chemicals that keep other plants from growing around them. Having explosive dehiscent seeds means that their seed pods dry, split open and forcefully fling seeds for some distance.

Get ready for a challenge. Sandmats can be very difficult to identify, so great photographs and details are key. A hand lens or closeup lenses on a phone or camera can be very helpful. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of spurges is their flowering structure, called a cyathium, and cyathiums on sandmats are tiny! Other distinguishing characteristics of Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum include opposite leaves, generally asymmetric leaves, and a clear “upper” and “lower” side to their stems. There are both native and non-native species here in metro Phoenix. Don’t worry too much about identifying these plants to a species level, they can be really tricky! All observations can be helpful and contribute. (See the Description section for identification resources). @NathanTaylor has created a helpful guide for photographing sandmats: Making Great Sandmat Observations


Image by Matt Berger (@sheriff_woody_pct)

As amazing as these small plants are, little is known about their ecological interactions such as pollination. It has been found that ants can help disperse seed and that the smallest bee in North America pollinates sandmat species here in the Sonoran Desert: Perdita minima. Others have been found to be self-pollinating. Could there be other pollinators? Which pollinators visit which species? What insects interact with sandmats? What are the native and non-native distributions? Maybe you can help answer these questions.


Photo by Stephen Buchmann from USFS

Sandmats are a fascinating world of microstructures and adaptation. Understanding more about these common “weeds” can provide an appreciation and respect for them in their own right.

FUN FACT: Another relative of sandmats, fire stick (Euphorbia tirucalli) should be starting to turn bright reddish orange, putting on a show this month.


Observing and mapping sandmats in metro Phoenix can provide information and data about occurrences and species populations. Ecological interactions like pollination and seed dispersal are especially needed.
The data gathered through this EcoQuest can contribute to Ph.D. student Nathan Taylor’s efforts and research at the University of Oklahoma. Nathan is especially interested in Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum and has various projects to join on iNaturalist. For our area, it may be most helpful to contribute to "Organisms Associated with Euphorbia." The ecology of sandmats in metro Phoenix is little understood, and our efforts can contribute to this knowledge.


Nathan’s Projects:
Organisms Associated with Euphorbia
Sandmats of the World
Euphorbia Species of the United States



If you can’t get enough of sandmats, listen to this enjoyable, informative and fascinating podcast interview with Nathan on In Defense of Plants.
In Defense of Plants: Spurge is the Word

!!!PLEASE NOTE: Like all plants in the Euphorbia family, sandmats leak a milky latex sap when broken. This sap can be extremely irritating. Take care to not get the sap on your skin or in your mouth or eyes.

WHAT TO OBSERVE:
Scientific Name: (Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum)
Common Names: Sandmat spurge, prostrate spurge
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)

DESCRIPTION:
Please see the following resources to aid in identification of sandmats:
Section Anisophyllum Explained by Nathan Taylor
Key from Flora of North America
Nonexclusive list of species that have been found in metro Phoenix on iNaturalist
Sandmats on SEINet

WHERE TO OBSERVE:
All over metro Phoenix. These little impressive plants can be found growing in sidewalk cracks, through asphalt, in gardens and in natural areas. They are great at going unnoticed, so keep a sharp lookout!


Supporting Sources:
American Journal of Botany (Joan Ehrenfeld):
https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.1537-2197.1976.tb11828.x
BioOne (William D. Wiesenborn):
https://bioone.org/journals/the-pan-pacific-entomologist/volume-91/issue-2/2015-91.2.148/Absorbing-incident-ultraviolet-light-decreases-landings-by-Diptera-and-Hymenoptera/10.3956/2015-91.2.148.short
iNaturalist:
https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=1364&clid=3116
In Defense of Plants: Spurge is the Word with Nathan Taylor
https://www.indefenseofplants.com/podcast/tag/Anisophyllum
University of California
http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7445.html
USFS: Peridita minima-“World’s Smallest Bee”
https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/perdita_minima.shtml




EcoQuests are month-long challenges that are part of the larger Metro Phoenix EcoFlora project.
You can learn more and join the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/metro-phoenix-ecoflora

Sign up for the newsletter at ecofloraphx@dbg.org.
Let's be social @ecofloraphx

PLEASE observe COVID-19 guidelines/recommendations.
This a great opportunity to get outdoors close to home as we all navigate the complications of COVID-19. However, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments and institutions (wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash your hands). Do what’s best for you and your community.

