Thursday, June 16, 2011

Goat's rue and other plants I've never heard of

There are about 1861 plant species native to New Jersey (Anderson 1997). So it isn't really surprising that I keep running into new ones. This one (Goat's Rue, a type of pea, photographed June 1 in Lakehurst, Ocean Co., NJ) was particularly strange in its "bicoloredness": yellow and pink. Mustard and ketchup. And it was providing food for an interesting little weevil. Weevils incidentally are the most species-rich family (~60,000) in the most species-rich order of insects (beetles). So I won't attempt to identify it. Anderson (1997) lists 48 native "peas" in NJ (family Fabaceae), not including introduced or extirpated species. Many more peas left to meet.

Another plant I met this spring that I'd never heard of is "Cut-leaved Toothwort." It is in the mustard family, and was growing along the Musconetcong River in Warren County. It seems to be fairly common, but I was excited because it wasn't listed as occuring in Warren County in the great NJ plant-atlas book by Mary Hough. "A discovery!" thought I.

Cut leaved toothwort, photographed April 17 in Musconetcong WMA in Warren County.

Lit Cited
Anderson, K. 1997. A checklist of the plants of New Jersey. Self published. Mount Holly, NJ.

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