As per the instructions, I selected a fellow classmate’s (Jayme Moudy-Ferrier–well done, by the way) Dichotomous Key to identify the four samples. The hard work was already done for me by Jayme who identified the specimens before-hand. I googled the specific terms used by Jayme to conduct my search, and found many interesting facts along the way. Specimen 1 is known as a white spruce and is characterized by needles that are attached singly to each peg. The branchlets do not droop downward, and the cones produced by this tree are about 3inches long. This species is believed to have originated in central Alaska, and has spread southward. I concur that the first plant is the Picea glauca.
The second plant was harder for me to identify. It is very similar to the Pycnocarpa, a subspecies of Arabis hirsute that Jayme seemed to pick as a first choice, but there seem to be adaptations that may be specific to Alaska. The flowers in the sample have a more pronounced bell in their presentation, and the leaves are less robust than the images that I viewed when I googled the scientific names.
The third plant is definitely Anemones patens (thanks Jayme!). Every distinct feature is easily recognizable in the available images on Bing. The number of petals, the shape and arrangement of the leaves, and the tuft of filaments at its center all point to this being the correct identification of this plant. Perhaps the Ph levels in Alaskan soil are what produce the vibrant color in the sample on the class website.
Lastly, the fourth image is the Salix glauca (willow). Again, I think there are adaptations specific to the climate of Alaska that render the sample on the class website slightly different than the images that I viewed when I typed in the terms. I cannot take any credit for the discovery of these species due to Jayme’s hard work. I do thank her for the excellence of the Dichotomous key she produced, and I enjoyed following in her footsteps.
Thanks! Well done, there was no need to identify the plant to species, just create a key and see how well somebody else’s key works in separating plants 1-4. Nice work, best, Steffi.