22 Oregon Flora Project – Making A New Natural Resource (in English)

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Speaker 1: From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is Pollination, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators.

I'm your host, Dr. Adoni Melopoulos, assistant professor in pollinator health in the Department of Horticulture. On this week's episode of Pollination, we're going to focus on an exciting initiative that most Oregonians interested in native plants probably have heard about, the Oregon Floor Project. I'm joined by Linda Hardison, who's the director of the Oregon Floor Project and an assistant professor of senior research here at OSU's Botany and Plant Pathology Department. With the Oregon Floor Project staff and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers, Linda is developing a new floor for the state of Oregon in both printed and digital formats. The information presented by the Oregon Floor Project as you hear in this episode is accessible and it's a key resource for anyone interested in the state's pollinators and the plants they depend on.

I just want to make a plug. Linda's actually going to be talking about issues in this episode, namely the Oregon Floor Project and pollinators at this year's fourth annual Beevent, which is this fabulous pollinator conference put on by the Lynn County Master Gardeners and it's going to be taking place on March 3, 2018, in Salem, Oregon. So let's dive into the discussion about floras and how they can best be used to understand native pollinators. Here we go. All right. I'm so excited to have Linda Hardison here from the Oregon Floor Project. Thank you.

Hi. On pollination, we're always talking about pollinators, but it's funny, you know, apart from an episode, I think we had with just a cruise from the Zersey Society, we don't really talk about the plants. And so I'm really excited to have you here to talk about the Oregon Floor Project because there's a way in which it seems like such a great fit for understanding pollinators in this state. Maybe to begin with, just tell us about the Oregon Floor Project and some of the ways right off the bat how somebody interested in pollinators could be using the Floor Project to understand pollinators. Sure.

Speaker 2: The Oregon Floor Project is based at Oregon State University and we work closely with the herbarium there. We're independent of them, however. Our mission is to serve as the primary steward of information about the vascular plants of Oregon. So that's a pretty large task. Not only do we want to keep all of this information and curate it, but also help people to use it. And that means making that information effective and useful to a broad audience.

Speaker 1: And I've been down to the herbarium. There's a lot of specimens, a lot of information there. And so this is a way of taking all of this out of the herbarium and sort of into people's hands, I guess.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. When you think about what we do as our program, it's sort of like providing the whole package about the plants of our state. And you can think of, well, like a newspaper article, you want to learn something about plants so you've got your who, what, when, where, why.

And that's what the Oregon Floor Project does. Who are the players? Who or rather what are the plant species that are known to occur in the state?

What are they? You know, how do you define each plant species? Because your idea of what a particular species might be can differ from somebody else's. So we really delimit those definitions of what a plant is, a particular species is. And then where are they found? And when do they bloom? And a really important tool is how can I know what they are? How can I identify them? So the Oregon Floor Project through its different tools and the main emphasis of a floor gives you these tools of learning all of the where, the when, and importantly, what is it. And then it puts it in a context, the why. Why are these plants occurring here? Why do these populations and communities exist?

Speaker 1: This is great. So you are able, just like a newspaper, to pick up the Oregon Floor Project and its various manifestations and be able to get a catalog of who's out there, but also get important life history information, which imagines for people who are us as pollinator, people were really interested in when these plants bloom. We could kind of figure out which part of the state we're in and get a catalog of those species that have been collected or have occurred there and know something about their bloom times. Right.

Speaker 2: I think that's really critical, understanding the context in which plants occur. It's not just a laundry list. You know, it gives you the connections, the interrelations. And that, I think, is in the plant world. That's what we're doing with our information about ecology, and plant habitats. But now think about how critical that information is for studies on pollinators. You have to know what is it that your insect or your animal is looking for, and therefore, where can you find it. And when is it going to be optimal for that pollinator?

Speaker 1: OK, we had a conversation maybe about two weeks ago in your office where we were talking about the various connections that could be made between the Floor Project and a survey of Oregon bees.

And I'd like to pick that up a little bit later. But I do remember one of the aspects of that conversation. We had a former guest on the show, Aaron Udall, who was in that meeting. One thing that really fascinated me about the Floor Project was how it kind of came together because we're trying to replicate something similar and a much more modest scale with the bees of Oregon. The one thing that struck me in that conversation was how the Oregon Floor Project started from a really kind solid vision. And in some ways, anticipated all the changes in technology, all the changes in sort of how people get information and was very ahead of the curve. And I'd like to get at that part of the story, sort of the beginning of the Oregon Floor Project, and how you sort of at that point of starting could see your way through to now. It seems like the project is always reinventing itself. It always has this way of adapting to information. Tell us a little bit about that story.

Speaker 2: The Oregon Floor Project started in 1994. And this was the happy coincidence of a major event in the OSU Herbarium. That was when the University of Oregon decided to close its herbarium, those specimens were moved to here at Oregon State University. But there are a lot of different specimens, each of different plant species or in plant families. And so those had to be integrated. And so the founder of the Oregon Floor Project, the late Scott Sundberg, was hired to implement this integration process of the University of Oregon Herbarium sheets into the OSU collections.

So you think about that. That's the ideal time and the ideal place to use this really important resource of a herbarium and examine all of these specimens, these dried pressed plant specimens that represent all of the plants that have been collected and observed throughout the state. So it was the time again, the time and the place to initiate a study of the vascular plants of Oregon, and then move forward on the necessary changes and compiling that information to make it useful.

Speaker 1: So the starting point in some ways is a kind of a reassessment of the state's flora when you have these two collections come together. Like there's a kind of need to sort of take stock at that point.

Speaker 2: The last flora or comprehensive plant manual or identification tool was updated in 1961. So it had been already 35, 40 years before current information had been assembled and disseminated. So there was clearly a need.

The information was out of date. And by you having those collections moving here into Corvallis, it made OSU Herbarium defacto, the de facto state herbarium because that's where the largest number of dried pressed plant specimens from the state exists. And it's definitely OSU Herbarium's shining collection that it has a very comprehensive collection of representation of the vascular plants of the state.

Speaker 1: Okay. So that was the starting point. There was this opportunity to really kind of 30 years had passed. With the time and this emerging of the collection, there's this opportunity to reassess the flora. So what happened next?

Speaker 2: So this was actually the passion of of Sundberg that he did on the side, recognizing that that his job of integration was was one sort of a manual process that needed to fill his days eight to five. But while he was doing this physical work, he was collecting the information.

And one of the first steps, as simple as it sounds, is writing a checklist, getting a checklist of what is there. So again, it had been a long time since a listing such as that had been made and things change, you know, new taxa come into the state, species are less, less often occurring and can even be extirpated. New varieties are being defined by scientists. So all of these pieces needed to be evaluated in order to come up with a working contemporary list of what's out there. So just like when you're going to do a big grocery run, you need to write a list to get yourself organized. Same way with starting a flora.

Speaker 1: OK, so the first kind of step was this checklist, getting stuck. And imagine a lot of plant taxonomy has changed in 30 years. Some plants are now something else. So kind of dealing with that issue.

Speaker 2: That's a huge part of dealing with plant taxonomy. It is figuring out the correct name to call it. That's a really important issue because the name reflects the name of a plant reflects its evolution and consequently its relatedness to other things.

And it's not just that taxonomists have nothing to do with their time. So they decide to frustrate people and change their name. It's these name changes come because research has been done.

Often it's molecular these days that demonstrate that a particular group of plants that make up a taxonomic unit or what we refer to as a taxonomic concept needs to be pruned a bit or expanded a bit so that it accurately reflects that plant, that particular plant species.

Speaker 1: This is an ongoing process. I'm sure through the last years of the floor project, you've constantly had to deal with this. But we have a checklist now. This does not seem like an accessible thing. So how did it move from a checklist to this, you know, really taking the collection outward?

Speaker 2: Sunberg and his team at the time, I think, really realized the importance of using a database to keep track of this information. Okay. So back when the Oregon floor project started, a lot of attention thought and detail went into developing a relational database that could capture all of the relationships. And this is the problem of having multiple names or synonyms for a particular plant species.

And why? Why did somebody choose to change the name and exclude part of what we were talking about initially? So having a data structure that could capture all of this subtlety and this information that is really important to know what you're dealing with was really paramount. And that's what made it useful because when you can take information and parse it out and put it into categories and into fields, then you can call it up. If you want to look at when something blooms or a particular sub-species, you can isolate that particular set of information and then do amazing things with it. Two applications that this database structure rapidly went to were developing an atlas or a way to track and share what plant species occur where. And then a second would be a photo gallery where you link that plant information with actual photographs or images of herbarium specimens.

