04 de abril de 2024

Variegated Yellow Archangel

The variegated yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon subsp. argentatum) is believed to be native to Europe (but its origins are unknown). It has become an invasive subspecies in several European countries, including the Netherlands, Britain, and Switzerland. It was introduced as a garden plant in New Zealand and North America (and probably elsewhere) where it escaped cultivation and became naturalized. In New Zealand, it is listed by the 2020 National Pest Plant Accord and therefore banned from sale, propagation, and distribution throughout the country. It is also listed by the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia in Canada. In the U.S. state of Washington, it is listed as a Class B Noxious Weed and therefore banned from sale by state law.

Botanists in Europe recognize four closely-related taxa, either as subspecies of Lamium galeobdolon or as full species, usually in genus Lamium but also in Galeobdolon or Lamiastrum. Most North American authorities recognize a single taxon, referred to as either Lamium galeobdolon or Lamiastrum galeobdolon. In any case, multiple taxa are not recognized in North America.

According to Flora Novae Angliae (2011), Lamium galeobdolon is confined to Maine and Massachusetts in New England. However, as of March 2024, there are hundreds of research-grade observations of Lamium galeobdolon subsp. argentatum spread across all New England states. According to New Flora of Vermont (2015), Lamium galeobdolon is said to be rare in Vermont (apparently based on a single specimen collected in Chittenden County in 2008), but as of March 2024, there are dozens of research-grade observations of Lamium galeobdolon subsp. argentatum scattered across 10 counties in Vermont. These data suggest Lamium galeobdolon subsp. argentatum is now widespread (and increasing) throughout Vermont and all of New England.

For more information, including numerous reliable sources, see the article on Lamium galeobdolon in wikipedia.

Publicado el 04 de abril de 2024 a las 12:38 PM por trscavo trscavo | 1 observación | 18 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de marzo de 2024

Annotation feedback

Recently, a number of GitHub issues related to annotations have been opened and discussed:

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some feedback to the designers and developers without disrupting the GitHub issues. Hence this journal article.

Background: A group of us initiated and discussed a Proposal to replace the Plant Phenology annotation last November (2023). The proposal was not brought to a wider audience since it was felt that we lacked consensus on one or two key issues. In any case, I think some good points were raised, and apparently now is the time to surface these ideas to the designers and developers.

Briefly, the proposal is to replace the Plant Phenology annotation with the following annotation:

Reproductive Structures
1. Flower bud: At least one closed flower bud is visible
2. Flower: At least one open flower is visible
3. Fruit: At least one fruit or seed is visible
4. No reproductive structures: No sexual reproductive structures (in whole or part) are visible

Instead of modifying the current Plant Phenology annotation, can we modify the proposed Reproductive Structures annotation?

Here are some (out-of-band) comments on the GitHub issues:

#4046: See above for recommended annotation name, values, and mouseover definitions

#4047: The annotation name (Reproductive Structures) should be independent of the chart title. Put another way, user interface issues on the taxon page should not drive the choice of annotation name, values, or mouseover definitions.

#4049: No comment

Publicado el 21 de marzo de 2024 a las 09:28 PM por trscavo trscavo | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de febrero de 2024

The confusing tick-trefoils

Desmodium glabellum (tall tick-trefoil) and Desmodium perplexum (perplexed tick-trefoil) are members of the Desmodium paniculatum complex. The specific name perplexum suggests these taxa are confusing, which is indeed true. Until recently, it was very difficult to distinguish Desmodium glabellum from Desmodium perplexum. In 2020, a breakthrough research result put these species on the map (both figuratively and literally). For more info:

The googledoc includes an identification key, references, and links. A short glossary is also included.

Publicado el 25 de febrero de 2024 a las 01:30 PM por trscavo trscavo | 14 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de febrero de 2024

Bristol Pond

Bristol Pond (also called Winona Lake on some maps) is a large wetland complex in the town of Bristol in Addison County, Vermont. Bristol Pond is the source of Pond Brook, which flows north through the adjacent town of Monkton before emptying into Lewis Creek (which itself empties in Lake Champlain). The Pond Brook Watershed is a significant natural resource (but that's a different story).

There are no hiking trails around Bristol Pond. The best way to experience the area is by canoe or kayak. For convenience, I made a geospatial PDF map of Bristol Pond. The blue area on the map is State land while the yellow area is private land owned by the A. Johnson Company.

I've only been to Bristol Pond once but my sense is that there's a lot to see and do here. You can browse the site's observations to get idea about biodiversity.

Have you been to Bristol Pond?

Publicado el 10 de febrero de 2024 a las 08:38 PM por trscavo trscavo | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de febrero de 2024

A. Johnson Company is closed

As of the end of the December 2023, the A. Johnson (lumber) Company in Bristol, Vermont is closed. There's almost nothing online about this so I won't try to provide a link at this time (see the comments). If today's date were April 1st, I would wonder if this might be an April Fool's joke. If A. Johnson is closed, that's a Very Big Deal since they own many acres of forested land throughout the state.

