ינואר 26, 2022

Giliastrum spp.

Common in Texas:

  • Bluebowls (Giliastrum rigidulum)
  • Splitleaf Gilia (Giliastrum incisum)
  • Bluebowls (Giliastrum acerosum)

Distinguishing these taxa

G. rigidulum and G. acerosum will tend to have a deeper blue corolla, size around 10mm overall.
Both will have deciduous basal leaves that are not persistent.

G. acerosum occurs further west, In Trans-Pecos and the Plains., leaves acerose or needle shaped with thin linear divisions
G.rigidulum limited to the Edwards Plateau area, leaves are NOT acerose and divisions of the leaf are broader.

G. incisum has distinct basal leaves that are simple or "deeply serrate," size of corolla 4-7 mm

Key: https://polemoniaceae.wordpress.com/giliastrum/


פורסם ב ינואר 26, 2022 10:19 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | תצפית 1 | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 16, 2022

Resource on Texas *Glandularia* species

Including a key and information on species in Texas. Improving upon previous descriptions, so no comprehensive descriptions of all species.

פורסם ב ינואר 16, 2022 04:33 לפנה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 30, 2021

Identifying plants - Advice from Nathan's Identifier profile



Looking up specimens:
iNaturalist observations/images in general are not very reliable, so try to use specimens.
https://plants.jstor.org/ but I'm not in college yet so I don't have an account =(((

פורסם ב דצמבר 30, 2021 06:08 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 28, 2021

List of Common Replies for ID'ing

In an attempt to help more people, I am creating a list of replies for common comments I'll make on an observation. I care about all the newer iNatters out there and want to help them out the best I can in a courteous and kind manner... as a scout should do!

Also... Helpful Identification Guides

Also, here's a list of helpful identification guides: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/lisa281/31012-helpful-identification-guides
Hopefully you've found this already, it comes in handy every now and then!

Cultivated plant

-Possibly/Definitely cultivated-

Is this a cultivated plant?

Unfortunately, the wild/cultivated distinction in iNaturalist is an obscure thing. A lot of people don't figure it out when they first upload observations (like me!).

Let me take an excerpt out of my "Helpful Tips and Resources for Beginner (Plant) iNatters":

"People will take picture of ornamental flowers in garden beds, planted trees, potted succulents. That's completely fine! Sometimes I'll find an interesting cultivated plant and want to know what that is. With these plants, however, you should mark them captive/cultivated, so that they'll be casual observations. iNaturalist is focused on wild organisms, and a plant in a garden placed there by a human is not Research Grade material. If you're confused on what counts as captive/cultivated, iNaturalist has definitions and examples here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#captive"

Also, take a look at this if you want to (https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/arnanthescout/57230-helpful-tips-and-resources-for-beginner-plant-inatters) for some tips for iNatting with plants!

Hope you find this helpful!


Can be hard to differentiate, but if you know what to look for/take photos of it is possible to bring these to species. See https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/kimberlietx/30266-key-to-rubus-spp-of-texas-dewberries-blackberries-and-brambles for info on distinguishing Texas species.


~May have features visible~

These are really similar and can be hard to ID to species... but only if you don't know what to look for (and photograph)
I'm not sure if there's enough info in these pictures to get this to a species ID...

...but see this guide https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/54356-a-short-guide-to-callirhoe-in-texas if you want to get your Callirhoe observations to RG!

~Doesn't have features visible~

These are really similar and can be hard to ID to species... but only if you don't know what to look for (and photograph)
I don't think there's enough in here to get this to a species ID...

...but see this guide https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/54356-a-short-guide-to-callirhoe-in-texas if you want to get your Callirhoe observations to RG!

Winged vs Cedar

Turns out, Winged Elm is not the only elm with wings... ;D
"In a better, simpler world, all elms with wings would be Winged Elms, but this is not the case."