Speaker 1: Now this becomes very, I can just immediately see, and I'm sure lots of the pollinator people, people in the state know, but the Oregon floor project, but elsewhere immediately seen the connection now. We've got plants on a map with pictures and we suddenly are able to figure things out about what's out there, what's blooming. And then it strikes me that these fields have been leveraged yet again in terms of identification. Like there's when you're able to create these fields, you can say something, you can restrict in this location with this kind of morphology and you can come to an identification key that's not dichotomous, but matrix-based.

Speaker 2: Right. That's something that's going to be presented in our new redesigned website, which we can talk about later. But exactly. So traditional floras and we are producing a paper bound traditional flora.

Speaker 1: They have the first edition on the table here and it's a gorgeous, gorgeous book.

Speaker 2: Thank you. Thank you. It's not only full of beautiful information. I think it is a beautiful presentation of that information. Thank you. So those traditional floras have ways to identify an unknown plant specimen in what's called a dichotomous key. So just like the name dichotomous implies, there are two options. So you have a list of characters, a suite of characters that present one option. And then right below that you have different characters. So you might have stem square and leaves fuzzy as one option.

And then your second option might be stems round leaves fuzzy only on the edges. So you choose between those two and then progress to another pair of options. And so this way of progressing in pairs to get to a final identification is tried and true. And it will give you a lot of information along the way. It can also be really painful when you make a wrong turn

Speaker 1: early on in the process and spend 45 minutes and realize this doesn't look at all like what I'm thinking of. So a really good way around that, which is perfectly adapted to digital media, is having what we refer to as an interactive key or a multi-entry key. This is a situation where instead of being forced to choose from one of two suites of options, you simply note and check off whatever you recognize on your unknown plant specimens. So you might see that the flowers are purple and you might notice that the stems are square, but you're not so sure about the leaves. So don't worry about the leaves. You just enter in the characteristics that you recognize in your unknown plan. And it's a continual winnowing down until you have hopefully one or a handful of options.

And then you can go and use the other resources that the Oregon Flora presents, such as photographs, distribution maps, and detailed descriptions about each plant. Great. Well, let's take a break, and then we'll come back and we'll talk a little bit more. I want to ask you some more questions about the journey, especially some of the wrong turns that you may have taken in terms of developing the project and things that would do differently. But also let's talk a little bit more about the parts we've talked a little bit about the key, but let's talk more about the parts of the floor project and how people can support it.

Welcome back. So I wanted to pick up on something that you had that we were talking about in terms of developing this Atlas in this really innovative way in which the Atlas developed from an opportunity into a checklist into having this relational database that really allowed it to, you know, in some ways set the stage for being able to develop these tools for Oregonians who want to know about the Oregon Flora. I want to ask a little bit about some of the challenges, but also some of the unexpected opportunities that came up during that path. And particularly I'm thinking about, you know, an Atlas of bees and, you know, things that we should look out for and what are your words of wisdom for us?

Speaker 2: One, I think we can be really happy that technology and data sharing have advanced since we started this initiative because that's really helped a lot. The Oregon plant Atlas, which is our online interactive mapping tool, was custom-made software using Java and JavaScript that was headed up by a volunteer. So as a lot of citizen science projects and projects without firm funding are, there's a huge amount of volunteerism that goes into these.

And that's always really exciting because you're getting a better sense of what is needed, but it also has its perils in that when a volunteer moves on, then you can be losing some of your support and maintenance opportunities.

Speaker 1: So one way that we are moving forward and building on all of the incredible things that volunteerism has done for the Oregon Flora project is we're now moving to a redesigned website using the Symbiota software platform. This is software that has been designed by biologists to communicate natural history collection data. So it's got tools and modules that really have, I think, an innate understanding of how biological data work and issues that are really, really important for us that other software programs or ways of developing websites didn't quite address going back to the whole issue about nomenclature and synonyms and how to reflect what is a plant species. So I think that moving forward with the B Atlas is going to benefit from some of these opportunities of having biological knowledge drive software development and tool development. Yeah, right.

And it seems like there's really since you first started with the Java platform to now, there's been a real explosion of federally funded database platforms that really wasn't there when you started. And it wouldn't have been able to sort of envision it.

