Saturday, November 12, 2011

poison hemlock ~ 11/12/11 ~ Elkhorn Slough

While poison hemlock gets very little mention on the recently revised official Elkhorn Slough site, in my humble opinion, it is the single most dominating weedy species on their coastal, publicly-accessed grasslands. There are massive stands of it, not only in the expansive area it encompasses but also in height. Andy was kind enough to provide a size comparison for me to show it readily grows to 8 feet tall at Elkhorn.

Per my m.o. for Nature ID, all these photos were taken on November 12, 2011. This means the typical blurb repeated everywhere from books to online that C. maculatum flowers from April to July is not entirely correct. It's obviously flowering here in November, so it's no wonder it's such a productive plant. The flowers and leaves remind me very much of Queen Anne's lace and garden carrots.

I was sorry to see Land Steward ceased blogging about Elkhorn Slough. In fact, I discovered several blogs that featured Elkhorn Slough have stopped abruptly in the past two years, which makes me wonder if all the staff and volunteers were asked to stop blogging about their experiences. I now receive weekly, glossy, sugar-coated e-mail updates on what is going on there. It's too bad; I preferred the nitty-gritty and personal perspective of the reality of land management.

Did you notice the other unwanted resident in the first photo, a cucumber beetle?

Oop, I guess I should also note that there are other hemlocks out there besides the ones in the Apiaceae, aka carrot family, such as those in the pine family like Tsuga spp.


Imperfect and tense said...

When you mentioned that a non-native pest was going to feature in this blog post, I was anticipating a reference to Simon Cowell. Phew, just a beetle and a plant, then.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Oh, I don't think Simon Cowell is truly evil. Maybe he has an even worse reputation across the pond.

Imperfect and tense said...

You're probably correct.

On the subject of non-native invasive species, thanks for the link to the Ant chap's blog. Interesting reading.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Oh, did you read my twitter feed?

Imperfect and tense said...

Sure did. Sadly, I don't always notice it tucked away down the page. I must admit I was surprised that anyone was FOR non-native invasives, but a comment by an ecologist on a BBC2 TV programme on Friday night echoed similar sentiments. Weird.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I liked your comment on MrILoveTheAnts' blog. Not having read the book, I agree with most of what he says, but I can also see the point of view of the Skr commenter on the original post. Just because an author may have done a poor job at arguing her claims, that doesn't necessarily mean the claims have no validity. I believe our understanding of nature is still very limited and our point of reference is often shortsighted. In the end, I'm all for biodiversity!