Typically, Winged Elm has more pointed leaves (botany speech: acuminate apex)
See here for more detailed info: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/lisa281/20574-the-elm-project-part-3-cedar-elm-vs-winged-elm%0A


Junipers are one of the very few times it's useful to get a broader photo of the entire tree.

Ashe Juniper usually follows the Balconnes escarpment, and Eastern Red Cedar goes towards the East. Luckily, (or unluckily), they overlap right around the Central Texas Region :D

Ashe juniper will be more bush-like, branching off from the bottom to create a giant globular bush.
Easter Red Cedar will be more conifer tree-like (think Christmas tree), having a main trunk with the branches coming out.

There are some other more obscure characteristics as well, but that's one of the easier ways.

פורסם ב דצמבר 28, 2021 01:23 לפנה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 26, 2021

Darcy's Sage


From Wikipedia, 12 December 2021:

"Salvia darcyi is a herbaceous perennial shrub native to a very small area at 9000 ft elevation in the eastern range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental. Discovered in the wild in 1991, it has since been sold in horticulture under several names. Botanist James Compton named the plant after fellow British botanist John d'Arcy after a trip they made to the region in 1991.

Salvia darcyi reaches 3 feet in height, with stoloniferous roots that spread over time and deltoid pastel green leaves that are very sticky. The bright coral red flowers are 1.5 inches long on inflorescences that reach up to 2 feet."

From "Prairiebreak" blog:

"I have referred to Salvia darcyi glancingly in many posts over the last few years. Perhaps it's time to grasp the thistle (so to speak) and acknowledge this uber-sage, this conflagration, this burning bush of garden plants. Just a few days ago, Mark Kane (an old gardening friend and great horticulturist) commented casually as we strolled past a planting of this sage at DBG) that he was with Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey (of the famed Yucca Do and Peckerwood Garden) in 1988 in Nuevo Leon when they first collected this taxon: at the time they thought it was Salvia oresbia. A few years later James Compton and William D'Arcy accompanied the Yucca Do meisters to the same spot, and the plant was subsequently named (or renamed?...I am not sure Charles Christopher Parry's collection of S. oresbia in 1878 might not be the same plant incidentally--which would wreak a bit of nomenclatural havoc...)"

From San Marcos Grower's website:

"This plant was originally discovered by Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey of Yucca Do Nursery near Galena, Mexico, in 1988 and in 1991 they guided a British expedition that included British botanist James Compton to a site where it was found growing along a rocky limestone ravine at 9,000 feet in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. Though originally called Salvia oresbia, Compton officially described it in a 1994 issue of the journal of Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, naming it after Canadian born botanist William G. D'Arcy, who accompanied him on the collection trip and so it is also commonly called Darcy's sage."

Primary source? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8748.1994.tb00406.x
Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 2. May 1994.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION by Compton: "Herbs to 1.5m or more; stems and leaves densely glandular-pubescent; inflorescence whorls with 4-6 flowers... S. darcyi"

Carl Schoenfeld
John Fairey
Owners of Yucca Do Nursery
Main initiators on the "Yucca Do Expeditions," a series of excursions into the remote Mexican mountains. Their interest in the area came from an initial trip in 1988 with Lynn Lowery, where they gained their fascination with the region and its plants.

Info on one of their expeditions https://www.juniperlevelbotanicgarden.org/content/learn/expeditions/1994_mexico/

James Compton
William G. D'Arcy - The plant is named after him

Lynn Lowery, horticulturalist and plant explorer
https://www.texaslegacy.org/narrator/carl-schoenfeld/ Carl Schoenberg discusses his impressions of Lynn Lowery in an interview

Denver Botanical Gardens
Galena, Mexico/Sierra Madre
Yucca Do Nursery
John Fairey Garden/Peckerfield Garden - https://jfgarden.org/ and https://www.gardenconservancy.org/preservation/preservation-news/peckerwood-nursery-opening

The last two are the same location, the Peckerfield Garden was apparently built over where the Yucca Do Nursery used to be.