Does anybody know more?

Publicado el 04 de febrero de 2024 a las 06:43 PM por trscavo trscavo | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de enero de 2024

American ginseng

I've spent the last month reading and writing about American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). What an amazing story! After somehow surviving 300 years of exploitation, this plant has earned my respect. For a quick introduction, see the lead paragraphs of the wikipedia article on American ginseng.

The following is from New Flora of Vermont [2015]:

Ginseng, "shang." Forests and woodlands, usually on soils derived from calcareous bedrock, near colluvial traprock or below talus slopes, often in the sugar maple-basswood-white ash association; frequent. Specimens seen from all except Essex, Franklin, and Bennington counties, but it probably occurs in all. There has been substantial trade in this species at various times in Vermont, probably beginning soon after its discovery in North America in 1720 (Thompson 1842). Its roots are still collected for sale. There has been some planting of it into the wild for this purpose, and it has also been commercially cultivated. Those collecting it have been called "shangers" and hunting for it has been called "shanging."

In my limited experience, this species is rather uncommon (not "frequent") in VT, with very few individuals per occurrence. What is your experience with this species?

Publicado el 12 de enero de 2024 a las 11:24 PM por trscavo trscavo | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de diciembre de 2023

Annotating the common witch-hazel

I’ve been obsessed with this species lately. It is one of the most interesting species I’ve ever studied.

All observations of the common witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) in Vermont have been annotated (at least all observations that can be annotated). The results mostly agree with what’s in the literature but there are a couple of surprises. Check out the Plant Phenology chart on the taxon page (suitably restricted to Vermont). Briefly:

  • Flower budding: [July–]August–October
  • Flowering: September–November[–December]
  • Resting: [December–]January–April
  • Fruiting: May–October[–November]

Based on the number of iNat observations (a criterion that can be misleading), peak flower budding, peak flowering, and peak fruiting occur in September, October, and July, respectively. For more information:

Comments welcome.

Publicado el 02 de diciembre de 2023 a las 03:10 PM por trscavo trscavo | 15 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de noviembre de 2023

Persistent plant part

By definition, a persistent plant part is retained after its normal function has been completed. I created an observation field for persistent plant part, with the following values:

  • bud scales
  • calyx
  • frond
  • fruit
  • seed
  • strobilus
  • style

The set of values may change as I continue to use this observation field. In particular, I may come to regret having separate fields for fruit and seed. Since a fruit is a container for seeds, those two values necessarily overlap. In practice, I choose the plant part that dominates the photo evidence.

Comments welcome!

Publicado el 30 de noviembre de 2023 a las 12:02 PM por trscavo trscavo | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de noviembre de 2023

Proposal to replace the Plant Phenology annotation

The newly discovered annotation tooltips motivated a discussion regarding the Plant Phenology annotation. A proposal to replace the Plant Phenology annotation with a new annotation (called Reproductive Structures) grew out of the discussion:

Reproductive Structures

  1. Flower bud: At least one closed flower bud is visible and attached to the plant
  2. Flower: At least one open flower is visible and attached to the plant
  3. Fruit: At least one seed-bearing fruit is visible and attached to the plant
  4. No reproductive structures: No sexual reproductive structures (in whole or part) are visible

For details regarding the proposal, see:

If you support this proposal, please join the conversation!

Publicado el 16 de noviembre de 2023 a las 01:05 PM por trscavo trscavo | 64 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de noviembre de 2023

Flowering season of native plants in Vermont

Which native plant species have been observed in Vermont with a flower (or flower bud) either very early or very late in the season? The following search URLs can be used to answer this question:

Observations of native plants with flowers in Jan, Feb, and Mar: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?introduced=false&month=1,2,3&place_id=47&subview=table&term_id=12&term_value_id=13&view=species

Observations of native plants with flower buds in Jan, Feb, and Mar: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?introduced=false&month=1,2,3&place_id=47&subview=table&term_id=12&term_value_id=15&view=species

Observations of native plants with flowers in Nov and Dec: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?introduced=false&month=11,12&place_id=47&subview=table&term_id=12&term_value_id=13&view=species

Observations of native plants with flower buds in Nov and Dec: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?introduced=false&month=11,12&place_id=47&subview=table&term_id=12&term_value_id=15&view=species

Studying these lists, there are few authentic observations of flowers in Dec, Jan, or Feb. The aster observed on December 11 is one of my favorites. (There may be other non-annotated observations out there, I don’t know.)

Just for fun, here are my most extreme observations of native plants in VT with flowers:

Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) observed on March 26:

Rock Harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens) observed on November 8:

What are yours?

Publicado el 09 de noviembre de 2023 a las 10:00 PM por trscavo trscavo | 10 comentarios | Deja un comentario