Field Notes Friday 0009: This is Not a Snake

A photo from my recent trip to Fort Parker State Park just south of Mexia, Texas. This photo was taken on Saturday, February 8, 2014 around sunset on the Baines Creek Trail.

Snake or plant?

Snake or plant?

So what is this amazing, deadly-looking, snake-like thing??

As always, let me know if you have a more accurate diagnosis or ID, but I’m pretty darn sure this is Supplejack. That’s a common name that can apply to several plants, but it turns out in Texas it only applies to one plant: Berchemia scandens. Don’t let the Latin intimidate you. I only know the scientific name because of a Google search for the common name. And I heard the common name from another naturalist, my boss and friend.

This is part of how knowledge is passed: from explorer to explorer, naturalist to naturalist, scientist to scientist, learner to learner.

But knowledge progresses through other means…. through a quest for answers. I don’t know enough about this plant to ask questions that haven’t been answered. Maybe someday I will. And that’s the glory of science and discovery – we want people to ask questions that haven’t been answered. That’s how knowledge progresses! So if you’re an interpreter and educator, or anyone who shares the love of nature in any way, don’t be afraid of the questions you can’t answer. Embrace them, whether they’re from you or a student or another learner. Those questions are the door to more knowledge.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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