Saturday, July 2, 2011
Biodiversity in Quincy
This collection spans a few days. I think it was Thursday when on my way to camp I spotted some huge yellow flowers in a ditch in front of Safeway. I stopped to check them out and they turned out to be a patch of Hooker's Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata, a plant I'd been waiting for out on Chandler Road but haven't seen yet this year. As I tromped through damp tall grass to get some photos, I saw a nice patch of Everlasting Pea, Lathyrus nevadensis. I'm a little hesitant to commit to a species name as there are at least 11 species of Lathyrus in the Sierra as well as escaped cultivars and mixes. This species can be pink to purple to white.
After getting photos of these two, I headed out to camp where the wonders continued.
The Purple Milkweed or Heartleaf Milkweed, Asclepias cordifolia, is in full bloom in many open areas in and around the camp. It's such a remarkable flower. One has to get a close look to appreciate it. I picked this one blossom and you can approximate the effect it had on me by clicking on the photo twice. This one has very little fragrance, but it's cousin, the Showy Milkweed does and it is beginning to reach full bloom in various places around Quincy. I'll be checking them daily for the great bugs they attract.
Next down the list is Skullcap, Scutellaria siphocampyloides, which I initially mistook for a Penstemon. They're not even in the same family, but look somewhat alike from a distance.
Now, number 5 from the top: Spreading Dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium. Don't you love these names? This is in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, which recently has been joined by the former milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae. For conversational purposes, I call them all milkweeds and we have five common ones around the Quincy area.
No article with biodiversity in its title would be complete without some animals. So, the last three photos are a Signal Crayfish, a Mule Deer, and a Pacific Chorus Frog. In the common field guides I see only the one species of Crayfish, but probably some "splitter" has named several. I'm not an expert on Crayfish except when it comes to a culinary approach. One can argue about the various local names and subspecies of Mule Deer. In the Northern Sierra this one is sometimes named a Blacktail Deer. It may be a subspecies of Mule Deer or a separate species. I'm not a splitter, so Mule Deer is good enough for me. I just love seeing them.
Last, my favorite western amphibian, the Pacific Coast Chorus Frog, Pseudacris regilla. My son photographed this one on my official camp uniform. It's less than an inch long and is now living in the garden in my front yard - I hope.