Plant diversity in New Mexico

From 14 Oct 2010.

Out of curiosity, I decided to find out how many taxa (species + varieties or subspecies as applicable) are recorded from each of the counties of New Mexico. I searched the herbarium records at & ran the results through the ASU taxonomic database, which will keep the same taxon from showing up multiple times if it’s listed under several synonyms. Of course, the taxonomic filter only works if the ASU database contains the appropriate names and synonymies; generally speaking it probably does, but there are certainly omissions and errors as well. There’s also some error in specimens being recorded for the wrong county due either to error when databasing, the collector not really knowing where he or she was, or changing county boundaries. So, the numbers are quite approximate but as good as can be done without devoting considerable time to the project. That said, here are the results on a map:

Now, one reason for doing this is that I had heard, from Dr. Heil at San Juan College, that Rio Arriba was the most diverse county in the state botanically. I was skeptical, but didn’t really know any better, but now I at least have some basis to believe otherwise; Grant County appears to be most diverse, with Rio Arriba in seventh. My initial guess was that Doña Ana or Hidalgo County would come out on top; with Doña Ana in third I guess that’s not bad, though Hidalgo’s a bit further down. Differing results between myself and Dr. Heil may be due to his use of the NMBCC (New Mexico Biodiversity Consortium) database at; this database includes only the holdings of New Mexico herbaria, while includes New Mexico holdings from the Arizona herbaria and a few others.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are some obvious biases in collecting. The eastern counties, in particular, are poorly collected. However, this alone is unlikely to account for their low diversity. For instance, there have been at least one or two floristic inventory projects in Roosevelt County (including a flora of Milnesands by Rob Strahan), and so it has about twice as many species recorded from it as most of the surrounding counties. However, the total of 651 is still unimpressive.

Gonochorism, a neglected term

From 11 Oct 2010.

I’ve been reading a few papers recently on the evolution of sex and it seems to me that an important distinction is often overlooked, the distinction between sex and gonochorism. Theoretical work on the evolution of sex often contrasts gonochoristic sexuality, i.e., having separate male and female individuals, with asexuality. If females have a constant number of offspring in gonochoristically sexual and asexual lineages, the asexual lineage will have twice the reproductive output. Suppose all females have four offspring; a gonochoristically sexual female will have two sons and two daughters, while an asexual female will have four daughters. Those four daughters will have four daughters, while the gonochoristically sexual female’s two daughters will each have two daughters. There are some simplifying assumptions here that may not hold–i.e., the sex ratio is 1:1, males are assumed to make only a genetic and not a material contribution to reproduction, and it is assumed that no physiological reliance on sexuality exists. The second is apparently the most problematic; if males provide food or other resources that can increase the per-female reproductive rate in a gonochoristically sexual species, a competing asexual female will not be able to achieve the theoretical doubling in reproductive rate. This is likely to be a factor to some extent among many mammals and birds, but presumably not in reptiles & insects. The third assumption has also been shown not to hold in some cases. Whiptail lizards (genus Aspidoscelis) have a hormonal reliance on mating behavior, and engage in pseudosexual behavior. This apparently reduces the efficiency of reproduction and prevents asexual whiptails from maintaining an equal per-female reproductive rate compared to their gonochoristically sexual relatives.

In any case, apart from the violations of simplifying assumptions that mitigate the potential doubling reproductive output of asexuals in some cases, the potential reproductive inequality between gonochoristically sexual and asexual lineages presents presents a significant challenge to any account of how sexuality could have evolved and how it could be maintained. Resolving this difficulty has been the focus of extensive research. However, as I suggested initially, I think the problem is in part poorly framed. The reproductive inequality that papers on the evolution of sex seek to address is not specifically one relating to sexuality vs. asexuality, but a result of the division of the sexes into separate individuals, i.e., gonochorism. If we compare hermaphroditic (loosely speaking… in plants this term and ‘gonochoristic’ can be misleading, see the post regarding Pollan’s “Botany of Desire” on PBS) lineages with asexual lineages there isn’t any general theoretical reason to expect a strong reproductive inequality between the two. All offspring in each case will be reproductive. We might expect marginally lower reproduction in hermaphrodites because some of their energy is devoted to male functionality, but, as the biological cliché goes, sperm are cheap; this should not be a major factor. We might still expect asexuality to be favored under certain circumstances, particularly if gamete (or, in flowering plants, pollen) transfer is inefficient. If populations are sparse and encountering other individuals of the species is infrequent or energy-intensive (or, in flowering plants, if pollinators are scarce or inefficient)–i.e., if it is difficult to engage in sexual activity–this should tend to favor asexuality. That aside, in general it seems to me that the arguments already advanced to explain the evolution of sex, which focus in various different ways on the fact that sex encourages genetic diversity, both in terms of numbers of alleles present and in their ability to be assorted in offspring independently of each other. Genetic diversity provides the substrate on which natural selection can act, and is thus a prerequisite for an evolutionary response to selective pressure. If either abiotic or biotic conditions change, a sexual species should be able to adapt to that change much more quickly and effectively.

Sexuality seems to me to be relatively easy to explain. Gonochorism, on the other hand, is very difficult to explain. Compare a gonochoristic and a hermaphroditic lineage; the latter should have twice (more or less) the reproductive output, but both have the genetic advantages of sexuality. The hermaphrodites should win easily. So, why are there so many gonochoristic species? I’m sure there must be literature that addresses this specific point, although I haven’t run across any in my own fairly cursory reading in the field, but I think many miss this point and simply take gonochoristic sexuality and asexuality to be the two available options. They are not.

(Parenthetically, a further confusion that I’m ignoring for present purposes is that between self-fertilization (or self-pollination…) and outcrossing. Self-fertilization is sexual, but has broadly similar detrimental genetic consequences to those asexuality. In plants, the evolutionary dynamics of self-compatibility / self-pollination vs. self-incompatibility are subject to some of the same general considerations as the evolution of asexuality vs. sexuality (which in plants is generally ‘hermaphroditic’, but occasionally ‘gonochoristic’…), but of course it isn’t quite the same. The main complication added is that selfing plants can be either facultatively or obligately selfing… anyways, enough for one day.)


From 1 Jan 2010.

