Winter Botany Quiz #6

This photo was taken during my March trip to Lake Tahoe.  Can you identify the plant (family, genus, species), the structure shown, and its function?  Answer and more photos tomorrow.

© Ted C. MacRae 2010

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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7 Responses to Winter Botany Quiz #6

  1. peteryeeles says:

    Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany
    ROSACEAE, Cercocarpus ledifolius
    It’s a seed, shaped for wind dispersal.

  2. Alex/Watcher says:

    peteryeeles beat me. But you shot that in March? That’s how ours (Utah) look in July/August…

  3. James C. Trager says:

    Not a seed, but a fruit, with a persistent stigma to aid in dispersal — not uncommon, but with many variants on the theme, in Rosaceae.

    • peteryeeles says:

      Quite right of course, James. I knew there would be consequences for dozing off in the botany lectures all those years ago.

      I still have nightmares about all the (what seemed like thousands of) terms used to describe something as simple as a leaf margin…

  4. Yes, this is Cercocarpus ledifolius (curl-leaf mountain mahogany) in the family Rosaceae – one of the few tree species missing from my Trees of Lake Tahoe series of last year. Nice job from an Aussie to swoop in and scarf up the points for the plant ID and function of the structure, while James salvaged the remaining points for the name of the structure itself.

    More pics and info will be posted shortly.

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