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Unearthing Larrea Tridentata

Palm Springs, CA
Published in Tuesday Magazine
Penny White Research Grant from Harvard

While much of the life of a plant takes place underground, details on the root systems of certain plants can be difficult to find. It is only when roots interfere, such as with sidewalks or utilities, that the life of roots are made visible. In the interest of providing a first-hand visual root map of a specimen, we set out to do an air spade excavation in Boyd Deep Canyon, just outside Palm Springs, California. For this excavation we chose the Larrea tridentata, commonly known as Creosote bush because of its extensive range and ability to survive in arid environments. In the process of documenting the root system itself, we also ended up documenting the challenges associated with recording this particular root system for long-term representation.


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