-Longer petiole than Tropical Sage
-Scabrous texture, "papery" as described in an iNat observation
-"Pastel" green color
-Leaf deltoid, cordate base tapering inward to an attenuate margin
-Height of plant is quite tall, 3-4 feet?
-Some sort-of distinct aroma associated with it - a "pleasant aroma" as San Marcos Growers say, "herbaceous cat urine" as described in an iNat observation, or "sulfur" as a commenter on Prairiebreak blog suggests.
-Large prolific blooms, long blooming season



Synonym Salvia oresbia?

פורסם ב דצמבר 26, 2021 05:10 לפנה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 03, 2021

Notes on Ageratina in Texas

Shrubby Boneset (Ageratina havanensis)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Other species (A. wrightii) less than 5 RG observations
BONAP range
Glossary of Leaves for convenience

A. havanensis A. altissima
Form Shrub Herbaceous Perennial
Woody Stem?

(though younger plants may not develop this yet)

Leaf shape

Deltate to broadly ovate or somewhat hastate
(Leaning towards triangular?)

Deltate-ovate to ovate or broadly lanceolate
(Can get more ovular in shape)

Leaf margins

Dentate, sometimes bluntly
and bordering on crenate

Coarsely and doubly serrated/incised

Cypsellae texture
(As if anyone would take a picture of the cypsellae!)

Hispid (Stiff hairs/bristles) Glabrous

It's been observed that the anther filaments do not stick out as much/are less prominent. This does seem true... Not confident about reliability yet but looks promising.
Also according to FNA,
"Ageratina havanensis apparently is the only species of the genus in the flora area with evergreen-persistent leaves."

GBIF (Herbarium specimens)
https://www.gbif.org/species/5400768 A. havanensis
https://www.gbif.org/species/5400552 A. altissima


פורסם ב דצמבר 03, 2021 06:12 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

ספטמבר 25, 2021

Helpful Tips and Resources for Beginner (Plant) iNatters AND Common Beginner Mistakes

First impressions matter.

iNaturalist isn't just a website to post your observations, but a community of people. It can be daunting at first, especially if you don't know the hidden manners and norms. Lots of people will post observations that will never get identified due to minor mistakes, and many get a bad impression and leave.

These images show some common hiccups with rookie users (I'll go over these in detail below): bad photo exposure, unfocused/blurry pictures (though this one can be persistent—my camera focus is evidence), taking photos of cultivated plants, unaware that they should be marked captive/cultivated and that iNaturalist is focused on wild organisms (this can frustrate people when their observations get marked as casual), taking photos of the whole tree/plant , but no closeup of leaves/flowers, By the way, these are all my photos from old observations. I was once one of you!

However, get past the newbie troubles, and you will find a knowledgeable and welcoming community, and a powerful tool that could change your life! This is here to help you get a good introduction.

Getting Good Photos for Documentation

Good photos are tantamount to good observations. It's not that hard to create good photos even from a phone camera... if you know what to do!

Making observations count: https://bushblitz.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/BackyardSpeciesDiscovery_Factsheet-2_Make-your-observations-count.pdf
Getting Great Plant Photos in iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/abisko-plants-and-phenology/journal/17621-getting-great-plant-photos-for-identification-in-inaturalist

These two resources are probably the most useful in my opinion. Some other resources (I'll probably add more):

Official iNat guide: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started
How to Make Research-Quality Observations in iNaturalist: https://www.segrasslands.org/recording-species-in-inat-website
Random Tips: https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/5360-tips-for-making-inaturalist-observations

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

I've noticed a lot of common errors by users that eventually dissuade them from using iNaturalist. For the sake of all of us, I'll address them below. Fix these hiccups, and I guarantee you will get more ID's and enjoy iNaturalist better!