Speaker 2: Right. Symbiota did have initial federal funding and it's, at this moment, largely funded by outside projects such as our contracting with them to help develop new features are ways that this software gets new development brought in. But it is open source. And together, as a scientific community, we can make better tools and more meaningful tools that really take advantage of software technology and programming skills.

Speaker 1: That's great. And that's a really good lesson is to sort of like find these other initiatives that are already moving and already have worked out the kinks and be able to join on with them. A second question I have is regards to populating, we do have some nice collections of the Civic Northwest bees that are housed right here at the state arthropod collection. But also imagine this is the same thing with the flora that there are areas of the state that have been poorly sampled and trying to get some new records in using citizen science. Tell us a little bit about ways that you've kind of gone about doing that.

Speaker 2: One of the things that makes the Oregon Flora Project unique and our website unique is that we include observation data. So I've talked earlier about herbarium specimens and again, a herbarium is sort of a cross between a museum and a library. And those are tangible examples of plants and the information that was recorded when the plant was collected. So a lot of data aggregators and data sets look at those pieces of information because they're in your hand, they're clear, and they can be transcribed at any time. And that's really important, it's a cornerstone of plant distribution data.

We've added in, however, as a citizen science element, the ability to capture and use in our atlas observations. So there's no plant specimen that one can go back to and refer. Yes, this is the actual plant that I collected that I'm calling, you know, species X. So, you know, it's a buyer beware.

We mark these records as, well, we don't have a piece of plant that you can go back and confirm that identification. But with that risk comes the incredible benefit of having a whole lot more data points to consider. A lot of people aren't going to go to the effort and expense of making a plant specimen for a herbarium.

And so by having observations, we gather our information from everything from federal and state agency botanists, academic researchers, native plant society members who are on guided hikes to individuals, this whole spectrum of people who are out there as informed citizen scientists and para botanist as well as professional botanists, giving information is just making this data set so much richer and so much more than if we had to rely only on specimens.

Speaker 1: That's great. And let me just take this one another step further. Let's say, and we expect across the state this past summer, we have some groups that are going out and looking for pollinators, looking for some new records of pollinator species. Walk us through a very concrete way. Two things can happen. One, they can use some of these maps to help guide them and think about the flowering times as the plant communities they want to go to. So concretely, how would they go about doing that? And the second is, let's say they go out and also collect some plant information. How would they, you know, how do they get started? How do they provide that information back to the floor project?

Speaker 2: That's a really exciting question. And it's going to feed in so well to what capacities our new website is offering. The Oregon Flora Project has also produced a mobile app that is a, it's called Oregon Wild Flowers. And that is a really easy-to-use tool to identify about over a thousand of the wildflowers that occur in the state. So if you were going out on some foray looking for pollinators and pollinators are looking for typical flowers on plants. And so you can use the Oregon Wild Flowers app with that interactive key that I was, that we were talking about earlier to identify the plant that you see your particular insect on. So bingo.

Right there. You have now with the ideas and the taxonomy and the nomenclature of the Oregon Flora Project identified a plant and therefore have the idea of what, this insect is on. So with your, if you're using your phone, it's probably a smartphone.

However, that being said, the app doesn't require an internet connection to work. So you can go out in the booties. Yes. That's, that's the beautiful thing because botanists don't like to stick them, to the urban corridors. So if you do have a phone, you can take, often a picture and get geo-referencing on your photograph. So right there, you've just created all of the elements for two contributions to this citizen science project of the Oregon Flora Project. Number one, you have identified a plant.

You have made a plant observation with the reference being Flora of Oregon information. And then number two, you have all of the location information of it with the latitude and longitude values on it. And by taking a photograph, you've now photo-documented this.

And that could also be a contribution to our photo gallery. Because it has those lat long values associated with it. Not only do you get to see a beautiful color photograph of this plant, maybe with its pollinator sitting right on top of it, but we can put a dot on our map because it shows where in the state it occurs. So it's a wonderful way to contribute your effort and your time on a pollinator foray to a botanical resource because clearly plants and their pollinators, go together.

Speaker 1: And dear listeners, I have the app. And as you all know, I'm new to the state and it was such an asset this summer, just being able to quickly scroll through, indicate which region I was in, and just see the list of species shrink and shrink with each step.

It would just made it easy for an entomologist like me to even do a little bit of botany. So tell us what's coming up next. You've talked about the website, tell us a little bit about it, and just how our listeners can, you know, support the project.

