Monday, May 28, 2012

tall sock-destroyer ~ 05/28/12 ~ Fort Ord

Apiaceae

I'm loving the new common name given to this plant by Jepson eFlora. It's very apropos. To see a decent picture of why it could be called a sock-destroyer, check out this photo from CalPhotos.

After looking at numerous online photos of various hedge parsleys, I'm deciding against what David Styer suggested, even though he likely knows the plants of Fort Ord better than anyone else. He thought these were either knotted hedge parsley, aka short sock-destroyer (Torilis nodosa) or CA hedge parsley, aka false carrot (Yabea microcarpa). I compared online pictures with Jepson eFlora descriptions and decided on the tall sock-destroyer ID, because all the flowers and seeds we found here were at the terminal ends of stems (not along the stems like with T. nodosa) and with rays almost the same length (not unequal like with native Y. microcarpa). Since I needed a visual to decipher carrot family part names (like peduncle, ray, and pedicel), I found a great labeled photo of a carrot family member from UBC Biology 324 Blog.

Obviously, hedge parsleys are not the only plants with seeds that stick to fabrics like Velcro. I'm sure their real purpose is to stick to furry animals with equally annoying results to the carrier such that the seeds will be picked at repeatedly until they drop at a new location. David pointed out the similarly looking and closely related bur chervil (Anthriscus caucalis
) and how its seeds have a little pointy end.

10 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I just spent much too much time picking these from my socks and shoes after today's hike. I brought a pair of gaiters to wear just to prevent that sort of thing (works too) but they do no good left back in the trunk of the car. Thank you for that new common name for this bugger.

Imperfect and tense said...

Thank goodness for the hyphen. I was pondering on how the plant couls possibly know what length socks were being worn.

Imperfect and tense said...

'could', sorry!

randomtruth said...

That definitely seems to be Torilis, one of the true evils of the invasive world. In some areas I go, I literally get covered by them (a stiff brush works well, btw). A big diff between arvensis and nodosa is form - arvensis is straight upright, and nodosa is nodding, or decumbent. So, I'd say that also suggests you're right with arvensis.

And yes, the animals move it around something fierce - I can show you photos of sad-looking bears covered in the burrs. And each of the burrs has many seeds inside. Good news - it's an annual with next to no seed bank, so if you pull it from an area each year before it goes to burrs, you can wipe it out quickly.

randomtruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
randomtruth said...

Here's a link to a lousy cam trap photo that really shows the burrs in-transit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomtruth/3842718503/

Katie (Nature ID) said...

John, the new name is great, huh? I, too, have often not used decent hiking attire, even though I have some. Gaiters seem like too much trouble, but picking various seeds out is a pain, especially those needle-like ones from some grasses. Now, I'm looking for a decent pair of light-weight, seed-resistant, above-ankle hiking boots in my small foot size. I've been eying the boots the local Army students wear; I figured the boots have got to be pretty comfortable since they're used for running as well.

Graeme, for those that hike in shorts with long socks and given the terms tall and short refer to the size of the plants, I guess it could be possible the two sock-destroyers could cling to various parts of the socks. However, I've found they simply cling everywhere, especially when squatting to take pictures. You probably have some of these plants where you are.

Ken, thanks for the confirmation of my ID. I think that's a great cam trap capture of the bear. I wonder how much the seeds irritate bears and other animals. Maybe that's partly why they rub against trees and other objects... eh-hem, like some of your cam traps? I'm guessing scent has much more to do with the rubbing.

Imperfect and tense said...

Ah, the memory of happy hours spent plucking the offending herbage from my footwear. Over here we suffer Galium aparine (Cleavers) and Arctium lappa (Greater Burdock), to name but two :o(

Anonymous said...

Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, parrots - who do you prefer? Or maybe what that non-native animals - snakes, crocodiles, lizards, monkeys?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

??? Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh my!