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Botany Photo of the Day
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Boschniakia strobilacea

Boschniakia strobilis
Boschniakia strobilis
Boschniakia strobilis

Last week, I visited the Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon as part of a plant expedition. The primary purpose of this particular expedition was to waypoint locations and collect herbarium specimens in anticipation of subsequent trips for seed collection. The joint expedition had participants from UBC Botanical Garden, UBC Herbarium and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.

The Siskiyous area is known for its endemic plant species, and I'll feature a few of the ones we spotted in future entries. For now, though, enjoy this oddity that has a slightly broader distribution (throughout much of California and southern Oregon). California groundcone is a parasitic plant found growing in association with manzanita (Arctostaphylos -- note the two fallen manzanita flowers in the second photograph) or Arbutus.

Only a few species of Boschniakia are recognized: Boschniakia strobilacea, Boschniakia hookeri (native from California north to British Columbia) and Boschniakia rossica (native to northwestern Canada, Alaska and temperate northeastern Asia). Boschniakia himalaica, a native of eastern temperate Asia, is also sometimes considered a species (presumably segregated from a broader definition of B. rossica) . This leaves me with a bit of a puzzle, as there is a John Davidson photograph of "Boschniakia strobilacea" from Savary Island in British Columbia, which is far outside the range of that particular species. A bit of a head-scratcher, but there are many possible errors: perhaps the location is incorrect (Davidson did travel to California), perhaps B. hookeri wasn't recognized as distinct from B. strobilacea at the time, perhaps the slide metadata is incorrect, and so on...

9 Comments

PS Congrats to David in LA for answering my “stumper” regarding this plant.

another plant of interest-thank you

calphoto has a number of nice pictures

do bears really like to eat this plant

Is it possible that since they are on a white sheet, they were collected in California, dried, and then transported to BC, where they were then photographed? Seems highly unlikely but then again, it seems equally unlikely that they were collected there.

Strange also that they would color it green, when it is purple to reddish brown.

In terms of John Davidson's slide, remember that this was a 1912 "lantern slide" which was probably a black & white glass slide that was hand-tinted with water colors after the fact. Note that the background part of the image lacks color. Also, the slide annotation shows "Savay Island" as the location of the "artwork" (colorization ?); may not necessarily be the location of collection.

Boschniakia sounds like German for Bosnian man or someone of Bosnian origin who was a German botanist. Neither fit very well for an East Asian or a Californian plant. I had thought that it was a native of Bosnia but apparently not. So the nomenclature is more of a mystery than the taxonony.
Savay Island you've gotta be kidding Agnes Szavay is tennis star, she had an island named after her before she was born?

Boschniakia strobilacea!!! These are words from my childhood. My father used to say it, just for the fun of it. He was the lightkeeper at Point Atkinson, so lighthouse park was our back yard. On many of our frequent walks through the trails, we would look for Boschniakia strobilacea. Of course we never found any, but it was such fun. Thanks for triggering a nice memory, Daniel!

Rick, I'm fairly certain that location of the artwork means where the original photograph was taken - in this case, Savary Island, British Columbia. Interestingly, Ian Cummings took a photograph of Boschniakia hookeri on Savary Island last weekend.

Regarding Boschniakia strobilaea; The range of B. strobilacea is from extreme N. Baja to the southern border of Oregon (extending to around Grant's Pass. Boschniaki hookeri is primarily in Oregon, Washington, and B.C. There are at least three disjunct populations in N. Calif. extending as far south as Marin County. Present work is indication that our two wast coast species should be in the genus Kopsiopsis. Boschniakia rossica and B. Himilaica would remain as classified. The generic name is from a 19 cent. Russian Botanist, Boschniaki

Just based on photographs and host plants, I believe this is what I found in Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon. If so, it could make your seed collection easier than going into the Siskyous. They were near the Parks and Rec building: look for the Sequoiodendron with madrones around.

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