Sunday, April 22, 2012

vernal pool bent grass ~ 04/22/12 ~ MBC CNPS Wildflower Show

Agrostis lacuna-vernalis

Normally, I never include pictures from the annual Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Wildflower Show held at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. However, for the 51st Wildflower Show (the largest in the Northern and Western Hemispheres!) there was a newly described grass species found at Fort Ord. When Brian LeNeve and his wife Carol were creating the identifier card, they faced a challenge coming up with a common name. Before they added water to this tiny chunk of specimen, the grass was actually bent... hence the name. Despite the lack of rain this year, there were over 670 species of flowering plants at the Wildflower Show - not too shabby.

I love Fort Ord and am looking forward to when 15,000 acres are saved as publicly accessible natural areas. The species diversity there is incredibly unique. Speaking of which, the federally-owned former Fort Ord lands (~14,600 acres) has just become the newest National Monument (link to another local news article) putting it on the map with the likes of Pinnacles National Monument. The remaining few hundred natural area acres belong to the State of CA as Fort Ord Dunes State Park.

ps 05/11/12 - I've since learned Brian was pulling our legs during his talk the day before this picture was taken. For those who don't know the genus Agrostis is known as bent grass. From David Styer I guess there was some talk about whether it should be vernalis-lacuna or lacuna-vernalis.


John W. Wall said...

Fascinating that it's new to science -- and it's a Calif native to boot! The write-up on it is interesting:

John W. Wall said...

P.S. It's found only at the former military base, and on that base they collected it at a location called Machine Gun Flats.... Maybe it's bent because it's been ducking for a long time. ;)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

It's extraordinary that new species are being discovered right here in CA and not in some far away tropical place!

I used the Smithsonian embedded link in the scientific name above, because the Botanical Research Institute of Texas site had too many listings of other papers. Plus, I prefer folks to realize what PDF they may be downloading (depending on the browser).

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I looked up the GPS coordinates. The type specimen was found on BLM land near the largest vernal pool from the Creekside entrance, which interestingly enough has fewer vernal pools than Inter Garrison. It's very cool that Fort Ord lands are now a National Monument!