Friday, April 9, 2010

Yesterday's Flowers.

Yesterday, on my way home, I took the loop of "Old Highway" just south of the Keddie community and was amazed at how quickly lots of species bloomed after our recent snowstorm. They were obviously "ready" before the storm hit. My favorite newcomer - new to me this year - is another member of the mustard family, Cardamine pachystigma, known by mere mortals as Stout-beaked Toothwort. While some of the blossoms are fully open, others have already gone to seed, revealing the source of the common name. The Henderson's Shooting Star are out in profusion, and I am so intrigued by the beauty of this flower that I take too many photos of it. I include two here. I don't save them all, but I think the act of photographing them holds my close attention, also increasing the odds of an interesting encounter with an insect. Manzanita, blooming or not, is easy to spot while driving, but I think its blossoms are under-appreciated. Every time I get in real close, especially when there are insects present, I am amazed anew at the beauty of this flower. Two very tiny newcomers this season are the Blue-eyed Mary and the Miniature Miners Lettuce. These blossoms are around 1/4" across and they are almost too small for me to get close-ups with my present equipment. One stretch of Old Highway. just south of the entrance to the Keddie Cascades Trail, has beautiful, damp rock walls that are currently covered with lots of Sedum, called by many different "common" names, such as rock lettuce. They are not blooming yet, but are quite beautiful and almost look like a landscaper has been busy here. Last, the violets, which in our area are mostly yellow. The first species to bloom this year is the Fan Violet. In this same spot, other yellow species as well as blue ones and white ones will bloom soon. Time to get serious about looking for wildflowers, but be sure to get out of your car!

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