03 de mayo de 2021


I had hoped to be a more active participant in the Greater Phoenix CNC, but had an incident Friday night - intraocular bleeding that left my left eye foggy. It's kept me off the road, though I've done some observations in the neighborhood. Hopefully the fog lifts enough for me to be more active in making or confirming IDs.

Anotado en lunes, 03 de mayo de 2021 a las 06:00 PM por stevejones stevejones | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de marzo de 2021

Confusing comb-burs

It's that time of year when the comb-burs (Pectocarya spp.) are popping. Four of the local species are darn near identical vegetatively; three of them are fairly common locally (northeastern Maricopa County) and one is rare. This observation shows the differences in the fruit of the three more common ones, and this one is of the local rarity, P. setosa.
Some description based on a guide I wrote some time ago:
P. heterocarpa: Tips of nutlets bent slightly forwards. Marginal teeth are not spreading; teeth are fewer to missing on one nutlet.
P. recurvata: Nutlets curved backwards. Marginal teeth on fruit regularly spaced, hooked. This is the most common species of the three locally.
P. platycarpa: Swollen margin. Teeth irregularly spaced, hooked, with fattened base; teeth smaller and more numerous at the tips of the nutlets.
And for a bonus here is its slightly larger cousin, Harpagonella arizonica. Fruit differ from the four-nutlet, x-shaped plan of the pectocaryas.

Anotado en jueves, 04 de marzo de 2021 a las 12:15 AM por stevejones stevejones | 2 observaciones | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de enero de 2021

Cylindropuntia whipplei ssp. enodis

I was just tipped off to a recent paper noting a subspecies of Cylindropuntia whipplei found in northwest Arizona and southern Nevada, C. whipplei ssp. enodis. Its principal difference (as discernible in photos) is its fruit with absent or much-reduced tubercles. Also, as noted here, the fruit can proliferate (like chain-fruit cholla). A search of iNaturalist observations turned up a number of matching plants, especially around Kingman, AZ.

Anotado en miércoles, 27 de enero de 2021 a las 03:28 AM por stevejones stevejones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de diciembre de 2020

Paucity of observations

I haven't been posting many observations this fall. There's not much worth observing, at least not in the plant world. Most species of fall-flowering plants have taken the year off, having received so little rain. The drought has also cut down on the numbers of other organisms. The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy's fall butterfly count was substantially lower this year than last. But in pursuit of observations for this desert mistletoe quick-quest, I photographed some drought-stressed individuals, and even found a flower. I also documented something I've been witnessing out my window, as the desert cottontails are resorting to nibbling the bark of palo verde trees to get them through the drought.

Anotado en viernes, 04 de diciembre de 2020 a las 11:24 PM por stevejones stevejones | 16 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

27 de septiembre de 2020

Here we go again

Sears fire. Estimated containment date 15 October.

Anotado en domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2020 a las 05:31 AM por stevejones stevejones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

11 de agosto de 2020


In normal years by August some rain has fallen in the area and the summer ephemerals and summer-flowering grasses and shrubs have awakened to the monsoon. These are not normal times. This may portend a new normal; what that new normal will be only time can tell. I will not live to see it, for it will take some time for stability to return.

So beyond a single mid-July shower of 0.05" the local skies have been clear, and the dew point recently has been in the thirties and forties rather than the 55+ of a normal monsoon.

Nonetheless I paid a visit to Rackensack Canyon today knowing that the chance of seeing flowers was nearly nil. Beyond one flowering tamarisk surrounded by a cloud of pollinators, a handful of Maurandya antirrhiniflora flowers and some Euphorbia melanadenia cyathia the area was flower-free.