Arizona Office of Tourism: Responsible Recreation in AZ
https://tourism.az.gov/responsible-recreation-across-arizona

Please do not observe indoor houseplants or pets.
For your own safety and the protection of plants and wildlife, do not trespass when making observations. Please follow all posted rules and guidelines in parks/preserves and do not enter private property.
Do not remove or move natural materials (plants, animals, rocks).
Respect wildlife (do not touch, feed, or disturb animals and keep a safe distance).

Ingresado el 01 de diciembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de noviembre de 2020

EcoQuest Results

AUGUST
The August EcoQuest explored plants and animals associated with monsoon season. It was the hottest summer on record in metro Phoenix and the third driest. We had a "nonsoon," but some great observations were still made. Below are a few articles about this monsoon season cause and effect.

Record Summer Heat Topples Hikers and Cacti
How Monsoons Work
Nonsoon 2020

Somethings to consider reflecting on this EcoQuest: Were the overall number of observations lower because getting out in the extreme heat was overbearing, or were species truly harder to find? What other species impacts did you notice from the extreme heat and no rain? What might the impacts be into the future? What may happen when saguaros finally receive some much needed moisture?

Most Observations: 18 observations by @ecoexplorers
Most Species: 6 species also by @ecoexplorers
Most Observed Species: Creosote (Larrea tridentata) with 19 observations


SEPTEMBER
The September EcoQuest explored the labels native, introduced and invasive as applied to plant species. We asked you to guess which label applied to the plants you made observations of. As promised, we are bringing you the final results of the September EcoQuest comparing your guesses and actual, to the best of knowledge and ability. As you may have seen, some plants can seem to fit more than one label. In this case, we looped them in with what official resources tend to state.
Some plants could not be identified to a species level, but could still be categorized based on genus (for example, Tamarix). The "Unknown" category represents plants that could not be confidently identified.

You all did a fantastic job, and made great guesses!

Totals: 307 observations of 146 species by 7 observers.
Most Observations: 174 observations by @larivera, way to go!
Most Species: 70 species also by @larivera.
Most Observed Species: Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), Creosote (Larrea tridentata) and Stinknet (Oncosiphon pilulifer) with 8 observations each.

This EcoQuest was a collaboration with Maricopa Native Seed Library.
The library provides free native seed to the community, as well as complimentary workshops, information and consultations about native plant gardening.
Learn more about, find native seed and support the Maricopa Native Seed Library here:
https://libguides.maricopa.edu/seed


OCTOBER
The October EcoQuest searched for ocotillos, with a focus on dense urban areas where data is lacking. These observations can provide information about occurrences, population size and density. Before this EcoQuest, there were 432 observations of ocotillo in Metro Phoenix. With your contributions, there are now 1,056! We gained an impressive amount of observations and combined with existing observations of ocotillo, we can see possible population concentrations, pollinator corridors and nectar sources. In the map below, the green dots are ocotillo observations and the red lines represent possible corridors (notice how the corridors connect to open space). More data is still needed in the West Valley, South Phoenix and the Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert area.

Totals: 623 observations by 30 observers
Most Observations: 167 observations by @donnawalkuski, wow!

@donnawalkuski also tracked her observation trips while bicycling, covering a total of 79 miles. This averages out to about 2 ocotillos per mile. Great work!

Thank you for an incredible amount of observations in October!

Ingresado el 06 de noviembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de noviembre de 2020

Metro Phoenix EcoFlora Block Party!

You're invited!

Join us for a virtual EcoFlora Block Party on November 12th at 6 p.m. MST.

Bring your favorite beverages and snacks, and let's hang out! We want to hear your thoughts about EcoFlora, what you're enjoying so far and what you'd like to see from the project in the future. Did we mention there may also be games and prizes?

Everyone is welcome, even if you are not a project member or participant.

