Friday, August 15, 2008

100 Species

While I didn’t exactly go a-black-berrying, I did go outside and look at berries. I looked at flowers and the leaves, at the twigs, at the mushrooms, the stems, and the grasses, ferns and fruit. I looked at lots of stuff all within my front or backyard. I even took pictures of most of them. And, what’s more, I aim to identify them all as part of my new effort, the 100 Species Challenge.

When I first read about it on Rockhound Place, I got a little itchy just thinking about all that “outdoor time”. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought “what a great little homeschool project for me and the wee lass” (I tried to decipher Robert Burns Address to a Haggis this morning to no avail; the imagined accent still lingers however).

Here is our attempt at the 100 Species challenge. Drop by anytime and let me know if our identification is mistaken. Once upon a time, I was quite proficient at using a dichotomous key for plant identification, but I think it’s going to be a while before I remember or relearn all those botanical definitions. In the meantime, flipping through the pretty pictures in our wildflower field guide (arranged by flower color and from the library) has been quite helpful.

For starters - what the heck is this bush? The opposite leaves are too oblong to be Tartarian honeysuckle, but the berry shape matches the species perfectly while the leaves and habit match the American Fly-honeysuckle, but the berry shape does not. Perhaps it is the Swamp Fly-honeysuckle. Either way, it's pretty common and I'm sure someone knows what it is...just not me...yet! This is going to be interesting.

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