The Sidewalk Botanist Scavenger Hunt 2020

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Urban botanizing in the age of COVID-19

Since most of my botanizing these days is while walking the woofer in a heavily urbanized part of Chicago, I thought I would see how many of these common urban plants I could observe in 2020. Want to join along?

Many of the species on the project list can actually be commonly found in urban areas around the world (urban species homogenization is a whole academic subfield!), but the ones on this list are particularly common in the Chicago region.

Here's a guide that shows a photo, snippet from Wikipedia, and map of observations:

happy botanizing, fellow sidewalk naturalists!

Anotado por bouteloua bouteloua, 16 de abril de 2020 a las 10:18 PM


Any other species I should add to the list?

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

maybe Procumbent Pearlwort?

Anotado por astrobirder hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Lamium species, Drapa verna, Cardamine hirsuta, Chaenorhinum minus (Dwarf Snapdragon), Leonuris cardiaca, Glechoma hederacea, Solidago altissmima/canadensis (not sure how you want to do that?) Commelina communis, Poa annua, Poa pratensis, Mollugo verticillata, Chicory, Wild Parsnips, Persicaria longiseta, Galinsoga quadriradiata, Securigera varia, Cirsium arvense, Melilotus sp? and Goose Grass (Elusine indica) come to mind, you don't have to include all of these by any means.

Wintercreeper, Poison Ivy, Oriental Bittersweet, various Lonicera and Greenbriars come to mind, but I'm not sure if those are too large/woody for a "Sidewalk Flora" project.

Anotado por wildlandblogger hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I see all of these growing in sidewalk/unmowed lawn areas:

Not sure if there's a fast way to check what's not on your list

Anotado por mws hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Herniaria species (or H. glabra and H. hirsuta), have you got Polygonum aviculare yet?, Plantago lanceolata, Oxalis corniculata...

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

awesome, added a bunch to the project list

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I thought of a few more:
Potentilla argentea (I hope I spelled that right),
Hordeum murinum,
Ailanthus altissima,
Ballota nigra,
Arenaria serpyllifolia,
Cymbalaria muralis.

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

some of those were already on, but I added those and a few more, like Potentilla indica and Setaria pumila which I see growing in my alley :)

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

thanks! one more: Polycarpon tetraphyllum

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Added! Interesting spotty distribution in the US.

Also Portulaca oleracea!

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

of course!

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Alchemilla sp., Argentina anserina, Tussilago farfara, other Arctium species other than minus, especially lappa and tomentosum, Lepidium sp., Erysimum cheiranthoides, Achillea millefolium, Artemisia vulgaris, Scorzoneroides autumnalis, Sonchus sp. and Bunias orientalis probably. I better stop here.)
Also small Polygonum are almost unidentifiable by pictures alone, I upload all mine as Polygonum sp.

Anotado por marina_gorbunova hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I keep remembering more: Mycelis muralis, Parietaria judaica

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

just saw that Senecio vulgaris is not on the list, could you add that too? sorry!

Anotado por alexis_orion hace más de un año (Advertencia)

no prob that's what this is for!

how the heck could I forget Senecio vulgaris? :)

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

@nathantaylor might have a few additions for more southern climes

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I'd add E. prostrata, E. nutans, E. hyssopifolia, E. thymifolia, E. ophthalmica, E. hypericifolia, and E. hirta without a second thought. E. stictospora is a bit more Texas/New Mexico/Arizona specific but is really common in sidewalk cracks out here. Several others like E. vermiculata occasionally show up in abundance in sidewalks on college campuses between the Rio Grande and Pecos River, but that may be a bit too geographically specific. E. thymifolia only really occurs in Florida (where it is a sidewalk weed) in the US, but is a pantropical sidewalk weed and occurs many places around the world but you may want to exclude it. In much of the southern half of Florida E. blodgettii is like E. maculata is elsewhere. Outside of Anisophyllum, E. peplus, E. graminea, and E. davidii (possibly E. dentata?). I'm sure I'm missing others. If including CA, E. terracina, E. segetalis, E. oblongata, and probably some other members of subg. Esula should be added.
For Medicago, M. polymorpha, M. minima, M. orbiculata, M. arabica (I think that's all).

Alternanthera caracasana, A. pungens.