This meeting will be recorded. If you would like to remain anonymous, please change your screen name before entering the meeting and keep your camera off. Alternatively, you can dial in from a phone.

Link to Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkf-qgqDkpE9S6Hz44n4JjKyzMTlHu0k81

Ingresado el 03 de noviembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de octubre de 2020

November 2020 EcoQuest: Broom Bloom

Join the November EcoQuest: Broom Bloom.
Find and map as many desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides) as possible. As a bonus, see if you can also find great purple hairstreak butterflies (Atlides halesus).

It’s that time of year, when desert broom starts to bloom, followed by the fuzzy fluff of seeds in the air. Often met with contempt and considered invasive, desert broom is a native plant with a variety of benefits.


Join the EcoQuest here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/broom-bloom
See this plant on SEINet:
https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=1364&clid=3116


This EcoQuest is focused on desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides)
Desert broom often attracts attention for its abundance of fluffy seeds that float through the air around this time of year and coat the ground like a dusting of snow. The masses of floating fluff are often blamed for allergy problems, but the seeds do not actually carry pollen. There is also debate if desert broom pollen triggers allergies at all. Some sources state the pollen is “sticky” and relies on pollinators to transfer pollen. Others say the plant relies on wind pollination, with airborne pollen. This airborne pollen could trigger allergies while the plants are blooming, before the onset of seed fluff.
This plant is also known for its ability to multiply efficiently, thanks to the multitude of those floating seeds and is often labeled a “weed” or invasive. It is these characteristics that also make it beneficial. Desert broom is a pioneer plant, meaning it is one of the first plants to move in after a disturbance to the land. It can help stabilize soil, control erosion and help other plants get started. When established, their deep taproot helps break up hard soils and brings nutrients closer to the surface. It is extremely tolerant to heat, drought and poor soil. This plant can also be a great privacy hedge and wind screen.
Desert broom is a very important plant for pollinators, wildlife and people. The blooming time provides many pollinators with a much-needed nectar source in the fall, to survive into the next season or for migration fuel. A notable nectar seeker is the great purple hairstreak butterfly (Atlides halesus), which there are very few observations of in metro Phoenix. This plant attracts so many different species of insects that entomologists are said to look to desert broom to find what insects may be in the area. It isn’t just entomologists that are attracted to these insects, but birds and predatory insects like praying mantis as well. Birds and small mammals have also been reported to use this plant for nesting materials and eat the seeds. Many Indigenous peoples of the Southwest use desert broom for making infusions, teas, arrows and brooms.
To get the best of this plant without the seed fluff and unwanted volunteers (plants that grow on their own), you can plant male plants. The female plants produce the masses of airborne seeds. To control what plants may pop up in unwanted areas, pull plants (roots and all) while young before the taproot develops.

Fun Fact:
The specific epithet, “sarothoides,” means broom-like, referring to the branching structure that resembles a broom.

Desert broom is a beneficial plant for both people and wildlife. Data for these plants is lacking in metro Phoenix, especially in dense urban areas (Please see maps in the “Where to Observe” section).


Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus) observed by iNaturalist user @tomhorton.
Observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38874123
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63735036

Observing and mapping desert broom in metro Phoenix can provide information about occurrences, population size and density. This observation data can help explore possible wildlife and pollinator corridors. Bonus if you can find great purple hairstreak butterflies.

WHAT TO OBSERVE:
Scientific Name: (Baccharis sarothroides)
Common Names: Desert broom, rosin bush, broom baccharis
Spanish: Romerillo, hierba del pasmo, escoba amarga
Seri: Cascol caaco
O’oodham: Ṣu:ṣk Wakck
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Observers are encouraged to note the sex of the individual in the Annotation field, whether male (yellowish flowers without hairs) or female (whitish with abundant hairs). The Annotation field can be found in the right column of your observation on the iNaturalist website.

