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Aspiring aspera

Today was our second full day of Team Echinacea minus Stuart and Gretel. They will be back Wednesday! We managed to have a productive day anyway, though we did have less inspiring lunch conversations.

We started our morning off with a few people going on quick phenology routes. The Nessman and Around Landfill loops and p2 take less than an hour now, and I went to Staffanson just to visit 2 plants! One of those plants is now done flowering, and we’re just left with a single mid-flowering head among the ash trees. I will admit, all of these done flowering Echinacea can make me a little sad, BUT there are still plenty of other plants flowering…

While others spent the rest of morning working on demo at East Riley or working on aphids, I helped Lea with her Liatris phenology/seed set experiment (Aster Phen). We headed out to her transect along the south part of Staffanson and finished flagging the transect, flagged Liatris aspera, and continued taking phenology data. This usually involved just counting the heads that might potentially flower and then identifying the position of the topmost flowering head and the lowermost flowering head. Most of them were still in their immature stage, just starting to get tinges of pink on the white buds. Liatris is a beautiful plant, so I will share a few of the many photos I took today while getting very excited.

There are four species of Liatris at Staffanson. Lea studies Liatris aspera, but there are a lot of Liatris ligulistylis in and around her transect as well.

The four species of Liatris at Staffanson. From left to right: Liatris pycnostachya, Liatris aspera, Liatris ligulistylis, Liatris punctata. Collage by MOLDIV.

A Liatris aspera in Lea’s transect.

The Liatrus ligulistylis have lengthier branches holding the heads.

Liatris ligulistylis with its branching heads.

Some of the Liatris even get into strange shapes.

A figure-8 Liatris aspera.

You can see the way the heads swirl down the stem when looking at them from above.

A Liatris aspera with the top head barely flowering, from above.

After lunch I spent more time with the Liatris and Lea before we went to help start measuring p4 and p9. Another good day.

See you tomorrow, flog!

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