Plant ID forum: western wildflowers, anyone?

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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Jan 13, 2014 11:06 AM CST
posted here:
The thread "Wild Rock Gardens" in Rock Gardens forum
Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Jan 13, 2014 11:32 PM CST
Your IDs certainly look likely, though I'm not familiar with the plants myself.
I looked at the key for Physaria, and from what I could tell at a high level, your ID seemed reasonable:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=1...

Here's some info on the astragalus that might be helpful if you get to see it in seed - apparently, only the calyx is hairy while all other all parts are hairless, including the seedpods:
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Pink%20Enlarged%20Photo...
[Last edited by growitall - Jan 13, 2014 11:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Jan 14, 2014 8:10 PM CST
not sure what high level refers to? as in the key is a bit high level for me Sticking tongue out
Thumb of 2014-01-15/dirtdorphins/ee7ba8

but in case you are referring to the pic here is one closer if that helps
here also closer pics of the other---I didn't really appreciate any hairs, and I know previous season seedpods don't really count but they're not hairy either
Thumb of 2014-01-15/dirtdorphins/644f30

Thumb of 2014-01-15/dirtdorphins/dd76ae

I'd like to put the possible Physaria in the database because there is a spot for it...unlike the mess with Astragalus
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Jan 15, 2014 9:56 PM CST
No one ever listens to me, but I always encourage people to be absolutely positive of their ID before they enter it into the database.
Maybe this will help.... a little?

http://earth.gis.usu.edu/plants/#sciP
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Jan 15, 2014 10:31 PM CST
I hear ya, that's what I hoping to achieve.
Maybe it helps a little...very cool tool anyway...
The acutifolia is the one that shows up on this map in the county that I know I was in, plus it looks like it, sounds like it etc., but ??? Shrug! what does it take to be absolutely positive?
Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Jan 15, 2014 11:00 PM CST
What I meant by "at a high level" was what one can tell from a single photo, and comparing it to the key (again, just the most prominent points), and to photos.

To be sure of a difficult ID, one would need to study the plant and actually key it out against the other similar species that may occur in the same area (see the Physaria key I attached). Having done that, it's possible to get to the point of recognizing and distinguishing it from the others by sight... or some people can do this anyhow. (I sure can't... but luckily I live up north where there are fewer species to distinguish anyway Green Grin! )
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Jan 16, 2014 7:51 PM CST
Oh... *Blush*
Okay, thanks.
According to the eversocool Digital Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Utah, P. acutifolia is the only species in that location. And I thought it seemed reasonable in the key as well.
But I'll see if I can find any other confirmation.

Thank you!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 16, 2014 10:02 PM CST
---- The more you know, the more you know you don't know. ----
That's why you will rarely hear a scientist speak in absolute terms.

We certainly don't want to discourage anyone, but Lori and I can recount many times when we thought we were sure of a plant's identity, only to find with further research, re-examination, taking with other plant people, or the revelation of new data that we were wrong. It's human nature to want to be right, but no one source has all the answers (including the Utah Digital Atlas). Everything is just one reference for your consideration. People run to wikipedia, but if you consider the sources (anyone can contribute after going through the protocol) it may or may not be good at all. Likewise, our ATP database can only be as reliable as its contributors.

Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Jan 19, 2014 2:09 PM CST
dirtdorphins said:
According to the eversocool Digital Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Utah, P. acutifolia is the only species in that location. And I thought it seemed reasonable in the key as well.

Yes, I agree that your ID seemed reasonable, as I said. Having said that, with any info source like the one you've found, the question is always whether it's actually comprehensive or not (i.e. includes all species, rather than being a selective representation of species, or perhaps being a "work in progress" that is currently incomplete). If it is comprehensive, then your ID should be good. You may want to compare against other data sources such as USDA Plants, or against a comprehensive compilation of the flora of Utah. (I assume there probably is one).

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