Archive for the ‘Taxonomy’ category

Time to Refresh Your Memory on Aster and Goldenrod Scientific Names

July 31, 2010

Many scientific name changes have been made in the Aster Family lately and there are a number of places you can go to refresh your memory on the changes to asters and goldenrods. Here are some websites where you can read up on them:

A list of name changes in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide can be found on the sidebar of this blog.

This is a website of Asters and Goldenrods of New England:

Here is a list of aster synonyms from Humboldt University: Synonyms.doc

This is a website describing John Semple’s taxonomy of the asters and goldenrods:

This is the aster family treatment in the flora of North America:

Time to go in the field and test your memory!

Showy aster, Eurybia spectabilis, on Long Island. Photo Steve Young

Scientific Name Changes in the New Rare Plant Status List

July 7, 2010

The 2010 Rare Plant Status Lists contain some scientific name changes that are listed here, old name first then new name.  To see further explanations of why they were changed you can type the new name into the NY Flora Atlas. Some of the species are in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and should be changed there too.

Aristolochia serpentaria - Endodeca serpentaria (In Newcomb’s)

Boechera shortii - Boechera dentata

Empetrum eamsii ssp. atropurpureum  – Empetrum atropurpureum

Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum – Empetrum nigrum

Erechtites hieraciifolia – Erechtites hieraciifolius (In Newcomb’s)

Eriophorum angustifolium ssp. scabriusculum  – Eriophorum angustifolium ssp. angustifolium

Eupatorium hyssopifolium var. laciniatum – Eupatorium torreyanum

Eupatorium rotundifolium var. ovatum – Eupatorium pubescens

Helianthemum dumosum – Crocanthemum dumosum

Helianthemum propinquum  – Crocanthemum propinquum

Lespedeza violacea – Lespedeza frutescens (In Newcomb’s)

Loiseleuria procumbens – Kalmia procumbens (In Newcomb’s)

Neobeckia aquatica – Rorippa aquatica

Zigadenus elegans ssp. glaucus – Anticlea elegans ssp. glaucus

Zigadenus leimanthoides – Stenanthium leimanthoides

NY Times Article on Taxonomy and the Naming of Organisms

August 13, 2009

Click here to see an interesting article on taxonomy by CAROL KAESUK YOON.

I like the last paragraph, copied below, which shows the value of the profession.

Just find an organism, any organism, small, large, gaudy, subtle — anywhere, and they are everywhere — and get a sense of it, its shape, color, size, feel, smell, sound. Give a nod to Professor Franclemont and meditate, luxuriate in its beetle-ness, its daffodility. Then find a name for it. Learn science’s name, one of countless folk names, or make up your own. To do so is to change everything, including yourself. Because once you start noticing organisms, once you have a name for particular beasts, birds and flowers, you can’t help seeing life and the order in it, just where it has always been, all around you.

Try and Collect Some Dodders This Summer

July 18, 2009

Dodders of the genus Cuscuta are those strange looking parasitic plants that grow like orange spaghetti over herbaceus vegetation and low shrubs. They are hard to identify because their flowers and fruits are so small that it takes a good hand lens or microscope to discriminate the tiny characters needed for species separation. Soon the new volume of the Flora of North America will be out that treats the genus Cuscuta and we would like to have more recent specimens from around New York to run through the keys. We are especially interested in the difference between Cuscuta obtusiflora var. glandulosa and Cuscuta gronovii var. latiflora in southeastern New York and Long Island. They have similar flowers but their fruits are different. Cuscuta obtusiflora has fruits that are wider than high with a depressed top whereas Cuscuta gronovii has a fruit that is higher than wide with a beak on the top. But just looking at the flowers we think that many specimens of gronovii var. latiflora have been identified as Cuscuta obtusiflora. Also, Cuscuta macrocarpa was once collected along the Mohawk River in the early 1990s near Schenectady and we would like to know if this species is more common than we think. Specimens are best collected with both flowers and fruits on the same plant. Rob Naczi at the New York Botanical Garden is especially interested in receiving specimens as he updates the Cuscuta key for the Northeast in the new Gleason and Cronquist manual. So if you’re out this summer in a meadow or a marsh and you see the distinctive orange spaghetti masses, please grab some and send them on to Rob at:

Dr. Rob Naczi
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458-5126

Cuscuta obtusiflora var. glandulosa at Jones Beach LI

Cuscuta obtusiflora var. glandulosa at Jones Beach LI

Eastern North America Yarrow Study Needs Your Help

June 5, 2009

Assistant Professor Justin Ramsey from the University of Rochester is studying eastern North American Yarrow (Achillea) species. He would like to do some chloroplast sequencing and cytotyping of populations to distinguish native vs. introduced plants.

If interested people stumble across Achillea populations this spring/summer, he would definitely like to incorporate their collections into his sampling.
He would be interested in populations from natural grassland environments (alpine, lakeshores, rocky outcrops) as well as more disturbed areas (roadsides, old fields, ditches) throughout the northeast U.S. and Canada.

He is hoping to measure leaf/stem traits in a common garden experiment next summer so would be interested in live plants if possible– small leafy stems with a bit of rhizome and root material transport really well. He could provide collection suggestions, boxes and pre-paid Fed-Ex receipts if that would be helpful.

Thanks again for any assistance you can provide and he will keep you informed of his findings regarding the eastern yarrows.

Justin Ramsey
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of Rochester
213 Hutchison Hall, River Campus
Rochester, NY 14627-0211

Phone: 585-273-5481
Fax: 585-275-2070


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