New love for Poaceae!

After a really hot and dry last 2 months we are finally starting to see some seeds!! The desert is a magnificent and delicate place! In just a few weeks it can go from dry barren ground to a green meadow full of wildflowers, perennial, and annual grasses! Our primary focus for collecting has revolved around the family Poaceae.

I once thought that I didn’t like grasses….. that was until I really started trying to identify them. I’ve re-learned my grass anatomy and have become really fond of looking under a microscope to see just what exactly is going on! Grass florets can be simply amazing and absolutely gorgeous! I’m sooooo glad this internship has forced me to learn more about grasses because I’ve simply fallen in love!

look at those stamens!

However my new love of grasses has also been a little frustrating. The grasses in the desert tend not to follow the rules very well nor do they go out of there way to make seed collecting easy. We have found that a grass may be seeding on the top and still flowering lower down the culm. Therefore, we have had to start visiting sites more frequently and taking pictures to see how long it takes from flower to mature seed. Hopefully we will be able to get a few more good collections in before our time is up!