Monday, July 18, 2011

habitat ~ 07/18/11 ~ Fort Ord - BLM InterGarrison

Fort Ord Public Lands - InterGarrison entrance
July 18, 2011

posted 09/10/11 - Yep, I'm still backposting from this summer, filling in blank spots I skipped in order to write about more current encounters, like red abalone, before I forget the details.

My habitat posts seem to be the least popular and rarely get comments. Basically, they're a step back and look around at the place where I'm hiking. Photos seem to do more justice about the type and seasonal changes than I can possibly describe in words. I often don't have much to write about habitats, because I've yet to really look into the basics of habitats. I'm still focusing on IDs of specific plants, animals, and other.

Everyone seems to have different names for particular habitats and frequently a location has legitimate numerous descriptions. The University of California, Santa Cruz's Fort Ord Natural Reserve, a place I have not hiked and is adjacent to my Fort Ord locations, describes Fort Ord as "maritime chaparral." The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) describes Fort Ord variously as "riparian forest, perennial grasslands and vernal pools."

From the very beginning of Nature ID, I felt it was important to include the wider picture, so to speak. Because I'm limited as to what blogspot can do and my own ability to code, I rely heavily on labels and archives (masquerading as hiking/observation dates). A nifty trick is to go to the sidebar, look at the current blog entry you're looking at and click on the specific date under hiking/observation dates. Then you'll be able to see all the posts for that particular hiking excursion. For this date, I only have a Spiranthes orchid. For dates like June 10, 2011 at Pinnacles, there's much to be seen.

Blogging is merely a hobby I have enjoyed. I know if I set up my own domain or switch to WordPress I may have more flexibility in how I present information. I'm not ready to go down that path quite yet.

hooded ladies' tresses ~ 07/18/11 ~ Fort Ord

It's that time of year again - orchids! Posting this reminds me we should go look for some other orchids around town. Piperia anyone?

Often when I repeat previous identifications, I do a cursory look to make sure I have past posts correct, in this case another hooded ladies' tresses at Fort Ord on August 4, 2010. The CNPS plant list for Fort Ord shows this species as "Spiranthes porrifolia/romanzoffiana – Western/Hooded ladies' tresses", which is unusual having a slashed ID on one of their lists. Maybe they weren't sure? I cheated last year by simply going with what Native Orchids on Flickr told me.

This time I looked at Jepson for both S. porrifolia and S. romanzoffiana, but relative proportions of fused upper sepal with lateral petals sounds variable and somewhat subjective. Besides, most flower descriptions don't make much sense to me unless I compare pictures. The two best CalPhotos' for comparison purposes are these close-ups of western and hooded. I've come up with my own non-scientific metaphor on how to tell these two ladies' tresses apart: western has a long straight tongue (lower petal/lip) sticking out over wide lower lips (sepals), whereas hooded has an arrow-shaped tongue sticking out over missing lower lips.