Arquivos de periódicos de janeiro 2022

04 de janeiro de 2022

Symphyotrichum questions or answers, part 1

I've been on an ID binge recently (some people watch Netflix all day... some people are out in the field... some people work…). I am learning, and likely always will be learning, the Symphyotrichum genus. Caveat is that I am not a botanist, never will be, and my field work is very limited. But I love this genus with most of my heart and soul. Crazy, I know.

I discovered it in my yard, beginning my self-taught non-career of this genus there. Interest in botany began perhaps in the mountains of North Carolina some decades ago... back in the days when I could hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain, or even better, hike ten miles one way to a very remote campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, it was that twenty-mile round trip camping experience that may have begun the downward spiral with my spine. It was also that trip where I was sitting on the log (the sit that probably herniated the L3–L4 disk causing, in part, my disability today), looked up, and there were 6–9 adorable little screech owls staring down at me. If only back then I had a good, affordable, easy-to-use camera that I carried in my pocket. At least I still have the memory.

Back to the present and to the topic at hand. IDs of the Symphyotrichum genus.

Summer 2020. I discovered iNat. I don't remember how. Maybe I posted a photo of a plant or insect on Facebook and someone linked to it in a comment. I literally have no idea now. Anyway, suddenly my nearly non-existent "field work" opened up from the yard to the world. Well, sort of. This is not field work. It is not the same as handling live specimens of plants. It is not sitting under bright lights with magnifying glasses and microscopes. It is different from visiting herbaria. But at its best, there are excellent photos with IDs by other naturalists who are experts with that particular organism, its commonality in the area, etc. And you people do most of my field work for me. Thank you. There is a place for everyone here.

iNat. Summer 2020, I uploaded a photograph of some leaves (leaves!) growing in my yard (prior to mowing). Somehow, iNat identified them as calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum). Eventually, I discovered it was absolutely a correct ID. So I looked at the About page of the species on iNat which is usually the same as what is in Wikipedia, but it was only a few lines long and uninformative.

Then came floras, specifically Flora of North America North of Mexico. What kind of English are they written in? Botanists have their own language, and boy did I feel stupid. I got fixated on trying to understand terms such as “panicle” and “array” and “inflorescence”. iNat-ers helped on the Forum. And at some point, when I actually did realize I was learning a new language (botanical Latin with an English twist), I stopped trying to understand the terms by using synonyms or adjectives and, instead, just took them at face value. It was also good to realize that they sometimes, or often, serve multiple functions: an “inflorescence” is the group of flowers, and also the groups of flowers within the group of flowers, and also the tiny little group of flowers in the aster flower head. But for the most part, it’s the group of flowers.

Back to the Wikipedia article. I had created and edited on Wikipedia a little bit over the years. Everyone has their own mode of learning. I started my mode in childhood, but it needed rocket science improvements in college. My mode is reading. It starts with reading and always has. If I really want to learn, I then take notes, followed by more writing, regurgitating, reading again, explaining… questioning myself, correcting myself. Okay, yes, I learn maybe a harder way, but it sticks. At least for awhile. So I enhanced the Wikipedia article on Symphyotrichum lateriflorum and became one of the thousands of people we know as “Wikipedia”. "Wikipedia needs an article on this." Okay, start one! "The article on this topic is wrong." Okay, fix it! Absolutely make sure you use reliable sources and cite the facts or your information will be challenged or removed, though. It's in the Wikipedia Manual of Style.

So, while writing that article, then branching out to a few others (pun intended), I learned, and provided a bit of a service, I suppose. If anything, I will almost always be able to identify calico aster, and perhaps iNat knows it even better.

End of part one. Why do I always do this? There was only supposed to be a part 1, and this ain't it.


Posted on 04 de janeiro de 2022, 03:10 AM by elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

05 de janeiro de 2022

Today's Featured Article on Wikipedia

Today's Featured Article on Wikipedia is Symphyotrichum lateriflorum. It's kind of a big deal. :)

Or just go to to find it on the main page if today is 5 January 2022.

Posted on 05 de janeiro de 2022, 05:07 AM by elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 3 comentários | Deixar um comentário

08 de janeiro de 2022

Symphyotrichum subulatum "complex"

This is something I wrote on an observation from San Antonio at this link: It probably can apply to anywhere, with modification.

