Journal archives for February 2020

10 February, 2020

Erigeron (Fleabane and Horseweed)

In early April, 2019, I set myself a goal of taming the fleabanes, and they turned out to be quite manageable! (This was so satisfying that I became overconfident and decided to tackle the Blue-eyed grasses next. That did not work out as well, so there won't be a Sisyrinchium journal from me anytime soon!)

About fleabanes: in short, there are only two common species of true fleabane here: Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) and Daisy Fleabane (E. strigosus.) The telling feature is the shape of the MIDDLE and UPPER stem leaves. In Philadelphia Fleabane, these leaves widen at the base (stem end) and are often somewhat clasping. In Daisy Fleabane, these leaves taper to the base (stem) and are not clasping.

Daisy Fleabane has stem leaves that taper to the base.

Philadelphia Fleabane has stem leaves with a wide ,somewhat clasping base.

That's the gist, but of course, it's not QUITE that simple. If you want the details, keep reading.

Four species of Erigeron occur in Collin County: E. strigosus, (Daisy Fleabane,) E. philadelphicus, (Philadelphia Fleabane,) E. canadensis (Horseweed,) and E. tenuis (Slender Fleabane.)
E. canadensis (Horseweed) is fairly easily distinguished from the fleabanes. This species has very inconspicuous ray flowers, barely exceeding the phyllaries.

E. strigosus (Daisy Fleabane) is the most common fleabane here. The upper and middle stem leaves are narrowed basally; that is, the leaf tapers to the stem. These middle and upper leaves are 4-10 times as long as wide, and there are usually 17-25 leaves on well-developed plants. The basal leaves are much different, and can be up to 70 mm wide.

E. philadelphicus (Philadelphia Fleabane) is the second most common type of fleabane here. (However, it tends to bloom earlier than Daisy Fleabane, so in earLy spring, this is one I see most frequently.) The middle and upper stem leaves widen basally, that is, the leaf’s widest part is at the stem. These leaves are often more or less clasping, are 4-20 mm wide, and 2-4 times as long as wide. The lower leaves are on petioles, often somewhat winged.

E. tenuis is not common in NC Texas, but you may encounter it. It has middle and upper leaves similar to those of E. strigosus. It has fewer leaves (7-15 on well-developed plants,) and the basal leaves are narrower (<15 mm). Most telling, the ray flowers are purple or blue-ish, especially underneath.

Posted on 10 February, 2020 01:29 by lisa281 lisa281 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Packera and Senecio (Groundsels and Ragworts)

This is one of those groups where I can remember the Latin name more easily than the common name. I think Packera is easier to remember than groundsel. I remember getting a pretty good handle on these in 2019, but after not thinking about them since early spring almost a year ago, I couldn’t remember what the differences were! So, it was back to the big book (Flora of North Central Texas) to sort it all out AGAIN. I thought I’d write it down this time, just in case I’ve forgotten by the time these roll around next spring (which seems more than likely!)

There are two Senecio species to be found around nc TX:

S. ampullaceus (Texas Groundsel) and S. vulgaris (Common Groundsel). These two are distinguished from the Packera species by their clasping leaves. I have never observed Texas Groundsel, but the S. vulgaris is very common – hence the name, I guess!
(1) S. vulgaris: ray flowers usually missing, leaves pinnately lobed, phyllaries black-tipped. (COMMON GROUNDSEL)

(2) S. ampullaceus: ray flowers prominent, leaves shallowly toothed, phyllaries green-tipped (TEXAS GROUNDSEL)

There are four Packera species found in nc TX.

The first two Packera species have their largest leaves crowded near the base, and upper leaves greatly reduced and often different in shape from lower leaves. Both are fairly common here.

(1) P. obovata: blades of basal leaves are round (< 1.5 times as long as wide), plants glabrous except in leaf axils, inflorescence WITHOUT woolly pubescence; basal leaves usually purple on the underside. (GOLDEN GROUNDSEL, ROUNDLEAF RAGWORT)
Stem pubescence

(2) P. plattensis: blades of basal leaves oblong:(> 1.5 times as long as wide) plants unevenly woolly pubescent: Very unevenly woolly when young, and with at least some woolly pubescence at the nodes of the inflorescence even when mature. Basal leaves usually green on the underside, but may have some purple. (PRAIRIE GROUNDSEL)

The final two Packera species have leaves that are pinnately compound or very deeply lobed, fairly evenly distributed along the stem (not crowded at the base,) and basal and stem leaves are similar in shape. Neither of these have wooly pubescence.

(1) P. tampicana: lateral lobes of lower and middle stem eaves often contracted to very narrow linear basal that attaches to the midrib. Weedy in low prairies ,disturbed areas, roadsides. Typically in open places. (GREAT PLAINS

(2) P. glabella: Rare in nc TX, mainly se and e TX. (BUTTERWEED)
Stem pubescence

BACK TO: A Collection of Helpful Identification Guides

Posted on 10 February, 2020 01:34 by lisa281 lisa281 | 1 comment | Leave a comment

11 February, 2020

The Elm Project, Part 3: Cedar Elm vs. Winged Elm

CEDAR ELM (Ulmus crassifolia) vs. WINGED ELM (U. alata)
These two elms also drove me crazy for a while! In a better, simpler world, all elms with wings would be Winged Elms, but this is not the case. These both can have corky “wings” on their twigs, so despite the name, you can’t identify a Winged Elm by these alone. Both of these elms have small leaves, asymmetrical bases and (usually) double-toothed margins. However, Winged Elm usually has many winged twigs, while in Cedar Elm they occur mostly on young trees, and many large Cedar Elms have none at all. The ranges of these two overlap, and Cedar Elm’s range includes the eastern half of Texas. In North Central Texas, cedar Elm is much more common than Winged Elm. Winged Elm’s range covers only the eastern quarter of Texas, so only part of North Central Texas. The trees range as far west as the East Cross Timbers region, which cuts through Denton and Tarrant counties. Winged Elms prefer sandy soil and do not grow well in clay. We find them quite commonly east of the metroplex, but rarely, if ever, in the Blackland Prairie area. In west Denton county, where we get into the Cross Timbers area, we’ve found quite a few.

