As we progressed along the control line we reached another ravine. The outing was a fern bonanza day! Multiple species seen and a brand new one for the grasslands.

Certainly, you can guess we headed down the ravine.

On closer look, the mosses and ferns were in the usual place, at the top edges.

At first, it was just going to be a short in and out. And then this moss covered log sucked us in. But hey, we needed to take a direction towards the car. Wasn’t that convenient. LOL

Woodsia Fern and Purple Cliff-brake fern!

Interspecies connection!

They were literally kissing cousins!

Bright orange roots crossed the ditch!

Up until this time we had only been seeing the Cladonia peziziformis. This is Pixie Cup Lichen (Cladonia pyxidata), goblets for the fairies!

Bushy Bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) or the synonym Maritime Bluestem (Andropogon tenuispatheus). The plant names seem to be changing faster than you can say DNA. LOL. iNat calls it by the synonym. But either way is fine with me as long as I can look it up if needed. I use the WFO names.

After a morning of overcast skies, the sun broke out in the early afternoon.

This and the next photo are the final ones for this outing. However, they were actually the first photos I took that day. Saving the most exciting plant of the day for last.

Many of you probably recognized it as a grape fern. Jeanne and I did too when we saw it. However, it seemed to be the wrong time of year for this plant to be up I thought. But it has been a crazy year, right? When I got home, I checked for other possibilities. So opening the Flora of North Central Texas and The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas, I looked at other possible suspects in the genus Botrychium. One that I have seen here before, Common Grape Fern(Botrychium virginianum) did not fit either by date or physical leaf shape. But I thought maybe because it was late season or young. Checking the online herbarium, my suspicions were holding up. Next I reached out to the experts to confirm my identification. Abby Moore (Assistant Professor of Plant Biology and Bebb Herbarium Curator) and Barney Lipscomb (BRIT and the aforementioned books) were my experts. Both agreed with me that it was the Southern Grape Fern (Botrychium biternatum)! A new plant for the LBJ Grasslands! Moreover, it was way out of range. Usually it is found in East Texas. That was cool!

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Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


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