There are (or were) five varieties of S. subulatum (see descriptions at POWO has recently (in the last few months) synonymized S. subulatum var. ligulatum to S. divaricatum and S. subulatum var. parviflorum to S. expansum (the latter based on 2018 Catalogue of Life circumscription). The December 2021 Catalogue of Life release now synonymizes S. expansum to S. parviforum, which takes nomenclatural precidence because of the timeline in which the basionyms were described. I expect POWO will update to that eventually (probably sometime this year).

Most iNat observations of the varieties of S. subulatum are only at the species level. However, the varieties are quite different in characteristics, and most of their ranges do not overlap. These are likely two of the reasons for the change in acceptance of some (and probably later more) of the varieties back to the species level as proposed by Guy L. Nesom in the 1990s. So, an ID of S. subulatum at the species level can somewhat confidently be honed down to varietal level.

In Texas, the most common at the former varietal level is S. subulatum var. ligulatum (now S. divaricatum), followed by S. s. var. parviflorum (now S. expansum or S. parviforum, depending on the circumscription as I discussed above). The autonym is S. s. var. subulatum, or the actual equivalent of the species, and the USDA PLANTS database shows that it only has a presence in Texas in Chambers and Orange counties. The other two varieties, S. s. var. squamatum (circumstribed to by some as S. squamatum) and S. s. var. elongatum (circumscribed to by some as S. bahamense) are not native to Texas and have a very different native range. However, S. s. var. squamatum, although a native South American species, does have an introduced presence in a few southern US states, including Texas, according to POWO and the USDA PLANTS database. In Texas, var. ligulatum (now S. divaricatum) and var. parviflorum (now S. expansum or S. parviforum) have mostly non-overlapping ranges, with the latter solely in the southwestern-most counties. In San Antonio, only S. divaricatum is present according to USDA PLANTS database (unless of course the introduced S. s. var. squamatum is there, but there is no data available on the county-level for the introduced, or I haven’t found it yet).

What I am working on is trying to sort out the species-level S. subulatum identifications into the appropriate varieties, or new species names where relevant. This has to be done manually rather than with an automatic taxon name swap because, as I said, most of the observations are at the species rather than varietal level.

Regarding characteristics, these are also quite different among the varieties. From the FNA link I gave above (including drilling in to the varieties), here are a few of the differences as applied to the observation I linked to, above (

S. subulatum var. subulatum has 16-30 ray florets in 2 series that are white and that dry white or lavender in 0-1 outward-curling coils. Characteristics do not match the observation. Add to it the lack of presence in the area, and I ruled this out.

S. subulatum var. squamatum (S. squamatum), 21-28(-38) ray florets in 2-(3) series, white, drying white or lavender with INWARD curls but rarely coiling. Introduced in Texas. Characteristics do not match the observation. I ruled this out.

S. subulatum var. elongatum (S. bahamense), 30-54 ray florets in 2-3 series, pink to lavender and drying in 2-3-(4) outward-curling coils. Characteristics do not match the observation. Far southeastern US species including the Caribbean. No recorded presence in Texas. I ruled this out.

S. subulatum var. parviflorum (S. expansum, S. parviflorum), (23–)27–37(–42) ray florets in (1–)2 series that are usually white, sometimes pink, and dry in 1–2 outward-curling coils. Characteristics do not match the observation. Presence in Texas is southwestern. I ruled this out.

This left S. subulatum var. ligulatum (S. divaricatum), which has 17–30(–45) ray florets in one series, lavender to blue, and that dry in 3–5 coils that roll under. Present in Texas is widespread, including in San Antonio area. Description matches the observation. I selected this which, as you see, is now S. divaricatum.

Just to add that one of the most important (or two, rather) characteristics of any species in the family Asteraceae are the involucre and its phyllaries. I did not differentiate here, but there is a difference among these five. I have made a spreadsheet of the information from FNA that lists, in columnar form, the sames and differents among them. If you wish to have a copy, please message me your email address.

Posted on 08 de janeiro de 2022, 01:45 PM by elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

Wikipedia's Did You Know on 8 January 2022

See the main page from a browser (not the app), and you will find the following as the lead DYK with a high-quality photo of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.

"Did you know ... that the Chippewa have smoked the root of the New England aster in pipes to attract game?"

Link to article here:


Posted on 08 de janeiro de 2022, 02:26 PM by elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário