Friday, May 20, 2011

Great Place for Umbrella Plant

Last summer I stopped by this spot when the Umbrella Plants were huge. It must have been at least mid-August. The leaves were over 2 feet in diameter and the stems were around 3 feet tall. For a stretch of 100 feet or so, I couldn't see the creek. I then climbed down an embankment and puched some leaves aside and got down on my hands and knees. There were some incredible views between stems up and down the creek. I imagined being in the Amazon. It was one of the rare times I didn't have my camera with me.
So, today I stopped on the way home to see if the Umbrella Plants had emerged from the water. Wow! Some were in full bloom, some had already gone to seed, and many had new leaves on their way, mostly a foot or so above the water.
So, from top to bottom, here are today's sights by the creek at the foot of the road off Highway 70 that goes to Butterfly Valley. Top photo is the prettiest fully-bloomed plant I could find. Next is a view upstream from that spot, a view that will be completely obliterated by August if last year's pattern is repeated. Then there's a cluster of flowers that have gone to seed, barely. The seeds were still green and juicy, but they'll be brown in another week or two. The next photo is a cluster of young leaves, still less than a foot tall and not yet unfolded. Last is a close-up of a fuzzy stem, an attractive part of the plant that is often ignored because of the showier flower clusters and gigantic leaves. Thus ends my tour of Umbrella Plants for the day.

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