12 June 2007

Amateur hour

The mystery Penstemon is blooming again. I went out and abused it with the macro lens in another attempt to ID it. I also enlisted the magnifying glass (OED), metric ruler (Keroppi), and even the fancy pencils my mom gave me (Faber Castell 4B) in an -- ultimately vain -- attempt to understand what was going on with the thyrse , among other things.

It's amazing how hard it is to look at a plant and really see it: I was surprised that my previous flailings in this area were relatively accurate.

Now, in addition to the apparatus just enumerated, I own both the best book about Penstemons and the definitive articles on the Mexican species published by Richard Straw in the Boletin de la Sociedad Botanica De Mexico in the '60s, and I still can't figure it out. After many travails I managed to key it out (sort of) to P. skutchii, a species Straw named but never saw, and which is now apparently regarded as an invalid synonym of P. gentianoides. Fine, you say, leave it at that. Believe me, I'd love to. But P. gentianoides has blue flowers.

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2 Comments:

Blogger lisa said...

I drive myself nuts trying to ID stuff on occasion, too. How about "p. mmw", or "p. redtubes"? Just a suggestion... :)

6/28/2007 3:24 PM  
Blogger Fin De Fichier said...

I clicked on this because of the "dork" label. Damn, that is one sexy Penstemon.

11/08/2007 11:00 PM  

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