Speaker 2: Our new website, as I mentioned, we're going to be using the Symbiota software platform. And we are super excited about this. We're hoping to have a launch date of late January next year, so not too many months away. And it's going to add amazing tools to what the current Oregon flora.org website is able to offer. We've already talked about the interactive mapping program or Oregon plant Atlas. We're going to have an Atlas where we can not only map the plants that occur in Oregon, but if a plant species occurs in Oregon, we can show you now where it is found in other states.

So you're going to get an extended distribution and really get a sense of the range of plant species. Wow. What's really cool is that the mapping program, we're going to be one of the first portals in Symbiota to launch with this is going to be GIS-based. So that lets you then use layers and think now to having a layer of information about insects and pollinators.

Wouldn't that be amazing? You can put that on top of plant distribution. So you can say, I want to look at everything in the mustard family in Klamath County and show me what bees or butterflies also occur in this particular area. So it's going to be a really powerful way to look at not just plant information, but natural history information as we interact and interface with other data sets. And entomological data is going to be a premode set of information to link to botanical information. So we've got this incredible mapping capacity that we're building up. We'll also have our photo gallery. All of each plant species that occurs in Oregon is going to have a fact sheet about it or a profile page. So you can get a real quick view of examples of photographs of the plant where it's mapped to and importantly, of a detailed description. That's the information that is echoed from the books, the floor of Oregon books that we're developing.

And then we'll also have this interactive key that we've already discussed that's going to not just what's on the phone app of just a thousand taxa, but all of the 4,672 different vascular species, subspecies, or varieties that exist in the state.

Speaker 1: I had the really good fortune of seeing a very early version of the fact sheets. They're really great. The imagery, obviously, as everybody knows from both the book and the existing website is really sharp, but this is everything just pops up in this really nicely formatted. So easy to use. I'm really excited. I'm counting the days to next January. Me too.

Speaker 2: Another thing I'd like to point out is I had spoken earlier about the Oregon Flora project striving to make information useful and relevant. And we are going to be launching a gardening portal. And this is going to focus on native plant species that can be used in landscaping or horticultural applications. And so it's going to be sort of like a whole parallel to the geeky science part that we do in that you can go to this garden page and say, I'm looking for a plant solution that will provide me with gray foliage and bloom up until August and also serve as a privacy hedge.

What native plant species might meet that need? Right on. And so that's going to be, I think, really useful to a broad sector of the population. And it also serves as a model programming-wise and information sharing-wise as to how we can meet the needs of a specialized group. Imagine a tool like this with added information, particularly for restorationists invasive species workers, or wetland scientists. So the capacity that we're developing here, it's just like a treasure trove.

Speaker 1: So the other thing is volume two is on its way. Yes. A total of three volumes. Yes.

Speaker 2: So that book, the book format of the floor of Oregon is in three volumes. As you said, volume one has been published and that covers the ferns, the conifers, and monocots. We have two more volumes left.

Volume two, which is going to be the first alphabetically, the first half of the dicots is scheduled for next summer. And the main plant families are groups that are going to be in that book. The big hitters include the carrot family, the mustards, the sunflower family, and legumes. Those are all really big plant families.

Speaker 1: A lot of pollinator plants in there.

Speaker 2: And even, it gets even better, however, because each volume has front chapters that really provide that context in that frame of reference, the why part of a flora. For volume two, our chapters are going to be on plant-insect interactions and gardening with native species.

Volume three contains the remainder of the dicots and the big-hitting families in that volume will be the rose family and Willow. So that's really important for wetland and hedgerow people. And everything that used to be in the scrofula ariaeces, so think to snapdragons and penstemons and that experienced a whole lot of taxonomic revisions.

And those are all going to be in that group. Our front chapters of general interest for volume three are going to be on ethnobotany, climate change, and impacts on plant populations and plant propagation.

Speaker 1: Now, this question of support, I do know, and in the process of picking out my plant, you can sponsor a plant in the flora and be their benefactor, which I'm very excited about and I'm sort of torn as to where I'm going to. I'm going to, you're going to get a check for me soon, but I'm very excited about it.

Speaker 2: Why not sponsor a whole family? No. Yes. I think you point to a topic that is really important in our life. And that is that the Oregon Flora Project is a program that's completely funded by grants and donations. So we are based at Oregon State and we could not function without access to the herbarium, but we don't have direct costs supported by the university.

