Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The canyon's full of the Sunflower Family

In Sabino Canyon, there are more species of plants in the Asteraceae Family than in any other. The Grass (Poaceae) Family is second (but I don't plan on learning those plants for a good long while). Then comes the Pea (Fabaceae), the Borage (Boraginaceae), and the Mallow (Malvaceae); tied for 6th, the Cactus (Cactaceae) Family and the Mustard (Brassicaceae) Family.*
*If you get a different count from Joan Tedford's plant list (Feb 2011), please let me know.
Fortunately for Derek, the four on his list from the Sunflower Family are reasonably easy to distinguish by their leaves alone (via Anne's quick and easy method. Not intended as botanical descriptions).

  • 21. Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) Leaves are covered with fine white 'hairs'; edges of the triangular leaves are smooth.
  • 22. Canyon Ragweed (Ambrosia ambrosiodes) (an ironic name if ever there was one). Leaves are usually much larger than those of the Brittlebush, plant itself is, too; leaves can be 'bumpy', never have white hairs.
  • 23. Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) Leaves are white-hairy, too, but are located mostly at the base of the plant, and, compared to the Brittlebush leaves, I'd call these 'wavy'.
  • 24. Desert Broom (Baccharus sarothroides) (This is the plant you took out of your back yard, Derek.) Leaves are very thin, stick straight up. No white hairs. There are male and female plants.

And here's the quiz: Which one of the four above is this? Answer in tomorrow's post.

Photo by  Matt Ball

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