1: Taking pictures of cultivated plants—without knowing the norms for that

This is probably the most common. People will take picture of ornamental flowers in garden beds, planted trees, potted succulents. That's completely fine! Sometimes I'll find an interesting cultivated plant and want to know what that is.

With these plants, however, you should mark them captive/cultivated, so that they'll be casual observations. iNaturalist is focused on wild organisms, and a plant in a garden placed there by a human is not Research Grade material. If you're confused on what counts as captive/cultivated, iNaturalist has definitions and examples here:

In terms of identifying that unknown plant in your garden, you can always use the iNat AI to help. You just won't be able to verify those observations with other people, since most identifiers don't identify Casual observations.

2: Photos for the same plant spread out in multiple observations.

Unknowing users who take multiple pictures of plants (which is good!) often post each photo in its own observations. I don't understand why. Maybe they aren't familiar with the system, or don't realize they can put multiple photos in an observation. Whatever the case, I'll just say that in most cases, if it's a photo of the same organism, put it in the same observations. Sometimes I'll even put photos of groups of organisms together, (multiple violet ruellias that are near each other, for example) as long as they appear to be the same species .

3: Blurry/Unfocused/Overexposed photos

While technically there's nothing wrong with these, it is definitely a lot more difficult to ID things if it's hard to make out details.
In terms of blurry/unfocused photos, there are some ways to deal with this. If the plant is moving due to wind, let that die down before taking a shot, of if the wind is relatively weak hold it with one hand to keep it steady. For plant parts that are just fine and thin, which will cause the camera lens to focus to the background instead of the foreground, you could put your hand behind the plant so it focuses closer up (or use a piece of paper, or a notebook). If you know how to manually adjust your camera focus, that will also help.

Sometimes a plant will be "contrasted" (maybe sunlight hits some leaves but not others, or half of a flower), and that'll cause the camera to adjust the exposure to either the bright area and make everything else really dark, or to the dark area and make the bright area really bright. I make sure to keep my lighting relatively even (all bright under sunlight, or all dim). If I have a problem with exposure I'll usually huddle over a plant with my shadow so that the light is all even.
On taking pictures at night—IMO it's a lot better to take photos in the day (there aren't many reasons to take photos of plants at night), but using flash can work. Though besides that... I got nothing. Someone help me out here!

4: Photos of the entire plant (the whole tree or bush), but without any close-ups of leaves or flowers... or photos of just the flower.

Overall images showing the entire tree/plant can be helpful for showing the habit of a plant (whether it is low growing or standing, a vine or shrub or tree), but they usually don't show enough to reach a definitive ID.
Similarly, a photo of just the flower is great for normal photography, but if you want a species ID you'll probably need more.

When taking pictures of plants, Here's my rule of thumb: flowers from the top and side, leaves (maybe 3-8 in a photo). This is usually enough for an identifier to get a plant to genus, at the least.
If you want to be really thorough, you can do the bottom side of the leaf and the bark as well.
In addition, I'll photograph anything unique or unusual features about the plant. Does it have thorns or other prickly things on it? Is there fruit or seedpods? These can be helpful for identification.

NOTE: Some plants require more specific features to be identified. You can usually figure that out by asking around the community or checking identification guides—here's a hub for some of those.

If an user corrects you, or marks a observation casual, don't take that personally! Most of them are just trying to help you learn these hidden "rules". Usually when I correct users or point mistakes out I make sure to keep my tone friendly so you don't misinterpret my feelings. Others might not, and tone can be hard to convey in just words. Keep that in mind!

Other Tips

  • A good way to learn how to make good observations are to look at other people's observations. After all, there are plenty of veteran users who have stellar observations!
  • Make observations wherever you can—walking to a class during school, around the parking lot of a supermarket, etc. The more observations you make, the more experience you'll get.
  • Sometimes it isn't obvious if a plant is a vine or a shrub, which can confuse identifiers, so add in the description "vine" or something of the like.
  • If there are multiple plants/organisms in the photo, it helps to write in the description which one you want identified.
  • For info about geoprivacy obscuring observations (If you want to obscure observations near your house, for example), location and time metadata, getting photos to the website uploader, and other technical things, see this journal post: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/rrhs-ecological-survey/journal/60932

I also suggest that you do not start identifying plants until you are well versed with them—say maybe 100-200 observations.