I’ve always been bothered by the traditional definitions of seasons, because seasonality is essentially a meteorological phenomenon and these definitions are based on astronomical rather than meteorological events. Clearly the amount of sunlight we receive plays the main role in determining meteorological seasons and hence the astronomical phenomena are important. However, the link between, for instance, the winter solstice and thermal minimum is somewhat complicated. If insolation directly and instantaneously determined terrestrial temperatures, the solstice and thermal minimum should coincide. If we assume a naïve astronomical determinism, winter solstice should be the middle of winter, not its beginning. However, thermal inertia places the temperature minimum after the winter solstice, sometimes long after. Consequently, an astronomically coherent view of seasons does not make sense meteorologically. Placing the beginning of winter at the solstice to account for this lag both removes the astronomical credibility of seasonal definition and entails an assumption that the thermal minimum lags about 45 days behind the winter solstice. This may happen in very cold climates (e.g., the North Slope of Alaska & high elevations in the Sierra Nevada), but more typically the thermal minimum lags 10-30 days after the solstice. The dominant view of seasons as beginning at the solstices and equinoxes does not make sense either astronomically or meteorologically. Like most compromises, it fails on both counts. So, in my opinion, either we should define seasons astronomically, or meteorologically. Since I view seasons as a fundamentally meteorological phenomenon, I will opt for the latter. Perusing weather data for El Paso on, I have defined the seasons for southern New Mexico and west Texas as follows: the coldest 91 days are winter; the warmest 91 days are summer; the days falling after winter & before summer are spring; the days falling after summer and before winter are fall. This gives the following dates:

Spring begins on February 19th.
Summer begins on June 1st.
Fall begins on August 31st.
Winter begins on November 20th.

For comparison, here are graphs showing the various options with temperatures at El Paso (modified from First, astronomically defined seasons; i.e., solstices & equinoxes are centered in each season:

Second, traditionally defined seasons with the solstices and equinoxes beginning seasons:

Third, my meteorologically defined seasons:

Note that the astronomical seasons are too early (because they do not incorporate lag) and the traditional seasons are too late (because they incorporate too much lag). June 1st and August 30th both have average mean temperatures of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. November 20th and February 18th both have mean temperatures of 51 degrees Fahrenheit. Dates would probably move slightly based on a more precise analysis, but these should be pretty close. Lag for thermal minima and maxima is about 10-15 days, although the thermal maximum is not centered within summer due to the influence of the average onset of monsoonal rains around the beginning of July, which depresses daily maximum temperatures while apparently having no strong effect on daily minima. Spring ends up being longer than fall (102 vs. 81 days), but this reflects the meteorological reality that warming in the area is more gradual in spring than is cooling in fall.

Doing the same thing for Indiana (using weather data from the Indianapolis airport), we get:

Spring begins on March 3rd.
Summer begins on June 5th.
Fall begins on September 5th.
Winter begins on December 5th.

And more graphs; astronomically defined seasons:

Traditionally defined seasons:

Meteorologically defined seasons:

Indiana lacks the significant asymmetry of southern New Mexico & western Texas, presumably because there is no monsoon season. Maxima & minima lag about 28-30 days behind the solstices.

Comparing the two also brings to light another detail worth mentioning: placing the beginnings and endings of seasons at uniform dates across even the climates of the United States is a normative cultural concept that does not accurately meteorological reality. Indiana and southern New Mexico are by no means the most divergent climates one could choose in this respect; I chose them simply because these are the two places I have lived.

Getting plant sex wrong

From 28 Oct 2009.

Watching “Botany of Desire” on PBS. I’ve generally been a bit ambivalent about Michael Pollan, but about 36 minutes in he veers into “just plain wrong” territory. “Before that [before the evolution of angiosperms] you had this greener, sleepier world where things reproduce usually by cloning, by spores that were genetically identical to their parents”. Regarding cloning–yes, there were a fair number of clonal plants before angiosperms evolved, but there are also plenty of clonal angiosperms. Regarding spores–he is right that sexual recombination isn’t involved in producing spores but: 1) this does not mean the spores are genetically identical to the parent–they aren’t; 2) angiosperm reproduction involves the production of spores as well, so this is not a difference between angiosperms & non-angiosperms.

Brief recap of plant life cycles: the dominant portion of the vascular plant life cycle is the sporophyte (on the other hand, gametophytes are dominant in non-vascular plants: mosses, liverworts, hornworts), which is diploid (has two sets of chromosomes, just like all stages of the human life cycle except sperm & eggs). The diploid sporophyte produces spores by meiosis. Meiosis halves the chromosome number, so the spores are haploid. Whereas the sporophyte has two copies of each gene (excluding the rare cases in which plants have sex chromosomes), each spore has one copy of each gene. It’s the same as the relationship between, for instance, a human male and one of his sperm cells (except, for the sake of nit-picking, that humans have sex chromosomes and most plants don’t), and is not genetic identity. However, whereas human sperm & egg cells do nothing more than unite to form a zygote, plant spores undergo cell divisions to produce gametophytes. Gametophytes are a multicellular haploid stage in a vascular plant’s life cycle, and they produce gametes (sperm and eggs) through mitosis. Gametophytes exist in all plants, but are quite small and dependent on the sporophytes in angiosperms. Pollen grains are male gametophytes. Inside each ovule lives a female gametophyte. When the sperm and eggs produced by gametophytes join in fertilization, we are back at the diploid sporophyte level. Very short version: diploid sporophyte produces spores; spores grow into haploid gametophyes; gametophytes produce sperm & eggs; fertilization takes us back to a diploid sporophyte. Although (with minor exceptions; e.g., the genus Vittaria, some species of which exist solely as gametophytes) all plants produce spores, in no plants is the production of spores itself sexual. The production of spores is part of the sexual process, however; without the gametophytes they give rise to, you can’t get gametes. Lest you think Pollan just misplaced a word or two, he continues: “And then you have this incredible explosion of diversity that happens with this new strategy. It was an incredibly successful strategy. It allowed you [by which he means angiosperms] to move your genes around, it allowed you to evolve much quicker because sex creates variation.” Nope, he didn’t just misplace a word or two, he’s really saying that the key innovation of angiosperms relative to earlier plants was sex.


From 7 Oct 2007

How to distinguish Eryngium heterophyllum and Eryngium lemmoni
Why I don’t like to use the Kearney & Peebles Flora of Arizona

Here is how Kearney & Peebles distinguish these two species:
“3. Plants from a cylindric taproot; lower cauline leaves pinnatifid to bipinnatisect; inflorescence paniculately branched, the heads comate; bracts linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, entire or with 1 or 2 pairs of lateral spines near the middle, commonly yellowish above . . . . . . . 3. E. heterophyllum
3. Plants from a fascicle of fibrous or fleshy roots; lower cauline leaves spinose-serrate; inflorescence successively trifurcate, the heads not comate; bracts broadly lanceolate to oblanceolate, spinose-serrate with 2 or 3 pairs of teeth, silvery-white above . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. E. Lemmoni

