Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Riot of Yellow!

 Thursday afternoon, after my late-afternoon class, I decided to accumulate photos of yellow flowers on my way back to my car.  The idea had occurred to me days ago when I noticed on all my local drives I was seeing only yellow wildflowers.  But as I left my office, the first sight that begged for notice was a maple tree that was beginning to turn red.  I remember last year this tree was an incredible sight during the peak week of fall colors.  Would I jump on the bandwagon and shoot mostly colorful leaves for the next month?  I resisted.  After a "full body" shot and a close-up of the red zone, I returned my attention to yellow flowers.
 In the immediate vicinity of the library entrance, there were many yellow species blooming.
 This Mullein was only about a foot tall yet blooming.  They usually get anywhere from 5 to 10 feet tall before blooming.  I think this one was probably subjected to lawn mowing several times, and this was its last minute adjustment, like often happens with Dandelions, an attempt to bloom ASAP, even while quite short.  I love that trick, since I'm mostly against lawnmowers - even lawns!
 Nearby was the Star Thistle.  Quite a pretty plant, even though I don't like getting stabbed any more than the next guy.  The point is, you don't have to walk through them!
 Then the Rabbitbrush, still thriving around the library and on roadsides all around Quincy. 
 THe white petals on the Camomile might seem to violate my plan, but not really.  You see those white things are not petals.  They are ray flowers.  So, just ignore them.  The yellow disk flowers make up the central portion of each head.   So, each "flower" of Camomile is really anywhere from several dozen to 100 or more individual flowers.
 Still close by were several plants of St. Johns Wort.  They've been blooming all summer, so each plant already had many wilted flowers and clusters of seeds, but also some freshly blooming flowers.  Each flower is really elegant.  Click on a photo to enjoy more detail.
 Then, a hundred yards closer to my car, on the backside of the gym, was a patch of Gum Plant blooming.  All the blossoms were past the "gum" stage, and some had already wilted and were producing seeds.  It was the fresh-looking yellow flower heads that got my attention.
 When viewed sideways, another interesting feature of the Gum Plant is the recurved sepals beneath the flower head that look a bit like barbs of a fish hook.

 Along the sides of Gold Eagle Drive closer to Highway 70, there were many healthier-looking Gum Plants, so I stopped for more photos (below).
 Across the street from these Gum Plants were some Goldenrod.
 A taller species with purplish stems might also be a Goldenrod, or possibly a Groundsel.  I haven't found this one in my field guide so I suspect it's not a native.
 Finally, closer to home, when I checked my mail, I had to stop by Quincy Natural Foods to photograph their incredible sunflowers.  They won't be around much longer, so I snapped a few photos.

 Next door, in front of Midtown Coffee, there is still a healthy stand of Tansy.  Definitely click on these last two photos to enjoy the great spiral design of the placement of Disk Flowers.  This plant doesn't produce ray flowers, but it's still a composite.  The reason has to do with embryology and anatomy beyond the scope of this blog.  Reminds me of when people ask "Why is a legless lizard a lizard and not a snake?"  By the way, several new species of legless lizards were discovered recently in the greater Los Angeles area.  An exciting event for herpetologists.

"Ah, finally," my several fans say, "a bug!"

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