Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mystery plant is revealing

Photo by Matt Ball 8/30/2015 

Sue L. sent me photos of a mystery plant on the Phoneline trail. I set out with my camera-carrying husband to see what I could see that he could photograph. After convincing myself that this plant was in the Mint family (square stem, check; opposite leaves, check; 5-fused petals, check; aromatic, check; looks like a mint to me, check), I spent way too much time looking at all manner of mints. After much ado, I (finally) realized it's not a mint at all. Doh! In fact, it's a plant I should have remembered from last time I did this, namely: Wright's Beebush aka Wright Lippia (Aloysia wrightii) in the Verbena family. (As my family likes to say about me: Every day is a new day!)
The moral of this little story is this: As people who think scientifically (and that's what we all should strive to do), we mustn't allow ourselves to fit the data to our favorite theory. (I admit that I'd like to see some DNA on this one, though!)
Thanks, Sue, for putting me on this trail.
If you find a plant you can't identify (in Sabino Canyon ONLY, please), feel free to send me a photo or two and a general location. I won't get to it immediately. (I continue to work full time - for pay - and will do so for the foreseeable future.) But I do enjoy these mysteries. Again and again.

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