Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Perigynia the Blog!

In May 2010 I asked my supervisor if I could attend a sedge identification workshop; his response was, “sure, but I hope you like squinting through a hand lens” - I have been squinting at sedges ever since. The class was taught by Dr. Jim Bissell of the Cleveland Natural History Museum and it sparked an interest in me that I never expected, I had a new found desire to take on the botanical world of Carex.

Now I see sedges everywhere including walks around my suburban neighborhood, in my neighbors unkempt backyard and on vacation.  I try not to do any public squinting when my wife is around because she is embarrassed by my hand lens; she thinks it makes me look “dorky”.  Nonsense, I say, it is a perfectly normal piece of equipment; okay maybe I looked a little goofy peering through my 20X and sipping Corona on the beach during summer vacation. 

I am not a botanist but rather a natural areas manager a job title that is impossible to explain to anyone outside of the natural resources field without them concluding that I am either a gardener or a park ranger.  However, I am lucky I get to do some botanist-type work which I very much enjoy and I admit I am even guilty of calling myself a botanist when I don’t have the energy to explain my actual job title.  Again, I am not a trained botanist and I am ashamed to admit that before June 2010 I had never even made an honest attempt to key out a sedge to species, instead preferring to use the Carex sp umbrella.  Anyone who owns a “Flora of …” field guide has surely noticed that the Genus Carex can easily chew-up 50 plus pages of dichotomous key without the help of pictures or line drawings.  It can be intimidating. 

I now have two sedge seasons (roughly May 15 – July 15) under my belt, but still get confused to a maddening level at least once a week during the season, but more importantly I am still determined to learn my sedges.  So I have decided to start a blog devoted to sedges! I will post images, sketches and field notes of sedges that I find and identify (or try to identify) and then a real botanist will see the post tell me I am way off and correct my identification – I can’t think of a better way to learn.

Welcome to Perigynia! 

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