Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Belated Botany!

Happy summer Bloggers and visitors! Here we are in the heat of summer and I am finally posting a series of photos that I took back in late April in serpentine grassland near our home.

I dragged Wyatt and Ella up the hillside to see flowers only their mom and maybe 10 other people care about. But they're gonna learn about these flowers if I have my way!!

Mush children!! MUSH!!

Let's forget the fact that we were trespassing on private property and I helped my kids climb over a barb-wire fence to get out here. But in the name of BOTANY and my being an intrepid botanist, this place needed to be inspected. (I knew what was going to be blooming up here as I had done a survey a few years ago on this land for work).

As you can see, the views from up here are awful.

Awfully GOOD!

This fuchsia-colored annual is called most beautiful jewel-flower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus) and it's a rare plant species native to California. As this pretty flower grows on stems that reach three feet, I did not harm it to get this photo. I was really happy to see it live and in person this year, since it's declining in the San Francisco bay area due to the development of the native serpentine grasslands where it grows. This habitat has a special soil type which supports native plant species, or rather the soil type here tends to exclude the non-native species thus natives persist.

My children share my sadness at the invasion of the non-native grass species . . . well maybe not. But you might say they only object a little bit to the forced botanizing. I am such a slave driver. . .

These Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla) made me crazy happy since they are so bright and beautiful. My kids are really getting used to their mom hopping up and down every time she finds a native plant in bloom. By the time they are teen's I think they'll be all, "Yeah, that's my Mom again. She get's a little strange in the spring. Just ignore her. . . "

This yellow beast was the mystery plant for the day. I had no clue what it was. That is strange for me as I like to think I know most stuff in our region. But obviously I am wrong.

Wyatt found time for reflection in this outcropping of common monkey flower (Mimulus guttatus). These annual forbs grow from seeps emerging off hillsides and make me smile with their sunny warm faces.

At the base of the rocky outcrops lies a plenitude of native grasses and annual broadleafs. The flowers and grass blooms provide me with a delicate composition to photograph.

Now I would like you to meet Santa Clara County dudleya (Dudleya multicaulis) above. This perennial succulent is Federally endangered and very little of the habitat in which it occurs remains. This dudleya grows only from rock crevices and is found no where else in the world but Santa Clara County. It's one of our famous endemic plant species.

This red flowered beauty is called California figwort (Scrophularia californica). It's a tall perennial species that reaches six feet in height. It's common throughout grassland and woodland habitats in our area. I still appreciate the bright red flowers that are unmistakable for any thing else.

Here's the close up for those who are interested.

From this rocky outcrop above there was so much happening that I was going into botanical shock right in front of the kids. They almost called 911 when I went into hysterics over the little pink-colored onion flower. It was gorgeous, and although I had never seen this species in person before, I immediately knew what it was from previous studies I had done in the region.

Allium falcifolium or sickle leaf onion was a lovely sight on our treasure hunt for flowers and a fitting end to another great outing. It's amazing what you can find in your own back yard when you really try.

Stay cool folks. Hope your summer is going swimmingly!


Julie Harward said...

I am always amazed at what I find too...when I open my eyes to see it! I love all these flowers and I'll bet the kids enjoyed the outing too! :D

Vanessa said...

Just gorgeous! We dont have many wildflowers around here(too hot) so it was wonderful seeing these photos.

Sara said...

Love that you get so excited about botany! Great post! Enjoyed it!

Sharkbytes said...

Julia- you nearly made me pass out with joy for you. Can I be one of the 10 who cares, can I, can I, please?

We have a figwort, but it's maroon. Don't think I've even heard of Streptanthus genus. I think our friends might form a support group if they meet.

Dawn said...

Amazingly cool - and what a neat summer field trip! Didn't bingo want to go along?

Pricilla said...

Beautiful! I love these little trips with you and the kids.

DayPhoto said...

Oh! LOVELY! I just enjoy SOOOOO much trips to see what is growing, here, there and any place else I might get to visit!


Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

Oh, you're so funny! I had to laugh out loud several times!!! Such a droll wit.

I am very impressed you found the Dudleya Dooright plant! And the pretty onion and lil' pagoda plant!!! Darling!

Diane said...

Beautiful pictures! Happy weekend. :O)

blueviolet said...

You are so lucky that when you find these lovely treats out in nature, you actually know something about them! At least one of the kids will carry on your interest. I hope!

PS. I got Bingo and I adore it! I'm working on a write-up for it this weekend. Are we doing 2 for the giveaway? My mind is feeble and I can't remember. :)

Mountain Woman said...

As always, beautiful photos from a very talented photographer but your children always steal the show. We have problems here to with non native species.

Debbie said...

It's frightening to me how much diversity we are losing to non-native species. So very sad.
Your photos are gorgeous.

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Such gorgeous wildflowers.

Grand Pooba said...

Anything goes in the name of botany! You're such a great mommy! Your kids are lucky. Those pics are amazing, I love the one with Ella sitting on the rock

theUngourmet said...

Wonderful photos Julia! Ella looks like my kids did when I took them berry picking last summer. ;D

I love the Chinese Houses! The California Figwort is beautiful too. It sounds like a medicinal plant.

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