Alternatives to Echinacea: a Monday with Milkweed and Liatris

Hey flog-heads! Welcome back to one more week of the Echinacea project; off to an exciting start with milkweed, measuring, birds-of-prey, total demo, wet shoes, visitors, visors, liatris, and as always … phenology.

This morning the team divided, some to continue remnant phenology on few remaining flowering echinacea while others went to start total demo on on behemoth of a site, Loeffler’s corner. I am grateful that Jo and I had the task of scoring milkweed at Bang and Hegg lake. We trekked through the dewy grass, Jo’s rubber boots repelling the water that my shoes invited in, leaving me to walk in puddles for the majority of the morning. Jared warns that soon enough that I’ll be dreaming of the abundant purple heads of Liatris aspera as I will see so many, but for now I revel in the excitement of the few flowering plants I was able to find today at Hegg. Along with Green Milkweed, we encountered three osprey, all upset by our presence, as well as a stickbug, pictured below.

Geena found a calf in the street, which when she asked politely to moooove over, they obliged (sorry Jared, I stole your joke, but its for the fans. You get it.).

At lunch, we welcomed Scott back to the Echinacea Project. An alum from 2016, Scott returned on his way back to Boulder, CO to make sure everything was still in working order. We were excited to hear his stories and gain some wisdom about the adventure into science, post-team Echinacea. Thank you Scott!

The afternoon brought with it measuring in P2 and P1 for the majority of the team, while Sophia and I ventured to Yellow Orchid Hill to begin mapping Liatris for my project. We found many more than previously expected, inspiring burgeoning hypotheses as to why. Soon, Yellow Orchid Hill West will be ablaze with purple. Maybe they’ll have to change the name.


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