Sunday, March 11, 2012

Table Mountain flowers, Part 3

On yesterday's outing to Table Mountain, we saw around 30 species of wildflowers blooming.  This is the third in my series of posts on that outing.  I should mention that a new edition of Mackey and Bills' Wildflowers of Table Mountain, Butte County, California, has just come out and is a beautiful little book, a worthwhile companion on your Table Mountain hikes.  Buy it at Lyons in Chico.
This group of flowers, from the top, includes: Spreading Larkspur, Delphinium patens, in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae; Kellogg's Monkeyflower, Mimulus kelloggii, in the family (my favorite one to pronounce) Scrophulariaceae; Lowland Shooting Star, Dodecatheon clevelandii, Primrose family, Primulaceae (the generic name combines the number 12 and God; not sure of the etymology); Butter and Eggs, Triphysaria eriantha (formerly Orthocarpus erianthus), also in the family Scrophulariaceae (there's an entirely different genus and species on the East Coast that goes by the same common name); Table Mountain Meadow Foam, Limnanthes douglasii, in the Meadow Foam family, Limnanthaceae; and, finally, Bird's Eye Gilia, Gilia tricolor, in the Phlox family, Polemoniaceae.  That's enough Latin for the day.  I include this information only as an aide for followers who want to identify these flowers.  Keep in mind that not only do the so-called common or popular names of flowers vary greatly from region to region, or even within a region, but even the scientific names change as new technologies and refined observations by many people give new insights into relationships.  Taxonomy was once based entirely on observations of anatomy possible with the naked eye.  With the advent of microscopes and then biochemical analysis, including DNA "fingerprinting," we have much more information on which to base our taxonomies. 
Happy to correct any mistakes my followers may find.  Happy hiking!

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