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Echinodorus berteroi & KH2PO4 offer.

Admittedly it's been dry and crispy here in Southern CA. We are way below
averages and the Mts are brittle and dry. I took a trip out to my favorite
river and swimming hole to catch up on some reading. I brought my plastic
bag in case I spotted something interesting.
I had hoped to find some Echinodorus berteroi before I left the area.
Last time I did find 3 locations when the water was low but this time the
water was much lower. Interestingly, I found many of these plants all over.
Many of the deeper pools had hidden the plants. The rich deep soil from the
slow evaporation had made an excellent rich substrate for these plants.
Most of the places I sampled had very black anaerobic substrate. Chara
beds(most had their sexual structures present, they look like little balls)
were the main macrophyte in the pools, with heavy diatom mats as well. The
Veronica was not doing very well underwater, most being covered by algae. A
larger amount of Veronica had changed it's morphology and was growing
The Chara bed in many places had dried up and formed a protective crust that
kept the moisture from escaping below the crust. A similar pattern is found
with Zygnema alga in Vernal pools with hair grass supporting the dried algae
like a micro forest canopy.
I did find a species of Potamgeton also. Plus a 6ft California King Snake
after some Quail. That was the biggest King Snake I've seen in CA. Fat fat
fat. I chase it down and caught him(her?). I've seen plenty but this was the
nicest and largest one and a very beautiful pattern. Lucky for the snake I'm
a plant guy:-)

The Echinodorus was doing better than I have ever seen it with this dry
weather. Every single pool in the River had plants(I went to 8 of them).
Where there was still water near by that the roots could get to you would
find plants near the sandier parts of the pool. Most had flowered and were
going to seed. A few were still submerged. The max height is about 24inches
and 10-12 inches for the floral spike.

The thing that amazed me the most was the variation in the plant sizes that
were flowering/seeding. I had seen small tiny plants, miniature versions of
the larger plants. But this time they were all flowering. These small plants
are 3-4 inches tall, 2-4 leaves, but they have a good sized flower on them,
good seed production also. Huge contrast in sizes. I'd never found nor seen
so many of these native plants at any location before. Everywhere I went I
saw more and more. 

I had done some herbarium presses extending the range of this plant from
only Lake Cachuma, to 2 more locations of the Santa Ynez River. I think it's
fair to say this plant is well entrenched all through the river basin where
there's deep pools that will allow this plant water through the dry seasons
here. It seems to do better than many other plants as a drought progresses.
Certainly a huge year for the plant. I got a few to take home with me:-)

Anyone interested in a native USA sword plant from the west coast that's
from wild stock? They have seeds and flowers.

As I was hiking back, I ran into these beer drinking oakies and we get
talking and he works for a big ag company, we get on the subject of KH2PO4
and he goes on and on about it. So now I have a 50lb sack of it! Anyhow,
they use it as an anti-fungicide and there are a number of grades/sources
("You don't want the Mexican stuff, lots of impurities"). So if folks are
interested in a pound or two, basically a lifetime supply, 5$ plus shipping
and it's yours.  

Never know what all you'll find out there.

Email off list for plants and KH2PO4.

Tom Barr