A few weeks ago, Debby Hyman, Christine Cloyd, and Rozelle Wright took a Gentle Walk in Bayo Canyon. Rozelle found a plant she didn’t recognize, took pictures, and, after some research, ran it by Chick Keller. He gave the stock answer based on his knowledge of the plants found in our area. Rozelle compared her find with his suggestion, but it did not seem to match the plant he named. Determined to identify the unusual plant, she asked Chick to take another look at her photos. When he did, he realized it was something new and ran it past a colleague. Rozelle’s photos revealed a plant previously unknown in Los Alamos county. Her finding marks the first record of the Orobanche corymbosum or flat top broomrape in Los Alamos county. In addition, it is only the third sighting of one in New Mexico, and the expert thinks it may hold the honor of being the farthest east record.
The Gentle Walks philosophy of meandering and wondering is helping to increase our understanding of our natural history. Chick is particularly happy, since it contributes to his goal of finding 1000 different species of plants in Los Alamos county.