Mizzou campus nature quiz

By Tina Casagrand

In an environmental studies course on the natural history of Missouri, Dr. Jan Weaver encourages her students to keep a daily journal of nature observations, complete with a date, location, description (including drawings, if applicable) and one or several questions about that observation. Over time, this information can be very useful for building knowledge about plants, animals, geology, water systems, weather and many other features.

In an ideal world, I would venture out often to find rare or at least more natural features than what’s in the city.  However, since Mizzou is a botanic garden, we can see an impressive a variety of plant species right here on campus, which is great for busy college students!  Here are some observations I made for the class last week.  Please leave a comment if you can answer any questions.

This is a lenten rose on the east side of the Quad. It hangs downward, but it's also a more muted color than many flowers. What pollinates this flower? 4/25
vine near cch
This is a plant in the Christian Campus House parking lot. It seems to be taking over that tree. Can you identify it? Is it invasive? 4/25

This bush standing about 7.5 feet tall near Stewart Hall has tremendously pretty flowers. What is this plant, and is it ornamental or native? 4/25
I've read that the white lines in clover indicate how much nitrogen the plant has. Is this true? If not, what is the reason for it? The top photo was taken by Stanley Hall on 4/24 and the bottom was taken near the Physics building on 4/24.
This is an underwater shot of the stream in Peace Park. Notice the murky water and brownish moss-like material. What is the technical name for this moss, and what does its presence indicate? 4/23
On the left is a drawing I made of a landscaping bush in February. On the right is the same bush, fully green on 4/26. I'm interested in learning how certain plants become reinvigorated after the winter, how they store nutrients (I assume it's in the roots) and, in particular, what this plant is, since it seems very common across campus.

That’s all for now!  If you have any answers, or want to make some natural history observations of your own, feel free to leave a comment or even make your own blog post!  Footprint is always open to new contributors.


One thought on “Mizzou campus nature quiz”

  1. I’ll take a bat at this I suppose.

    1. Lenten Rose are pollinated by Bumblebees.
    Source: Perennials: the gardener’s reference By Susan Carter, Carrie Becker, Bob Lilly

    2. I really don’t know. The leaf shape looks strange to be Japanese honeysuckle.

    3. No clue.

    4. I had never heard this. I do know that some clover are nitrogen fixers. This means that they can get all the nitrogen they need from atmospheric nitrogen. It seems strange to me that the white would indicate nitrogen amount if the plant can get it from a virtually unlimited source.

    5. I do not know my benthic algae. The presence of algae indicates that the water has some degree of nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus. None of this is much concern until it impacts dissolved oxygen numbers.

    6. I am a tree guy but not a plant guy. =(

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