A Rufous Hummingbird feeding on Creosote: is this relationship essential for the hummingbird's survival? We simply don't know.
To learn more about this invaluable desert denizen, try some of the following links:
The Jepson Online Interchange
Wayne's Word entry on Creosote being one of the world's oldest living things.
The Desert Museum Includes a shared revelation from the inimitable Cass Grattan, unwavering supporter of eCreosote: Larrea tridentata has a sister taxon in South America!
Dedicated eCreosoters in Action
Photo by Samantha Maxwell
CCWG Draft Survey Protocol
Abstract: All Creosote (Larrea tridentata) in California are to be counted.
"California is a land of monotonous extremes: vast mono-cultures of strawberries, fixies, and hipsters, Bromus, concrete, and Montagnea; it is also a land of Creosote. Yes, Larrea tridentata, denizen of the vast Mojave, bleeding outwards upwards and downwards into the arid crevasses cracks nooks and crannies of all things xeric in our humble state's oh so un-humble desert landscapes. To know the Creosote[...]is to know the whiskers[sic] of God." -Anonymous
After pondering the above statement, a logical question arises in one's head: how many Creosote bushes are actually residing in California, and did they enter the state legally? This question is at once complex, intractable, and obnoxious. Complex due to the vastness of the area to be censused, intractable due to the vast aridity and vastness of the area to be censused, and obnoxious due to a combination of the previous, as well as the Creosote's pesky habit of forming large clonal colonies, adding a new dimension to the question "how many?"
After pondering the above statements, a logical question arises in one's head: why do we care how many Creosote bushes reside in California?
This brings us to four scientific contributions the last quarter-century has to offer: The Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, remote sensing, and unemployment.
1. The Cloud.
The Cloud allows us as a species to accomplish and compile anything we so desire, and to have it fully contained within an ether-space which no single human brain can begin to grasp (server farms in Nevada), and which no one can ever find, touch, or visit (server farms in Nevada). The advantages associated with cloud-based computing are myriad. They will not be listed here.
2. Remote sensing.
Remote sensing allows us to remotely census areas of the state to which no willing member of society would willingly travel. This saves lives, but is exorbitantly expensive, and not at all interesting.
High unemployment levels give rise to a large and somewhat willing workforce of humans to work at or near slave-wages on at or near pointless projects, thus bringing us all to or nearer to The American Dream (=the spice mines of Kessel).
Photo by Elias Elias
Proposal: to count every Creosote in California, individually, and to give a name (Christian and binary) to each individual. This can be achieved quite simply. We propose the following protocol: individuals receiving unemployment checks will be assigned a number of plots (TBD) within which they will live until they have counted and individually digitally labelled each Creosote plant. These individuals will be left with supplies to render them self-sufficient for the duration of the count period (see table 1). Additionally, participants will be paid a nominal fee per unit-area censused, encouraging participants to survey as large an area as possible. Data entry will be remote, allowing instant updates to The Cloud. This will facilitate rapid accessibility to the invaluable data-set while it is being compiled. Such rapid access will allow on-the-spot management decisions to be made on the fly, so to speak, as it were. Scenario: "How many Creosotes do we have to torch to build this new highway?" "Let me check my mobile device...24,454." The importance of having such data at one's fingertips can not be estimated.
Hazards, Problems, etc.
In the event of casualties, body recovery and processing will be of a low temporal priority, as the desert climate will naturally mummify remains, rendering them quite stable (see figure 1): additionally, the allelopathic nature of Creosote will further inhibit fungal and bacterial decay. Any casualties on the project can be written off as stimulus packages, as they will only further lower the overall unemployment levels, thus stimulating the economy through false signals of strong growth. This will also lend a strongly populist feel to the project, hopefully yielding congressional and popular support in the form of dollars.
Goals: to count every Creosote plant on earth (+/-=California)
To establish an online data entry/access portal (eCreosote)
To create a massively expensive and logistically near-infeasible dataset
To lower unemployment, thus stimulating economic growth
Table 1. Census-taker supplies
Field Guide to the Creosote (forthcoming commissioned work)
Photo by Oscar Johnson