Monday, July 16, 2012

Flowers Without Bugs, Mostly

Even though we are seeing many fewer species of wildflowers blooming at this elevation than we did this time last year, there have been a few that get my attention daily.  The Common Madia growing near the intersection of Quincy Junction Road and Chandler Road are an endless source of fascination for me, especially since a month ago I thought they were doomed due to some aggressive mowing of the shoulder.  At daybreak, the shoulder is covered with side lit Madia, and by mid-morning they're gone.  That is, they seem to be gone, but they are just closed up.  Note the buds in the top photo.  Perhaps you can imagine that if all those yellow flowers closed up and looked like these buds, you wouldn't even notice them.  There are other species whose blooms only open in the afternoon. 
The second photo is of Klamathweed.  I generally inspect every blossom in a patch of Klamathweed, looking for bugs, but the flower itself is very attractive when viewed close up.  The further away you get, the more it has that "weed look."  The same can be said for the Chicory which is blooming all around American Valley, and blooms for a month or more every summer.  It's gangly stems and leaves are very weedy looking, but a close inspection of the flower is worth a stop and some photographs.  If you can find it in an area you are sure is not sprayed, it might worth your while to try the dried roots in a beverage. 
Then there's that old favorite roadside beauty, called Bindweed by those who see it as a pest, but Orchard Morning Glory by others.  Difficult to catch the detail of white flowers in a photo, but I was lucky enough to find this one in just the right amount of shade. 
Next is a close up of a non-flowering plant, the Western Bracken Fern.  It's easy to take this forest ground cover for granted, but a close view reveals beautiful patterns of veins and lobes occasionally complemented by a resting chorus frog.
Last, the large clusters of blossoms of the Brewer's Angelica take one's attention off the beautiful leaves.  Here is a close up of a single leaflet.  As usual, click on any of these photos for closer views.

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