DESCRIPTION:
Duration: Perennial
Nativity: Native
Lifeform: Shrub
General: 3-12 feet tall and up to 6 feet wide, upright rounded broomlike habit, moderate to fast growth, evergreen, winter flowering, narrow, sharply angular, nearly leafless, green stems
Leaves: Alternate, sessile, few, and quickly deciduous; blades linear to linear-lanceolate, up to 2 cm long; larger leaves often minutely toothed, but most leaves are much smaller or reduced to scales
Flowers: Flower heads discoid and solitary on branch tips or arranged in dense panicles; male and female flowers on separate plants; pistillate florets white, and staminate flowers yellowish
Fruits: Achenes 10-ribbed, 2 mm long, with a pappus of bristles, 1 cm long, attached to the top
Ecology: Found in sandy-gravelly washes, watercourses, shallow drainages, flats, low hills, and roadsides, sometimes in saline soil from 1,000-5,500 ft (305-1676 m); flowers September-December
Distribution: s CA, s NV, AZ, s NM, sw TX; south to c MEX
Ethnobotany: Infusions used for coughs and stomach aches; stems were used to make arrows or tied together in bundles to make brooms
Uses: Erosion control, hedge and butterfly, bee and bird gardens

WHERE TO OBSERVE:
Anywhere within the project boundary, with a preference for dense urban areas where data is lacking. The dots on these maps are existing observations of desert broom. Observations made anywhere there is not currently a group of observations are the most helpful!




Sources:SEINet: https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=1364&clid=3116
California Native Plant Society: Calscape
https://calscape.org/Baccharis-sarothroides-()
Southwest Desert Flora
http://southwestdesertflora.com/WebsiteFolders/All_Species/Asteraceae/Baccharis%20sarothroides,%20Desertbroom.html
Spadefoot Nursery
https://www.spadefootnursery.com/blog/2018/12/12/pull-this-plant-that-fountain-grass-vs-desert-broom
Arizonensis
http://www.arizonensis.org/news/sonorandesertedition/news10_18.html
Cochise County Master Gardeners
https://cals.arizona.edu/cochise/mg/plant-profile-weed-or-beneficial
North American Butterfly Association
http://www.nababutterfly.com/NABA%20Butterfly%20Garden%20and%20Habitat%20Program/Garden%20brochure%20pdfs/az_southeastern.pdf
Felger, R. S. and M. B. Moser, 1985, People of the Desert and Sea. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ






EcoQuests are month-long challenges that are part of the larger Metro Phoenix EcoFlora project.
You can learn more and join the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/metro-phoenix-ecoflora

Sign up for the newsletter at ecofloraphx@dbg.org.
Let's be social @ecofloraphx

PLEASE observe COVID-19 guidelines/recommendations.
This a great opportunity to get outdoors close to home as we all navigate the complications of COVID-19. However, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments and institutions (wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash your hands). Do what’s best for you and your community.

Arizona Office of Tourism: Responsible Recreation in AZ
https://tourism.az.gov/responsible-recreation-across-arizona

Please do not observe indoor houseplants or pets.
For your own safety and the protection of plants and wildlife, do not trespass when making observations. Please follow all posted rules and guidelines in parks/preserves and do not enter private property.
Do not remove or move natural materials (plants, animals, rocks).
Respect wildlife (do not touch, feed, or disturb animals and keep a safe distance).

Ingresado el 28 de octubre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de septiembre de 2020

October 2020 EcoQuest: Ocotillober

Join us for the October EcoQuest: Ocotillober (pronounced oh-koh-TEE-yoh-bur).
Find and map as many ocotillos as possible, especially in dense urban areas.

One of the most charismatic plants of the southwest, ocotillos stand tall among the saguaros in the desert landscape, reaching their long canes to the sky. Ocotillos are not only found in wilderness, but in urban areas making a statement wherever they are planted.


Join the EcoQuest here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ocotillober
See this plant on SEINet:
https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?tid=3040&taxauthid=1&clid=0


This EcoQuest is focused on ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
Ocotillos (pronounced oh-koh-TEE-yohs) are said to look like a bunch of dead sticks standing upright. The stems or canes have no leaves or flowers most of the time, showing only spines. With a decent amount of rain, they become covered with lively green leaves from bottom to top. When conditions become dry again, the plant can quickly shed its leaves to retain water. This can happen multiple times a year. When they are leafless, ocotillos can photosynthesize through their bark, much like palo verde trees (Parkinsonia spp.). In the spring, clusters of bright reddish-orange flowers balance at the very tops of the stems, which may be where the common name “torchwood” comes from. These flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds during their northern migration when other nectar sources are scarce. Ocotillos can also have a relationship with carpenter bees. The bees help with pollination, as well as increasing fruit and seed set while receiving nectar in return.

