Journal archives for March 2020

01 March, 2020

Get ready for the City Nature Challenge!

Posted on 01 March, 2020 13:54 by lisa281 lisa281 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

04 March, 2020

Elm: Identify Four Elms by Spring Samaras

These four elms include three native elms, plus one introduced (and uncommon) elm. These elms all flower and fruit in the spring, before leaves arrive. The fruit of elms is a flat, rounded samara, with a central seed surrounded by a thin wing. Here's how to identify American Elm, Slippery Elm, Winged Elm, and Siberian Elm from these samaras.

American Elm (Ulmus americana)

Slippery Elm (U. rubra)

Winged Elm (U. alata)

Siberian Elm (U. pumila)

Samaras have cilia around the edges, but smooth on front and back surfaces Samaras have NO cilia around the edges , just fuzz on front and back surfaces, in the center over the seed Samaras have cilia around the edges AND fuzz on front and back surfaces; often reddish Samaras have NO cilia around the edges, and also NO fuzz on the front or back surfaces
Samaras are elongated (longer than wide) and deeply notched Samaras are round (about as long as wide) and not deeply notched Samara are lanceolate (long and narrow) and have deep "claw-like" notch at the bottom, Samara are round and have very small notch at the bottom,

BACK TO: A Collection of Helpful Identification Guides

Posted on 04 March, 2020 14:10 by lisa281 lisa281 | 6 comments | Leave a comment

17 March, 2020

Helpful Identification Guides

Here are some guides I've found useful. Most are journal posts people have written on iNat, some are from external sites. If any of the links don't work, please let me know! My HTML skills are very rudimentary!

*Agalinis: Identifying Agalinis spp. (False Foxgloves) in Texas @pfau_tarleton
* Anemones: Guide to ID @pfau_tarleton
* Assassin Bugs ( Zelus spp.) @pfau_tarleton
* 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
* Gophers vs moles (signs) @pfau_tarleton
* Leaves: Glossary of Leaves @kimberlietx
* Medicago (Medicks) @nathantaylor
* Mosses: Identifying Goblet Mosses @rmedina
* Moth Wing Features @mamestraconfigurata
* 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
* 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 @lanechaffin
Posted on 17 March, 2020 15:09 by lisa281 lisa281 | 2 comments | Leave a comment

29 March, 2020

Key to Trees: GROUP A

GROUP A: Simple leaves, alternately attached

1. The trees have acorns. (Look for acorns or acorn caps still attached to tree, or acorns on the ground.) Buds are clustered at the ends of twigs. (OAKS) Go to #2
+ The trees don’t have acorns Go to #7
2. The leaves do NOT have prominent lobes Go to #3
+ The leaves DO have prominent lobes Go to #4
3. The leaves are small and thick, with pointed tips. Leaves remain attached through the winter. Not native to NCTx, but frequently cultivated here.


+ The leaves are large and have large, coarse teeth


4. The leaves have bristle tips Go to #5
+ The leaves do not have bristle tips. Go to #6
5. Leaves have 5-9 lobes with bristle tips



(Note: Shumard Oaks predominate east of NCTx, Texas Red Oaks to the west. Within NCTx, these two frequently hybridize.)
+ The leave have 3 lobes with bristle tips, are leathery and dark green, glossy on top. Bark is very dark


6. The leaves have rounded lobes, with the end lobe largest. Acorns are huge


+ The leaves often have five rounded lobes, forming a cross shape, but leaf shape is quite variable. Acorns are small.


7. The branches/twigs are armed. (They have thorns, spines, etc.) Go to #8
+ The branches/twigs are NOT armed. (no thorns or spines) Go to # 11
8. The leaves are toothed Go to #9
+ The leaves are NOT toothed; leaf margins are smooth. Go to # 10
9. The leaves are about as wide as long, have large teeth and sometimes lobes. Thorns are slender and attach near where leaf attaches.


+ The leaves are finely toothed, and appear somewhat “wilted.” They are longer than wide, and have a long pointed tip. Bark is very dark


10. The leaves are small (2-3” long,) thick and fairly stiff. They have a broad tip and narrow to the stem. They cluster on spurs.


+ Leaves are large and broad, most >4” long; with long pointed tip. Go to #24
11. Leaves toothed, but very variable in shape, even on the same tree: some lobed, some mitten-shaped, some not lobed; fruit an elongated berry.


+ The leaves are not highly variable, including lobed and unlobed leaves on the same tree. Go to #12
12. The leaves are roughly oval, oblong, or egg-shaped Go to #17
+ The leaves are NOT oval, oblong, or egg-shaped. Go to #12
13. The leaves are very long and narrow. (over 3” long, about ½” wide). The bark is very dark, furrowed, often twisted.


+ The leaves are about as wide as they are tall. Go to #14
14. The leaves are roughly triangle/heart shaped. Go to #15
+ The leaves have spiky lobes, roughly star-shaped. Go to #16
15. The leaves are triangle shaped, with toothed margins


+ The leaves are heart shaped, with smooth margins. Pink flowers in the spring, before leaves appear.


16. The leaves are star shaped. Spiky balls remain on tree.


+ The leaves have 3-5 shallow lobes and large teeth. Distinctive peeling bark exposes light underbark. Ball are not spiky


17. The leaves are asymmetrical at their bases. Go to #18
+ The leave are symmetrical at their bases Go to # 23
18. The leaves have three basal veins: three main veins coming from the leaf base; secondary veins come from all three main veins. Leaves usually have mostly smooth margins, or only a few teeth.