But the target of my hunt was the rich gall-producing fauna in Rackensack Canyon. A few new (to me) Quercus turbinella galls revealed themselves. Oddly, the Atrusca capronae galls that were abundant in their thousands last summer in the canyon were nearly absent. I saw only two today. But the novel ones made the trip worthwhile. I also hope that I've gotten some better photos of some interesting leaf galls of Celtis reticulata that @megachile found of interest. The sharp projection noted there do appear to be found only on the abaxial surface, but intermixed with galls lacking the projection. Could the projections be remnant exuviae?

Anotado en martes, 11 de agosto de 2020 a las 05:15 AM por stevejones stevejones | 37 observaciones | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de junio de 2020

Wild for Willow

I ran across this project while IDing plants today, so decided to take a little road trip to photograph some roadside desert willow plants I know of in the north Phoenix and Scottsdale area. There are several populations along Cave Creek Road that have been there for at least the 35 years I've lived here. I'm not sure whether they are native Chilopsis linearis ssp. arcuata or came from seed from landscape debris; leaves seem short so I suspect the latter. I also found a number of trees planted in the median along Cave Creek and Scottsdale Roads.

I couldn't resist taking a drive along Desert Willow Parkway. There were a few trees planted in the landscaping. At Desert Willow School I was a little surprised to find only one plant in the landscaping out front.

Anotado en lunes, 15 de junio de 2020 a las 12:06 AM por stevejones stevejones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de mayo de 2020

Another fine mess

I stumbled on a taxonomic revision reputedly clarifying certain relationships among Mentzelia section Bartonia including what I and most others in Arizona have been identifying as Mentzelia multiflora. It states that the material in Arizona formerly regarded as M. multiflora is one of three varieties of M. longiloba. (M. multiflora remains, limited to New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.) Much of the Arizona material in SEINet may have originally been identified as M. multiflora var. longiloba (or ssp. longiloba) but carelessly left off the variety (a common occurrence with other taxa). M. multiflora ssp. longiloba is listed as a synonym in the FNA treatment of M. longiloba. (That treatment was provided by one of the authors of the revision.) POWO excludes M. multiflora from Arizona.

One thing that strikes me about the key in the revision is that it relies on some mighty fine details in features and measurements, things that are difficult or impossible to see in iNat photos. SEM photos of the seed coat? Nope, no pocket SEMs, just as there are no pocket PCR and DNA sequencing kits for the field. Maybe someday... So geography is going to have to suffice, at least for M. longiloba.

As there are no iNaturalist observations of M. longiloba in Arizona (beyond a pair of mine that I changed yesterday) I wanted to run this by some of the working botanists in the region before making changes to the numerous M. multiflora observations in Arizona. @danbeckman, @aspidoscelis, @jdmore, @frankiecoburn, any comments on this revision?

Anotado en domingo, 17 de mayo de 2020 a las 12:00 AM por stevejones stevejones | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de abril de 2020

Delayed response

I've noticed recently that the local desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata) population has increased substantially this year. I suspect that the heavy October 2018 rains stimulated many seeds to germinate, as happened with so many other species at the time. Desert marigold is a short-lived perennial that only begins flowering in its second season so I only now noticed the population jump.

Desert marigold flowers are a good place to look for native pollinators and for the spiders that hunt them. Look amongst and below the petals for the latter. I can't remember having seen a feral honeybee working their blossoms, though they are a seemingly constant presence on brittlebush and other flowers. Perhaps they are too heavy and tip them. Or maybe I'm just forgetful.

Anotado en martes, 28 de abril de 2020 a las 10:51 PM por stevejones stevejones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de abril de 2020


Back again to the wash I visited on the 9th, but this time with the intention of making some collections. I hadn't pressed a plant in over a year. But as noted at the link above, there were beautiful specimens, given the nutrients released by last year's fire. I found three new taxa this time as well, Spermolepis lateriflora, Erythranthe rubella and Phacelia cryptantha. I didn't collect the Erythranthe - only saw half a dozen or so plants.

Anotado en domingo, 19 de abril de 2020 a las 01:37 AM por stevejones stevejones | 17 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario