30 de diciembre de 2020

A South Texas ID Frontier: Leaf Miners

Texas (and Texas-visiting) iNatters: We have a big ecological mystery on our hands. Most of the leaf-mining insects found on iconic Texas plants like Anacua, Mexican Olive, Coma, Zanthoxylum species, and even roadside composites like Palafoxia are poorly known or in some cases perhaps even new to science.

I found this leaf miner yesterday (12/29/20) on a Bernardia myricifolia plant at Resaca de la Palma State Park in Cameron County. The larva is visible near the top of the translucent mine. Its identity is unknown, though leaf miner expert Charley Eiseman thinks it may be a moth in the family Heliozelidae.

You may recall leaf structure diagrams like this from your biology textbooks -- a few cells, stacked in discrete and specialized layers, the whole thing often just a couple hundred micrometers thick:

Image CC-BY-SA Zephyris

Leaf miners are the larvae of insects -- moths, flies, sawflies, and beetles -- that are so tiny they live between the epidermal layers of the leaf, eating the cells of the mesophyll and creating distinctive, often beautiful patterns in the process.

Many leaf miners are highly specialized on certain species, genera, or families of plants, so knowledge of the host plant's identity along with the visible characteristics of the mine can often support field identification of the miner.

Charley Eiseman (@ceiseman) is the author of Leafminers of North America -- the first reference guide to these species -- and curator of the Leafminers of North America project here on iNaturalist, which I encourage you all to join, but more on that in a moment.

Over the last couple of moths as I've documented leaf miners in south Texas and corresponded with Charley, I've discovered that most of the apparently common leaf miners in south Texas are unknown -- either "known unknowns" or "unknown unknowns." Furthermore, there seem to be ample opportunities to document new plant-insect interactions and significant range extensions of known insect species.

What You Can Do

If you live in or visit south Texas, I encourage you to join the Leafminers of North America project here on iNaturalist and begin documenting leaf miners in the area. Here are some tips:

  • Begin to train your eye to spot the squiggles and patterns leaf miners create on foliage -- you'll get the hang of it fast.
  • Photograph the top and bottom of the leaf, even if you can't see anything on the underside.
  • Get a backlit shot of the leaf if you can.
  • Make sure to document the plant species on which you found the miner as well.
  • Manually add your observations to the Leafminers of North America project, and fill out the host plant species field that pops up when you add your observation to the project.
  • If you have no idea what made the mine, you can enter it as Pterygota (Winged and Once-winged Insects), which is the insect subclass that contains all the mining groups.

Ultimately, a lot of these insects will need to be reared to adulthood and analyzed by specialists to identify them (and, when warranted, name new species). That could be a great project for a Texas Master Naturalist chapter, grad students, etc., particularly so that appropriate permissions and ethics could be assured.

Maybe leaf miners will never have the status of birds or butterflies in south Texas, but what a great opportunity to advance scientific knowledge!

Here are some of my early observations organized by plant family (most of the information noted below comes from discussions with Charley Eiseman).

Plant Family Boraginaceae

There's a moth larvae that lives in the leaves of Anacua (Ehretia anacua). It seems to be a gracillariid moth in the genus Dialectica but the species is unknown.

And on Cordia boissieri (Anacahuita or Mexican Olive), there's a miner that also appears to be Dialectica sp., but it's also unknown. See comments here on a moth reared from Cordia sp. in Florida: https://bugguide.net/node/view/865617/bgpage

Plant Family Malvaceae

In November, I noticed blotch mines all over the Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) at Sabal Palm Sanctuary. It turns out no miners are known from Malvaviscus, so this insect is a big mystery. I have been checking Turk's Cap plants ever since at other locations but have not found similar mines.

I found this solitary mine on Malachra capitata at Resaca de la Palma State Park. No miners are known from Malachra, but this appears to be an agromyzid fly.

Plant Family Sapotaceae

These beautiful little mines seem to be common on Coma (Sideroxylon celastrinum) across the Rio Grande Valley, but there's apparently no scientific documentation of a leaf miner on this species. The leading candidate seems to be the moth Parcetopa bumeliella, which is known from other species in genus Sideroxylon.

Plant Family Rhamnaceae

This is one of those "unknown unknowns" -- a small blotch mine on the thin leaves of Condalia hookeri (Brasil or bluewood). @ceiseman's comment on this one was, "Something completely unknown... the only Condalia leafminer I know of is an undescribed nepticulid I found on another Condalia species in Texas."

Plant Family Rutaceae

Sierra Madre Torchwood (Amyris madrensis) can have abundant mines on its leaflets, but the insect species that makes them is unknown.

Recently I've noticed these very tiny mines on Zanthoxylum fagara leaflets (Wild Lime or Lime Pricklyash). This is also an unknown species; Charley Eiseman thinks it may be a moth that mines early in its life and then exits the leaf to continue larval development somewhere else.

This mine on Zanthoxylum hirsutum (Texas Hercules' Club, etc.) at Aransas NWR may represent the first record of the moth Fomoria pteliaeella on this plant species.

Plant Family Asteraceae

This mine, apparently from a Liriomyza fly, was on a dwarfed Texas Palafoxia (Palafoxia texana) plant in a mowed strip adjacent to a parking lot at the South Padre Island Convention Center. And it turns out to be not only the first record of a leaf miner from the genus Palafoxia but one of only two for the tribe Bahieae.

This blotch mine on Blue Boneset (Tamaulipa azurea) is the presumptive first record of a leaf-mining fly (family Agromyzidae) from Tamaulipa.

They fly that makes these linear mines on Mexican Trixis (Trixis inula) is an unknown species.

Plant Family Cactaceae

The moth Marmara opuntiella makes mines (technically stem mines, in this case) on prickly pear pads. I've recorded the species on Opuntia alta and O. gomei in Cameron County, both of which are presumptive new host records for this species.

Plant Family Rubiaceae

I have found two miners on West Indian Milkberry (Chiococca alba). The first is an unknown species of Marmara moth.

The second is apparently an ermine moth called Podiasa chiococcella that has previously been recorded only from Florida.

Plant Family Sapindaceae

This little miner was working on a leaflet of Urvillea ulmacea (Apaac) at Resaca de la Palma State Park. No leaf miners are known from the genus Urvillea, so its identity is a complete mystery.

Plant Family Apocynaceae

While some Liriomyza flies are known to mine milkweed leaves, there are no known species that specifically mine Pearl Milkweed (Matelea reticulata), like this one on the bird blind at Resaca de la Palma State Park.

Plant Family Cannabaceae

This is one of the "known unknowns" -- an unknown species of Stigmella moth that occurs on Celtis pallida (Spiny Hackberry or Granjeño).

Unknown Plant Family

I think I said, "Oh, cool!" out loud when I saw this herringbone-pattern mine, but I haven't been able to figure out the plant species it's on. The plant observation is here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67272345 -- can anyone shed a little light?

I hope this will serve as an inspiration to some and a step toward greater knowledge about these interesting organisms. Thanks to those of you who have been helping with my plant IDs, by the way, which is an important part of this process!

Tagging a few of you who may be interested: @jciv @matushkaelizabethperdomo @bcfl14 @dingooctavious @javigonz @vanwest @gcwarbler @johnyochum @ernest5h @oleanderseth @sambiology @greglasley @maraleemoats @jcochran706 @sa88lebags @joshua_tx @beschwar

Ingresado el 30 de diciembre de 2020 por djringer djringer | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de diciembre de 2020

Three species of Junonia buckeye butterflies in South Texas

After decades of confusion about Junonia buckeyes in South Texas (and just about everywhere else), help has arrived by way of a massive study, Speciation in North American Junonia from a genomic perspective (Cong et al. 2020).

In short, three species occur in South Texas:

  • Junonia coenia (Common Buckeye), the familiar species widespread across the eastern U.S. and found statewide in Texas
  • Junonia neildi varia, a newly named subspecies of Black Mangrove-feeding buckeye found along the coast up to about Aransas County
  • Junonia stemosa, a newly named "dark" buckeye of South Texas that's genetically distinct from the similar Junonia nigrosuffusa of the southwestern U.S. (including the Trans-Pecos)

According to Cong et al., the following species do NOT occur in South Texas:

  • Junonia evarete - South America only
  • Junonia genoveva - South America only
  • Junonia litoralis - South America only
  • Junonia nigrosuffusa - but this species does occur in the Trans-Pecos
  • Junonia zonalis - Caribbean islands and South Florida only

This figure from the paper lines up the three South Texas species and points out key field marks: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/cms/asset/c1a158a4-db65-4346-ad45-1b8d19754cfa/syen12428-fig-0004-m.jpg

And this figure has a geographic map and visual depictions of how the genes cluster: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/cms/asset/42873b04-4bef-449a-9181-7a7cdba2d832/syen12428-fig-0006-m.jpg

The full paper (http://www.butterfliesofamerica.com/docs/Junonia-syen.12428.pdf) has rich detail and figures. Variability among individuals and hybridization between species can make things complicated, but most individuals should be readily identifiable. And even better if you can photograph the underside of the antennal clubs, the color of which is important to species identification.

Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia

This is the familiar, abundant, statewide species with cream-colored stripes on both sides of the large eyespot on the dorsal forewing, as if melted white chocolate is flowing around the spot. That eyespot has a complete brown ring surrounding a pale inner ring -- it looks like a bullseye. This species also has a dark underside on the antennal club, if you can photograph that (get low and shoot from in front or in profile).

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), Georgetown, cc-by-nc @jcochran706

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), National Butterfly Center, cc-by-nc @kristybaker

"Mangrove" Buckeye, Junonia neildi varia

This newly named subspecies (the nominate subspecies occurs in Florida and the Caribbean) feeds on Black Mangrove as a caterpillar and is found along the immediate Gulf Coast. It's a large, orange buckeye, and one of the most striking field marks is that the large eyespot on the dorsal forewing is surrounded by orange and generally lacks a dark ring enclosing the eyespot. The eyespots on the dorsal hindwing approach each other in size (one tends to be much larger than the other in Common Buckeye), and the underside of the antennal club is dark.

"Mangrove" Buckeye (Junonia neildi varia), South Padre Island, cc-by-nc @javigonz

"Mangrove" Buckeye (Junonia neildi varia), South Padre Island, cc-by-nc @taogirl

"Twintip" Buckeye, Junonia stemosa

Named for its larval host plant, this is the "dark" buckeye of South Texas, a newly described cryptic species. It lacks the creamy forewing band of Common Buckeye -- that area of the wing is brown, pale, or orange -- and can be quite dark brown. Like Common Buckeye and unlike the mangrove species, this species tends to show a complete brown ring around the large eyespot on its forewing. The undersides of its antennal clubs are pale, setting it apart from the other two species in the region. Cong et al. note that adults can occur in the same fields as the other two species, but the larva have special adaptations to feed on Stemodia lanata, which Common Buckeye larva cannot do because of the plant's wooly leaves.

"Twintip" Buckeye (Junonia stemosa), Padre Island, cc-by-nc @mako252

"Twintip" Buckeye (Junonia stemosa), National Butterfly Center, cc-by-nc @armanmoreno

Oddballs

Hybrids among these three species do occur, and each species has quite a bit of potential for intraspecific variation as well, which means that some individuals we encounter are not going to fall neatly into one category or another. Here's an example -- is this a darker-than-usual Common Buckeye or a lighter J. stemosa?

Buckeye (Junonia sp.), South Padre Island, cc-by-nc @sunnyspi

Cong et al. note that J. coenia and its western counterpart J. grisea have a "dark form, which may be induced by environmental conditions" and that this form "may easily be mistaken for J. nigrosuffusa, J. stemosa, or hybrids between species." Figure 19 on page 31 of the paper shows examples.

They suggest the color of the underside of the antennal club (called the "nudum") is the best way to identify a confusing individual -- it would be pale in J. stemosa and brown in J. coenia. But most photos posted to iNaturalist don't show this detail. Here's what they authors say in this case (emphasis mine -- and as you read, note that that neither J. grisea nor J. nigrosuffa occur in South Texas1):

If inspection of the nudum is not possible, the single most reliable character to distinguish between J. grisea/coenia and J. nigrosuffusa is the coloration of the area by the dorsal forewing costa near apex: between the postdiscal paler band (or its remnants in J. nigrosuffusa) and apical paler spots. This area is covered by extensive pale overscaling in J. nigrosuffusa and is mostly brown in J. grisea/coenia. Identification of J. stemosa may be more challenging, because many individuals, especially females, lack the pale overscaling, and their more rounded shape of wings may be the best character besides from the pale colour of the nudum. Then, some J. stemosa males (e.g. Fig.8, right specimen in the second row) and most females (Fig. 9, specimens on the right) may not be very dark, and the otherwise indistinct postdiscal forewing band is orange or even whitish, resembling J. grisea/coenia. Finally, to add to these complexities, a number of J. coenia individuals may have similar orange band. This form even received an infrasubspecific (and thus ICZN-unavailable) name, ‘tr. f. rubrosuffusa’ (W. D. Field). Not knowing the nudum colour, it may be impossible to identify such specimens with confidence, and the only other general character (which needs some practice to recognize) is the wing shape: more rounded in J. stemosa and J. nigrosuffusa, and more angular in J. coenia and J. grisea.

So, if you see an intermediate-looking buckeye, do try to get an image that shows the underside of the antennal clubs!

1Melanie Lalande's work shows J. grisea occurring in the Trans-Pecos, however: https://www.butterfliesofcuba.com/uploads/3/0/6/1/30612147/melanie_lalonde_finalized_thesis_reduced_size_4__junonia.pdf -- and as I noted previously, J. nigrosuffusa occurs in the Trans-Pecos as well.

iNat Taxonomy and IDs

The Pelham catalog has integrated Cong et al. into its taxonomy: https://www.butterfliesofamerica.com/US-Can-Cat.htm, but as of early December 2020, the iNaturalist taxonomy hasn't been fully updated yet. Junonia stemosa does not exist in the iNaturalist taxonomy (and the split of western Junonia grisea from J. coenia hasn't been done -- though that's not an issue for South Texas). However, J. neildi varia does exist in the iNaturalist taxonomy, so we can identify the Texas mangrove buckeyes at least.

Update July 5, 2021: The iNat taxonomy has been updated thanks to @nlblock and others!

I created an Observation Field that we could use to track some of these things but haven't started using it yet: https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields/12818

There appear to be 300-400 observations that will need to get sorted out to reflect this new approach to the taxonomy of our buckeyes once the iNat database is updated -- though of course some individuals will never fit neatly into our categories, and that's part of the fun.

FYI if of interest @aguilita @brdnrdr @hydaticus @gcwarbler @jrcagle @kathrynwells333 @kbbutler @maractwin @nlblock @sambiology @stomlins701

Ingresado el 06 de diciembre de 2020 por djringer djringer | 10 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de agosto de 2020

A Manhattan milestone ... and a change of scenery

I got a vivid, raw reminder last night of the untamed life around us in New York City -- a sudden buzz and a thunk on the hood of a car, a cicada in the grasp of a killer wasp.

An Eastern Cicada-killer Wasp (Sphecius speciosus) takes a Swamp Cicada (Neotibicen tibicen) on West 22nd Street in Manhattan.

A Milestone

In early August, I slipped past 700 Research Grade taxa in the borough of Manhattan. That number contains so many surprises, achievements, and shared experiences with other generous naturalists. It's hard to know how to sum it all up or choose representative moments from so much diversity: hairstreaks and herons, lichens and leaf miners, tunicates and turtles.

I don't think it's immodest to say that naturalists in New York City are magicians who move with ease between parallel worlds. Choose your metaphor -- a TARDIS, a magic wardrobe, Platform 9¾ -- our own senses and intentions have at least as much power and our worlds as much wonder.

For thousands of non-human species, this city is a proving ground, a crossroads, a dying world, a new frontier, an exotic stopover, or just plain old home. That we can bear witness to their lives, even coming to know them in some small way, is boundlessly profound.

A Change

Much as I love New York and all its living things, I've decided to take a leave of absence for a few months. I'm going to spend the fall and winter in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and I'm really, really excited. It's not a permanent change -- I'm coming back to New York City next spring -- but it'll be the longest stretch of time by far that I've spent outside NYC in almost a decade.

I'm enjoying my last few weeks in the city as best any of us can under the circumstances. While I'm away, I'll certainly keep up with observations here on iNaturalist, including projects like Butterflies of New York County and helping out with IDs where I can.

Some Favorites

Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca), which I cherish each May as they return from the Andes.

A Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), whose species stubbornly thrives here.

New York state's first Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) at Hudson River Park in Chelsea.

Virginia Saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis) Inwood Hill Park.

A thorn-mimicking Wide-footed Treehopper (Campylenchia latipes) at Hudson River Park.

Native Marsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata) at the edge of an empty lot in Chelsea.

An Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) who overwintered at Riverside Park

Hidden Goldspeck Lichen (Candelariella aurella) growing in the mortar of a wall.

Feeding marks left by Norvellina chenopodii on Lamb's Quarters.

The brilliant Dogbane Leaf Beetle (Chrysochus auratus) on Hemp Dogbane.

Blue Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis), now rediscovered in NYC

Synidotea laticauda (provisionally) discovered on Randalls Island with @susanhewitt.

Brant (Branta bernicla) #2237-01767, banded on Southampton Island (Shugliaq) in the Canadian Arctic

Common Buckeye (Junonia coena) showing dazzling universes of color.

Thank you

Nearly 500 people have contributed identifications to my New York County observations; scores more have made reports and created reference materials that have helped me know where to go and what to see there. And it's so rewarding to go out together, as many of us have. I have learned something from each of you -- thank you.

And to some of my top identifiers, especial thanks: @susanhewitt, @sadawolk, @wayne_fidler, @elevine, @nycbirder, @novapatch, @mertensia, @tarpinian, @danielatha, @dendroica, @kdstutzman

See you next spring!

Ingresado el 11 de agosto de 2020 por djringer djringer | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de marzo de 2020

Identifying the Violets of Manhattan (New York County)

With March drawing to a close, a tiny violet caught my attention in a concrete Hudson River Park flower bed. I didn't recognize it, which reminded me that I'd been meaning to learn more about the violets of Manhattan. I've always loved violets -- they're so familiar, and yet challenging. (And they can be very surprising.)

You can read about New York City's violets in @danielatha's 2018 State of New York City's Plants, but Manhattan doesn't have the wetlands, forests, and beaches of the outer boroughs. Which species thrive, or at least hang on, here in this densest borough?

After analyzing about 1,000 observations in iNaturalist, I've written up 10 species below (one is a twofer). This seems to capture the reported diversity on iNaturalist to date, not counting a couple of isolated cultivated species. There may be more diversity than is reported so far, and I probably haven't got everything quite right, so please weigh in with your comments.

As you observe violets this season, please try to photograph four things:

  1. A front view of the flowers, on their own level (an overhead shot has less ID value);
  2. A profile view of the flowers, to show sepals, spur, and stem;
  3. A closeup of a leaf or two;
  4. The overall habit of the plant (basal leaves only? stem leaves?) with a size reference.

All photos in this post are clickable -- the links will take you to the original observations. Thanks to the photographers for making their pictures available with a Creative Commons license.

Oh, and that violet I found the other day is #3 below.


1. Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)

Common Blue Violet is an extremely successful and abundant native violet in Manhattan, growing jubilantly in lawns, parks, beds, borders, and between cobblestones and in pavement cracks. It blooms profusely in April and early May. It is the default purple violet anywhere in the borough. It can form dense, thick carpets, and while it may be small in mowed or thin-soiled areas, it can grow several inches tall in favorable locations.

Flowers rise individually from the rhizomes; they are not on arranged on stems with leaves. Leaves are coarse and broad, heart-shaped with a pointed tip and sharp teeth on the margin; they ascend from creeping rhizomes. The purple form has rich, vibrant purple flowers with a touch of bright blue at the base of the petals. There are long, dense hairs on the inside of the two lateral petals, tending to visually obscure the reproductive organs inside the flower. The spur is quite short and blunt, barely protruding behind the flower.

(Update 04/02/2020): The color of the Common Blue Violet is quite variable. Some plants produce flowers with more reddish or pinkish hues, like this gorgeous plum-colored individual below. Note too, as shown in this image, that the first leaves to emerge in spring are blunt-tipped with rounded teeth, and are rather smooth, in contrast to coarser, more angular leaves produced as the season unfolds.

Confederate Violet, or V. s. forma priceana, is a variation of Common Blue Violet with striking white, purple-centered flowers. In all other respects, it resembles the blue form. It is also abundant in the city, and it is frequently misidentified as many other species from all over the world.


2. Eurasian Sweet Violet (Viola odorata )

The introduced Eurasian Sweet Violet is very fragrant -- the quintessential violet scent -- which is a good clue to its identity. Working from photographs can be a bit harder, particularly since most people shoot violets from above. The leaves, which are kidney-shaped with scalloped margins, form a basal rosette; the flowers grow individually from the base of the plant. The flowers are purple, or sometimes white or pink, and have minimal hair on the lateral petals so that the reproductive organs are clearly visible (unlike V. sororia in which the hairs are much longer): https://www.labunix.uqam.ca/~fg/MyFlora/Violaceae/Odorata/odorata.e.shtml.

This species is said to be naturalized in New York. However, having gone through all the records in iNaturalist, I can't find a lot of evidence for it. Most plants are either clearly V. sororia or are ambiguous at best (especially since the first leaves of V. sororia early in the season can appear smaller and more rounded, more like those of V. odorata).

This beautiful pink-flowered plant below, posted by @aberkov does indeed appear to be V. odorata (again, most V. odorata flowers are purple); it's not clear whether it's wild or cultivated. (Update 03/29/20: aberkov confirmed that the plant pictured below is cultivated. I now believe that V. odorata is extirpated in our region, except where reintroduced in cultivation. Here's a map of Research Grade observations in the Northeast -- the species is effectively absent away from western New York and southern Ontario, which is amazing: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=44.722601203578094&nelng=-65.8714934438467&place_id=any&quality_grade=research&swlat=40.2703715944484&swlng=-81.5270110219717&taxon_id=55845. What accounts for this I wonder?)


3. European Dog Violet (Viola riviniana Purpurem Group)

The European Dog Violet has a purple-leaved form that is used in the horticultural trade and is sometimes sold as V. labradorica, which is an incorrect name for this plant because V. labradorica is a different violet native to northeastern North America.

Apparently this plant can self-seed and become weedy under some conditions. There is some evidence from iNaturalist observations that it occurs in and around cultivated areas in Manhattan (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=61481&place_id=1264&subview=grid), though it is not listed as an established species in NYBG's 2018 State of the City's Plants report. This is a small plant with purple-tinged, somewhat fleshy-looking foliage, leaves on the flower stalk, pointed sepals, and slender, violet-purple blooms with long spurs and only short hairs in the flower's throat, revealing the round-tipped style.

See discussion of this plant here: https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2209751/viola-labradorica-purpurea-v-riviniana-what-s-the-story and here: https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1415/#b.


4. Bird's Foot Violet (Viola pedata)

I believe the few observations of the rare and beautiful Bird's Foot Violet in Manhattan are plants growing in native plant gardens: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?locale=en-US&place_id=1264&preferred_place_id=1&subview=grid&taxon_id=82536. The flower and leaf shape together are distinctive.


5. Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens)

Aptly named, the Downy Yellow Violet bears bright yellow flowers on hairy stems. The plant sends up a long stem, and flowers grow from the leaf axils along the stem. Basal leaves are usually absent.

