Friday, February 22, 2019

Is it too late?

OUCH! While out shooting bloom photos, I noticed this gaping wound on our surviving peach tree–no doubt the work of a neighborhood buck. Any suggestions? Is it too late to perform first aid? Looks we need to cage this poor baby. Right now, it's producing flowers galore from both limbs.

We got blooms

 Grape hyacinth, daffodils, spring starflowers and peaches!

Monday, February 18, 2019

UT Herbarium adventure

Our Blanco specimen will be mounted and processed for filing.
Last Tuesday, I accompanied Minnette Marr, a plant conservationist with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, to the UT Herbarium in Austin. Our mission: Meet with curator George Yatskievych and deposit a specimen voucher for an Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory (Ipomoea costellata var. edwardsensis), the uncommon plant I found in Blanco last November. 
Curator George Yatskievych had a chinaberry voucher out as an example of how plants are pressed and filed.
But first, George gave us a detailed history and overview of the herbarium, which was established in 1890 and is currently housed on nine floors within the core of the UT Tower. The herbarium is part of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center. More than 1 million plant specimens, most of which are pressed and dried, are preserved and filed by botanical families in metal, sealed cabinets. George also shared some special treasures....
The herbarium's "most famous speciemen," an Eupatorium organense collected during Captain James Cook's first Pacific voyage by English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks and Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander in 1768 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Another rarity: Maytenus obovatus specimen collected by Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands in September 1835. The fragment was gifted to Cyrus Lundell by the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens KEW in England. Below is a copy of the original voucher, archived in England, with the missing fragment. 
Here's a link to the original voucher in England!

Next George escorted us inside The Tower's core, where vouchers are archived on nine floors that look like this one.
Steel beams like this one run vertically through The Tower's core as structural reinforcement. The Tower, which was completed in 1937, rises 27 floors high.
One of hundreds of metal, sealed cabinets that contain vouchers.
Vouchers are filed by family, genus, and then species.
One of several archived Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory specimens.
Another Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory. Our voucher will go into this file.

Minnette Marr, George Yatskievych and myself with the Edwards Plateau crestrib morning-glory collected in Blanco last November.

Karen Lundquist, a fellow member of my Highland Lakes Master Naturalist chapter, emailed me with this fun information: 

"Hi, Sheryl. Last week, I went to the UT Herbarium with several other volunteers from the Wildflower Center and your morning-glory was one of the specimens the curator showed us during his presentation! What a good story."

Sunday, February 3, 2019

First daffodil and other beauty

 First daffodil of the season! Wow, it's early, too!

 Quince has started.
I missed the fragrant honeysuckle's blooming peak.

 I spotted a Mexican honey wasp on the honeysuckle.