The 2021 edition of Plants of the Bodie Hills is now available as a free PDF on the Downloads page.
This new edition is at last more of a proper “Flora” than an “Annotated Checklist,” because it now includes keys to all of the species. It includes keys to families and genera too, except for two (not so minor) exceptions: the key to dicot families (class Magnoliopsida) and the key to grass genera (family Poaceae) are still in progress. These are both very challenging technically, whether they are built up from scratch or simplified down from existing keys that encompass many more taxa in a much wider area than the Bodie Hills. I hope to add those last two keys in a future edition.
Adding numerous keys and several more species has stretched the document to 116 letter-size pages. Note that you have 2 options for how to use it: 1) load the PDF onto a mobile device or 2) print the PDF yourself.
Using a mobile device: I’ve found the PDF to be quite readable on my iPhone 8+ (in the Books app), although it helps that I’m near-sighted. It’s even easier to read on an iPad, other tablet, or laptop. A phone or tablet is pretty easy to carry in the field, but you may want to secure it with a lanyard or wrist strap. (Personally, I like the ones from PodFob.)
Printing the PDF: You can print the PDF yourself or at a local print shop, but I highly recommend printing it 2-sided to conserve paper and reduce bulk and weight in the field. A comb or spiral binding, binder clip, or other binding will hold it together.
Your additions, corrections, comments, or questions are always welcome.
EARLIER THIS YEAR I posted a preliminary checklist of plants in and around Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in northwestern Nye County, Nevada. I’ve expanded that list so that it’s now the first edition of a “guide” to the flora there. It’s intended to help visitors who are curious about plant life in the area recognize some of the rich biodiversity of this park and the central Great Basin region. This is a free PDF you can obtain from my Downloads page.
Native and naturalized plant species are listed by major taxonomic group (Gymnosperms, Dicots, and Monocots), then alphabetically by family and species. Each plant is described very briefly with regard to its habitat and/or location in the park, plus a few prominent identifying characteristics. I also prepared a new map of the area, derived from USGS topographic quadrangles (edited in Adobe Illustrator, with Avenza MAPublisher). Sorry, no illustrations yet. . . perhaps in a future edition.
This is still a work in progress. Some identifications may be incorrect and some are uncertain for plants that should keyed again with better flowering or fruiting material. Additional plants not yet included are to be expected, especially among the grasses and the annual dicots. (Please let me know if you have additions or corrections!)
Not surprisingly, the genus genus Astragalus (Milkvetches or Locoweeds) appears to be the most diverse genus in the area, with at least 7 species. Penstemon (Beardtongues) and Eriogonum (Wild-buckwheats) come in a close second, with at least 5 species in each. The largest plant families include Asteraceae (Sunflower family) with at least 20 species, Brassicaceae (Mustard family) with at least 13 species, and Fabaceae (Pea family) with at least 11 species.
Looking west from Berlin (Ione Valley and the Paradise Range)
Over the last couple of springs and summers I’ve made an effort to become more familiar with the flora of the central and western Great Basin, east of Mono County and the Bodie Hills. Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, in northwestern Nye County, has become a favorite destination. Searching the internet for information about the flora of this area turned up very little, so that was reason enough to focus on compiling an initial catalog of plant life in this very pleasant and remote unit of the Nevada State Parks.
Trail near the campground
Berlin-Ichthyosaur sits at about the 7,000-foot elevation on the west slope of the Shoshone Range, overlooking Ione Valley. The park features the remains of Berlin (a mining town active from about 1863 to 1911), a large fossil shelter housing in-situ fossilized remains of several Ichthyosaurs (the Nevada state fossil), a campground, several trails, quiet solitude, and much plant and animal life to explore.
Were it not for the pandemic, I would be there again this month, looking for additions and corrections to my list. Later this year, I hope. For now, though, there’s enough in the list to make it worth sharing as a first-draft work-in-progress. I hope readers will find it interesting, take it as a challenge to find more species, and contact me with corrections, additions, or comments. You can find this first edition (a 2-page PDF) and any subsequent revisions on my Downloads page.
Photographs of many of the plants in this list (and a few other life forms) can be found here, on iNaturalist.
All photos, maps, and text are copyright Tim Messick 2015-2023, except where other sources are given credit. All rights reserved. No copying or modification without written permission. Links are welcome. Thanks!