And here are my observations on the various characters:
“Plants from a cylindric taproot” vs. “plants from a fascicle of fibrous or fleshy roots”. This appears to be accurate and, although not necessarily a useful field character, this can be a useful distinction with good herbarium specimens.
“Lower cauline leaves pinnatifid to bipinnatisect” vs. “lower cauline leaves spinose-serrate”. This is also essentially accurate, although it could be better worded, for instance by including a more quantifiable distinction rather than descriptive terms that can be somewhat subjective (how deep must the divisions be before the leaf is pinnatifid?).
“Inflorescence paniculately branched” vs. “inflorescence successively trifurcate”. This is simply inaccurate. Inflorescences of the two species are quite similar. In both, as we move up the plant we have first several alternately arranged primary inflorescence branches, then a whorl of ca. 3-7 primary branches. Each primary branch of the inflorescence is determinate, and may either terminate in 2-3 heads arising from a single node, or the lateral head(s) may be replaced by secondary branches terminating in groups of 2-3 heads. It seems to be more common for E. heterophyllum to have the terminal groups with only 2 heads, and E. lemmoni to have groups of 3 heads. However, this is by no means a uniformly applicable identifying characteristic, and neither species has an inflorescence that is accurately characterized as “paniculately branched” or as “successively trifurcate”, although the primary branches of the inflorescences of either species may (or may not) be “successively trifurcate”.
“The heads comate” vs. “the heads not comate”. “Comate” is, first, a needlessly obscure term. I do not recall having heard it before, in any context, and although it sounds much like the more commonly used “comose” the meaning is quite different. In any case, a comate head is one in which the bracts of the head are greatly enlarged at the apex of the head and form a leafy projection beyond the flowers. Pineapples are comate. The heads of E. lemmoni are indeed not comate and most heads on most specimens of E. heterophyllum are indeed comate. But some heads on many specimens, and all heads on rare specimens of E. heterophyllum are not comate, or at best indistinctly so. So this is a one-directional character; plants with comate heads must be E. heterophyllum, but plants with non-comate heads could be either species.
“Bracts linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, entire or with 1 or 2 pairs of lateral spines near the middle” vs. “bracts broadly lanceolate to oblanceolate, spinose-serrate with 2 or 3 pairs of teeth”. This is accurate, although unfortunately there is overlap in the descriptions.
Bracts “commonly yellowish above” vs. “silvery-white above”. I cannot tell if this character is inaccurate, or simply variable and of limited utility. I have only seen E. heterophyllum in the field at two locations (Rucker Canyon in the Chiricahua Mts. and Clanton Draw in the Peloncillo Mts.), but both times the bracts were silvery-white above. No difference in bract coloration is apparent from the herbarium specimens I looked at earlier today, but colors are often unreliable in dried material. Presumably any specimens that did clearly have yellowish bracts could be readily identified but, as with non-comate heads, specimens with silvery-white bracts (which appear to be the overwhelming majority) could be either species.

Although this is the most annoying example I have encountered recently (since this key has resulted in my misidentifying E. heterophyllum as E. lemmoni not once but twice), it is unfortunately not an isolated example. Most keys in the Kearney & Peebles flora are well written and eminently usable. However, a significant minority are not, and while these keys will still usually yield correct identifications if used carefully while comparing specimens of all of the relevant taxa, they often make me feel rather confused and can easily lead to misidentifications if used incautiously.

Plants in washing machines

I’ve put compact flash cards through the wash a few times with no ill effect, but I discovered a stem of Senecio pendulus that had made it through the washing machine. This is a succulent species, with jointed stems and no leaves, similar in some ways to Cylindropuntia (but without spines). The joints break off readily, and one apparently fell among my dirty laundry. In any case, it is apparently no worse for wear and I’ve planted it. We’ll see if it survives.

Quotes from Stebbins

A collection of edifying (or, at least, interesting to me) quotations from G.L. Stebbins’ Variation and Evolution in Plants, originally posted in Sep 2006.

p. 1:
“The hierarchy of categories is a multidimensional pattern of variation in nature, and the gaps or discontinuities give reality to the various categories.”

I think (and hope) he means taxa by “categories”. This seems to be his usage elsewhere. There are several other interesting quotes in the first few dozen pages that I may put up later.

p. 34:
“All [Dobzhansky, Mayr, & Huxley] agree that species must consist of systems of populations that are separated from each other by complete or at least sharp discontinuities in the variation pattern, and that these discontinuities must have a genetic basis.”

This remains essentially the case with modern disagreements on species concepts. The disagreements are not in what species are, but in what is the best axis on which to look for discontinuities.

p. 35:
“In fact, it is likely that most families in which the genera are well-defined have suffered the extinction of many species, and further that most boundaries between neighboring genera represent gaps left by species which have perished.”

The importance of extinction in observed patterns remains often overlooked and misunderstood. In most cases monophyletic taxa, for instance, were probably previously paraphyletic groups in which sufficient lineages have subsequently become extinct.

Stebbins continues:
“If this fact is kept in mind, then the search for natural boundaries to genera has some meaning to the evolutionist and is not entirely a matter of convenience.”

pp. 189-190:

“The common ground of agreement between these definitions may be expressed as follows. In sexually reproducing organisms, a species is a system consisting of one or more genetically, morphologically, and physiological different kinds of organisms which possess an essential continuity maintained y the similarity of genes or the more or less free interchange of genes between its members. Species are separated from each other by gaps of genetic discontinuity in morphological and physiological characteristics which are maintained by the absence or rarity of gene interchange between members of different species. The above sentences are not to be construed as this authors definition of a species, since several different species definitions are possible within the framework of their meaning.”

But–isn’t it precisely the problem of existing species concepts that they try to limit us to a single axis for discerning species, rather than admitting of several different axes, as Stebbins’ sentences above do? Why not embrace such a broad and inclusive definition–merely because it could be subdivided?

p. 202:
“The second alternative [the first was multiple species concepts] would be to recognize that at any given moment in the evolutionary time sale, reproductive isolation is important in keeping distinct only those populations which are sympatric or which overlap in their distributions.”

In other words… Mayr’s Biological Species Concept is applicable only to sympatric or overlapping populations. This criticism has been hemmed and hawed over for five decades now, but has never been addressed in a coherent fashion. And it is precisely a multidimensional species concept that will allow us to overcome this problem, as well as those that plague the other species concepts. Why, after all, would we expect groups in multi-dimensional space to always be identifiable along a single axis, like that of reproductive isolation?

More bits of Stebbins; p. 262:

“Hybridization between well-established and well-adapted species in a stable environment will have no significant outcome or will be detrimental to the species populations. But if the crossing occurs under rapidly changing conditions or in a region which offers new habitats to the segregating offspring, many of these segregates may survive and contribute to a greater or lesser degree to the evolutionary progress of the group concerned.”

p. 270:

“There is little doubt, therefore, that the majority of the examples of hybridization and introgression which can be found in plant populations at the present time are associate with the disturbance of old habitats and the opening up of new ones through human activity.”

White sands lizards

Another old post, from 19 Jul 2007.

Now, there’s nothing some scientists like better than pointing out the gaping flaws in the work of others. I happen to be one of those scientists, and, with that in mind, here are my thoughts on a recent paper by E.B. Rosenblum: Convergent Evolution and Divergent Selection: Lizards at the White Sands Ecotone. First, a brief summary, taken from portions of the abstract:
“Three lizard species [Aspidoscelis inornata, Holbrookia maculata, and Sceloporus undulatus], distributed along a dramatic environmental gradient in substrate color, display convergent adaptation of blanched coloration on the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument.” … “I find species differences in degree of background matching and in genetic connectivity of populations across the ecotone. Differences among species in phenotypic response to selection scale precisely to levels of genetic isolation. Species with higher levels of gene flow across the ecotone exhibit less dramatic responses to selection. Results also reveal a strong signal of ecologically mediated divergence for White Sands lizards. For all species, phenotypic variation is better explained by habitat similarity than genetic similarity. Convergent evolution of blanched coloration at White Sands clearly reflects the action of strong divergent selection; however, adaptive response appears to be modulated by gene flow and demographic history and can be predicted by divergence-with-gene-flow models.”

The problems in this study show the importance of basic biology & knowledge of ecology. First off, this is based on mitochondrial DNA and the results show higher gene flow between sample sites for the teiid Aspidoscelis inornata than the two phrynosomatid species, Holbrookia inornata and Sceloporus undulatus. Mitochondrial DNA is, however, a biased marker; since it shows only matrilineal relationships, it will consistently underestimate gene-flow in species with male-biased dispersal. Not a terribly good choice, then, but perhaps defensible because it is far easier to work with than any of the alternatives; however, the deficiencies need to be addressed and they aren’t. Most lizards, including phrynosomatids, do have male-biased dispersal; but teiid lizards don’t. So we would expect that, even under similar patterns of overall gene flow, phrynosomatids should show more geographic structure than teiids because of differences in sex-biased dispersal.

Second, differences in microhabitat use & behavior, although mentioned, are given short shrift. From the paper:
“A previous study comparing activity patterns between H. maculata and S. undulatus at White Sands found that H. maculata spent more time in open areas and was less closely associated with vegetation than S. undulatus (Hager 2001a).” … “Therefore, it is plausible that H. maculata is more visible to predators and that selection pressure for substrate matching is higher in this species.”
This is an important point. If we want to look at background matching, we need to measure the backgrounds relevant for the lizards. A lizard that spends a lot of its time under bushes needs to be cryptic under bushes, not merely on open sand; even if it matches its background just as well as a lizard spending most of its time on open sand, it will be darker and more strongly patterned. And, guess what, the species that spends most of its time on sand, Holbrookia maculata, is indeed lighter and less-patterned than the other two, and so the observed results fit perfectly with expectations based on what we know of the ecology of these lizards. Moreover, ordering of taxa in order of brightness is the same on White Sands and off: Holbrookia maculata is always brightest, Aspidoscelis inornata is always darkest, and Sceloporus undulatus is always intermediate–a good indication that something more than different facility in matching White Sands substrates is going on. But an important role for microhabitat use and behavior is rejected for, so far as I can tell, no particularly good reason.

A third, and related, problem is poor knowledge of White Sands:

“Second, intermediately colored S. undulatus [and A. inornata!] could be locally adapted to the intermediate substrate color at the margin of the dune field. However, in contrast to the large expanse of pure gypsum habitat, the band of intermediately colored ecotonal substrate is extremely narrow, often only meters wide. Given the likelihood of gene flow across the ecotone in this species and the restricted area of the ecotone, natural selection would need to be implausibly strong to provide an adaptive explanation for maintenance of intermediate color morphs.”
I’ve spent some time wandering White Sands. The basic situation is this: there’s a large active dune field with very white sand and small, slightly darker interdunal areas; to the west of this area there are flat, crusty, white, alkali flats; to the north, east, and south, the dunes get progressively smaller, narrower, more vegetated, and slightly darker in color while the interdunes get much larger and significantly darker. These large interdunes toward the edge of the dune area are a major portion of the White Sands area, and are intermediate in color between the active dune field and the soil of the surrounding flats of Tularosa Basin. The “extremely narrow” ecotone is exactly what you see along the road at White Sands National Monument in the area of the Big Dunes Trail, one of E.B. Rosenblum’s collection sites, but it is not at all an accurate representation of the situation otherwise. Importantly, Aspidoscelis inornata is very abundant in these large interdunal areas, whereas Holbrookia maculata is not (I haven’t seen enough Sceloporus undulatus, OTOH, to have any idea of their distribution). This comes back to the point above: what background is relevant to the lizards? This is determined by behavior and abundance across habitat types and cannot be estimated by simply choosing a half-dozen sites, treating them as monoliths, and seeing how well the lizards at each site match open soil or sand.

And then we have another problem: phenotypic plasticity. We don’t know whether or not color differences between White Sands and other populations of these lizards are heritable, and we do know that most lizards, including phrynosomatids, have some level of plasticity in coloration. For instance, a 1958 study by R.E. Bundy & J. Neess suggests that the major factor in background matching by the phrynosomatid Phrynosoma modesta is plasticity.

And now we’re down to nit-picking. There are more than three lizards with light-colored populations on White Sands, but the “other two” are never mentioned: Phrynosoma cornuta and Uta stansburiana. I wouldn’t bother mentioning this, except that E.B. Rosenblum says: “In this study, I ask how the complete lizard fauna at White Sands has responded to natural selection across a common ecotone.” No, this study examines how 3/5 of the lizard fauna at White Sands responds to selection.

In conclusion:
1. The genetic markers used do not provide a neutral estimate of gene flow, and this bias, although fundamental in interpretation of the results, is ignored.
2. Alternative explanations that fit the data at least as well as the preferred hypothesis, that gene flow limits crypsis, are rejected either without good cause or due to poor knowledge of the area.

Thysanocarpus diagnoses

I figure I’ll put some of the more interesting (to me, at least), articles from the old pseudo-blog on here as well. So, from 1 Nov 2008:

An entry for my own reference so much as anything else, descriptions of the various species, subspecies, and varieties named in the mustard genus Thysanocarpus, in alphabetical order. Only basionyms of taxa presently included in Thysanocarpus (i.e., no Athysanus) are listed.

First, the description of the genus by Hooker, 1829, Flora Boreali-Americana 1: 69.
Silicula obovata, plano-convexa, undique latissime marginato-alata, apice emarginata, unilocularis, evalvis, monosperma. Semen late obovatum, pendulum. Radicula inserticae dorsalis, obliqua et ad margines cotyledonum applicata.–Flores parvi, albi, racemosi. Siliculae pendulae.–Genus Tauscheriae affinis. An vere distinctum?

Thysanocarpus affinis Greene, 1901, Pittonia 4: 311-312.
Thysanocarpus affinis. Very erect, 1 to 1 1/2 feet high, simple below, parted above the middle into several suberect racemose branches; herbage glabrous, glaucous: lowest leaves not seen, the larger cauline 3 inches long, of narrow-lanceolate outline, with several pairs of very prominent subulate or often falcate-incurved teeth, the base slightly auricled, those of the flowering branches lance-linear, very saliently denticulate: petals very small, not exceeding the sepals, but stamens well exserted: silicles of strongly pyriform outline, small, unevenly crenate, never perforate, the scarious margin very narrow or obsolete, the whole body of silicle hirtellous.
Santa Catalina Island, California, March, 1901, Blanche Trask. The species has the foliage of T. ramosus of the same island and of others of the group, but in mode of growth this plant is at the opposite extreme, while the characters of the pods are very distinctive.

Thysanocarpus amplectens. Stem stoutish, simple and leafy below, with a few racemose branches at the middle, 12 to 20 inches high, glabrous throughout and very glaucous: lowest leaves unknown; cauline linear-lanceolate, remotely and retrorsely dentate, with very conspicuous sagittate lobes at base which clasp the stem: white petals shorter than the purple (white-margined) sepals; stamens scarcely exserted: pod nearly orbicular, glabrous, the body reticulate-venulose, the wing of 14 to 16 short rays and a regularly crenate hyaline margin, but no perforations.
Type collected by the writer in southwestern New Mexico, 16 April, 1880; referred by Asa Gray at the time to T. elegans, from which species its perfectly glabrous and strongly glaucous herbage effectually excludes it. It is really of the group to which T. laciniatus belongs, though its very conspicuously sagittate-clasping and merely dentate leaves, as well as its mode of growth, prevent its being confused with that species. I do not know how much of the Thysanocarpus materials from Arizona now extant in herbaria may be referable to this very distinct extra-Californian member of the genus.

Thysanocarpus conchuliferus Greene, 1886, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 13: 218.
Thysanocarpus conchuliferus.–Glabrous, 3–7 inches high, with many divergent branches; leaves linear, the lower cleft into narrow segments, the cauline auricled at base; racemes short and rather close; pods a line or more in length, cymbiform, the conduplicate margin sinuately parted into spatulate divisions, or the latter coherent above, leaving narrowly oblong perforations; style equalling the margin of the pod and commonly coherent with it; pedicels nearly divaricate or quite straight, twice as long as the pods; flowers not seen.
Common on mossy shelves and crevices of the high rocky summits and northward slopes of Santa Cruz Island. A most interesting new species, very remarkable in the character of its fruit; showing how nearly our American Thysanocarpus can approach the Asiatic genus Tauscheria and yet remain a perfectly valid genus, the very dissimilar Athysanus being excluded.

Thysanocarpus conchuliferus Greene var. planiusculus B.L.Rob., 1896, Synoptic Flora of North America 1(1): 113.
Var. planiusculus, Robinson, n. var. Fruit plano-convex or slightly concavo-convex, not perceptibly reticulated but hirsute upon both sides: pedicels 4 to 6 lines long.–Island of Santa Cruz with type, T. S. Brandegee, April, 1888.

Thysanocarpus crenatus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray, 1838, A Flora of North America 1: 118.
4. T. crenatus (Nutt.! mss.): “petals about as long as the calyx; silicles orbicular-obovate, crenate, glabrous, slightly emarginate, membranaceously winged; the wing perforated; style not exserted; leaves linear-lanceolate, runcinately and remotely denticulate.
“St. Barbara, California, March–April.–Stem 12-14 inches high, branching above. Leaves an inch long; the lower ones somewhat hirsute. Silicles about half as large as in T. curvipes; the wing more or less perforated.” Nutt.

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook., 1829, Flora Boreali-Americana 1: 69-70.
1. T. curvipes. (Tab. XVIII. A.)
Radix parva, annua, subfusiformis. Caulis solitarius, plerumque ramosus, erectus, 6-8-pollicaris ad pedalem, parce foliosus, inferne subpilosus. Folia plerumque radicalia, patentia, duas uncias longa, pinnatifida, hirsuto-scabra, laciniis brevibus, obtusis, basi attenuata. Caulinea remota, linear-oblonga, basi latiora, subsagittata, superiora sensim minora. Flores racemosi, parvi, ramos terminantes. Pedicelli floribus paululum longiores, graciles, glaberrimi, patentes, demum, fructiferi, insiguiter deflexi et elongati. Calyx: sepala aequalia, ovalia, convexa, glabra, erecto-patula. Petala minuta, lineari-oblonga, basi attenuata, integra, alba, sepalis breviora. Stamina 6, tetradynama: Filamenta filiformia, edentula: Antherae subglobosae. Germen brevissime stipitatum, obovatum, plano-compressum, lato-marginatum, alatum, apice emarginatum, stylo subaeque longo, demum, et videtur, deciduo teminatum. Stigma obtusum, parvum. Silicula dependeus, forma et structura fere omuino alatum, apice emarginatum, stylo subaeque longo, demum, et videtur, deciduo teminatum. Stigma obtusum, parvum. Silicula dependeus, forma et structura fere omuino germinis, sed estylosa, convexo-plana, utrinque subreticulata, vix uninervis, unlocularis, evalvix. Embryo flabus. Cotyledones suborbiculatae, plano-convexae: Radicula subaeque longa, insertione evidentissime dorsalis, sed obliqua et versus margines cotyledonum incumbens.
Hab. On moist ground, near the Great Falls of the Columbia. Fl. April, May. Douglas–I long hesitated whether or not I should unite this interesting plant with the genus Tauscheria of Dr. Fischer, with which it sufficiently accords in habit, and, in many respects, in the singular structure of the seed-vessel. In both the species of Tauscheria, however, of which I have excellent specimens from Dr. Fischer and Professor Ledebour, the silicula is truly cymbiform, the margin is curved inwards, and the extremity, instead of being broad and notched, as in Thysanocarpus, is narrow and elongated into a beak, like the narrow prow of a vessel. Its perfect embryo I have not been able to examine: but in our plant, this has always its radicle inserted at the back of one of the cotyledons, and then inclines obliquely, so that the greater part of its length is applied to the edge or margin of the cotyledons. In the figure here given, the seed did not occupy the whole of the cavity of the cell, as was the case with more fully ripe capsules, given to me by Mr. Douglas after the plate was engraved, and which, I believe, were produced by plants cultivated in the Garden of the Horticultural Society.
[note--my .pdf of Flora Boreali-Americana is at times difficult to read; the Latin probably has typos.]

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook. var. cognatus Jepson, 1936, A Flora of California 2: 100.
Var. cognatus Jepson var. n. Herbage nearly glabrous, a little glaucous; blades of cauline leaves entire or nearly so; pods orbicular-elliptic, abruptly contracted to a shortly cuneate base, 3 lines long, not notched at apex or only slightly.–(Fere glaber, glauciusculus; folia caulina subintegerrima integerrimave; siliquae orbiculato-ellipticae, base breviter cuneata (lin. 3 longa) abrupte contractae, ad apicem fere integerrimae.)–Pine Log, South Fork Stanislaus River, A. L. Grant 702 (type); Lake Eleanor, Tuolumne Co., 4690 feet, A. L. Grant 1257.

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook. var. eradiatus Jepson, 1925, A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California: 447.
1. T. curvipes Hook. Fringe-pod. Fig. 438. Slender, 1 to 1 1/2 ft. high, more or less pubescent or hirsute; cauline leaves linear or lanceolate, the lower dentate or denticulate; basal leaves often
narrowed at base to a petiole, commonly sinuate-pinnatifid, with triangular acute or acuminate lobes; pods obovate varying to round-obovate, pubescent or glabrous, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 lines long, often very convex on one side; wing narrow, rather crowded with broad rays, entire.–Frequent in the open hill country of Cal., 100 to 5000 ft.: n to B. C. and Ida. Var. eradiatus Jepson n. var. Wing of pod membranous, without rays.–Deserts, Inyo Co. (Panamint Range, Jepson 7040, type) s. to the Colorado Desert.

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook. var. involutus Greene, 1891, Flora Franciscana: 276.
1. T. curvipes, Hook. Fl. i. 69. t. 18 (1829): T. runcinatus, Hook.: Don. Dict. i. 196 (1831). A foot high or more, with few and rather strict racemose branches, or smaller and simple-stemmed; radical leaves in a rosulate tuft, pinnatifid, with short obtuse lobes or subentire, hirsute; cauline oblong- or linear-lanceolate, entire, sagittate-clasping: fr. obovate, seldom 2 lines wide, strongly concavo-convex, glabrous or slightly tomentose, the marginal rays broad, dilated above, rather crowded, with narrow diaphanous spots (rarely a few perforations) between them. Var. (1) involutus. Taller and more strict: fr. elliptical, only a line wide; rays nearly obsolete, the purplish subscarious margin closely involute all around; style (rather prominent in fl.) deciduous. Var. (2) pulchellus. T. pulchellus, F. & M. (1835). Radical leaves merely toothed: pods densely tomentose; the wing rather broader.–The type of this species has not been found south of Mt. Shasta, except in Humboldt Co., Marshall, Miss Bush. The first variety is from Sonoma Co.,
Bioletti, and this may not improbably be found distinct. Var. 2 is our most common form in middle Calfornia.

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook. var. longistylus Jepson, 1925, A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California: 447.
1. T. curvipes Hook. Fringe-pod. Fig. 438. Slender, 1 to 1 1/2 ft. high, more or less pubescent or hirsute; cauline leaves linear or lanceolate, the lower dentate or denticulate; baasl leaves often narrowed at base to a petiole, commonly sinuate-pinnatifid, with triangular acute or acuminate lobes; pods obovate varying to round-obovate, pubescent or glabrous, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 lines long, often very convex on one side; wing narrow, rather crowded with broad rays, entire.–Frequent in the open hill country of Cal., 100 to 5000 ft.: n to B. C. and Ida. [...] Var. longistylus Jepson n. var. Style 1/2 to 3/4 line long (in the species 1/8 to 1/5 line long), persistent.–Sierra Nevada, 3000 to 3500 ft., from Mariposa Co. to Tulare Co. (Jepson, type).

Thysanocarpus curvipes Hook. subsp. madocarpus Piper, 1906, Flora of Washington. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 11: 306.
1a. Thysanocarpus curvipes madocarpus subsp. nov.
Differs from the species in having its pods glabrous instead of puberulent.
From field observations this seems worthy of subspecific rank. While both forms may occur close together, yet so far as my observations go a particular colony of plants is of one form of the other; the two do not occur mixed.

Thysanocarpus deppii Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray, 1838, A Flora of North America 1: 118.
2. T. elegans (Fisch. & Meyer): petals nearly twice as long as the calyx; silicles orbicular-obovate, membranaceously winged; the wing (often) perforated with holes, emarginate at the apex.
a. silicles glabrous; style conspicuously exserted.–T. elegans, Fisch. & Meyer, l.c.
b. silicles villous; style slightly exserted. Hook.! ic. t. 39. T. Deppii, Nutt. mss. T. n. sp. Fisch. & Mey. l.c. (without a name.)
g. silicles somewhat pubescent, wing not perforated; style not exserted.
California, Douglas! Deppe. (ex Fisch. & Meyer.)–Stem 12-18 inches high, branching, nearly glabrous, Leaves in b. lanceolate, sagittate, repandly toothed; in g. linear, the upper ones almost subulate and sagittate-clasping. Silicles 2 1/2 lines long; the winged margin perforated with a row of 12-14 oblong holes, or marked with thin diaphanous spots, the opaque coriaceous substance of the centre extending between them, and thus giving the silicle a radiated appearance.

Thysanocarpus desertorum A.Heller, 1905, Muhlenbergia 2: 47.
Thysanocarpus desertorum Glabrous, yellowish, especially in the inflorescence, maximum height 2 dm, branched from the base, the branches ascending, becoming somewhat racemose: leaves scattered, the lowest ones oblanceolate, about 3 cm. long, 4 or 5 mm. wide, sparingly runcinate-dentate, acute or acutish; those above smaller, nearly linear, not narrowed at the base, clasping but not auricled: pedicels 3 mm. long or less: flowers very small, the sepals obovate-oblong, white or yellowish with broad green midvein: petals a little shorter and narrower than the sepals: silicle plane or nearly so, orbicular, 3 mm. across, slightly reticulated, glabrous, minutely crenate but not perforate; the short style not exserted from the notch.
The type is no. 7681, collected April 14, 1905, on rocky hilltops near Randsburg, Kern County, growing under overhanging rocks.

Thysanocarpus elegans Fisch. & C.A.Mey., 1835, Index Seminum, quae Hortus Botanicus Imperialis Petropolitanus pro Mutua Commutatione Offert. Accedunt Animadversiones Botanicae Nonnullae 2: 51.
Th. elegans F. et M. Th. petalis calyce longioribus; siliculis glaberrimis ala foraminosa cinctis apice truncatis styloque exserto terminatis.–A Th. pulchello, quocum crescit et cui ceterum persimilis est, silicularum ala foraminibus numerosis latis uniseriatus pertusa facile dignoseitur.
[Exceedingly approximate translation: "Petals longer than the calyx; silique smooth and with perforate wings, apex truncate with the style much exserted terminally.--Similar to Thysanocarpus pulchellus, but the perforate wings of the siliques readily distinguish it." Quoting from Jeremiah Johnson: "Now isn't that easier than saying all that gibberish?"]

Thysanocarpus emarginatus Greene, 1896, Pittonia 3: 86-87.
Thysanocarpus emarginatus. Slender and low, much branched from the base, glaucous and also hispidulous, with scattered, spreading or deflexed white bristly hairs: cauline leaves all linear-lanceolate, entire, sessile but in no degree auricled or even dilated at base: flowers and radical leaves unknown: pedicels of fruit short, spreading, scarcely curved: fruit nearly orbicular, the body glabrous, with strong midvein and almost equally prominent transverse veinlets, the broad wing perfectly entire, scarious, abruptly and rather deeply emarginate at apex, wholly destitute of perforations and lacking even the usual radiating bundles of fibrous tissue.
Collected by the writer at the summit of Mt. Diablo, Calif., 20 June, 1892, and very erroneously referred, at the time, to T. laciniatus; from which it is distinguished not so definitely by its pubescence as by the remarkable character of the pods. In the structure of the wing of the fruit this species is equally removed from the group of the original species and from T. radians; but it has an ally in T. Palmeri of the far-distant Cedros Island.
[There is no species named Thysanocarpus palmeri; perhaps Greene was referring to Thysanocarpus erectus, see below.]

Thysanocarpus erectus S.Wats., 1876, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences 11: 124.
Thysanocarpus erectus. Smooth and leafy: leaves oblong to oblanceolate, an inch or two long, auricled at base, somewhat sinuate-dentate: flowers purple or rose-colored: fruiting pedicels erect: pod minutely pubescent, the wing of the fruit (still immature) without indication of nervation or perforation: style very short — Collected by Dr. E. Palmer on the western side of Guadalupe Island. Distinguished especially by its erect pedicels.

Thysanocarpus filipes Greene, 1900, Pittonia 4: 200-201.
Thysanocarpus filipes. Slender, branched from near the base and all the branches racemose: herbage scarcely glaucescent, deep-green: leaves of the stem (the lowest not seen) lanceolate, acuminate, sessile by a subhastate base: racemes dense: pods round-obvate, 1/4 inch long, on filiform pedicels of 1/4 to 1/2 inch, the whole body of the fruit very minutely hirtellous, only obscurely venulose, the rays about 12, for the most part united near the summit and forming elliptic infra-marginal perforations, the crenate diaphanous margin purplish: stigma included within a deep terminal notch.
Near Clifton, Arizona, Dr. Anstruther Davidson, 1899.

Thysanocarpus foliosus A.Heller, 1905, Muhlenbergia 2: 47-48.
Thysanocarpus foliosus About 5 dm. high, hirsute below, pale and glaucous, branched from near the base, the branches ascending, stout: lower leaves linear-lanceolate, 6–8 cm. long, about 1 cm. wide, acutish, somewhat hirsute as well as ciliate, sparingly armed with minute retrorse points, the base hastate rather than auricled, the lobes broad and somewhat rounded; uppper ones of similar shape but gradually becoming smaller, acute or acuminate, glabrous or nearly so: flowering stems naked, about 2 dm. long; pedicles 5–7 mm. long: sepals purplish, over 1 mm. long, oblong, only the margins white: petals spatulate, slightly longer than the sepals: anthers purplish, a little exserted: silicles round-obovate, 4 mm. across, the margins entire, whitish or purplish, the greenish body somewhat rayed, densely tomentose: short style protruding from a slight notch.
The type is no. 7719, collected April 18, 1905, on the side of a ravine back of Girard station in the Tehachapi mountains, Kern county, California. The species is remarkable for its large, practically entire leaves and tomentose silicles. A relative probably of T. pulchellus F. & M., but that is described as “siliculis glaberrimis,” a fact overlooked by Greene, for in Flora Franciscana, 276, he says “pods densely tomentose.”

Thysanocarpus hirtellus Greene, 1896, Pittonia 3: 86.
Thysanocarpus hirtellus. A foot or two in height, loosely branched from the base, all parts except the inflorescence and fruit clothed rather densely with short or rather stiffly hirsute simple hairs: lowest leaves oblanceolate, coarsely toothed; cauline traingular-lanceolate, entire, with rather ample sagittate-clasping basal lobes: flowers very minute, the narrowly spatulate petals barely equalling the sepals; stamens longer and well exserted: pods round-obovoid, glabrous, venulose, the wing with 8 or 10 acutely ovate perforations, or with as many nearly closed sinuses instead (the dilated tips of the rays in this case distinct).
Discovered by the writer in a wooded cañon tributary to Dry Creek, Napa Co., California, 12 May, 1895. Very distinct from all known species by habit and pubescence; the pods also much more like those of the glabrous glaucous species T. crenatus and conchuliferus of the south than those of T. curvipes and other northern pubescent species.

Thysanocarpus laciniatus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray, 1838, A Flora of North America 1: 118.
5. T. laciniatus (Nutt.! mss.): “petals as long as the calyx; silicles elliptical, glabrous, winged; the wing entire or crenate, not perforated, entire at the apex, and acuminate with the conspicuous style; leaves linear, remotely and incisely toothed.

“With the preceding.–Decumbent deep green and glabrous. Stem about a foot long. Leaves 1 1/2 inch long, and scarcely a line wide; teeth long and subulate. Silicle about 2 lines long, acute at each end; the wing diaphanous.” Nutt.

Thysanocarpus laciniatus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray. var. eremicola Jepson, 1936, A Flora of California 2: 100-101.
Var. eremicola Jepson nom. n. Leaves moderately toothed or subentire, the cauline not auricled or only moderately auricled; pods suborbicular, not cuneate at base, 2 to 2 1/2 lines long, the wing membranous, without rays.–West side of the Colorado Desert and north to Inyo Co.

Locs.–Vallecito Cañon, e. slope Laguna Mts., Peirson 5942; Blair Valley, e. San Diego Co., Jepson 8692; Andreas Cañon, Palm Sprs., Mt. San Jacinto, Newlon 469a; Ord Mt., Mohave Desert, Hall & Chandler 6802; Black Mts., Death Valley, J. T. Howell 3661; Hanaupah Cañon, Panamint Range, Jepson 7040; Independence, S.W. Austin 450.
Refs.–[...]Var. eremicola Jepson. T. curvipes var. eradiatus Jepson, Man. 447 (1925), type loc. Hanaupah Cañon, Panamint Mts., Jepson 7040.

