I am one with the Ligule League

Yes, I have become a grass person now.

On this forsaken day, I, Arnan Pawawongsak, declare my allegiance to the GRAMINOID SIDE 🌾😈🌾

Long I have resisted the power of the grasses, but all that changed during my REU this summer, when I obtained a whiff of blueberry scones from Silver bluestem, at Matador Wildlife Management Area (credit to wildlife biologist Hunter Hopkins for the tip-off).

All it took was one brief perusal of Gould's grass tome, one Plant Systematics class, and several trips to the Wildflower Center vegetation survey to learn the Dark Arts from Sean and Michelle... my fate was sealed.

I know several genera and some common species, but I'm learning fast. Never before have I experienced this power... resistance is futile. FEAR ME, NON-GRASS PEOPLE!!!

Ok, that was a bit over-dramatic. But the point has been made.

To be completely honest, all it took for me was the smell. Blueberry scones. Similar to how I got into trees, that was ponderosa pine. Although the tree hand-shaking episode played a big part too.


It all started when I was doing field work this summer for my REU with Dr. Charles H. Cannon and Claire Henley, on the last day of June, 2023. The wildlife biologist at Matador Wildlife Management Area, Hunter Hopkins (who kindly took us around the property and allowed us to sample the oaks) happened to mention this grass trivia as an aside, while we were working on a post oak-ish tree by the creek (which is also Hunter’s favorite tree).


The oak tree where it all started.

I didn't believe him at first. So naturally, I took a bunch of seed heads from one of the grasses, rubbed it between my fingers, and gave it a whiff.

Oh, wow. He's actually got a point.

The scent was sweet, a pleasant sweetness. Nothing you'd expect from such a humble-looking grass. The moment I got a whiff of that Silver bluestem, I was sold.


The ligule-leaved, spikelet-covered culprit. Actually, this isn't the one I smelled—I unfortunately did not capture that individual on camera. But this one was a nice looking Silver bluestem.

...Hunter actually didn’t say blueberry scones, it was some sort-of candy (SMARTIES candy?), but I personally found it smelled like blueberry scones. So that stuck.

Silver Bluestem, Silver Beard Grass, *Botriochloa laguroides* var. *torreyana*, synonym *Bothriochloa torreyana*, plant of many names... now and forever you will conjure the thought of freshly-baked blueberry scones.

And if you can't tell, I love blueberry scones.


Special thanks to Hunter Hopkins, wildlife biologist at Matador Wildlife Management Area, for tipping me off about the Silver bluestem thing; Dr. Robert K Jansen, professor at UT Austin, for going over grass morphology and Poaceae in Plant Systematics class; Frank W. Gould, for writing the Guide to Texas Grasses; Michelle Bertleson and Sean Griffin with the Science and Conservation team, for teaching me basic grass ID at the Wildflower Center, and; prairie_rambler or Cleveland Powell, iNaturalist grass master, for IDing my grasses and making sure that if I make any learning mistakes, they get corrected.

I would also like to thank the Flora of North America project contributors for their excellent labeled grass illustrations, which helps you figure out whether that bract you're looking at is a glume or a lemma, and Kelly Wayne Allred for writing the excellent article "Describing the Grass Inflorescence" back in 1982. Both have been very useful for learning and applying technical grass terminology.

Ligule League it is!

由使用者 arnanthescout arnanthescout2023年12月07日 15:47 所貼文

觀察

照片/聲音

什麼

白櫟組 ( Quercus)

觀察者

arnanthescout

日期

7月 1, 2023 17:39 CDT

描述

REU23_32
Hybrid with Q. stellata
Not coord-corrected

Large tree 30-35 feet tall. 2 large trunks both >1 feet wide, bark deeply fissured. Leaves weakly bicolored, adaxial surface of leaves cinerous-glaucous. Growing on steep sloping ground (25-30° angle above horizontal) on the W bank of unamed creek. Substrate gravelly towards the top, more silty-clayey towards the creekbed. Associated species include Ambrosia psilostachya, Sapindus drummondii, Artemisia ludoviciana, Sideroxylon lanuginosum, Physalis spp., and Celtis spp.

With outside influence from perhaps Quercus havardii or some other species?

Hunter Hopkin's favorite tree on Matador Wildlife Management Area.

照片/聲音

什麼

孔穎草屬 ( Bothriochloa)

觀察者

arnanthescout

日期

11月 2023

地點

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

描述

I might exchange images 6 and 7 for labeled versions to show the sessile and pediceled spikelet.

評論

Ooh. If I ever photograph another grass maybe I'll tag you on it. :) About once a year in the fall I decide I am finally going to learn grasses. The effort lasts a day or maybe two. Then I forget almost everything I learn and have to start from scratch the next year. Lol.

發佈由 rymcdaniel 4 個月 前

@rymcdaniel don't get your expectations too high, haha. I'll probably pick up most of the common grasses within the next few months, but it will take time before I get confident with them. Combination of technical knowledge, carefully whole-grass scrutinization (nodes, ligules, blades and all) up-and-down, and gestalt. The nice thing is that you never have to look far to find grasses... it's just most of the stuff you need to look at is really small!

發佈由 arnanthescout 4 個月 前

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