They provide us with indirect support such as office space and accounting services. So making all this happen really does rely on competitive grants and donations. We do have ways to acknowledge people who want to help out on this really cool project by allowing them to sponsor any number of plant species or an illustration or one of the front chapters we've talked about. And you can find information about that on our website on the flora page.

Speaker 1: And we'll have all of that linked on the show notes. So we've got a symbiote we talked about. We've got, and we also have these questions that we ask all our guests, which we will also link. But so let's take a break. Let's go to those questions. I'm always curious what, and how people are going to answer.

I never quite know. And I'm really curious how you're going to answer these questions. So let's come back in a minute and we'll get to those questions. All right.

Well, welcome back. We have these three things. We've asked all our guests and we've got a whole range of questions. You can't imagine some of the answers that we've gotten. And the first question that we've asked all our guests is their book.

That's really important to you. We often ask is there a book on pollinators? But seeing as we have an authority on organ plants, it can be on plants. That really good plant book.

Maybe another way to think about it is if you were a pollinator enthusiast and you really wanted a book on pollinating on the flowers, figuring those things out. You know, what would you recommend?

Speaker 2: I would go to a flora. And I know that sounds like a biased answer, but it really points to how flora is the key source of information for plants in an area. And as we work on a new flora, an updated one, the organ flora information is really helpful. Hopefully, in the course of our discussion, it has become evident that this floristic information, this whole body of knowledge that we're working on, exists in both paper versions and digital versions. And I think that's sort of the way our future is going.

You know, we're such a digitally oriented society now. So what information or what book would be the best way for a pollinator looking for plant information or a plant person looking for pollinator information? I'm going to stick with going with a flora.

Speaker 1: OK. So your recommendation is a book that's going to come out next year. OK, awesome. That has never. We have our website. The website. And I do. I do. Again, the app is really easy to use.

You should just go right now to iTunes and download it. OK. A tool. Now, again, we often ask people for a tool for working with pollinators. But if you were just starting, let's say you're a pollinator person, I just got my first plant press.

I haven't used it yet, but I got it. But what are what's a tool that you can't do without? Like when you're going and studying plants, what are what's something that you really? I wish I had that in the car. Or, you know, it's always it's always close at hand. A plastic bag. Plastic bag. OK. That's a question I had because I'm starting to collect plants and I want to get in my herbarium. I want to I want to in my plant press and I'm never sure. Like I'm going to be out all day collecting plants in plastic.

Speaker 2: That's what I'm going to use. So a long time ago, before the advent of modern petrochemicals and plastics, people used to go out in the field and take along a thing called a vasculum, a tin vasculum. And it's basically like a metal tin box with a little lid on it. And you might put a wet paper towel or a wet cloth in there. And you would collect plants because you want your plants. Often botanists will go out in the field.

And as you said, you're on a walk. You don't want to stop and press things as a way of preserving it. So you want it to stay fresh and not all will. So instead of using these heavy tin vascular nowadays, you take a bunch of plastic bags with you and you can stick them. If you're going out on some big adventure or on a hike or something, grab a bunch of plastic bags of different sizes and you stick your plants in there. And you can also organize. So a little notebook is another useful thing so that you can collect plants and note their habitat because you can be out surveying a big area and you might be in a wet seat. And you're going to have different species that are found on that wet, soggy ground than you will on the higher levels.

Or you might hit this little rocky knob or something. And so you can even organize your collections in your plastic bags and then write in your notebook, well, you know, this species or I think this is in, you know, the Keriaphyll family. I found that in the wet area and organized your collection. So it's kind of funny, but if you're out collecting, you truly need some way to take care of those plants until you can preserve them. And herbarium specimens, when well done, will last for centuries, literally centuries.

Speaker 1: I got my knapsack full of bags and I just put them back in like, how do you how do you kind of get all squished and everything?

Speaker 2: How do you do it?

Speaker 1: Carry a big knapsack and just kind of lay them in flat or something.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I just sort of, you know, carefully put them in. There's also a thing called a field press, which is sort of a quickie way of pressing plants. So when you described you, you had purchased a plant press. So for people to have a visual image of that, a plant press is typically a grid of hardwood that is used to compare with straps that you use to compress plants, which are layered in newspaper in between pieces of cardboard. So you make this little sandwich of cardboard. If you're lucky, a piece of absorptive filter paper or a felt, they're called. And then you open up an old sheet of newspaper. This is another reason why we can't all go digital.

