Sunday, September 19, 2010

There's More Than Bears in Boyle Ravine

Our first hike up Boyle Ravine in months provided lots of curiosities as usual. This time, what struck me, as we anticipate the fall colors season, were the patterns of color change on individual plants. The top photo, for instance, where each leaf of the False Solomon's Seal was half green and half yellow-brown. Quite beautiful this way, but also curious. Then the Oregon Grape which often will have one leaf, or even one leaflet, turned flame red while all the rest remain green. Most of the dogwood leaves in this area are still green, even on the bushes that have bright red berries. I did find one bush which had leaves in various stages of turning red that I thought was quite attractive. The most fun, though, was chasing the shield-shaped bugs around the the berry clusters on the dogwoods. Last, the Pine Drops. They and other saprophytes are ever fascinating to me. Pine Drops are in the Heath family, related to Manzanita, for instance, and have no chlorphyll. They live off the decaying organic matter in the soil, but produce flowers like their cousins. Nearby are several other saprophytes such as the three species of Coral Root that are in the Orchid family. I'm hoping to photograph one or more of them today. If the rain holds off, we're going up Boyle Ravine again. It's our 24th Anniversary today!

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