Creating this key was harder than I thought it would be since I had to resist the urge to make it more complex than it really was. Also, I really wanted to try to describe the leaves but there were not enough (or too many?) dichotomies that I could see from the images.
A. Plant has needle-like leaves – Plant 1
A. Plant has flat or diverse leaves – Plants 2, 3 & 4
– B. Flowers monoecious – Plant 4
– B. Flowers bisexual – Plants 2 & 3
– – C. Petals white – Plant 2
– – C. Petals purple – Plant 3
I sure do hope that there are multiple correct answers for this exercise – fun!
I’m guessing that the purple flower is Pulsatilla patens L. ?
I didn’t know how to describe the leaf so I decided to dissect Hultén’s description to help me understand what to look for.
This is what Hultén say about Pulsatilla patens L. followed by the botanical terms defined.
“Silky-villous; silky-bearing long soft (not interwoven) hairs
stems from vertical, dark-brown, many headed caudex; woody, perennial base of an otherwise herbaceous stem
basal leaves developing after floration, ternately divided into three segments, the divisions 2- or 3- partner into numerous narrow segments;
the very villous involucrum whorl of bracts subtending a flower cluster, deeply cleft into narrow, lanceolate, acute lobes;
sepals blue or purple;
staminodia sterile stamens, or any other structure without anther corresponding to a stamen gland like;
fruit plumose having fine hairs on each side; feathery when ripe.”
~Hultén, Flora of Alaska p. 466
There is no mention of petals in the description above that I can see – why is that?
Dichotomous Key Identification Exercise:
I would like confirmation that the Purple violet in the images is V. nephrophylla and that the White violet is V. renifolia var. brainerdii.
I feel pretty confident that the Spruces shown are 1. Picea glauca and 2. Picea mariana.