We have to have newspapers. You put your plant in there and then you carefully arrange so you can see both sides of a leaf. You can open up flowers.

You might want to even dissect a flower or something. And then you slap the top of the newspaper print on there and sandwich it between another set of cardboard pieces. And then you tighten up the straps. And that's something that you do at the end of your collecting period. And they need to dry and flatten over a couple of days. So in that interim, while you're out in the field, you can also sort of do the slapdash way of that in a field press, which doesn't have the hardwood, literally the hardwood.

It's a soft, you know, sort of a canvassy thing, but you can add your cardboard and sort of flatten things and carry them. So that takes a little more time, but that's another tool. OK.

Speaker 1: Wow. This is great. We should have just done an episode. We'll have you back on on on just how to collect plants one day. OK. But the last question is, do you have a favorite pollinator tell us a little bit about it. Or it may not. You may it may be like a plant species that you just when you see a pollinator on, you're like, oh, I love that. I love that little plant.

Speaker 2: Oh, that's hard.

Speaker 1: I didn't tell you the show is going to be easy.

Speaker 2: Oh, I like them all. Plant families are an organizing unit for thinking about plants because just like in humans and genealogy, a family tells you who you're related to. And the Astor family, the sunflower family, Astoracy is one of my favorites.

It was also the family that the late Scott Sunberg did his dissertation work and focused his career on. And when you think about the diversity in the Astoracy family and how many times have you seen a great big old sunflower shining in a garden and bumblebees all over it or Yaro, you know, Achillea, Milifolia, Yaro, it looks sort of doesn't look like it really. But that's in the Astor family, too. And some of the smaller pollinators and native pollinators that attended that family. So you have a whole variety. They bloom from early to very late. There are some of the latest bloomers in Oregon and early.

Speaker 1: I was up on the board with Balsam.

Speaker 2: Balsamariza. Yeah, the Balsam route. Yeah. Yeah. So I'll just big off and say it's the Astor family that I'm most fond of.

Speaker 1: I have to say, you know, I have a hope we have him on a show soon. He's a taxonomist from Canada. And he said, you know, if you were going to plant one thing, you could just plant one thing for bees, something in the Astor family. Cool. Great choice. And thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule with all of this Atlas construction going on. Sure. Thank you. Thank you. Take care.

OK. Thanks so much for listening. Show notes with information discussed in each episode can be found at pollinationpodcast.oregonstate.edu. We'd also love to hear from you and there are several ways to connect. For one, you can visit our website to post an episode-specific comment, suggest a future guest or topic, or ask a question that can be featured in a future episode. You can also email us at pollinationpodcast at organstate.edu. Finally, you can tweet questions or comments or join our Facebook or Instagram communities. Just look us up at OSU Pollinator Health. If you like the show, consider letting iTunes know by leaving us a review or rating.

It makes us more visible, which helps others discover pollination. See you next week.

Linda Hardison is the leader of the Oregon Flora Project, based out of Oregon State University’s Herbarium. The Oregon Flora Project seeks to present scientifically sound information about the vascular plants of Oregon that grow without cultivation in formats that are useful to generalists as well as to scientists. With projects such as their interactive Oregon Plant Atlas, their smartphone app, and their upcoming book “A Flora of Oregon”, they are cultivating an invaluable resource for scientists and hobbyists throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Listen in to learn more about the Oregon Flora Project, the amazing benefits their research and data collection has on pollinators, and what’s in store for the future.

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“The Oregon Flora Project is striving to make information useful and relevant…to a broad sector of the population.“ – Linda Hardison

Show Notes:

  • The mission of the Oregon Flora Project
  • How the Oregon Flora Project benefits pollinators
  • What started the project
  • What benefits have been found in making the OFP database
  • How Linda’s team streamlined the dichotomous key identification process
  • How the Oregon Flora Project is taking advantage of new software and open-source platforms
  • The exciting possibilities for citizen scientists to contribute
  • What’s next for the Linda’s program
  • How gardeners will benefit from a new development of Oregon Flora Project
  • Why Linda’s favorite tool is a plastic bag

“A lot of people aren’t going to go to the effort and expense of making a plant specimen for a herbarium, so by having observations, the data sets are so much richer and so much more than if we had to rely only on specimens.“ – Linda Hardison

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