Blitum nuttallianum (probably)
Erodium cicutarium
Calyptocarpus vialis
Galium aparine
Modiola caroliniana
Solanum elaeagnifolium
Maybe Oenothera suffulta, O. curtiflora, and O. lanciniata?
I'm sure I'm missing a ton, but I think this gets the big ones for much of Texas that aren't already on your list. You might ask sambiology (DFW area) or alisonnorthup (Austin) for more Texas plants.

As an aside, it's a bit difficult for me to know what to add since I live and spend the vast majority of my time in the country (e.g., Oenothera engelmannii and Mentzelia strictissima, though considered rare in Texas, are common "weeds" where I live and the largest cities that I visit on any kind of regular basis are Lubbock and Midland, TX). Also, I'm sure you know this but this is a pretty ambitious project. Every sidewalk is different with a mix of regional native weedy species and common cosmopolitan plants. The native weed component often varies from place to place as strongly as the external flora itself does. As such, the sidewalk weeds are not quite the same across DFW, San Antonio, or Houston, TX (the more homogenized places in Texas as far as urban flora goes). It's even more different if you include more rural city sidewalks like the ones in Alpine, Lamesa, or Snyder, TX. You might as well forget about sidewalks in the country. Still, I look forward to seeing how all this turns out as sidewalk botany is a lot of fun. That is, if you have a sidewalk. :-)

Anotado por nathantaylor hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Dang, I just realized how long that is. Sorry about that!

Anotado por nathantaylor hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I believe there's a problem in not having an ability to choose which photos to add, as many of those species listed are found not only in urban areas, but in the wild too, and already there're some photos from the forest with such species and in the summer with meadows blooming it would be worse.

Anotado por marina_gorbunova hace más de un año (Advertencia)

yeah it's not intended to be a perfect complete list, just a different way to highlight our common weedy little plants : )

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

And I like it, thank you for creating it.)

Anotado por marina_gorbunova hace más de un año (Advertencia)

It's a fun little project. I'm curious how the list will look as time goes on and species get added. I don't think I'll be able to participate that much as the virus actually means walking sidewalks less often more me. :-)

Anotado por nathantaylor hace más de un año (Advertencia)

I don't know if you are only interested in little weeds, but for growing in the gutter I found this rather interesting (- not being a plant person)

Anotado por susanne-kasimir hace más de un año (Advertencia)

how strictly do you define sidewalk? I found a pansy growing in a crack in the concrete steps/walkway up against a house (a doormat is covering the concrete)

Anotado por booksandcookies hace más de un año (Advertencia)

cute! I love finding "normal" garden plants growing in funny spots.

this is a collection project, so it's not actually possible to add observations manually to it. It's just a listing a bunch of plants that are very commonly found growing along sidewalks :)

Anotado por bouteloua hace más de un año (Advertencia)

Oops sorry I sent you a DM message, didn't see this as a way to add species. These are all common lawn weeds in South Mississippi but I literally observed them in sidewalk cracks. If you think that will bring in too many non-sidewalk observations if they are listed, I understand, but anyway:
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Richardia brasiliensis
Croton glandulosus
Eremochloa ophiuroides
Sida rhombifolia
Panicum repens
Diodia virginiana
Phyllanthus urinaria
Euphorbia hyssopifolia
Sporobolus indicus
Digitaria ciliaris

Anotado por janetwright hace cerca de un año (Advertencia)

Paraguayan Purslane Portulaca amilis

Anotado por janetwright hace cerca de un año (Advertencia)

Phyla nodiflora

Anotado por lappelbaum hace cerca de un año (Advertencia)

I wish I would have seen this project sooner. I was wondering, how loose are we defining side walks and how common is "common"?

In any case, I might suggest
Eragrostis pectinacea
Eragrostis pilosa
perhaps other Eragrostis sp.
Erigeron annuus
Phytolacca americana
Chaenorhinum minus
Mirabilis nyctaginea
Lotus corniculatus
Securigera varia
Bidens vulgata
Echinochloa crus-gali
Persicaria maculosa
Persicaria lapathifolia
Panicum dichotomoflorum
Panicum capillare
Leucospora multifida
Potentilla norvegica
Melilotus sp.
Solanum dulcamara
Solanum emulans
Acalypha rhomboidea
Hordeum jubatum
Atriplex prostrata

I'm gonna stop there for now.

Anotado por dziomber hace cerca de un año (Advertencia)

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