Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Pretty Stuff from the Forest

The last half mile or so of paved road leading into Oakland Camp gets lots of sun, so things are drying out fast and flowers are wilting and going to seed. One exceptional spot at the half way point is a little seep, possible from a spring on the hill above, that provides a watery ditch about 100 feet long. What a little paradise of flowers and bugs! There are lots of Seep-spring Monkey-flowers blooming, but only one plant had this great cluster of beetles. The plant seemed no worse for the wear, so maybe the beetles were just taking a rest stop. The daisies along this stretch were adjacent to the ditch, but not in it. The second photo shows a Lorquin's Admiral butterfly resting below the daisies. Click twice at the middle of the photo for a closer view of the butterfly. The next two photos are views of Indian Hemp, Apocynum cannabinum. There's a nice patch of these just across the pavement from the watery ditch. Right next to them is a patch of Showy Milkweed. This is a great spot to show the kids the similarities and differences between two plants in the same family. Both attract their share of interesting bugs, but the Showy Milkweed is the clear winner in this contest. I can hardly wait for the Red Milkweed Beetle and the Red Milkweed Bug to reappear this season. Next, we have the white phase of the wild pea, Lathyrus nevadensis. The pink phase was pictured in a recent post. Next is the tiny, blue Sierra Stickseed, Hackelia nervosa. I can't seem to get a sharp photo of this one, but I'll keep trying. That blue color is almost iridescent, so maybe it's too much for my sensor, or my talents. Next are two views of a plant that's new to me this year. It's a Water Plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica. I couldn't get the flowers and the basal leaves both focused in the same shot as the plant is spread out and spindly with the flowers being over two feet above the leaves. The leaves look very much like those of the English Plantain which is in a different family and has completely different flowers. The Water Plantain's flowers are less than a half inch across, so a hand lens would help to appreciate their beauty. Last is a cluster of Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. Nothing special to say about this plant except it's a non-native that is common and beautiful.

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