It is the Walter Mitty fantasy among wilderness landscape photographers to discover a new animal or plant species.
If you are not a scientist in the field, then new species are generally named after their discoverer. That is perfect for me. I’m way to dumb to be a scientist!
So far, though, I’ve scored a big fat goose-egg for many efforts.
My latest entry into the new species sweepstakes this trip is a strange plant found in the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wash. (Yes, it is a real place)
The find was discovered growing in a badlands formation chocked full of sulfur and coal deposits… not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find a delicate plant.
Most bandland formations are devoid of all vegetation, except for a little scrub brush here and there. Yet, there it was! It fascinates the discerning eye.
It is tiny. It doesn’t look like much until you take a closer gander. It draws attention because of its bright coral pink stem color.
Its leaves, if indeed that is what they are, are covered in sparkly nodules. The leaves assume a different kinda squared orientation.
Its root system consists of a single strand that extends slightly longer below ground than the plant is tall above ground.
Strangest of all are the tiny nodules that cover the leaves and stem.
Perhaps they hold water to survive the harsh desert environment. Perhaps they protect the delicate plant from sunburn.
Maybe this really is a new species. At last, my life-long quest for fame and glory may be over! Just in case, I GPSed the location.
I humbly propose this new subspecies name: Plantus azleaderi
More than likely, after researching it, I’ll find out this plant is more common than grass!