Journal archives for March 2019

March 17, 2019

A quick trip to California

I just got back from a rather quick and intensive trip to California and figured it would be fun to write up some of the things that happened in this journal post.

6 Mar: To start the day, my parents and I drove from the eastern edge of AZ (TX Canyon rest stop) to CA. I had contacted Dr. Victor Steinmann a few days prior and I was going to meet him today. Dr. Steinmann had offered to take me to a population of Euphorbia jaegeri (a really rare California endemic) off of I-10 out near Joshua Tree National Park. On the way there, we stopped near Phoenix, AZ and I saw what may be the narrowest leaf forms of E. maculata I've ever seen. Not a major find, but a fun find nonetheless. A few hours later, we met with Dr. Steinmann. He and I carpooled to the base of a canyon where E. jaegeri was located. Nearly immediately after getting out of the car, I managed to impale myself on Cylindropuntia ramosissima (serves me right for not paying attention in the desert). The wildflowers were wonderful. I recognized few of the genera and even fewer species. A full list can be found here. After climbing and talking extensively about Euphorbia, we found what we were looking for. A couple of the E. jaegeri plants were a foot across or more! It took more searching and climbing, but we eventually found a single immature fruit. Most of the plants had no cyathia. When we got back, we took a quick trip to Joshua Tree NP and saw all the wildflowers in bloom. Perhaps the highlight was seeing Tetracoccus hallii which used to be in Euphorbiaceae but is now a member of Picrodendraceae. A full list can be found here.
At some point in the field, Dr. Jon Rebman replied to my email asking if I could come by the herbarium at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

7 Mar: In the morning, my parents and I drove to San Diego and went to the herbarium at the San Diego Natural History Museum. I got a ton of work done on one of the more complicated Euphorbia problems in Baja California. I nearly got as much done as I was expecting to but didn't get anywhere near as much as I wanted to. There are just too many species complexes that need studying. Perhaps the most interesting realization is just how bad of a catch-all group E. serpillifolia really is. There always seems to be more work to do in Euphorbia!

8 Mar: Not much to report here. I got a little time to explore a nearby park and a full list of things I found can be seen here.

From this point on, I was preoccupied essentially the entire time with non-botany stuff. I managed to find a lifer and a few other little interesting things, but nothing like what I found those three days. In particular, Euphorbia peplus is a common weed throughout much of CA, but I have only gotten to see it once (in El Paso). It was nice to get to see the many plants of it growing in person. So naturally, I ended up adding photos of the two most commonly observed species on iNaturalist and they will get lost in the mess. :-) Also, to those who may have wanted to see me when I was in the area, I apologize for not reaching out. I would have loved to make more of the trip, but I just didn't have the time. Most of my observations other than those mentioned above were taken quickly between locations and even the stops above were much quicker than I would have preferred.

Posted on March 17, 2019 19:12 by nathantaylor nathantaylor | 5 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment