Thursday, May 7, 2009

Botany Part Deux

A profusion of late spring flowers are blooming in my area and there are gems which need to be shown. This shows Larkspur (Delphinium hesperium), smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris), and early harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria). The shadowy figure in the background is Silvie Sue. She is a hiking maniac dog. When we show up for a walk she is always game taking the lead!


These are two larkspur inflorescence's that are about three feet from each other showing color differences within the species.















After we climb our first hill we have a great view of the road cut above. The trail goes down that brown line where there is no veg. When we get to the top, I let Ella out of the backpack and she foots it back to the truck on her own two toddler feet.


This is a spring bulb called white fairy lantern (Calochortus albus). I love to see the pendulous globes dangling there glowing softly among the drying grasses. The big green thing with the ridges is the fruit.


Next, these white sprays of flowers are virgins bower (Clematis lasiantha) which wind their way up shrubs and trees. This vine was tangled among the branches of a live oak.


Here is our view going up the PG&E road that we follow as a trail. Parts of the loop are chaparral, especially on southern exposures. On the north side of the hills woodland vegetation dominates and provides shade which I love.


This native vine is wild cucumber (Marah fabaceus) and it has fruit that are covered with those prickles you see midway in the picture.


In the cover of woodland trees, we took a moment for a portrait. Ella likes to hold oak leaves or grasses or the various flowers that I hand to her. She is getting pretty good and knows about 10 different flowers now. I'll get her trained yet...





Another interesting native plant called coffee fern (Pellaea andromedifolia). I love the little delicate leaves and the curled underside where the spores dehiss.



Fading fast, from the rising temperatures, I barely caught these blooming white blue eyed Mary or Chinese houses (Collinsia bartsiifolia). I like the common name "Chinese houses" better since I remember the wonderful architecture of the stacked roof lines in the far east. These flowers have blooms layered in decending arrays down the stem. I think the accepted common name got changed a decade or so ago. Sometimes politically correct goes just a bit too far. The common name I learned for this plant is very complementary no mater how you look at it.

Can you say, "Ahhhhh! The view from the top."

After circling around our loop we emerge at the top of the trail to see the north facing slopes, vegetated with mixed oak woodland. Live oak, blue oak and an occasional black oak are found on these more protected outlooks.



Once at the top of the hill I dump my botanist in training on the earth and say "Mush!" and "Walk on!"

She says, "Ummmmm....schmells yummy." That is after sniffing the sage she has in her hand.


We found a caterpillar hot spot near the end of our walk and captured the cocoons on camera.


This cocoon was clinging to sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurrantiacus), one of Ellas favorite plants. If you pick a flower or leaf you can stick it to your clothes and it will stay put for a while. They are our natural stickers.


This is a picture of the butterfly's that were floating around in the vicinity. From what I could find, it is supposed to be a checkerspot butterfly. There are many species so I would totally be guessing if I put a scientific name on it... I'll just stick to my botany.


Finally, on the last leg of the hike Ella wanted to know what these flowers were. I said, "Morning glory." These are (Calystegia purpurata). Like all the members of this species they open in the day and close when it gets cold and the sun goes down.


Just another wonderful hike from me and my baby girl.


And just so you know Wyatt is still around....while I was writing up this post he came staggering out of his room at 9:30 at night half way crying, "Mommy I need you." Then he walked to the screen door, pushed it open, then stood and peed on the porch. Lovely.

While trying for a moment not to laugh, it was impossible. I burst into chuckles and contained laughter. Then I carried his lead weighted body back to bed.

Poor boy...

Post, post script: Then I heard some strange munching from outside. My big cat Smobie started complaining and merowing through the screen door. Hmmmm. I walked to the door and a small sized raccoon bolted.... CAT can you please do something constructive here! What the heck do I keep you around for anyway??? Yep. I am sure they ate my fish now.

23 Comments for OSL:

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Wow, beautiful view, beautiful flowers. So informative. I can recognize roses, sunflowers, and a few other common types of flowers. I always wonder what different flowers are, do you use a field guide?

the ungourmet said...

What a magical day! I love the White Fairy Lanterns!

I bought the coolest Purple Daisies to plant today. The flower petals curl inward. I don't remember ever seeing them before. I will try and take a photo of them for you!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Never have I seen such inflorescences and the curled dehissing areas on those ferns was just amazing.

LOL...

It truly is grand scenery, and so much growing. I am trying not to be jealous. But you have a lot of natural beauty and whatnot there.

Well, those poor fishes. I guess racoons have to eat, too...

Maybe next time Wyatt can urinate on the racoon and frighten him off. Of he could shout, "Get yer furry buttocks out of here!" at it.

Yaya said...

Love the cacoon pic. And your kids must sleep good at night! All that fresh air and sunshine and exercise! Phew!

So funny about the pee story.

ga.farmwoman said...

All the pictures were beautiful!
The sticky monkey flower does sound like a great natural sticker. I know how my grandkids love stickers, they would get a kick out of that one.

You and baby girl did have a wonderful hike.
Have a great weekend.
Pam

Julia said...

Tara-Well, not exactly. I have a degree in botany and work as a botanist so I know lots of the plants. But there are great field guides and some one line resources to narrow down species. I use calflora but you have to know basic genera to use the data base with proficiency. Calflora requires a donation to use their data base...wait I think the memberships are free this year with an anonomous donors contribution. There is another on line resource called Cal Photos which is totally free too. YOu should check them out! :)

Kim-I know exactly the daisy's you got. They are really cool looking with almost a two tone appearance with the petal curl. I think they are an African daisy variety.

ODP or rather Young Dame Penniwig (YDP)-Now why oh why cant I think of a line like that one with a 4 year old peeing out the door???

And everybody thanks for your nice comments this morning!

Julia

Suzi said...

Love the fairy lanterns too. They remind me of the bleeding heart flowers.

The picture of the butterfly and cocoon are very cool. Was this yesterday's hike or a previous one?

Pricilla said...

Now you have gone and made this goat all hungry!
burp.
Your hiking spot is beautiful. So is your daughter.

Uh, men!
I answered your twine question today....

siteseer said...

Love all the natural wild flowers. You are so lucky to have such a beautiful hiking spot. What state is this in?

Sara said...

Great pictures! Thank you for an informative blog without being boring. :D Love the final story about Wyatt. My four year old tried to pee on the fence in the middle of a birthday party. Real show stopper.

mbduke said...

Loved the botany lesson. Very interesting and beautiful views. I wish I lived in such a beautiful place. North Texas is pretty flat.

Tink said...

Wow what a magnificent day. How lovely Ella is. The cocoon and butterfly was way cool. I hate that morning glory. I can never get rid of that weed. blahh

Over The Top Aprons said...

Julia, What a lovely setting and such a marvelous experience you are giving your children .... I love how you write, I feel that I am there with you!

Ratty said...

Hiking trails are some of the best places to be this time of year. Flowers are fun to watch for, but I like the way the coffee fern looks even better. It's fun to have plenty of company from the kids. I don't usually get that, but when I do I get to go into teacher mode.

MsSnarkyPants said...

Ohhhhhhh I looooove the fairy lanterns! I think I need some! I wonder if I could convince them to grow here, or for that matter if there is even anywhere to buy them...

Heather said...

Thanks for the hike, it was beautiful.

Looking forward to when all the snow melts here and we can start getting out on the trails again.

p.s. thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

Aunt Spicy said...

I am so missing California right now! Thanks for all the lovely photos and the story!

The Mind of a Mom said...

I love your pictures, they are so amazing!

Stacie's Madness said...

you don't know how much I enjoyed this post...it was FABULOUS, I feel like I hiked with you! Thank you!

Frogs in my formula said...

I love the slices of nature you share! They're fabulous. We're lucky to find a dandelion that we can blow the poofy things off of. Yeh, I'm afraid we're raisin' a city boy.

Mountain Woman said...

Wyatt is such a character!
I loved the photos but my favorites were of you and Ella enjoying yourselves.
I sure wish you'd do a post on a photography lesson for all of us. Your flower photos are so amazing.

EL said...

LOL about wyatt!!! too funny... and ella looks like the best little hiking mate:) and wow is she growing up!

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