Randomly Selected Botanical Terms: Phyllaries
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
2M ago
Flowers in the aster family have one of the most recognizable shapes in botany – a circle with a series of petals surrounding it. If you were asked to draw a flower, there is a good chance your drawing would look something like a sunflower, a daisy, a cosmos, or an aster. It’s one of the most basic flower shapes, and yet it isn’t a single flower; it’s a pseudanthium – a false flower. This is because what might appear as a single flower is actually a collection of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of tiny flowers. This aggregation of flowers into a single compact unit is the reason the family w ..read more
Visit website
Another Year of Pollination: Pollenkitt
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
4M ago
Pollination in flowering plants is the process of moving pollen grains, which carry sperm cells, from the anthers to the stigmas of either the same flower or a separate flower. If things go well from there, sperm cells will be transported via pollen tubes into the ovaries where fertilization with egg cells can take place and seeds can form. Pollen grain development occurs within the anthers, and by the time the anthers dehisce – or split open – they are ready for transport. In order to protect the enclosed sperm cells and aid in their movement, pollen grains consist of a series of layers that ..read more
Visit website
Winter Trees and Shrubs: Sweetgum
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
5M ago
Sweetgum is a distinctive tree at any time of year. It stands out among most other deciduous trees with its excurrent growth habit, which gives it a narrowly conical or pyramidal shape. Only in its advanced age does it begin to develop a more rounded and irregular form. Its leaves are star-shaped with either five or seven lobes and span between four and seven inches. Their glossy green color gives way to a wide range of colors in the fall, including yellow, orange, red, and maroon, remaining on the tree for several weeks depending on weather conditions. The fruits are particularly distinct, es ..read more
Visit website
2023: Year in Review
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
5M ago
Things were pretty quiet on the blog in 2023, and I apologize for that. I have no excuses really. It’s just life. Fewer posts doesn’t mean I’m any less committed to writing and sharing about plants since the day I started this project, it’s more about quality over quantity. I would never want this to become a half-hearted affair, so even if months go by without hearing from me, just know that there are great things in the works, which I hope will be worth the wait. Recently, while writing an article for Wildflower magazine, I came across this giant tome, Pollination and Floral Ecology by Pat W ..read more
Visit website
Weeds of Boise: Boise State University Campus, part two
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
6M ago
In part one of this two part series, I introduced you to the Boise State University campus, located in the heart of Boise, Idaho. I’ve been spending the past year walking the campus and cataloging the weeds that I find there. Boise has a fairly mild climate compared to the rest of Idaho, so weeds are generally easy to find just about any time of year. What weeds are present depends on what time of year it is. To get a complete picture of the suite of weeds that can be found on a site, it’s important to make observations throughout the year. Weeds can also come and go, with certain species beco ..read more
Visit website
Tea Time: Fireweed
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
10M ago
lf you’ve seen one fireweed, you’ve probably seen several. As an early successional species, growing in large numbers across a vast amount of space is kind of its thing. Any disturbance that leaves bare ground in its wake, such as a wildfire or a windstorm, gives fireweed the opportunity to colonize. It grows quickly and spreads via rhizomes, producing thousands of airborne seeds in the process, sending them off to continue colonization or contribute to soil seed banks in preparation for future disturbances. The role of plants like fireweed is vital – promptly covering bare ground to stave off ..read more
Visit website
Weeds of Boise: Boise State University Campus, part one
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
1y ago
If you live in a major city (or even a minor one), there is a good chance it is home to a college or university (perhaps several). Universities tend to take up a lot of space, which means there is often a plethora of landscaping accompanying their buildings, hardscaping, and other impervious surfaces. Among all the turf, flower beds, tree wells, and other greenspaces, there is bound to be a fair share of weeds. In spite of how hard the groundskeepers may work, the campus is not likely to ever be completely weed-free. Lucky for us, this means that institutions of higher learning are excellent p ..read more
Visit website
What Is Cheatgrass and Why Should I Care?
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
1y ago
To understand the current state of rangeland wildfires in the Intermountain West, you must first familiarize yourself with a plant commonly referred to as cheatgrass. This annual grass moved into the region over a century ago, and its spread has had a massive impact on the environment, as well as the economy and our way of life. Just the very mention of cheatgrass in the West will get some people’s blood boiling. It’s a menace, a scourge, a pest, and yet it’s here to stay. It’s a result of us being here, yet somehow it’s the invader. Its success is largely due to the way we’ve chosen to operat ..read more
Visit website
Highlights from the Western Society of Weed Science Annual Meeting 2023
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
1y ago
As soon as I learned that the Western Society of Weed Science‘s annual meeting was going to be held in Boise in 2023, I began making plans to attend. I had attended the annual meeting in 2018 when it was held in Garden Grove, California and had been thinking about it ever since. It’s not every year that a meeting like this comes to your hometown, so it was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t miss. The meeting was combined with the Western Aquatic Plant Managment Society‘s annual meeting, so consider that a bonus. The first meeting of the week was the general session where introductions are made ..read more
Visit website
Tea Time: Kentucky Coffeetree
Awkward Botany
by awkwardbotany
1y ago
Learning to identify Kentucky coffeetree in the winter brings you one step closer to making a coffee-like (albeit caffeine-free) beverage from its seeds. Humans have a long history of occasionally using the “beans” of Gymnocladus dioicus to make this tisane, which explains common names like coffeetree, American coffee berry, and coffeenut. The process is a bit time consuming, and the end result is mixed, but foraging adventures like this are all about the experience. This drink is not likely to replace whatever you are currently drinking in the morning, but it does offer an interesting diversi ..read more
Visit website

Follow Awkward Botany on FeedSpot

Continue with Google
Continue with Apple
OR