Hello again from Vernal!
The summer is already winding down, and we are well on our way to collecting 30 species, our end goal. Currently, we have five more plant species to go! I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to talking a bit about one of my favorite seed collections we have done so far, and our seed collecting process.
Before going out and collecting seed, it is important to key the plant, in order to make sure you are collecting the correct species. For example, last week we had the opportunity to collect Lepidium alyssoides, a native mustard that looks very similar to Lepidium latifolium, which is invasive in this area. However, by keying the plant using a plant identification book, we were able to discern several key differences between the two Brassicaceaes. Lepidium alyssoides is described as having some leaves which are deeply lobed to pinnatifid, whereas Lepidium latifolium has leaves which are either entire or serrate. In addition, L. alyssoides plants are mostly 60-120 cm tall, whereas L. latifolium plants are greater than 35 cm tall.
At the beginning of my internship I was skeptical about being able to collect 20,000 seeds of each plant population, but for the majority of the mustards this collection goal has been easy to obtain. Lepidium alyssoides was our fastest collection to date, and we were able to complete the entire collection in about an hour.
The cherry on top of the seed collection trip was discovering my FIRST antler shed! All in all, it was a great day. I am looking forward to collecting our remaining seeds and seeing the late-summer plants begin to bloom!
Vernal, Utah BLM