Showing posts from March, 2009

Ozarkian Atrichum

Back in early February, I collected a moss that had to be in the genus Atrichum (Polytrichaceae). It was acrocarpous with lanceolate leaves possessing lamellae (gill-like flaps) along the costa (midrib) and had serrate teeth on the margins. But it was a species that I didn’t recognize. There are two species commonly encountered in the Midwest, A. altecristatum and A. angustatum. Both can be readily identified by field characters. This one didn’t match either. Then last Sunday, I collected another Atrichum that looked different. Needing answers I turned to the Flora of North America volume on acrocarpous mosses. In it, I learned that there are only five species of Atrichum in Missouri and that one of these species is restricted to bald cypress swamps in the Bootheel. At this point I thought to myself “if my summation is correct, I have collections of all four Atrichum known from the Ozarks (of Missouri, at least)”.

Having been intimidated by bryophyte keys many times before, this time I…

Botany Road Trip: Spring 2008

Every spring I like to take a botanical road trip. Last spring my buddy Brad from Michigan came down and we took a southern tour. Due to a computer malfunction, I was unable to show my slides of the trip at the annual Botany Slide Show Extravaganza this winter. So, being compelled to salvage the usefulness of my slides from the trip, I put together the following.

The trip started right here in Dent County with a visit to Big Glade at Indian Trails State Forest.

Big Glade had received a solid burn earlier in the spring. The tender green tips of summer grasses and sedges were just breaking dormancy and lending a green buzz to the chert strewn dolomite shelves of this spectacular natural area. As it was early yet, few plants were flowering. Here are two fun ones:

Castilleja coccinea (yellow form) is one of my favorites. This hemiparasite is common on glades, but rarely abundant.

This is Silene caroliniana var. wherryi. In Missouri, it is only known from a cluster of counties in the central …