2019-01-07_Sandy Areas N of San Felipe Wash, just W of Buttes Pass Rd x SFW_Anza-Borrego Desert State Park_San Diego County_California_US

We continued GPS’ing Astragalus aridus in order to be able to map the population of this rare plant. This is the first year I've seen it. I had 42 GPS points of it today. Tom Chester and Walt Fidler were also GPS'ing locations (we spread out).

Overall, less diversity than the previous two surveys immediately E of here.

Highlight of the day for me was finding 6 Cleomella obtusifolia (4 in flower--yellow). I GPS'd the locations. I now have anchored my search image for this plant. Before today, we had seen just 1 on our surveys in this area.

Curiously, unlike our last survey E of here on 2 Jan 2019, we saw no ~Eriastrum harwoodii today. Last survey, there were many. I was ready to GPS the new locations today, but nothing. The semi-stable dunes here likely have a slightly different suite of characteristics that are no longer favorable for ~E. harwoodii. I'm looking forward to returning E of here later in the season to confirm the E. harwoodii ID when the plant flowers. I haven't seen E. harwoodii before, but vegetatively this plant is easily recognizable as an Eriastrum.

I only saw one Astragalus crotalariae (in flower--I posted it) right at the beginning of the survey, then none. I did find Astragalus lentiginosus var. borreganus sparsely scattered (2 in flower I posted). I saw 5 Astragalus didymocarpus var. dispermus--more than on the surveys E of here.

FUN FACT: I shared with the group that Chylismia claviformis has the fastest photosynthetic rate of any plant in the world that has been measured.

At the beginning of the survey, I revisited the Atriplex elegans var. fasciculata from 2 surveys ago. It was in flower. I posted an observation of it.

***On 10 Jan 2019, Tom Chester sent out an email report of this research survey. His email follows:

Nancy Accola, Walt Fidler, Kate Harper, Jim Roberts, Joe Woods and I had
the usual delightful time botanizing this floriferous area. And the
weather was perfect, too.

Pix from our wonderful iNat observers from this trip:

Kate Harper, 65 observations of 55 taxa:

https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/botanywoman/2019/1/7

Jim Roberts, 55 Observations of 53 taxa:

https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/jimirob1/2019/1/7

Highlights:

- The absolute highlight of this trip came on the drive home, when Nancy
Accola and I saw a female MOUNTAIN LION crossing the road in front of us on
the drive home.

- Seeing a Langloisia setosissima in bloom, found by Jim Roberts. I love
that plant!

Jim's pix:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19538381

Kate's pix:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19528160

- Continuing our census of the Astragalus aridus population. We're now up
to seeing a minimum of 500 plants, at 443 GPS points! My best estimate now
of the population here is _probably_ a minimum of 1,000 plants, and maybe
2,000 plants.

- Using my numbers, I saw 1,118 plants of 54 species in bloom, almost
exactly what I recorded on the previous trip. Walt had an even better trip
than he did on 1/2/19; including his observations earlier in the day before
we got there, he found 3,040 plants of 77 species in bloom! (;-)

It again was wonderful to see Borrego milkvetch in bloom, now joined by
Astragalus crotalariae:

Jim's pix of the two species:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19535984

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19534077

Kate's pix of the two species:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19498399

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19495303

Nancy was particularly excited to see the first bloom on the Aliciella:

Jim's pix:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19560583

Kate's pix:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19535268

- Frost damage to the plants was minimal. One Dicoria canescens was quite
unhappy; some Palafoxia had drooping upper branches; and some Eriogonum
thomasii had frost-bitten ends of its inflorescence. But 99.9% of the
plants were unscathed. In particular, the Geraea looked like they had
completely recovered; yay!

- We found some huge desert lily plants, one with 14 basal leaves, and
another with an estimated 140 buds, flowers and fruit! The number comes
from my counting the buds / flowers / fruit on two or three different
branches of the infl, which each had ~20, and then multiplying by the 7
total branches, after checking that each of branches had about the same
number of buds / flowers / fruit.

As far as I know, this is a record number of buds / flowers / fruit from a
single flowering stalk.

Kate's pix:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19533079

Jim's pix (look at the shadow in his pix to see the huge number of buds,
flowers and fruits most clearly):

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19560373

Posted by botanywoman botanywoman, January 11, 2019 04:55

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