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Old 04-25-2008, 03:43 AM   #43039  /  #1
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Cool James's official botany thread! (56k warning)

At long last, I have decided to make my very own botany thread. I hope to fill it up with pictures and interesting plant facts.

We will begin with some springtime beauties.

This is a Taxus shrub outside of my apartment. Most people walk by them without ever giving them a second look. I love to smack these branches as they contain the male cones. I watch the clouds of pollen float away.

These bushes are highly toxic and the fleshy red seed coats (arils) are edible, but con be toxic. Its simply not worth the risk. Remember the saying, eat the food of the bat, not the bird.



I walk through one of the oldest public cemeteries in the US on my way to school every day. This also makes this cemetery a great place for wildlife (its HUGE!) and some really old trees. Its still early, so the havent started mowing yet. Here are some lillies (i didnt have time to identify, they were gone the next day) that I though looked exceptionally beautiful. Spring ephemerals are some of the prettiest flowers you will see. This is because they have such a short time to get their flowers out and get pollinated before the forest canopy matures and blocks out the sun. Dont expect most to last longer than a week.



Next, we have the beautiful flowers of the Q. velutina, or the Black Oak.
The black oak is in the red oak sub group. Red oaks are intermediate species. Just between true climax and pioneer. They have a relatively short lifespan (for an oak) and are fast growers. And because of their pioneer qualities, they flower early. The flowers you see here are all male. The female flowers will emerge by the developing leaves and remain small and inconspicuous.



Black oaks can be identified apart from other oaks by their inner bark. It is orange instead of brown and the twigs have a "battery acid" taste when chewed.
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:30 AM   #43082  /  #2
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Cool pictures, nygreenguy. I will try to add in some Alaska wildflower and other plants as they emerge. It will be fun to follow spring into summer this way. Maybe Christina can add some of her California flora to the thread.
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:09 PM   #43394  /  #3
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Your lilies look a lot like crocuses.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:43 PM   #43488  /  #4
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Your lilies look a lot like crocuses.
I would agree daisy, and this would explain why its not in many of my books.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:46 AM   #43831  /  #5
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Oh, cool! Will have to take some photos and put them up here too.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #47488  /  #6
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Here we have the flowers of B. populifolia (gray birch). In plants, the male parts are often quite reduced (which is why they usually have a prefix of 'micro').

In this birch, the catkin (cat tail pendant structure) is the male structure (also called a preformed ament), and that little erect structure in back (also called a strobilus) is the female flowers. Because of these features, this tree is monoecious. This literally means 'one house'. This is because flowers of both sexes are on the plant.



Here is another tree. This tree has a pioneer type habitat. This means it grows fast, has fast life cycles, short lifespan, prominent root sprouter, wind pollinated and flowers early.

This is the Boxelder tree (Acer negundo). To me, its a damn weed. If you cut it down, it almost immediately starts to root or basal sprout.

Now, unlike our birch friend above, this tree is dioecious. This means '2 houses'. This means each tree is its own sex. This tree is a male as we can see the wind pollinated male flowers hanging down.



Now well move on to a common lawn weed, the speedwell (Veronica persica). These flowers are quite small, often less than 1 inch in diameter, but I have seen them cover entire lawns. Weeds are in the eye of the beholder, and to me, there are far from weeds. They turn a green lawn into a field of purple, blue, white and green. Bees can also be seen flying around from flower to flower, attracted by their colors and sweet smell.

These flowers in the the plantain family, the Plantaginaceae (families are always in english, so they are not italicized or underlined). These are common lawn weeds but most are not as pretty as the speedwell!

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Old 04-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #47520  /  #7
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Thanks for the pix, nygreenguy! I'm really enjoying your thread. Those weeds can invade my yard any time they like. They're much more pretty than the spurge I spent a couple years eradicating after we bought our house.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:44 PM   #47523  /  #8
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Thanks for the pix, nygreenguy! I'm really enjoying your thread. Those weeds can invade my yard any time they like. They're much more pretty than the spurge I spent a couple years eradicating after we bought our house.
Well, the true definition of a weed is anything growing where you dont want it!

I always suggest a native lawn. When one has a native lawn, you need no fertilizer, no watering, no cutting and minimal weed management!