I implore anyone who read this to share this with anyone who might find these tips handy!

If you have questions or concerns about iNaturalist, contact me by tagging me to an observation (@arnanthescout ) or messaging me on iNat!

Feel free to add comments below!

Last updated: 4 January 2021

Moved from another place for convenience

פורסם ב ספטמבר 25, 2021 10:59 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

ספטמבר 24, 2021

Study of Common Fleabanes in Austin Metropolitan Area: Genus Erigeron

[1] Daisy Fleabane (E strigosis) vs [2] Philadelphia Fleabane (E philadelphicus) vs [3] Plains Fleabane (E modestus)

-Section Quercifolium
-E. strigosis
-Section Phalacroloma
-E. philadelphicus

-E. modestus

Lady Bird Wildflower Center Info:

Bloom time:

  1. April-May
  2. March-June
  3. February-October


  1. N/A
  2. Rich thickets, fields, and open woods
  3. Dry, open, calcareous uplands, Rocky uplands in West, Central and North Central Texas west to New Mexico and Arizona. Well-drained gravel, limestone.

Flora of North America Info:

1: 30-70cm
2: 4-80cm
3: 8-40cm


  1. Erect or ascending
  2. Erect
  3. Ascending to spreading (often multiple from bases; of previous year often persistent)

Leaves, basal:

  1. a. Spatulate (tapered at base, wider at the end) to broadly or narrowly oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but the point at the base) to linear, 30-150mm
    b. Persistent through flowering (usually)

  2. a. Oblanceolate to obovate (Oval, wider at the end), 30–110mm
    b. Persistent or withering by flowering

  3. a. Spatulate to oblanceolate, 20–50mm
    b. Withering by late flowering

Leaves, cauline:

  1. a. Gradually reduced distally ( thinner further out from attachment area, like the leaf)
    b. Margins entire or shallowly to deeply serrate or crenate

  2. a. Oblong-oblanceolate to lanceolate, Gradually reduced distally. (bases clasping to auriculate-clasping (earlike clasping?))
    b. Margins shallowly crenate to coarsely serrate or pinnately lobed

  3. a. Same as basal, Spatulate to oblanceolate
    b. Margins entire or with 1–2(–3) pairs of teeth

פורסם ב ספטמבר 24, 2021 09:41 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

יולי 06, 2021

Mulberry Blurb

Mulberries are such a pain to identify.

Found from: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/ronstephens/44007-white-and-red-mulberries
Best resource differentiating Red and White Mulberry
Unfortunately, these two can hybridize...

Red Mulberry: The lone native
White Mulberry: The invasive one
Paper Mulberry: velvety-pubescent on leaves, longer petiole. The other invasive one

Black Mulberry: The other, cultivated brother. Slower growing than its invasive counterparts. Also said to have the best berries.
Texas Mulberry: Micro phylla, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in. Dark auxillary buds clear here.
Korean Mulberry (Morus indica): I'm going to ignore this one.

Some things:

M. rubra: 3-9 in
M. alba: 2 1/2 to 8 in
M. nigra: 1 1/2 to 6 in
M. microphylla: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in

M. rubra: Finely serrate, doubly serrate?
M. alba: Blunty crenate
M. nigra: Coarsely toothed
M. microphylla: Coarsely serrate

M. rubra: Glabrous, scabrous, almost sandpaper-like above. Soft pubescent beneath.
M. alba: Glabrous and glossy above, glabrous beneath.
M. nigra: Rough, becoming glabrous above. Pubescent(sources vary in description, but it's at least hairy) beneath.
M. microphylla: Somewhat pubescent above. glabrous to hairy-ish below.

