Journal archives for January 2019

January 11, 2019

2019-01-07_Sandy Areas N of San Felipe Wash (SFW), just W of Buttes Pass Rd x SFW_Anza-Borrego Desert State Park_San Diego County_California_US

We continued GPS’ing Astragalus aridus in order to be able to map the population of this rare plant. This is the first year I've seen it. I had 42 GPS points of it today. Tom Chester and Walt Fidler were also GPS'ing locations (we spread out).

Overall, less diversity than the previous two surveys immediately E of here.

Highlight of the day for me was finding 6 Cleomella obtusifolia (4 in flower--yellow). I GPS'd the locations. I now have anchored my search image for this plant. Before today, we had seen just 1 on our surveys in this area.

Curiously, unlike our last survey E of here on 2 Jan 2019, we saw no ~Eriastrum harwoodii today. Last survey, there were many. I was ready to GPS the new locations today, but nothing. The semi-stable dunes here likely have a slightly different suite of characteristics that are no longer favorable for ~E. harwoodii. I'm looking forward to returning E of here later in the season to confirm the E. harwoodii ID when the plant flowers. I haven't seen E. harwoodii before, but vegetatively this plant is easily recognizable as an Eriastrum.

I only saw one Astragalus crotalariae (in flower--I posted it) right at the beginning of the survey, then none. I did find Astragalus lentiginosus var. borreganus sparsely scattered (2 in flower I posted). I saw 5 Astragalus didymocarpus var. dispermus--more than on the surveys E of here.

FUN FACT: I shared with the group that Chylismia claviformis has the fastest photosynthetic rate of any plant in the world (that has been measured).

At the beginning of the survey, I revisited the Atriplex elegans var. fasciculata from 2 surveys ago. It was in flower. I posted an observation of it.

***On 10 Jan 2019, Tom Chester sent out an email report of this research survey. His email follows:

Nancy Accola, Walt Fidler, Kate Harper, Jim Roberts, Joe Woods and I had
the usual delightful time botanizing this floriferous area. And the
weather was perfect, too.

Pix from our wonderful iNat observers from this trip:

Kate Harper, 65 observations of 55 taxa:

Jim Roberts, 55 Observations of 53 taxa:


  • The absolute highlight of this trip came on the drive home, when Nancy
    Accola and I saw a female MOUNTAIN LION crossing the road in front of us on
    the drive home.

  • Seeing a Langloisia setosissima in bloom, found by Jim Roberts. I love
    that plant!

Jim's pix:

Kate's pix:

  • Continuing our census of the Astragalus aridus population. We're now up
    to seeing a minimum of 500 plants, at 443 GPS points! My best estimate now
    of the population here is probably a minimum of 1,000 plants, and maybe
    2,000 plants.

  • Using my numbers, I saw 1,118 plants of 54 species in bloom, almost
    exactly what I recorded on the previous trip. Walt had an even better trip
    than he did on 1/2/19; including his observations earlier in the day before
    we got there, he found 3,040 plants of 77 species in bloom! (;-)

It again was wonderful to see Borrego milkvetch in bloom, now joined by
Astragalus crotalariae:

Jim's pix of the two species:

Kate's pix of the two species:

Nancy was particularly excited to see the first bloom on the Aliciella:

Jim's pix:

Kate's pix:

  • Frost damage to the plants was minimal. One Dicoria canescens was quite
    unhappy; some Palafoxia had drooping upper branches; and some Eriogonum
    thomasii had frost-bitten ends of its inflorescence. But 99.9% of the
    plants were unscathed. In particular, the Geraea looked like they had
    completely recovered; yay!

  • We found some huge desert lily plants, one with 14 basal leaves, and
    another with an estimated 140 buds, flowers and fruit! The number comes
    from my counting the buds / flowers / fruit on two or three different
    branches of the infl, which each had ~20, and then multiplying by the 7
    total branches, after checking that each of branches had about the same
    number of buds / flowers / fruit.

As far as I know, this is a record number of buds / flowers / fruit from a
single flowering stalk.

Kate's pix:

Jim's pix (look at the shadow in his pix to see the huge number of buds,
flowers and fruits most clearly):

Posted on January 11, 2019 04:55 AM by botanywoman botanywoman | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 12, 2019

2019-01-11, Canebrake Wash and Mouth of GBC, Canebrake Area, San Diego County, US

Today’s Survey Highlights:
• The tiny, delicate Astragalus nuttallianus var. cedrocensis in flower.
• Eremothera refracta with a few open flowers (usually open at dusk and are closed at this late morning observation time).
• First flowering Mohavea confertiflora of the Season.
• First flowering Eucrypta micrantha of the Season.
• First flowering Diplacus bigelovii var. bigelovii of the Season.
• Many Neogaerrhinum filipes [Antirrhinum f.] in bud. I so enjoy this little vine (twines with its pedicel).

I posted 84 iNat observations of 76 species today (the most in a day, so far).
They begin here

Posted on January 12, 2019 11:56 PM by botanywoman botanywoman | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 20, 2019

2019-01-18, June Wash (mostly 2.0-3.5 miles up loop), Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California, US

Today’s Survey Highlights:
• Pholisma arenarium near the intersection of S2 x June Wash where we parked to meet.
• Seeing my first Astragalus insularis var. harwoodii in fruit and flower (just up from above intersection).
• Meeting Dan Gluesenkamp, Ph.D., the executive director of CNPS (California Native Plant Society) whom I admire for his effectiveness and tireless activism. He joined us for the botanical survey today.

Posted on January 20, 2019 09:28 PM by botanywoman botanywoman | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 31, 2019

2019-01-23, Ella Wash - Palo Verde Wash Loop, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California, US

Today's Survey Highlights:
• 2 plants of Erodium texanum with fresh, 5-petal flowers. We rarely see this species in flower, and when we do see it, there are often fewer than 5 petals on the flower.
I love the leaves on this species. They may be my favorite desert plant leaves. I think Erodium texanum is “Charismatic Microflora.”
• A white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) resting on the sand.
• Cryptantha barbigera var. barbigera growing next to C.b. var. fergusoniae—both in flower.
• I found Acmispon maritimus var. brevivexillus in Palo Verde Wash. This was a new species for our entire Borrego Badlands Flora.

Posted on January 31, 2019 05:03 AM by botanywoman botanywoman | 0 comments | Leave a comment

2019-01-27, Arroyo Salado (past Primitive Campground), Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California, US

Today’s Survey Highlights:
• 1 lovely Nemacladus tenuis var. aliformis in flower.
• I enjoyed that John Randall (The Nature Conservancy) joined us for the first time on a botanical survey. I was in the field with him last November 11, 2018 for an all-day class on the “Geology of the Laguna Mountains” led by Don Barrie, Geology Professor (Mesa College).

We drove down the wash, stopping 1.1 mile past the bathrooms to get out and explore a side wash.
We then did the same at 1.4 mile past the bathrooms.
Both the main wash and the side washes are bursting with flowers. I think this week will be the peak bloom in this wash (note the 12 October 2018 rain).
The flower displays here are worth recommending to tourists.

Posted on January 31, 2019 05:55 AM by botanywoman botanywoman | 0 comments | Leave a comment