Back in Illinois, one of my professors had a tall grass prairie as a lawn and it was amazing! (and cheap to maintain!)
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:48 PM   #47528  /  #9
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Meh. The native grass out here is probably the major springtime allergen in these parts. Though, with all the open space nearby, it wouldn't matter much if it were growing in the yard, too.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:05 PM   #47544  /  #10
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I've been taking some nice plant close ups recently. Here are a few

Edit - I've no idea how to get these as full size pics within the main body of the post.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:16 PM   #47550  /  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
I've been taking some nice plant close ups recently. Here are a few

Edit - I've no idea how to get these as full size pics within the main body of the post.
I was going to ask where you live because I don't offhand recognize the flowers, then I saw you are from a different continent then me!
Those yellow flowers look to be in the pea family though. Id be willing to bet they smell wonderful!

To get full size you gotta host your pics, not attach them! I use photobucket!
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:24 PM   #47558  /  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nygreenguy View Post
I was going to ask where you live because I don't offhand recognize the flowers, then I saw you are from a different continent then me!
Those yellow flowers look to be in the pea family though. Id be willing to bet they smell wonderful!
Good (educated) guess. It's gorse, specifically in this instance Ulex europaeus. The blue chap is a bluebell, aka Hyacinthoides non-scripta. It's the common bluebell, which is native. They produce wonderful bluebell woods for a few weeks in May and June. I had access to a car last weekend and went out to see them. A little bit early, but still nice. We also have the invasive Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) in our garden.

I spend most of my days looking down a microscope at pollen, so it's nice to get out every once in a while and see the real thing! It also helps that I live next to Londons largest green space.

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To get full size you gotta host your pics, not attach them! I use photobucket!
I'm completely computer illiterate and therefore would appreciate a translation!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:00 PM   #47575  /  #13
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Good (educated) guess. It's gorse, specifically in this instance Ulex europaeus.
I sure hope so, otherwise Id have to revoke my botanist title!
Quote:
The blue chap is a bluebell, aka Hyacinthoides non-scripta. It's the common bluebell, which is native. They produce wonderful bluebell woods for a few weeks in May and June.
Oh yes, I know them well. We dont get them in as dense stands as you all do in europe, but we do get a good amount!


Quote:
I spend most of my days looking down a microscope at pollen, so it's nice to get out every once in a while and see the real thing! It also helps that I live next to Londons largest green space.
Well, thats pretty fun! I spent some time examining pollen and next semester Im taking plant developmental biology so Ill spend even MORE time looking at it!



Quote:
I'm completely computer illiterate and therefore would appreciate a translation!
Well, these are places where you can store your pictures online for free. Its pretty simple, it you just click the 'upload' then the 'browse' then find the picture you want to upload. When it is done you have a link under your picture online made specifically for forums like these. You just copy the link and paste it directly here.

And viola! Full size pics!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:52 PM   #47615  /  #14
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Cool. Thanks for the help. Couple of bogbean piccies from the Lake District here.



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Old 04-30-2008, 12:34 AM   #47699  /  #15
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In this next picture we have a springtime favorite, the magnolia. Specifically, the Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata. This is not a native tree and is generally planted, and not natural.

Magnolias exhibit many primitive characteristics. They usually have many partially fused carpels, many stamens, calyx and corolla are usually not distinct from each other, and they have a strong, sweet to musky smell.

Magnolias are also often pollinated by beetles. Beetles are clumsy fliers which is why we see the big flowers. Beetles also tend to eat floral parts which is the reason why these plants compensate by being big and having many parts. They also have a strong smell which beetles are strongly attracted to.



Since were on the topic of magnolias, how about we look at another in the Magnoliaceae. The is the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). This is one of the largest trees in the east reaching heights of 150 feet and up to 7 feet in diameter. These trees have typical magnolia flowers and leaves that look like upsidedown t-shirts. The twigs, when crushed, have a Mr. Clean citrusy scent with the same taste as well!

This picture was taken as Joyce Kilmer Wilderness in N. Carolina. It is the largest wilderness in the eastern US and has some of the most amazing old growth you have ever seen. (yes, thats me. I pose next to plants I like)

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:46 AM   #47785  /  #16
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When I lived in Connecticut we had tulip trees in the backyard. My parents had a large deck built out from the living room and around 3 of them. It was very beautiful. We soon discovered tulip trees get those large smooth trunks by shedding big branches every year and the flowers produce a sweet smelling but very sticky sap that drips down on everything beneath them. And, of course, the ants loved the flowers.



Fortunately the wood is very light so the falling branches rarely did any damage and the sap washed off with detergent. All in all, I'd say the beauty was worth the trouble.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:10 AM   #47798  /  #17
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We soon discovered tulip trees get those large smooth trunks by shedding big branches every year
Yep, its called self pruning.

and the flowers produce a sweet smelling but very sticky sap that drips down

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Fortunately the wood is very light so the falling branches rarely did any damage and the sap washed off with detergent. All in all, I'd say the beauty was worth the trouble.
The wood has been used for the bottom of drawers for years. If you ever see a yellow/green wood as a drawer bottom, chances are it came from this tree.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:04 PM   #48407  /  #18
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I'm from Illinois, so I simply cant have a plant thread without some prairie wildflowers. If you like wildflowers, prairies are some of the best places to go. The bloom for long periods of time, and usually bloom in the summer which makes it a comfortable time to observe them. (Forest wildflowers bloom in spring before the tree canopy forms)

This flower here is easily recognizable to most people. It is the purple prairie coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. It is said the buffalo used to chew the old inflorescence to alleviate pain. This doesn't make sense because those things are SHARP! However, the natives swear that sucking on it can alleviate pain.

This picture is typical of how it looks in the prairie although I have seen it grow MUCH more dense!



The next plant is another xeric (dry) prairie species. The presence of this plant indicates a high quality prairie. This is a rare find in Illinois because much land that was prairie was converted to farmland. Almost all prairie left is this shallow soil, rocky xeric prairie. This prarie (Harlem Hills) is one of the best and the largest left in Illinois. I have helped to burn it on a couple occasions, however a line of condos popped up (Prairie View condos. Ironic name) nearby and they dont like the burning, and I wont ever talk about what their fertilizers do to the land....

The common name of this plant is lead plant, Amorpha canescens and its in the Fabaceae, the pea family. One common trait of the pea family is the ability of the plant to fix nitrogen. (thanks bacteria!) This also helps to increase the soil nutrient quality around the plant due to the excess nitrogen.



Often considered a weed, but tolerated because of its beauty is the Verbena stricta, the hoary verbena. Its smell is amazing.

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:20 PM   #48414  /  #19
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How about some more prairie? I agree, you can never have enough prairie wildflowers!

The is the purple false foxglove, Agalinis purpurea. This is in the Figwort (Snapdragon) family the Scrophulariaceae. I will also mention this designation is still somewhat controversial. Some say it is in the Orobanchaceae, the broomrape family. I have learned in working with these names its not always best to go with the newest because it makes all old books outdated, and since field botany is a dying profession, all the old timers will call it as being in the Scrophulariaceae. So until I see a strong concensus and it starts being widely published, I will use old designations.

These flowers contain little to no smell but attract many wonderful bee pollinators. This is another summer bloomer and the flowers can last up to 50 days!



This next plant is another common prairie plant, and I wish I had a picture of the whole plant. This is the compass plant, Silphium laciniatum. The name comes from the way the 'allegedly' turn their leaves with the sun. As much as I have seen these plants, Ive never noticed this. The leaves look fern like because they are deeply lobed.

You may also know how much it resembles a sunflower. Well, you would be right on. This is in the Asteraceae. Asters make up many of prairie flowers and are considered to be some of the most advanced flower forms. (I can explain if you wish for me to!)

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Old 05-01-2008, 02:31 PM   #48725  /  #20
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I have lots and lots of flower pictures - do you want more pics even if I don't know anything interesting about them other than that I like them?
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:13 PM   #48766  /  #21
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I have lots and lots of flower pictures - do you want more pics even if I don't know anything interesting about them other than that I like them?
Sure, maybe I could add some stuff!
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:28 PM   #48780  /  #22
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I can't remember if I already posted any of these so sorry of they're repeats. I have loads more.

Here's a day lily:



A rose:



Mallow:



Some mushrooms:



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Old 05-01-2008, 03:31 PM   #48783  /  #23
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Lots of nice shots. Love the prairie ones and the mushrooms. Will try and post some more tonight, but might go to the pub instead.
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:34 PM   #48789  /  #24
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I have some other mushroom pics. I don't know what any of them are but they're all over the place in the rainy season.





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Old 05-01-2008, 03:36 PM   #48791  /  #25
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Me neither. I know bugger all about mushrooms
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