I am joining a Xanga plant challenge. When I saw “100 species challenge,” I thought for sure it would be birds. I have a heck of a time with birds. You can pick up plants and look at them then glue them to paper for future reference. You can pick up bugs and look at them then pin them to a board. If I could press birds and then peruse a bird book at my leisure it would work great for me. I have actually pressed some birds – on the grill of my vehicle, but it can be difficult to identify them if too many feathers blow off and it just isn’t a very reliable method of bird collection. Not to mention the fact I feel bad every time I drive over something I shouldn’t (see previous post).

I see this as a great opportunity to drag my kids into mosquito infested pastures and make them resent my passion for plants. My dad drug us to cemeteries and museums for decades and guess what? I am interested in history…but I can visit a museum and not read each description of each article, unlike my father. Today I headed over to the hay field next to our property. The grass is taller than Mae, and we were all wearing shorts, so it wasn’t as much fun as advertised, but I took the butterfly net and camera, so the ladies had something to fight over. I got a new weed (I probably should know it) and some grasses. Is marijuana native? I will have to look that up. I wonder if it has any cultural properties I could research…lol. They call it Nebraska No High for a reason I suppose.

Here are the official rules and then my personal modifications to them.


1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge. I [Sarah] will make a sidebar list of anyone who notifies me that they are participating in the Challenge.

2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant’s home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears. My [Sarah’s] format will be as follows: the numbered list, with plants making their first appearance on the list in bold; each plant making its first appearance will then have a photograph taken by me, where possible, a list of information I already knew about the plant, and a list of information I learned subsequent to starting this challenge, and a list of information I’d like to know. (See below for an example.) This format is not obligatory, however, and participants can adapt this portion of the challenge to their needs and desires.

4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.

5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two–“camillia” if not).

7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge. You can make it as quick or as detailed a project as you like. I’m planning to blog a minimum of two plants per week, complete with pictures and descriptions as below, which could take me up to a year. But you can do it in whatever level of detail you like.

Wildflowersp’s tweaked version:

2a. Plants will be native species to this area

2b. I am going to have to increase the range too, maybe go county-wide

3a. The thought of messing around with loading 100 photos on dialup is enough to keep me up past midnight, so not many photos.

  1. New plant or previously known plant
  2. Common name
  3. Latin name
  4. General information including where located
  5. Cultural information
  6. New information I found

On your mark, get set, go!