Plant Species of the Borrego Desert: Brassicaceae: Lyrocarpa coulteri var. palmeri, Coulter's lyrepod

This page is just a shell so far to hold pictures of a single plant taken eight days apart


Table of Contents

Origin and Meaning of Name
Distinguishing Characteristics and Similar Species
Pictures of Young Plants, Mature Plants, and Dead Plants
Habitat, Distribution and Abundance
References


This page is just a shell so far to hold pictures of a single plant taken eight days apart

Origin and Meaning of Name

Distinguishing Characteristics and Similar Species

Pictures of Young Plants, Mature Plants, and Dead Plants

Young Plant Pictures

RT Hawke spotted this young plant just beginning bloom on 15 December 2009:

The plant is just above the mouth of Alma Canyon, between the Elephant Tree Area and Starfish Cove. The photograph was taken eight days after the first rain on 7 December 2009, and 3.5 months after a monsoonal rain on 5 September 2009.

We were greatly puzzled over how this plant came to be in bloom now. All other young Lyrocarpa nearby were just emerging (picture of one neighbor). Could this plant really have emerged eight days ago, grown all those fresh-looking leaves, and begun to bloom so quickly? Or did it begin to grow from the 5 September rain, but then went into stasis until the 7 December 2009 rain? Or did it begin growing on a seasonal cue sometime before the rain eight days previously, and simply began growing a bit ahead of its neighbors?

The freshness of the leaves implies that they were all produced fairly recently, making it unlikely that the plant originally developed from the 5 September rain.

We fortunately had the chance to check on this plant 12 days later, on 27 December 2009. Overall, the plant looked much the same in its size and leaves. The primary difference is that the inflorescence had elongated, and the plant was now on its third flowers instead of its first flowers:

You can match up the small rocks to see that this photograph is of the same plant, taken from a slightly different position. Note that the main plant body and leaves appear smaller in this picture since this picture shows the entire plant and the inflorescence branches have grown.

Here are the two pictures side-by-side in slightly reduced size:

The inflorescence branch at upper left is shown side-by-side here:

Click on the pictures to get a larger version of each.

Note how the stem elongates between the flowers as it develops.

Two observations seem to indicate that this plant did not emerge above-ground from the 7 December 2009 rain. First, the plant does not seem to be a speed grower, since the inflorescence developed so slowly between 15 and 27 December. Second, note that the first bud on the stalk, at its lower right in both pictures, never developed. This argues that the plant went through a period of stasis, which made this bud lose its chance to develop.

My best guess is that this plant began growing on a seasonal cue sometime before the 7 December rain, but well after the 5 September rain, and simply began growing a bit ahead of its neighbors.

Mature Plant Pictures

Dead Plant Pictures

Habitat, Distribution and Abundance

References


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Copyright © 2009 by Tom Chester.
Commercial rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce any or all of this page for individual or non-profit institutional internal use as long as credit is given to me at this source:
http://tchester.org/bd/species/brassicaceae/lyrocarpa_coulteri_palmeri.html
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 29 December 2009.