Since the last post, I was getting slightly discouraged as almost nothing was going to seed. In addition, the species that were going to seed were mainly vegetative and we were getting worried many collections would not be able to be carried out.
However, in the past two weeks, my co-intern Maggie and I were able to finish five SOS collections! After waiting (mainly due to the cold and precipitous weather), seeds were finally ready. We were able to collect Balsamorhiza incana, Townsendia incana, Cerastium arvense, Lomatium foeniculaceum, and an Arnica sp. For half of these collections, we are fairly confident that we have collected well over 20,000 seeds! It is interesting to see how different the plants look once they are going to seed in comparison to how they looked at the beginning of the internship–they are skeletal versions of themselves.
After going back to locations multiple times (for scouting, collecting, etc.), I’m also struck by how quickly the vegetation can change. One day at Red Canyon (one of our main collection locations), there was Linum lewisii (Blue flax) dotting the landscape. Less than a week later, all the petals were gone from the flax and white lilies were (and are) everywhere. You truly never go to the same place twice.
It has been extremely rewarding and we’re hoping that we can keep up this pace of collecting in the weeks to follow.