+ The leaves have pinnate venation (veins like a feather: one central vein with secondary veins coming off the central vein.) The leaves are toothed, often double-toothed. Go to #19
19. The leaves are only slightly asymmetrical at the base, leaves smooth and shiny. Bark is mottled with orangish areas. (Non-native tree, usually cultivated)


+ Leaves are strongly asymmetrical at the base, teeth usually doubly-serrate: each tooth has a break or cut on one side. Go to #19
20. The leaves are large, typically 2-5” long. Length of the leaf is usually about twice its width. Go to #21
+ The leaves are small, typically 1-3” long. Length is usually less than twice the width. Twigs often have corky “wings.” Go to #22
21. The leaves are smooth to slightly rough on top; on most leaves, few secondary veins fork well before the edge. (no more than 1-2 per side.)


+ The leaves are quite rough on top; on most leaves, several secondary veins fork well before the edge. (more than 2 per side)


22. The leaves have pointed tips, smooth or slightly rough on top, flowers in the spring. Usually has corky wings on twigs


+ The leaves have wide, rounded tips, are rough on top; flowers in the fall. Sometimes has corky wings on twigs


23. The leaves are large, usually 4 or more inches long. Go to #24
+ The leaves are small, have indistinct teeth, often red berries Go to #25
24. The leaves have conspicuously parallel secondary veins and have finely toothed to smooth margins.


+ The leaves are large, without teeth, and without conspicuously parallel secondary veins. Go to #25
25. Leaves are ovate (wider at the bottom than top,) with long pointed tips. Wood deeply furrowed, showing orange where exposed, especially exposed roots. Twigs produce a sticky, milky sap when broken.


+ The leaves have smooth margins, and back of leaf much lighter than front. The bark on a young tree is grayish brown with orange tint in fissures. When mature, it is very dark, deeply divided into small blocks, resembling charcoal briquettes. (AKA as alligator-skin bark). Fruit orange when ripe, with a four-sided cap which remains after the fruit has fallen.


26. The leaves are evergreen, smooth, abruptly narrowed at base


+ The leaves are wider near the tip, tapering to base, fuzzy underneath, not stiff.


Return to KEY TO TREES Main Page

Posted on 29 March, 2020 22:43 by lisa281 lisa281 | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Key to Trees: GROUP B

GROUP B Compound leaves, alternately attached

1. The trees are armed. (have thorns or spines) Go to #2
+ The trees are unarmed. (no thorns or spines) Go to #4
2. Thorns on thorn, often extremely thorny, leaves once or twice compound. Fruit a wide, flat pod, dark brown when mature, 10-18" long.


+ No thorns on thorns Go to #3
3. The bark has corky outgrowths tipped with short thorns. Leaflets often have prickles


+ Compound leaf branches into two parts; stout straight thorns up to 2" long. Fruit a rounded pod, 6-9” long


4. Leaves are twice-compound, leaflets coarsely toothed or lobed. Fruit a small round ball, green or yellow when mature


+ Leaves are once-compound, margins smooth or toothed, but leaves are not lobed. Go to #5
5. Leaflets are finely toothed. Go to #6
+ Leaflets have smooth margins. Go to #7
6. Largest leaflets near the middle of leaf, last leaflet often small or missing. 15-23 leaflets, bark is dark and cracked into rough diamonds when mature.


+ Largest leaflet near the end of the leaf, and there is usually a terminal leaflet present; leaf has 11-17 curved leaflets. Bark is gray, very rough and craggy.


7. Leaflets are oval shaped, small. Fruit hanging in a "string of beads."


+ Leaflets are lanceolate Go to #8
8. Bark is light gray; leaflets 7-19, alternate on rachis, usually no terminal leaflet; mild smell when crushed.


+ Bark is cinnamon colored; usually has a terminal leaflet, except on very young trees; leaflets have strong, peppery scent when crushed.


Return to KEY TO TREES Main Page

Posted on 29 March, 2020 23:11 by lisa281 lisa281 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

30 March, 2020

Key to Trees: GROUP D

GROUP D Compound leaves, oppositely attached

1. Leaves have 3-5 leaflets, with irregular lobes and/or teeth.


+ Leaves have 5-9 leaflets, without lobes; smooth margins or widely spaced teeth. Go to #2
2. Leaf scar is a semi-circle, with the new bud sitting above it. The fruit is a samara (winged seed) with a needle-like point and a flat seed.


+ Fruit is a samara (winged seed) with a rounded point and a thick seed. Leaf scar is horse-shoe or smile shaped, partially surrounding the new leaf bud. Go to #3
3. Samara about 1” long; leaves often have 5 rounded leaflets. Common on limestone soil. Grows mostly in and west of Collin and Dallas counties.


+ Samara about 2” long; leaves often have 7 leaflets. Grows mostly to the east of Collin and Dallas counties.


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Posted on 30 March, 2020 20:21 by lisa281 lisa281 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Key to Trees: GROUP C

GROUP C Simple leaves, oppositely attached

1. Leaves finely toothed, on reddish stem. Leaves rounded on end, almost as wide as long.


+ Leaves have smooth margins (no teeth). Go to #2
2. Twigs are reddish; veins curve upwards towards tip; leaf surfaces are rough.


+ Leaves are otherwise. Go to # 3
3. Leaves are large and glossy.


+ Leaves are small. Go to #4
4. Leaves have a wedge-shaped base and a short stem. Fruit is on a loose pedicel.


+ Leaves taper to stem, very short petiole, if any.


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Posted on 30 March, 2020 20:39 by lisa281 lisa281 | 0 comments | Leave a comment