Thysanocarpus laciniatus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray var. hitchcockii Munz, Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences, 31: 62.
Var. Hitchcockii Munz n. var. Capsula conferta, luteo-virida, 2.5–3 mm. lata, scabrella, cum capillis parvis clavatisque. Type, from Dante’s Point, Death Valley, P. A. Munz & C. L. Hitchcock 11016, April 6, 1928, Pomona College Herbarium No. 145825. Well distributed on the western Mohave Desert, as at Cushenberry, Hesperia, Willow Springs, Mohave, etc.

Thysanocarpus laciniatus Nutt. ex Torr. & A.Gray var. rigidus Munz, Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences, 31: 62.
Var. rigidus Munz, n. var. Plantae rigidae, compactae, 3-12 cm. altae, subpurpureae; foliis pinnatifidis; pedicellis porrectis, non recurvatis; capsulis glabris, 2.5 mm. latis, subcrenatis. Type, Laguna Camp, Laguna Mts., San Diego Co., May 16, 1925, Munz 9701, Pomona College Herbarium, No. 82645. Another collection is from 50 miles southeast of Tecate, Lower California, Munz 9572.

Thysanocarpus pulchellus Fisch. & C.A.Mey., 1835, Index Seminum, quae Hortus Botanicus Imperialis Petropolitanus pro Mutua Commutatione Offert. Accedunt Animadversiones Botanicae Nonnullae 2: 50-51.
Th. pulchellus. Th. petalis calyce longioribus; siliculis glaberrimis ala integra (non pertusa) cinctis apice subtruncatis styloque longe exserto terminatis.–Antecendenti speciei simillima, notis indicatis tamen satis distincta. Petala albida vel violascentia, parvula, calyce tamen ferme longiora.–Hab. circa coloniam ruthenorum Ross.
[Exceedingly approximate translation: "Petals longer than the calyx; siliques smooth and entire (not perforate), apex sub-truncate with the style much exserted terminally.--Similar to the previous species [Thysanocarpus curvipes] but we think it is sufficiently separate. Petals white or violet, small, calyx, however, usually longer.–Found near the Russian colony Ross.”]

Thysanocarpus radians Benth., 1849, Plantas Hartwegianas: 297.
1651 (211). Thysanocarpus radians, sp. n., foliis radicalibus runcinato-pinnatifidis, lyratisve, caulinis auriculato-sagittatis amplexicaulibus subdentatis, siliculae tomentosae ala lata orbiculata integerrima imperforata venis elevatis radiantibus notata.–Herba pedalis fere glabra a caeteris speciebus distinctissima. Folia radicalia rosulata, petiolata, angusta, 1–1 1/2–pollicaria, lobis
brevibus latis confluentibus v. inferioribus remotis, ultimus major oblongus v. lanceolatus; caulina distantia, late lanceolato-sagittata v. fere ovata, obtusiuscula, margine obscure dentata v. undulata, auriculis obtusis v. acutiusculis. Flores magnitudine T. elegantis. Ovarium stipitatum, vix marginatum, in fructu maturo ala ad basin stipitis attingit et ei cohaeret. Silicula cum ala obovato-orbicularis v. exacte orbicularis, fere 5 lin. diametro, apice saepe emarginata, loculo hinc valde convexo tomentoso, hinc fere plano ala fere glabra membranacea venis radiantibus percursa 16 ad 18 validis
superioris Sacramento.

Thysanocarpus radians Benth. var. montanus Jepson, 1901, A Flora of Western Middle California, 1st edition: 225-226.
4. T. radians Benth. Erect, commonly 1 to 1 1/2 ft. high and rarely branching; radical leaves runcinate-pinnatifid; cauline ovate-lanceolate, auriculate-clasping; fruit orbicular, 4 lines broad, glabrous or tomentose, the edge of the body divided into radiating spoke-like nerves which disappear abruptly just within the margin of the white-membranaceous wing; pedicels straight, abruptly recurved at the very summit.
Low hills or rolling plains, infrequent: Healdsburg; Sonoma; Vacaville; Antioch; and Linden (San Joaquin Co.). Apr.–May. Var. montanus is a color form; branches several from the base, ascending, 5 to 8 in. high; fruit 3 lines long, the wing bright purple.–Plateau of the Napa Mountains, north of Mt. George, Jepson, Apr. 28, 1893.

[note that this variety disappeared between the first & second editions of Jepson's "A Flora of Western Middle California"; apparently he changed his mind]

Thysanocarpus ramosus Greene, 1887, Bulletin of the California Academy of Sciences 2: 390.
Thysanocarpus ramosus. Wholly glabrous and slightly glaucous, a foot high, the stem parted near the base into many erect, leafy and at length racemose branches; leaves 2–4 inches long, linear, those of the branches entire, or with a few scattered small but salient teeth, and an auriculate-clasping base, the lower and radical with 2–3 pairs of linear divaricate lobes: raceme naked, the pedicels slender and recurved: sepals minute, cymbiform, erect-spreading in flower, white, with a broad green mid-vein: petals twice the length of the sepals, spatulate-oblong, retuse: stamens 6, all of the same length, three on each side of the broad flat pistil: samara regularly and rather strongly concavo-convex, the crenate margin with or without some oblong perforations: style short, persistent. Species just intermediate between its very singular island congener and the mainland T. crenatus; having the foliage and branching habit of the former, nearly.

Thysanocarpus runcinatus G.Don, 1831, A General History of the Dichlamydeous Plants 1: 196.
1. T. runcinatus (Hook. l.c.) H. Native of North America, probably on the Rocky Mountains.
Runcinate-leaved Thysanocarpus. Pl. 1 foot.
Cult. An insignificant plant of easy culture; the seeds only require to be sown in the open border early in spring.
[Note- Don's attribution of the name to Hooker in Flora Boreali-Americana is in error. Apparently what he meant is that Hooker named this species... but that Don thinks the name "Thysanocarpus runcinatus" is more appropriate.]

Thysanocarpus trichocarpus Rydb., 1903, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 30: 253-254.
Thysanocarpus trichocarpus sp. nov. Annual, perfectly glabrous, except the fruit, 1–3 dm high: stem terete, branched: lower leaves oblanceolate or oblong, sinuately dentate, thick and somewhat glaucous; uppermost leaves linear or linear-lanceolate, entire: racemes often 1 dm. long: petals slightly over 1 mm. long; blades broadly spatulate: pedicels in fruit about 5 mm. long, recurved: pod nearly orbicular, about 4 mm. wide, short-pubescent: wing-margins crenate or lobed, not fenestrate: style scarcely exceeding the wing-margin.
Utah: Silver Reef, 1894, M. E. Jones 5163b, in part (type in U.S. Nat. Herb.), 5149d and 5139d.