Friday, July 1, 2011

Some Trailside Wildflowers

The Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, is finally blooming on some of our roadsides. One of my favorite plants, both for its own beauty and fragrance and its role as a "bug magnet." I photographed these along Lee Road and Chandler Road and am on the lookout for the spectacular Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes basalis, every day. Many other bugs love this plant, the most well-known being the Monarch Butterfly. I sense that CalTrans and many landowners do not like milkweeds. Every time I get attached to a certain patch it seems the mowers or weed eaters arrive soon afterward. I still think the milkweeds will win the contest.
The other three flowers pictured here were seen in abundacne along the Tollgate Creek Trail near oakland Camp. They are Meadow Lotus, Lotus oblongifolius, White Hawkweed, Hieracium albiflorum, and Diamond Clarkia, Clarkia rhomboidea. All three of these attract their complement of interesting beetles, but on this day I chose the ones without visitors. Maybe my mood will swing tomorrow.

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