Fun Fact: There have been studies to see if the age of ocotillos can be determined by the number of rings in their trunk, much like trees. One study found it to be pretty close! 104 years was estimated through direct evidence (like photographs) and 107 rings were counted.

As charismatic as this plant may be, it can be overlooked. This is possibly because of their seeming abundance or their availability as landscape plants. Whatever the reason may be, data and information on these plants is lacking in metro Phoenix, especially in dense urban areas (Please see maps below).

Observing and mapping ocotillo in metro Phoenix can provide information about occurrences, population size and density. This data is lacking both in iNaturalist and SEINet, specifically in dense urban areas. This observation data can help explore possible pollinator corridors and nectar resources, especially for hummingbirds and carpenter bees.

WHAT TO OBSERVE:
Scientific Name: (Fouquieria splendens)
Common Names: Ocotillo, torchwood, coachwhip,
Spanish: Ocotillo (little torch)
Seri: Jomjéeziz or xomjéeziz
Family: Fouquieriaceae (Ocotillo Family)

DESCRIPTION:
Duration: Perennial
Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub
General: Tall, many-stemmed shrublike plant, 2-7 m tall; stems unbranched and cane-like, erect to ascending, covered with thorns; bark gray with darker furrows.
Leaves: Appearing within days after ground-soaking rains and turning yellow and dropping in response to drought; blades fleshy, ovate, 1-3 cm long.
Flowers: Orange, in dense panicles, 10-25 cm long, at branch tips, with conspicuous leafy bracts that fall off when flowers are mature; corolla tubular, about 2 cm long, bright red-orange, with 5 reflexed lobes at the top.
Fruits: Capsule 10-15 mm long, 3-valved; containing 6-15 flat, papery-winged seeds.
Ecology: Found on dry, rocky or gravelly slopes and sandy plains from sea level to 5,000 ft (0-1524 m); flowers February-March.
Distribution: s CA, AZ, s NM, s TX; south to c MEX.
Ethnobotany: Blossoms soaked for a summer drink, a blood purifier and tonic. Seeds parched and ground into flour for mush or cakes. O’odham press the nectar out of blossoms, hardened it like rock candy and chewed. Flowers sucked for nectar. Stems used for fences and houses. Apache make a powdered root paste to ease swelling. Gum from the bark was used to wax leather.

WHERE TO OBSERVE:
Anywhere within the project boundary, with a preference for dense urban areas where data is lacking. The dots on these maps are existing observations of ocotillo. Observations made anywhere there is not currently a group of observations are the most helpful!





Sources:
SEINet:
https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?tid=3040&taxauthid=1&clid=0

USFS:
https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/fouquieria_splendens.shtml
Peter Evans Scott (Louisiana State University):
https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5806&context=gradschool_disstheses

Keith T. Killingbeth (Ocotillo age study)
https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/5553560






EcoQuests are month-long challenges that are part of the larger Metro Phoenix EcoFlora project.
You can learn more and join the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/metro-phoenix-ecoflora

Sign up for the newsletter at ecofloraphx@dbg.org.
Let's be social @ecofloraphx

PLEASE observe COVID-19 guidelines/recommendations.
This a great opportunity to get outdoors close to home as we all navigate the complications of COVID-19. However, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments and institutions (wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash your hands). Do what’s best for you and your community.

Arizona Office of Tourism: Responsible Recreation in AZ
https://tourism.az.gov/responsible-recreation-across-arizona

Please do not observe indoor houseplants or pets.
For your own safety and the protection of plants and wildlife, do not trespass when making observations. Please follow all posted rules and guidelines in parks/preserves and do not enter private property.
Do not remove or move natural materials (plants, animals, rocks).
Respect wildlife (do not touch, feed, or disturb animals and keep a safe distance).

Ingresado el 30 de septiembre de 2020 por jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario