Monday, August 20, 2007

The office

Thanks again Cindy for another great online quiz! you rock! I think the description is true, I am a bit awkward sometimes. I need to work on that!

Which Office Character Are You?

You are part Michael. Deep down, you are caring and good-natured, but you often express yourself in insensitive ways. Though you always try your hardest to make your talents be seen, you could use a little more self-awareness to avoid being awkward.
You are part Jim. You are personable, easy-going, and always socially aware. Your great sense of humor and impishness soften the blow of what might otherwise be a dark, cutting cynicism.
Find Your Character @

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Many plants this week...

Life has been crazy! I have been working long hours in the field (10+) and have not had a chance to update my blog. We are busy and I have been shuttling around the bay area which is good since the one site I was at last week was devoid of plant life.

I did find this small mustard, Lobularia maritima, an introduced plant native to the Mediterranean. The common name is sweet alyssum and is supposed to have a sweet smell to them which is where they got their name.

Brassicaceae can be a hard family to key out if you do not have fruits. The first major key break asks if the fruits are longer than wide and goes from there. Luckily there were fruits on the plant and the rest of the key was easy. I forgot to smell the flowers to see if they are in fact sweet.
My next plant is a member of the pea family Fabaceae. Lotus corniculatus or more commonly, birdfoot trefoil is also a non-native plant in California. This plant hails from Eurasia and is found throughout California on account it is used for livestock feeding and crop rotation.
I have seen this plant all over the bay area but was also afraid to key it out. Fabaceae can also be a hard key to work on account of the sheer numbers of plant species but I was bored one day watching construction workers so I gave it a shot. Not that bad at all.
What separates this plant out from the hundreds of other Lotus species is the distinct leaf. The leaf has 5 leaflets but 2 reduced and stipular in position. This means that the 2 bottom leaflets are found at the base of the leaf and not on the petiole. Very distinctive.
One of the last flowers I have encountered and collected this week is one of my favorites. I collected this plant in a shady riparian area at one of the work sites. I love this area because it is shady and cool while the rest of the site is hot, hot, hot. In this little oasis, the native (finally) Mimulus cardinalis grows in abundance.

I first saw this flower growing in this creek bed way back in May and every time I walk thorough this area the plants are still flowering. There is plenty of water in the creek and it is nice and shady, a great place to grow! I finally collected some this week.
My last plant of the week is a fake mum. At the windowsill on the 6th floor of the academy, someone brought a few fake mums in and placed them by the window. I was bored from working on my thesis so I took a few shots.
we have a great view of the city from the 6th floor...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Plant of the week... slim pickings

For the past few weeks I have been working in Pacifica. Our site does not have a wide diversity of plant life which makes my plant segment hard to do. Luckily I found this shrub.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus or blue blossom. This big shrub is a member of the Rhamnaceae family.
One way to distinguish this shrub from others out there is the prominent veins characteristic found on the underside of the leaf. As seen below, there are 3 major parallel leaf veins which are raised and distinct.
Ceanothus flowers are also distinct and can aid in identification. They usually form a panicle and are often blue. The stamens (male parts) are opposite the petals which you can see from this photos I stole from the Internet.
Here is a photo of a cluster of fruits. Not that exciting but like I said, there is not much growing out there. Luckily I can stare at the ocean!
Hopefully this project will be done soon so I can find a site with a diverse flora!