photos in the wild

Diane Whitehead
Fri, 04 Mar 2011 18:27:24 PST
I just found this on a site that shows photos of all the species of  

"It is hoped that in the future people visiting these remote areas  
will concentrate
on taking photographs of the critical features and a wide range of  
  not just the prettiest."

What a good idea for our wiki pictures!.  Of course, one needs to be  
knowledgeable to know which characteristics are important for  
identification.  I can remember our experts in South Africa digging up  
a plant to check its bulb so they could name it for us.  Of course,  
they carefully replanted it.

That isn't often necessary, but sometimes the important parts are very  
unexpected.  Does this stick out longer than that?  How do the leaves  
emerge from the ground?  What is the shape of the tiny stem holding  
the pollen up?

And the instruction to take pictures of the variations present is  
important, too.  I have so many gorgeous pictures stuck in my head -  
single pictures that were published in books, sometimes fifty years  
ago. They became my ideal of what many species should be, but when I  
have bought the plants or grown seeds, invariably they would not look  
much like those photos.  Off-white instead of gleaming yellow,  
perfectly plain instead of white with a big purple eye, and so on.

Then I noticed that the  University of British Columbia Asian Garden   
was growing a lot of what I considered second-rate selections of  
rhododendrons, unlike the Species Foundation which combed the U.K. to  
import only rhododendrons which had won prizes.  However, as a nature  
lover, as opposed to being a gardener who has room for only one of any  
species, I finally understood the importance of growing many  
representatives of the great diversity present in the wild.  UBC chose  
a few species and is growing as many of them as possible so they can  
be studied.

If you are in a strange area and don't know the plants, I guess the  
best thing to do is to take LOTS of photos of every aspect of the  
plant, not just the flower.  Fortunately, with digital cameras, that  
is possible at very little expense.

Diane  Whitehead
Victoria. B.C., Canada

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