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Potentilla luteosericea   

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Potentilla luteosericea
Potentilla luteosericea
Photographer: Aaron Schusteff

ID: 0000 0000 0814 0580 (2014-08-06)

Copyright © 2014 Aaron Schusteff

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  • date of photo  Jun 21, 2014
  • location   At ~8000' elevation, in the Vallecito meadow complex, Sierra San Pedro Martir (Baja California (Norte), Mexico)
  • family Rosaceae
  • notes   

    Note: Larger versions of this image can be viewed at this Flickr link. You can comment on this post here.

    This is a habit shot of a prostrate Potentilla growing at ~8000' elevation in a sandy area within the large meadow complex known as 'Vallecitos'. It was taken during the June 2014 Jepson Workshop led by Jon Rebman. Unfortunately, I missed the name given for this...since, as often happens, I had fallen behind the group while taking photos of earlier finds.

    So I consulted the 1980 'Flora of Baja California' by Ira Wiggins, and this keyed (on pg. 795) to Potentilla wheeleri var. rimicola via the following characters:

    • Leaves digitately compound
      • Stems decumbent to subprostrate, hirsute to glabrate, not glandular-viscid; leaves 5- to 7-foliate; leaflets 1-2 cm long; petals up to twice as long as sepals; stamens 20; grassy meadows, mountain slopes, and valleys, Sierras Juarez and San Pedro Martir; to San Jacinto Mnt., Caifornia; July-Aug.
    Although everything Wiggins wrote above fits fairly well here, it turns out that P. rimicola has since been elevated to a species...and the JM2 key and description of P. rimicola, as well as the CalPhotos images here, suggest the plant here is not what is now considered P. rimicola.

    Using the JM2 key with the photos here leads (perhaps not surprisingly) to (the nominate form of) P. wheeleri via the following couplet sequence:

          1'. Flowers in cymes; stolons 0;

          4'. Styles >= 1 mm, ± slender; petals ± obcordate, > sepals;

          12'. Leaflets > 3; inflorescence generally > 7-flowered;

          15'. Leaf palmate;

          25. Stem ± prostrate, generally <= 25 cm; pedicels generally ± recurved in fruit; leaflet teeth < 11; > 1800 m;

          26'. Leaflet surfaces ± equally strigose; s California Floristic Province;

          27.Plant rosetted to tufted in sandy soil; pistils generally > 15; fruit ± veined; pedicels generally < 15 mm; (southern Mountains)......wheeleri

    The JM2 description of P. wheeleri fits this plant fairly well, as does John Game's image image here. But, interestingly, there's an ''Unabridged Note'' after the JM2 description that states:  

        ''Plants called Potentilla wheeleri in northern Baja California are Potentilla luteosericea Rydb.''

    Researching this further, I found that note was backed up by both the most current plant list for the SSPM, provided to us by Jon Rebman, and a 2010 annotated plant list by Thorne, Moran & Minnich. Both lists give P. luteosericea as the current name, with P. wheeleri given as a synonym (or better, a 'replacement name', as P. wheeleri had become a homonym, i.e. it applied to more than one taxon). [Speaking of name nuances, note well that P. luteosericea of Baja California should not be confused with P. pseudosericea of (Alta) California! The latter is quite different!]

    Still, I was curious as to how P. luteosericea is separated from (the current circumscription of) P. wheeleri. The checklist of Thorne et al stated it was a 'frequent and locally abundant sprawling perennial endemic on sandy meadows, 1450-2800 m', but I hoped to find more specific discriminants. In pursuing this I encountered the following four links, which helped clarify the history of the circumscriptions here:

    Finally, the annotated plant list by Thorne, Moran & Minnich answered another question I indicated that P. luteosericea is a localized endemic known only from the Sierra San Pedro Martir. This is in accord with the discussion at the beginning of Errter's paper where she states this group of Potentilla ''exemplifies evolutionary radiation in the montane Madrean Archipelago of Mexico and the American Southwest, with multiple localized taxa endemic to different mountain ranges''.

    More images of Potentilla luteosericea can be found on the SDMNH photo page (search under the species name there).

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  • photo category: Plant - annual/perennial

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  • The photographer's identification Potentilla luteosericea has not been reviewed. Click here to review or comment on the identification.

    Using this photo   The thumbnail photo (128x192 pixels) on this page may be freely used for personal or academic purposes without prior permission under the Fair Use provisions of US copyright law as long as the photo is clearly credited with © 2014 Aaron Schusteff. For other uses, or if you have questions, contact Aaron Schusteff arbonius2[AT] (Replace the [AT] with the @ symbol before sending an email.)


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