Field Notes

Friday Flora Feature: Deer Grass

February 11, 2021

One of the first plants we teach our volunteers to look for when out Spring Seeking is deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), a type of bunchgrass commonly found near water sources in the Sky Island region. This week, we’re here to pass this knowledge to you, too—so that you can identify deergrass next time you’re out enjoying nature. Description:  Deer grass, also called deergrass, deer muhly, or zacate…
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Friday Flora Feature: Arizona Walnut

December 4, 2020

When searching for water in the Sky Islands, finding a walnut tree can be a great indicator that you’re getting close to a spring, stream, or other water source! These towering woody plants are a key part of our mountain ecosystems, a vital source of food for wildlife, and the focus of this Friday’s Flora…
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Friday Flora Feature: Canyon Grape

November 12, 2020

For this week’s Friday Flora Feature, we’re spotlighting Vitis arizonica, a grape species we often see while seeking water resources in the Sky Island region. Keep reading to learn how to identify this species when you’re out hiking, camping, or helping us monitoring our springs.  Description:  Vitis arizonica, commonly called canyon grape, Arizona grape, or Jiragui in Spanish, is a wetland plant that flowers between April and…
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Flora Feature: Patagonia Mountain Leatherpetal (Graptopetalum Bartramii)

July 3, 2020

For this Friday Flora Feature, we’re exploring a rare herb-succulent found in the Arizona Sky Islands. Commonly called the Patagonia Mountain leatherpetal, Bartram’s stonecrop, or Graptopetalum bartramii Rose, G. bartramii belongs to the Crassulaceae (stonecrop) family. It is native to Arizona and has not been discovered in any other U.S. states or territories.  G. bartramii is a perennial plant species that naturally grows…
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Friday Flora Feature: Monkeyflowers

June 12, 2020

Monkeyflowers are iconic desert plants found here in the Sky Island region and in much of the Western United States. Today’s Friday Flora Feature highlights the scarlet monkeyflower (Erythranthe cardinalis) and the seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata).   It’s all in the name..or is it?  Biologists and nature enthusiasts tend to use scientific names (written as Genus species) when referring to flora and fauna. This reduces confusion as common names may vary by region and change over time. Yet, scientific names can also be befuddling. As our knowledge of the natural world grows, and our understanding of…
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