Wayne's Trivia Notes #16
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Wayne's Trivia Note #425 (25 February 2017)

The result of heavy winter rains of 2017: Field of mustards (Brassica rapa) in Twin Oaks Valley with Owens Peak in distance (24 Feb 2017).

Wayne's Trivia Note #426 (26 February 2017)

The naturalized weed called filaree (Erodium cicutarium) on Owens Peak is decorated with a crimson-red chytrid fungus (Synchytrium papillatum) of the fungal phylum Chytridiomycota. The glistening microscopic pustules are referred to as "galls" by some authorities. I don't remember this colorful fungus from my Mycology course during the 2nd millennium AD.

Wayne's Trivia Note #427 (2 March 2017)

This was my 1st Trivia Note (26 May 2012). It is a rare (possibly undescribed) Brodiaea that blooms each spring in a field near Palomar College. With all the rain it should bloom this May! It also occurs on Gaviota Pass (Santa Barbara County) south to Otay Mtn on the Mexican border. It was once called B. jolonensis, but that species grows in Monterey County on the Hunter Liggett Army Base and is much different. In the latest Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California (2012) it is listed under B. jolonensis as: "Pls in SW, n Baja CA with green ovaries, white staminodes may be undescribed taxon."

Wayne's Trivia Note #428 (3 March 2017)

2 March 2017: The San Marcos Vernal Pools have water and the federally endangered San Diego Fairy Shrimp. These tiny crustaceans have been dormant in this field during the 5 year drought (or longer). They survive as embryos within resistant eggs called cysts which are embedded in the desiccated mud sediment. Numerous wildflowers are also sprouting, including brodiaeas & star lilies. Unfortunately, some of the pools have been thrashed by wreckless offroaders.

  San Marcos Vernal Pools  

Wayne's Trivia Note #429 (5 March 2017)

Unwise To Post False Claims On Websites or Social Media. I did this about "coconut pearls" after being misled by a scholarly book on palms and display at reputable botanical garden. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the proof of authentic pearls from coconuts is lacking. I have retracted my original statement but it still shows up on old web sites. Cococot Pearls Are A Hoax!

  Authenticity Of Coconut Pearls  

Wayne's Trivia Note #430 (6 March 2017)

Poppy patches on Owens Peak from heavy rains of winter 2017. I haven't seen displays like this in many decades!

Wayne's Trivia Note #431 (21 March 2017)

To see true desert blue bells you need to go beyond Anza-Borrego to the southern end of Joshua Tree Nat. Park. Their exact color is difficult to match in hexadecimal code: Probably column 6 (from left) in following chart. BTW, I made this chart the old fashioned way by typing in all the codes!

Wayne's Trivia Note #432 (25 March 2017)

The Biosphere II project failed due to ant infestation and other problems. It also failed due to management disputes & major lawsuit when Steve Bannon (Trump's Chief Advisor) took over as CEO! Please read the Wikipedia summary under Second Mission.

Wayne's Trivia Note #433 (27 March 2017)

This is an amazing spring for wildflowers. I have never seen this unusual "climbing snapdragon" (a remarkable twining vine in the snapdragon family) on Owens Peak.

Wayne's Trivia Note #434 (29 March 2017)

Clickbook: A slick program for printing 51/2 x 81/2 in. brochures from web pages. I use it for plant/ant checklists on field trips. Students can refer to species by number, without spelling long scientific names. See AntGenera Web Page.

Wayne's Trivia Note #435 (5 April 2017)

The remarkable threadstem: A tiny desert wildflower that resembles a miniature orchid. At the base of the stamens are enlarged, translucent cells. Do these glistening structures mimic nectar drops to attract insect pollinators? See Four Threadstem Species.

Wayne's Trivia Note #436 (9 April 2017)

The heartbreak of "fungus gnats" (cf. family Mycetophilidae) in every room of my house, including my cereal bowl. Although not as bad as "eye gnats" and they taste OK, they are still annoying!

Wayne's Trivia Note #437 (10 April 2017)

Crane fly: Common house intruder after the rains of winter 2017. The name "mosquito hawk" is not appropriate. This fragile fly is not even a predator. It only feeds during its larval stage. The short-lived, winged adults don't even feed, they just fly around looking for a mate! Their favorite meeting places are lights outside your front & back doors. See Crane Fly & Larva