Monday, December 30, 2013

A Winter Drive, Part 3; the vegetation

 While driving along curvy Highway 89 at 55 mph, one has to concentrate on staying on the road and out of the river.  Not a good way to appreciate nature's details.  So, I stop at turnouts or wide shoulders whenever time allows.  On last Monday's drive, the blur of brownish dead and dormant shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers, deciduous trees that have dropped their leaves and evergreens, had a sameness about it for several miles.  When I stopped and walked around, the details came alive.  It was fun to see how many plants I could identify in this stage of life or death.  The above photo is a branch of White Alder showing both female (left) and male (right) flowers, the former often called cones and the latter, catkins.
 A young Sugar Pine beneath a mature group of Black Cottonwoods.  I could find no parent Sugar Pines nearby, so the seeds for this one must have been brought in by an animal or possibly washed down from quite high on the mountain in the background.
 A willow branch with many buds waiting to burst early in spring, and possibly an infection of Tongue Fungus.
 Another branch of the same willow.
                                          Blackberry branch
                                                 Star Thistle
                                                      Curly Dock
Speeding car or truck, thoroughly buried in the hillside.  I was tempted to dig it out, but was afraid I'd find some bodies.

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