Wildflower from the past

I volunteer at the herbarium associated with two local scientific organizations, so I’m always focused on the interesting plants that I see on my walks, thinking about plants that might be worth collecting for the herbarium.  Last week I was asked by the herbarium to make a collection from a population of sunflowers growing along the road north of where I live.

I collected them, pressed them, and keyed them out using the keys from the Flora of North America, the standard now for plant id in the US.  Then I checked the id against the local town flora listing.  What I found was that the plant had been collected from the very same location back in the 1970’s; even more interesting, it was collected by a biologist/botanist who was on my thesis committee when I studied for my masters degree.  That was really special to be collecting from the same population he collected from some 40 years later!  And I had keyed it out to the same species!  Kind of a special thing to happen….

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