What makes a good sandmat observation?

Since starting out on iNaturalist, I have seen a lot of sandmat observations. Some are good, some are bad, and some are simply unidentifiable (thankfully, a small number). But, there are some that really go above and beyond and make for an immediately identifiable and even taxonomically informative observation. What follows is a list of tips to help make the most out of an observation to ensure a good ID.

1. Get a photo of the entire plant. Some plants grow upright, some clump, and some form thick mats.
2. Get a close-up of upper side of the stem (at the tip of the plant and the base). When taking this photo keep in mind that the important characteristics include: stipules (the tiny structures between each pair of leaves), hairs, cyathia (the flower-like structures), and the fruits. There are two common and relatively widespread species in the United States that can only be separated by the hairs and the seeds, so this can be the most important photograph or set of photographs.
3. Get a close-up of the underside of the stems. Some species root at the nodes or have fused stipules only on the undersides of stems. Also, try to get the undersides of fruits (and their style branches) in focus as this can be quite helpful.

These 3 should be enough to get you an ID for most species, but for some, it is better to get more.
4. Photograph the seeds. Seeds can be difficult to photograph but are also some of the most informative structures. If you need help with this, I recommending reading the Tips on Harvesting and Photographing Seeds post.
5. Get super close-ups of any of the structures mentioned above.

Posted by nathantaylor nathantaylor, May 10, 2018 18:57

Comments

Thumb

*bookmarked this for future copy-and-pasting on Euphorbia’s! :)

Great job, Nathan.

Posted by sambiology over 1 year ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag