Introducing Family Friday

I love lists: writing lists, organizing lists, reading lists, memorizing lists, editing lists, defining the parameters of lists, recitation of lists, and lists of lists. It only makes sense that my newest intellectual stimulation project © is tackling the list of plant families currently known to botany- all 620 of them…maybe. Learning one family a week, the project would take me almost 12 years to complete! We’ll see where this goes!

Red and green sharpie? What was I thinking??

I started that list almost 3 years ago. So, why am I revamping this intensive long term project?

Two dear friends died this year: Lemur and Tony.

Putting things off can mean they never happen.

Lemur sits on the bee hive

I met Lemur one morning when my partner carried a tiny kitten in from the yard. Mama kitty was housing her litter in the insulation under the flooring of the 20 year old trailer house we’d just moved into. He was caught by hand as the last kitten scrambling back through the hole in the house’s siding- probably because he was the first one out! He was an incredibly fearless cat, always up for an adventure. A black and white, yellow eyed cat who loved climbing anything and everything, the only appropriate name to bestow on him was Lemur (after the Indriidae family). His spirit continues to ripple through leaves and grasses as the Prairie winds.

Tony shows off his new snail friend at Botany Club, where fingers are always dirty.

I met Tony in Botany Club at NAU where we bonded over fascination with life and a deep love for plants. Trained as a chemist and working towards his master’s degree making bio-batteries, he somehow found time to be a fantastic dilettante botanist and gardener. A scientist to his core, he was a super nerd with a gift for bringing out the super nerd in others. His spirit continues as the light of enthusiasm in the eyes of those working out the unknown.

Adventures at Lowell Observatory! From left to right, the spacecrew is Tanner, Tony, Me, and Kelsey.

Family Friday is originally based on Tony’s handmade personal project of 4x6in index cards detailing plant families. The entire surface of each card was covered with taxonomically significant classification features, fun facts, phenological trees, photos, and illustrations. He would study them and had them whenever he explored both new and familiar places on the lookout for plants- those note cards have been on tons of adventures!


In memory of my bold and brilliant friends, I introduce Family Friday. Tomorrow’s family:

Selaginellaceae, the Spikemoss family!

Happy first week of the year!

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