AZ Book Report II

Arizona Book Report
March 12-21, 2006

This year was a very dry year, a recent record for the Southern Arizona region. Flowers were scanty, an opposite from last years plethora of blooms. There was less than an inch of rain since October around these parts (from Bisbee to Ruby, AZ.) and it shows. Nary a flowers postures it’s come hither reproductive organs anywhere. For class examination and dissection, Donna went to Tucson, to the Desert Museum and got some Encelia farinosa and Trixis blossoms. A trick I learned this year while walking behind the school was to look under the air conditioners of the motel next door as the water dripping underneath was enough to allow some plants to flourish in this micro-environment, these included Erodium cicutarium, Sisymbrium irio, Verbena (Glandularia) sp, and Lactuca serriola (just a few, not enough for class).

The Books
1.The Jepson Desert Manual- this was the one that I took keys and photocopied them for the students to key out in class. This worked well as I mostly did common weeds and the flowers from the Desert Museum which were covered. This is still a mighty good text, the best of the lot as far as keys go. Problems exist, such as not being to key out Malvaceae without mature fruits, and it’s going between a layperson’s botany language and more technical terms. Ligulate not ray; radial not regular). It is still an excellent standard for any botanical field guide.

2.An Illustrated Guide to Arizona Weeds- since I was looking at common weeds growing around the school, this was handy to compare its well-done black and white illustrations with. For some reason they do not consider the weedy Verbena’s (Glandularia’s) weeds.

3.Arizona Flora-Kearney and Peebles- While this is still a weighty hard to use flora, when it was time to try to key out some Quercus and Berberis in Ruby, it was helpful but still clunky.