Has anyone done a wild Plant Inventory?

Discussion in 'Plant and Tree Identification' started by moonwolf, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    Looking for an easy reference source to identify wild plant species on the property Norhern Minnesota/ Northern Ontario.

    I would like to identify the number of species of plant as a biodiversity excercise and study.

    Has anyone done this sort of thing on a semi-professional or personal interest level?
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    I did plant inventory for years as part of my timber stand exams. All of it was in the Pacific Northwest however. The bible here is Flora of the Pacific Northwest by Hitchcock and Cronkquist. It is a very detailed book and far beyond what is usually necessary for fairly accurate identification for lay people. It is also deep enough to be problematic for beginners to understand and figure out how to use.

    I tend to be big on learning from others because it speeds you along. Consider joining your local chapter of the Native Plant Society. Even if there isn't a local chapter, they will be able to put you in touch with locals that can help you.

    I'm sure if you look around, you will find tons of local field guides that will be suitable for your needs. Ideas for locating good books, would be the local Forest Service, (explain that you are looking for a comprehensive publication, because it will probably be written by university grad students and be limited in publication), the Deparment of natural resouces for your state or the local Cooperative Extension office, your local bookstore and your library.

    Even though I had extensive training in plant ID in forestry school, I found that it only touched the surface of what was out there, so I taught myself by sitting on a stump and identifying everything I could see sitting in one spot. When I was done, I got down on my belly and started over again. It wasn't until much later in life that I took on the challenge of IDing every plant large and small in my drainage and I know for a fact that it ain't gonna happen in my lifetime! There is a whole lot of diversity out there, but Hitchcock and Croquist managed to do a pretty thorough job.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    We have a pretty fair local resouce of people with the field naturalists group.
    A recent nature conservancy group has done a neaby lake study of the island and shoreline flora identification and learned of several very rare or unique species not previously known about. A couple of those plants I've seen years ago and was aware of which surprised me, so it's interesting to come across stuff others don't have much interest in, or surprisingly just found out about! I want to find and identify those I don't already know along with those more commonly known.
    Also, the biodiversity is a good study because of the bird and wildlife associated with the plant life. I also want a basic overview of the wildflowers to photograph and probably would be the best way to track what is there.

    I'm obviously one who spends a lot of own time and some limited knowledge having biology and ecology training. It's been a while since I did university biology and field ecology about biomass inventories in another area of the country, so this should be interesting for a variety of reasons.
    The access with our local MNR would have some print info and reference books to ask their field biologists.
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    In my area, wildflower photography has been done to death, for obvious reasons. But, the vast majority of those, are the ones folks see driving by on the highway at 60 mph.

    I'm fascinated and wish I had the equipment to accomplish micro-photography. There is another whole world down there under the overstory, beautiful wee flowers that can't even be fully appreciated with a good hand lens.

    Another area I've had a lot of success in finding rare, endangered and even species undocumented in this area are in are bogs and fens. Here, as is likely the same in your area, these areas are remnants of earlier times and because folks natural resistance to hang out in bogs, have been left alone to carry on with their life processes.
     
  5. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
  6. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    We used the Jepson Manual for the So Cal study of wildflowers...that book was a bear on several mile hikes...it was over 7 pounds!
     
  7. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    I just put Hitchcock Cronquist on the scale. Twelve pounds!

    They only come in hardback and they are ridiculously expensive. I'm on my third copy and just got through duct taping the spine together. Even though I try my best not to take it in the field with me, it's almost impossible not to. This things swelled up so bad, even the covers can't stay on!

    The gal friend walked in on me while I was using a marks a lot to put the title on the duct tape and she asks, "who's Flora"? All suspicious like, think she's found my porno stash?
     
  8. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    My wife and I have started a botanical sanctuary. As part of our work of course we have to have an inventory of all the plants there. I'm pretty good at field Id-ing plants but I have to tell you there have been a lot of surprises along the way. Many of the plants I have to wait to get a flower so that I can accurately get a species. I can tell you that it has been a tremendous learning experience for me and I highly reccomend doing it. Btw I have no college or university experience in botany or horticulture so, if I can do it, anyone can!