  1. The most sure-fire way of distinguishing these two is seasonal: Cedar Elm is the only native elm that flowers in the fall, while Winged Elm flowers in the spring. In North Texas, the small, round samaras of Cedar Elm are evident through most of September, and often hang on even later.
    -- Here's an observation showing the autumn samaras of a Cedar Elm:

    Autumn samaras of Cedar Elm, Sept. 5, 2021

  2. Winged Elm produces flowers and seeds in the spring, around March, before the leaves appear. Winged Elm is the only elm in North Texas that has corky wings on branches AND makes its seeds in the spring. Here are the spring samaras of a Winged Elm:
    Spring samaras of Winged Elm

  3. For the rest of the year, Cedar Elm leaves tend to be somewhat smaller than those of Winged Elm, and have a blunt tip. Cedar Elm leaves are also stiff and thick, while Winged Elm leaves are thinner and smoother on top. That’s hard to see in pictures, but it’s pretty obvious when you handle the leaves.
    Leaves of Winged Elm

  4. The leaf shape differs: Cedar Elm leaves (above)are more rounded or blunt at the tip, while Winged Elm leaves (below) are pointed at the tip. Here's a picture of a Winged Elm twig with leaves:
    Leaves of Winged Elm

  5. Winter twigs: the twigs of Winged Elm are redder, and the buds are larger.
    Winter twigs of Winged Elm vs. Cedar Elm

  6. The flowers and samaras of Winged Elm, like those of American Elm and Slippery Elm, appear in the spring before leaves open. They are fuzzy on both front and back surfaces, as well as having fine hairs extending from the margins. The samaras aren’t tightly clustered like those of the Slippery Elm, but don’t droop on long stalks like those of American Elm either.
    • Here’s a picture of Winged Elm samaras, with cilia around the margins AND fuzz on the front and back surfaces:

BACK TO: A Collection of Helpful Identification Guides

Posted on 11 February, 2020 22:30 by lisa281 lisa281 | 5 comments | Leave a comment

26 February, 2020

Helpful Identification Guides

Updated: June, 2021

* Acanthocephalus: Spine-Headed/Leaf-footed Bugs Zootaxa article
*Agalinis: Identifying Agalinis spp. (False Foxgloves) in Texas @pfau_tarleton
* Anemones: Guide to ID @pfau_tarleton
* Assassin Bugs ( Zelus spp.) @pfau_tarleton
* Broomrape Species @blue_celery
* Broomweed: Amphiachyris dracunculoides and look-alikes @rymcdaniel
* Brambles: Dewberries and Blackberries ( Rubus species of Texas) @kimberlietx
* Bumblebees @pfau_tarletonr
* Crotons @nathantaylor
* Dandelions @nathantaylor
* Draba and related genera @pfau_tarleton
* Elms: American vs. Slippery @lisa281
* Elms: Cedar vs. Winged @lisa281
* Elms: Chinese vs. Siberian @lisa281
* Elm spring samaras: American, Slippery, and Winged Elm @lisa281
* Erigeron (Fleabane and Horseweed) @lisa281
* Frogfruits (Phyla) @lisa281
* Galls: Texas Woolly Oak Galls @kimberlietx
* Gallformers (Website for Gall ID) @megachile
* Hawks - Cooper's vs Sharp-shinned Cornell
* Leaves: Glossary of Leaves @kimberlietx
* Medicago (Medicks) @nathantaylor
* Mosses: Identifying Goblet Mosses @rmedina
* Moths: Guide to Petrophila Moths in Texas @gcwarbler
* Moth Wing Features @mamestraconfigurata
* MULBERRY: Red vs. White Purdue
* Mushrooms: Simplified Key to Major Groups of Mushrooms Michael Kuo @ MushroomExpert.Com
* Mushrooms: Photographing for better ID Billy Stone, BRIT
* Packera and Senecio (Groundsels) @lisa281
* Privets ( Ligustrum spp.) @lisa281
* Sesbania (Riverhemps) @lisa281
* Soapberry vs. Pistache @baldeagle
* Solidago (Goldenrods) @bouteloua
* Spurges of the DFW area @nathantaylor
* Sumac (Rhus spp.) YouTube video @conboy
* Sumacs: Key to ID the Rhus spp of North America @conboy
* Swallowtail Butterflies: The Four Dark Swallowtails Blog: Louisiana Naturalist
* Tetrigidae Pygmy Grasshoppers @aispinsects
* Thistles: Identifying Texas Thistles Katie Stern at Perennial Ecology
* Three-Banded LeafhoppersErythroneura spp. @kimberlietx
* Tick Identification TickEncounter Resource Center
* Trees: Identify sometimes difficult trees (and other tree ID info.) @lanechaffin
* Trees: First Steps in Tree ID (You Tube Video) @lisa281
*Triodanis spp. Venus's Looking Glass @kimberlietx
* Turkey Tail and Lookalikes @sarahduhon
Posted on 26 February, 2020 12:25 by lisa281 lisa281 | 33 comments | Leave a comment