August marks the peak of the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, while September brings the beginning of autumn and a return to school. But as the days grow shorter in the northern hemisphere, they lengthen south of the equator with a promise of spring. And in the tropics…well, it’s the wet season, or the dry season, or something in between. Sadly, I lack the kind of hackneyed phrasing that’s available for the temperate zone. My having dropped the ball badly on the August issue means the opportunity for a double September issue of Berry Go Round.
Late September marks a return to blogging by Laurent Penet, the founder of Berry Go Round. A fascinating post of nectar production in the Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina) illustrates not only the general ideas behind nectar production, but also the specific mechanism the flower uses to prevent nectar-robbing. And if nectar production isn’t your thing, you’ll still be happy with the pictures – how often do you get to see an achlorophyllous, parasitic plant in full bloom? Another sign of life from a sorely missed blog showed up last week when Senna hayesiana burst into bloom over at Neotropical Savanna.
Keeping the focus on flowers, still over to Dave Ingram’s post on the White Cocklebur, an Old World species that’s invasive in British Columbia. Dave’s great photography almost makes you forget the fact that it’s an unwanted invader in BC. And do make sure you poke around the rest of Dave’s blog – his photography is stunning.
Remaining on the theme of exotic species, check out Foothills Fancies as she sets out “with murder in [her] heart”, out to try and control invasive Pepperweed in a nearby parkland.
In helping put together this blog carnival, Mary introduced me to a group blog that’s new to me, but with a name you gotta love: Get Your Botany On! With a list of 15 contributors it’s a veritable flood of plant blogging posts; included this month are four posts on Gentians: it begins with Gentiana rubicaulis, continues with a post on Gentiana linearis, a third on the fringed gentians of the northeastern US, and concludes with four gentians from Lake County, Indiana. And lots and lots of great pictures.
Another new plant blog (new to me, at least) is Tim Entwhistle’s blog, Talking Plants. Keeping on the theme of species articles, he has a nice article on Banksia aquilionia, the northernmost (i.e., the most equatorial) of the coastal banksias. If you’ve had enough of angiosperms, you can read about the eight-metre fronds of Angiopteris evecta, which are the largest fern fronds in the world. But if you really want to wrap your mind around something new, you should really read his post The Green Planet, in which he ponders the question”would Martian plants be green?” (Recall that plants are green because they don’t use, and thus reflect, the green parts of the spectrum.)
Remaining in the southern hemisphere, check out Christopher Taylor’s post on at Catalogue of Organisms about Sellocharis paradoxa, a little-known leguminous shrub that’s native to southern Brazil. First described in 1889, a century passed before the plant was re-discovered. Over at Gravity’s Rainbow you can learn about another lost plant, Fitchia mangarevensis. Sadly, this story lacks a happy ending – it’s presumed extinct.
If you’re more into field botany, you might enjoy some recent postings at Beetles in the Bush. Ted MacRae has a great post on Krameria lanceolata, and a stunningly gorgeous picture of its flowers. Other recent botanical posts include his article Sabatia angularis, and a very botanically-minded post on “North America’s most beautiful longhorned beetle“. (Seriously, it’s a botany post, not matter how much he planned it to be entomological!) Ted will be hosting the next edition of Berry Go Round at the end of this month. Send him your botanical posts!
For anyone who’s done field sampling of plants, I must recommend The Vasculum. The author really captures the essence of fieldwork. Only two of his posts fall within our window, but do check out Vitaceae Seedlings; A Mystery No More, and Lactuca….hirsuta?
Remaining on the theme of plants in nature, Vicky at TGAW has a post on Pawpaw hunting at Dismal Swamp State Park. Video included! And remaining on the topic of plants you can actually eat, a visit to the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog is a must. While there are too many excellent posts to count, Jeremy’s post on the pluot (plum x apricot) and Luigi’s visit to the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa are worthy additions to your reading list. Jeremy’s posts on perennial kale in Ecuador and progress in perennial wheat are also fascinating.
To round things off, check out a truly different, check out the story of a botany midterm exam over at Botanizing. As an added bonus, he included 10 multiple choice questions for you to try out (with an answer key, of course).
Now, to paraphrase the tagline of my father-in-law’s website, let me wish you ‘good reading!’