Echinacea Harvesters

Wow! Last year my last day of field research was a harvest day in September and I took heads from plants in the common garden and the last one from Hegg Lake plots,. This year we have started harvesting already and there are roughly one-fourth the heads to keep as there were a year ago. I tried but failed to get a good picture of harvesting but Shona clicked a nice one on Wednesday. While the wheat fields get harvested with big machines – some John Deere or Internationals, Echinacea harvesters are more “hands-on”DSCN5201.JPG

Not so bad

102_7446.JPGTuesday’s weather compared to Monday was “not as bad” to speak Minnesotan. While individual projects were tackled and we measured in the afternoon, it still isn’t done. The glimmer of hope is that one good day of measurement will finish the task for the year.
In more MN terms, the storm Wed morning was also not so bad as the late July storm last year that uprooted trees and took out power. The picture is from the Runestone Park devastation that Maria and I witnessed last year.

Intro – Greg Diersen

I am slow to arrive at K-town this year because I am in transition of careers. I am moving from Great Plains Lutheran HS in Watertown, SD to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN where I will be a teaching professor in the biology department. I am excited to teach ecology in the fall with a summer background with team echinacea. I will still be only about 150 miles from K-town, just a different direction. I look forward to meeting the 2012 team and starting to help with projects. Our family moved the earthly possessions last week and we are settling in after making a wedding/reunion trip to Wisconsin.

Stuff seen on Thursday

For Lee, I found that there is a good deal of Heli. heli at Aanenson – most bloomed the center head but not the sides.
For all, there wasn’t much Ech blooming at RRX, LC, RI, or YOH as I remember in years past.
For whomever is interested, west of YOH and not IN Douglas county but there is a good deal of Rudbeckia? – I was moving pretty fast and didn’t stop to look close – just a lot of yellow flowers!
I don’t know if matches up to the BOB MAHONEY RESTORATION, but its there to be seen.

Hesperostipa spartea search protocol

Attached is the “weather-tested” search protocol. While my partner found more than a dozen out of 75 or so, I found two out of 100. Maybe I am not the right person to write a protocol about finding these plants.?!

It is very neat to think about these things being seedlings a year or two ago and now they are 20+ cm tall? plants that will produce seed…….sometime.
Hesperostipa spartea Search Protocol.docx

This is the 3rd summer in a row that I have taken part of the Echinacea project! I teach 9-12 sciences (10th grade Biology)at Great Plains Lutheran High in Watertown, SD. Conducting summer research is the best way to incorporate real science into my classroom! While I was a pollen collector and image maker the first summer and a pollen crosser last summer; this summer I am going to collect insects that may or may not be moving pollen. Following the floral neighborhood study of 2009, I will collect and categorize insects from different sites to make an inventory of insect life. I hope it will shed some light on exactly which insects can be found and relate it to the diversity of the plants at sites. It will also be a useful collection for my students in the future.

Pollinating Psoralea arophylla

I was curious what the stigma/style looked like on psoralea and if I was actually pollinating or not. The picture displays it with pollen.Psoralea argophylla Repro400x.jpg

This week in pollination

If someone is able- some in the CG and some at Nice Island to be pollinated still exist.
Coreopsis palmata
In the common garden – to the east- I flagged two plants with heads that should be flowering and be able to be crossed. They are likely the only plants with heads close to being pollinated. Using a toothpick, transfer pollen from the donor head to the recipient head (red twist). Pollinate the donor head second using pollen from another plant at least 5 m away. Use a blue twist on the out-crossed head. Record the flag and the twist colors. If more twists are needed to mark the plant- go ahead!

Psoralea argophylla
There are still some plants to pollinate by the railroad crossing at Wennersborg road. They are 901, 128. The plants at Nice Island are unmarked – except the couple that are done there. (377 AND THE ONE DONE BY KATIE AND LAURA)

Solidago missouriensis
Using one complete bagged plant, pollinate one sprig or flowering branch with another from the same plant. Pollinate another sprig or flowering branch with a sprig removed from a flowering plant at least 5 meters away. Tag the self-crossed sprig with one color and the out-crossed sprig with a different color. (I used a wire- a twist will work.) Record the data as shown below the picture of the process.

Solidago missouriensis pollination.JPG

For Solidago missouriensis at Nice Island:

Flag ID Self ID Sprig Outcross ID Sprig Date Site
G 11 Brown White July 18 Nice Island

Pollinating Psoralea arophylla for Gregorius

The simplified protocol for crossing these plants (silverleaf scurfpea) is to find an uncrossed, flagged & bagged plant. Remove both bags, leaving the twist tie on the branch to be able to recognize it. Using a toothpick, transfer pollen from the donor flower on a plant to the receiver. (I have been doing a minimum of four and up to as many as possible on the branch) After the pollen is transferred, use a new toothpick to transfer pollen between the next two flowers. (Always a new toothpick)
Once all the flowers on the recipient are “pollinated” use a toothpick to paint the sepals under the flowers purple- then rebag using a white twist.
Record the flag number, the number of purple “self-recipients” and the colors of the painted sepals and twist tie.

Then transfer to the “donors” of pollen on that same plant. For this pollen, use another flowering plant AT LEAST 5 meters away – to avoid them being clones. Individually transfer from donor flower to donor recipient. These sepals get painted pink and the twist tie should be red. Record the number of flowers (it can be more or less than the recipient number) and the color of paint and the twist tie.

Sample data:
Flag #64 Purple – 5 White Twist Pink- 6 Red Twist

It is tedious to get the anthers out of the sheath, but they are loaded with pollen- so touching the toothpick loads it even if you cannot see them. I checked some anthers under the microscope and there is a good deal of pollen – it is clear so it doesn’t show up as well as some asteraceae pollen.
I’ll try to get pictures of the anthers sometime soon as well.

Bags Please?

Not sure how many are needed, between the common garden and next to Hjelm house, could someone bag coreopsis palmata tops for me? My goal is to get 20 plants with two heads covered. That way I can self-pollinate one head and cross-pollinate another head.
Additionally, if Laura and Katie could check nice island across hwy 27 to see how far along the bagged psoralea is to flowering, that would be great also.
Attached is a picture of each plant.
Coreopsis palmata 2.JPG
Psoralea argophylla.JPG

Hesperostipa spartea collection protocol

Josh, Gretel, Hillary, and Ian are also trained on the TopScan to collect the GPS data. The ideal is that the radio signal is at 100% and the designation of the location is described as Fixed – (Float will do and Auto works if you are unable to connect to a radio signal)
Josh and I plan to collect from Hegg Lake and the road adjacent on Monday. In the quest to collect from 300 parent plants, we are likely onto roadsides – where we are trying to stay at least a meter off the road and using plants about 5m apart from each other. Generally, as the black color appears and as the capsule opens around the pointy head, the seeds are ripe and will pop off as you gently pull up the stem containing the seeds.
I plan to be around Sun afternoon and Mon. to finish the collection before starting to cross some plants.