Oklahoma Wildflower Families
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Guymon Woodward Enid Stillwater Tulsa Oklahoma City Norman Lawton Ardmore Idabel Altus Miami 35 35 40 40 Cimarron R. C i m a r r on R. Cimarron R. North Canadian R. North C a n a d i a n R . North Canadian R. S o u t h C a nadian R. South Canadian R. N o r t h F o r k o f R e d R . Washita R. Arkansas R. V e r d i g r i s R . N e o s h o R . Red R. Red R. M u d d y B og g y R . BLACK MESA GLASS MTNS. OZARK MTNS. OUACHITA MTNS. WICHITA MTNS. ARBUCKLE MTNS. KIAMICHI MTNS. COASTAL PLAINS PANHANDLE NORTHWEST QUARTER SOUTHWEST QUARTER NORTHEAST QUARTER SOUTHEAST QUARTER UIP5 Oklahoma Wildflowers Second proof 5/25/11 xiii 3 matches that might be confronted. Often a plant’s close relatives will be those nearest to it in the book. A determined Scout or gardener can then go to my bibliography, to bookstores, and to libraries to learn more about the related plants. All of the photographs are of living plants in the places where they grow naturally. I have been scrupulous about not collecting specimens from the plants I used as models . As you continue to grow in the fascinating hobby of wildflower appreciation, you too can spread the concept of wildflower conservation. Even experts cannot know the true value of any living species to its habitat. Before you collect, consider whether the living population can spare even one. Conservation starts with knowing what is there. Someone who sees only “weeds” will not be motivated to go far to protect them. In the developed world, a patch of grass that can still produce blue-eyed grass, a pond that supports lotus, or a wetland of any description is worth watching, learning about, and growing to love. Oklahoma’s geographic sections, with the Cross Timbers shown in green. A Word about Collecting 3 xv There are, in the simplest terms, three kinds of plant collectors : botanists who make collections for plant research collections, called herbaria; gardeners who bring home interesting wild plants for their own satisfaction; and commercial collectors, who dig wild plants for resale. I am one of the first kind, as I collect Oklahoma plants, carefully and responsibly, for the Bebb Herbarium at the University of Oklahoma. If the population is large, I may collect extra plants for the herbaria maintained at Oklahoma State University and other institutions. We make these collections to preserve a historical record of the plant’s presence at a time and place, which is written on a label that is pasted to the mounting sheet. These recorded plant specimens are deposited in environmentally controlled, protected, pest-free facilities for perpetuity; they are available for researchers who need to study them. We are lucky to have in Oklahoma some of the plants collected by early explorers of Indian Territory. Possibly you who are reading this book are, or will become, the second kind of collector. You like plants, enjoy learning about them, and want to have them growing around your own home. There are some things you need to know before collecting. 3 xvi First, while no plants in Oklahoma are on the endangered species list, and federal law permits collecting all of them, there are certainly quite a few that have become very rare and should not be collected. You can recognize a rare plant when you find only one or two in a location and have not seen any others on the way there, or if the location itself is rare—a bog, for example. I will tell you about one such place (but I will not tell you where it is!). A small group of us had been driving for about an hour through the countryside without seeing a town. After crossing a little bridge, we found ourselves on a gravel road that wound through gentle hills until we didn’t even know in what direction we were heading. Finally we stopped at a rocky hillside and pushed through brush for about a hundred yards, to a shady spring where lady’s slippers grew on a bank that was about ten feet long. Nearly twenty of them were in bloom, but we knew we were in a sacred place, took pictures, sighed, and went on. On the other hand, if you want to try growing a soft sunflower (Helianthus...


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