Cyanobacteria, moss, lycophytes, and monilophytes walk and talk

This term the primitive plants walk was pushed back behind the assigning of groups for the presentations on the primitive plants. The intent is to give groups more preparation time and a chance to focus in on their plant in the wild. This year featured a newly revised handout on the ferns and lycopodium of Palikir. I did not expect to see peipei aramas, but I knew that sometimes I stumbled on it in the field, so I tossed it on the list at the last minute. For good measure I added peipei eni as well.

Weather conducive to fern finding

The shortening of add drop a couple years ago meant that I could not end the hike down in the valley, standing in the rain in the swamp with the words, "If you do not like this experience, you should return to the office of admissions and records and drop this class." I am not aware of any student ever taking up the offer. This was possible because students had the length of the first week to add and drop courses, leading to tremendous churn at the start of the term. I usually ran an abbreviated class on Tuesday with the hike on Thursday.

Cyanobacteria. Possibly Nostoc.

Over the past couple of years this first long hike was pushed back behind tending the banana patch and the ethnobotanical garden behind the gym. This term, with the college now using Schoology Enterprise, I no longer had to spend the first day getting students logging into Schoology. This freed up the first day to cover the nature of the final examination. Out in the field. 

Moss with sporophytes present.

That start-up allows for a natural segue into focusing on the lycophytes and monilophytes during the primitive plants walk. The only additional change was swapping the forming of presentation groups. And this term I let the students pick their partners. I pre-selected the few students who will cover pronunciation. This term I sought a student with one parent from Kitti and one not from Kitti to handle the Pohnpeian pronunciations.

Microsorum scolopendria

The rest of the students were told to form pairs or groups of three. I explained that I needed eight groups.

I wound up with seven groups and chose to axe the life cycle of Selaginella. That life cycle does not add significant information. Not since the lycophytes as a phyla were deemed a dead end. There was a time when selaginella was thought to be a precursor to the development of seeds and seeded plants. For a while the super trouper spotlight shown upon lowly selaginella. Not anymore.

Davallia solida

The hike began with cyanobacteria between the south faculty building and the learning resource center. Then at the back door of the south faculty building was some sporophytic moss, Davallia solida, and Microsorum scolopendria. Then I headed across the back of the LRC and into the field beyond the DDFT center where there is a single Lycopodiella cernua. I had forgotten I meant to show them Davallia pectinata in front of the LRC.

Rain squalls crossed campus throughout the early part of the hike

From there I swung back around behind the women's residence hall and out to Haruki to show the class Selaginella. The entrance route I used bypassed the Ophioglossum pendulum. Then I backtracked and crossed the coconut patch to access the main trail. Along the way I noted mahrek trying to get started along the cliff face.

At the head of the trail I was paying more attention than usual and suddenly realized that a fern there was probably peipei eni, Pteris tripartita. At a glance the fern might be mistaken for Cyclosorus maemonensis, but the branching pattern in Pteris is not seen C. maemonensis.

Pteris tripartita: three way branching fern

The peipei eni was amid rehdil - Nephrolepis - ferns and, to my wonder, peipei aramas, Macrothelypteris torresiana. I was so excited to have peipei eni next to peipei aramas - I was ready to dance with joy.

Rosalyn on the trail


I stopped at a tree in the background and covered some of the ferns found on the tree.

Rosalyn, Rodrigo, Marigold, and Lavonna 

Huperzia phlegmaria: lycophyte

Haploteris elongata

Possible Asplenium laserpitiifolium

Leeron, Rosalyn, Lavonna

Once down in the forest, with a misting rain, I covered that plants have meaning, including the meanings of Asplenium nidus and Microsorum scolopendria. Only out in the forest does speaking of the spirit of the natural world make any sense. This simply cannot be covered in a classroom space. One has to be surrounded by the wet, by the humidity, by the silence of the trees.

Cyathea nigricans

This new route reached the back patch of Cyathea nigricans at 16:31. I could not relocated the tehlikinwel (Antrophyum reticulatum), I do not now know where I saw that. And I forgot about visiting the paiwed (Angiopteris evecta) that is just down slope a little. I was also keenly aware we were in a darkening forest on a rainy evening. I always bear in mind that if any of the women are pregnant, then local culture and custom is that they cannot be out in the forest as light is lost. Facing a muddy uphill return slog, I opted to call the hike and send the class back up into the daylight, but only after reminding them that there in the forest they were surrounded by friends whose names they should know.


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