Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It didn't snow, but....

It didn't snow last night as I forecast, but today, sunny in the morning, I am gathering further evidence that it's going to. Will post the rest of my story this evening.

It's now "this evening" and I already found a slight error. The top photo is of a lily that I used to call Brodiaea. It is a member of a large group that were once called brodiaeas, but have been broken up into different families. When I first spotted this one from my car, I though it was one I call Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a closely related species, Wild Hyacinth, Dichelostemma multiflorum. The most obvious feature of this one is the bud-vase-like constriction in the flower tube between the spread petals and the base. This one was about 20 feet above the highway on a cliff, so I had to do some scrambling to get to it and hope I wouldn't slide down onto a passing log truck. Who ever thought hunting wildflowers was such a dangerous sport?
The second photo is a side view of a Bachelors Button. I can't get over the fact this beauty is in the same genus as Star Thistle, Centaurea. It's C. cyanus while Star Thistle is C. solstitialis. Next down the list is newly-blossoming Deer Brush, Ceanothus integerrimus. From this beautiful inflorescence, it's easy to see why it's often called a California Lilac.
Last is the Purple or Heart-leaf Milkweed, Asclepias cordifolia. I've been watching this one for several weeks, and it finally bloomed. Spectacular flower. In the general area between the Greenville Y and the Taylorsville T, all the milkweeds are showing up. This one is the first species to bloom. Soon, we'll see the Showy Milkweed, A. speciosa, and in another month or so, the Narrow-leaf Milkweed, A. fascicularis. There's a large patch of newly-emergent leaves in one spot I frequent, but it needs to get another foot or two tall before we'll see buds and then flowers. A good day for photography, despite the encroaching wind and cold air. I do expect it to snow tonight.

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