This species is loosely cultivated in Central Park and a few other parks in Manhattan; it's used in restoration plantings and can be found in the Ramble and Hallett Nature Sanctuary. It's been cultivated in the park since at least 1865, but appears to depend on human intervention for survival in this heavily altered landscape. It seems that iNatters have different opinions on whether this and the following two species should be marked "cultivated" or "wild." Here's a photo shot from @lisabrundage:


6. Canada Violet (Viola canadensis)

The tall and striking Canada Violet, like Downy Yellow Violet above, depends on human intervention to thrive in Central Park, but thrive it seems to do. Because the species appears to spread on its own in areas where it has been planted, some iNatters believe it should be considered wild for the purposes of iNaturalist. This is a leggy plant, with leaves and flowers sprouting off the stem. Flowers are white with a yellow center and purple backs on the top two petals, setting this species apart from the following species. Here's a nice shot from @ansel_oommen:


7. Cream Violet (Viola striata)

Cream Violet is another restoration species in Central Park, present because people brought it there in the last few decades to restore wooded areas. It could be confused with Canada Violet (above), but it lacks yellow color in the mouth of the flower and the back of the petals is all white.


8. European Field Pansy (Viola arvensis)

The small, pale European Field Pansy is, as its name suggests, introduced from Europe. It typically has flowers a half-inch or so in size that are cream-colored with some yellow on the bottom petal and a few guide marks for pollinators. Its sepals tend to be longer than its petals, making the flower look partially enclosed (http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/field-pansy). Some individual plants can look intermediate between this and V. tricolor, which is described next (I'm pondering these, for example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22464945).

There is an American field pansy species, V. bicolor, but it differs in appearance (https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/field_pansy.htm) and apparently has not been recorded from Manhattan.

Here's a V. arvensis example from @jholmes; note the long sepals and bicolored flower:


9. Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor)

Wild Pansy, also known as Johnny-Jump-Up and Heartsease, is a Eurasian plant that has been introduced into North America. It appears to be uncommon around Manhattan. It is also an ancestor of many cultivated pansy plants as you can see in the section below, and those should be identified appropriately in iNaturalist. Naturalized V. tricolor generally show tricolored purple, white, and yellow flowers with purple rays. They tend to be larger and more colorful than the previous species, with sepals that are not longer than the petals (http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/wild-pansy). This is naturally a very variable species, and I also wonder whether some of these plants are coming from self-seeding ornamentals that slowly revert to a more ancestral form (e.g., this observation of @susanhewitt's https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/23495579).

Here's a photo from me:


10. Garden Pansies (Viola wittrockiana) and "Violas"

Is there anything as cheerful as the big, colorful, ruffled face of a Garden Pansy? These large-flowered garden plants are horticultural hybrids going back hundreds of years. They have been bred in colors from white to nearly black, with a wide range of colors in between, and they often have a dark blotch in the middle of a lighter-colored flower, such as burgundy on yellow.

Garden Pansies are a very common sight during cooler months in Manhattan in pots, window boxes, and planters; around street trees; and in flower beds. They should be marked "cultivated" in iNaturalist; they do not naturalize. See discussion about their taxonomic history under a recent taxonomic swap: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_changes/73692. Here's a recent observation from @susanhewitt:

But not all pansy-like ornamentals that you encounter in Manhattan are true Viola wittrockiana. A range of smaller, sometimes striped, and variously colored plants commercially known as "violas" are prevalent as well. They often take over in summer after Garden Pansies fade. These ornamental plants are derived from European V. cornuta and V. tricolor (see https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/17/73/00001/EP32700.pdf and https://www.americanvioletsociety.org/Registry/Cultivar_Registry_Classification.htm section B2).

I would suggest that we identify them on iNaturalist as Melanium, which is the pansy section of the genus Viola, and they should be marked as cultivated. Here's an example from @olibr_:


That's all for now. I'll probably update this post periodically as we learn more. Let me know what you think, and if you want to try your hand at IDing some violets, click here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?taxon_id=50829&place_id=148950.

Tagging some more of you that I think will be interested: @srall @elevine @sadawolk @mertensia @oxalismtp @tsn @zihaowang @klodonnell @wayne_fidler @elizajsyh @nycnatureobserver @craghorne @spritelink @irag @andrew_garn @kai_schablewski @ballardh

Ingresado el 29 de marzo de 2020 por djringer djringer | 1 observación | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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