Sunday, April 28, 2024

Polyploidy 4. Distribution of Autopolyploidy

Polyploidy is whole genome duplication, a genetic phenomenon which is widespread in plants and uncommon in animals. The ancestry of most if not all plants includes a doubling of all the chromosomes. In addition, many plant species were formed by crossing between two existing species, with subsequent doubling of the genome which made the hybrid fertile. (See previous blogs Intro to Polyploidy, Crop Plant Polyploidy, Speciation via Polyploidy).


Long known and still poorly understood is variation in polyploidy within a species. 

fireweed, Chamerion
fireweed (Chamerion) has within-species polyploidy

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Travel Story - Landscapes of a Cruise Down the Columbia River

I took a river cruise (with Lindblad/National Geographic) down the Snake River from Lewiston Idaho to the Columbia River to its mouth on the Pacific Ocean west of Portland, Oregon. Many interesting places went by while in the bus or on the ship. Here is a tour: the trip through the window. 

My husband and I flew to Spokane, Washington, so the trip actually started with a bus ride 100 miles south to Lewiston, Idaho. It was April 7, a cloudy early spring day in Spokane.  There is a spectacular city center I hope to walk through one day.
Spokane, Washington
Spokane Washington

Spokane, Washington
The Spokane River, Spokane, Washington

Monday, April 15, 2024

Growing Natives in Colorado

 There is a national push for homeowners in the U.S. to grow plants native to their area (see previous posts  part1part 2; part 3; HNPwebsite). The number of birds and insects have been dropping over the last 50 years. Lack of food is blamed because we replaced native habitat with lawns and parking lots. Rewilding our neighborhoods is not a realistic solution; what is suggested is that we each grow regional natives on our properties, making our yards contribute to local habitat. 

native alpine wildflower
Alpine clover Trifolium dasyphyllum, an alpine tundranative that won't survive
in Denver, though the distance is only 50-60 miles.

What to grow in Colorado is a challenge. First, Colorado has unique native wildflowers, so advice from the coasts is often misleading. Second, Colorado is complex, with natives changing as you go up in elevation, over the Continental Divide, or from north to south; getting really local information is difficult. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Strawberries, Fragaria, Beloved Fruits. 2. Uses and Folklore

Strawberries are popular fruits, eaten world-wide. This is despite the fact that fresh strawberries do not improve after harvest and cannot be stored for very long. So popular are they that we have bred them to produce fruit throughout the growing season, not just briefly in June or July, and ship them from warmer climates or big greenhouses for year-round fresh strawberries, and we freeze them or preserve them as jams and jellies to them always available.

fruit salad with strawberries
fruit salad with strawberries

Monday, April 1, 2024

Plant Story -- Strawberries. Fragaria, Beloved Fruits 1. Distribution and Botany

Strawberries, genus Fragaria in the rose family, Rosaceae, are a popular fruit and have been for millennia. Twenty to 24 species are recognized, with cultivated strawberries adding many hybrids and varieties. They are native around the world, mainly in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere, plus a few Southern Hemisphere species.

strawberries, Fragaria species
strawberries, Fragaria