Leaf apex:
M. rubra: Acute to prominently acuminate (think very-tapered)
M. alba: Acute to short-acuminate
M. nigra: Acute to short-acuminate
M. microphylla: Acute to short-acuminate

What this basically boils down to:

M. rubra: Large scabrous leaves, finely serrate margins, prominent veins. If apex is very acuminate then that's also a good sign.
M. alba: Glossy leaves, glabrous throughout, bluntly crenate margins.
M. nigra: Rough-ish above, Pubescent beneath (unlike M. alba), coarsely toothed (but not finely serrate like )
M. microphylla: All the leaves are tiny, dark auxilary buds.
Broussonetia papyrifera: Leaves covered in white-velvety pubescence (often creating a white lining around the edges where the light hits the hairs), finely serrate margins.

Anything in-between: Probably a hybrid or something. Leave it be.

Things I looked at:
Trees of Central Texas by Robert A. Vines
A lot of different iNat observations and images.

פורסם ב יולי 06, 2021 07:22 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

יולי 01, 2021

Field Identification Tips for the Sages of Texas

Sages are very commonly misidentified, especially for beginning iNatters, so here are a few tips I've learned for some of the Salvia species:

Last updated: 25 December 2021

Salvia engelmannii (Engelmann's Sage) and Salvia texana (Texas Sage)
While Engelmann's Sage tends to be a pale lavender color, and Texas Sage a deeper shade of blue, the color of the blooms isn't a reliable way to distinguish the two.

The easiest way I distinguish these two is by the upper corolla lobe.

Engelmann's Sage is pilose (covered in fine, soft hairs) on the upper corolla lobe:

Image by @desertnaturalist on iNaturalist

This is absent for Texas Sage:

Image by @jbecky on iNaturalist

Once you notice this, it's quite hard to miss. Credit to @alex_abair for first pointing this out in an observation I found
Also note how the flower stalk on Texas Sage looks less dense (personally I'd call it a willowy look) than Engelmann's Sage and contains conspicuous, long, white hairs.

Another possible distinguishing trait is the forked stigma of the flowers, the sort-of "snake's tongue" that sticks out of the upper corolla lobe. I've noticed that on Engelmann's Sage, the stigma sticks quite far out of the rest of the corolla (visible in the image, on the flower on the right). On Texas Sage, the stigma is less prominent, or absent from view.

Salvia farinacea (Mealy Blue Sage)
Mealy Blue Sage is distinct in this area since the pedicel (the flower stalk) and the calyx share the blue of the flowers. Usually it'll range from a lighter blue to a greyish color. There will usually be no sign of green when the flowers are in bloom. Often the entire flower stalk will be a purplish blue. It will also appear powdery or "mealy" due to hairs on the calyces.

Image by @arnanthescout via iNaturalist

Salvia roemeriana (Cedar Sage), Salvia coccinea (Tropical Sage), and Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage)

These are another three plants that are often mixed up. The main difference is in the leaves.
The leaves of Cedar Sage are distinctly rounded, cordate to reniform (kidney-shaped) with a scalloped/crenate edge.

Image by @samwilhelm on iNaturalist
It also has a long petiole, almost as long as the length of the leaf:

Those of Tropical Sage are more triangular, mint-like, ovate to deltoid in shape, and more pointed at the tip (an acute apex, as a botanist would say).

*Image by @himuegge on iNaturalist

Autumn Sage has small leaves, obovate to eliptic in shape, no larger than the corollas. It is often planted as a cultivated plant.

I guess I'll call this finished. Most of the other sages I find distinct and easier to identify, but I could try to add them all in.
If you have any other useful identification information be sure to tell me.
פורסם ב יולי 01, 2021 08:13 אחה"צ על־ידי arnanthescout arnanthescout | 4 comments | הוספת תגובה