Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jay's Magical Yard

 Dutchman's Pipevine.  A most interesting vine in the Birthwort family, Aristolochiaceae.  I've only seen it in the lower reaches of the Feather River Canyon and on down to Bidwell Park.  But, my flower-loving friend Jay Wright brought a "starter" up from the canyon a few years ago, and "Voila!"  It's thriving, as it climbs on a Dogwood tree in his yard.  An interesting phenomenon: lasat year the whole vine only bore two flowers.  Today, I stopped by after receiving an excited phone call from Jay.  THere must be a thousand blossoms!
 Click on this photo for an even closer view.  This exciting-looking flower has a history of medicinal uses (as suggested by the family name) and is host to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, and has an interesting way of briefly holding its insect pollinators captive while dusting them with pollen then releasing them to carry the pollen to other flowers.
 THe above cluster, of which there were many on this one plant, reminded me of the grape vines in front of Patti's Thunder.  Too many blossoms to count.  Very impressive.
 Another point of interest is the Fritillaries.  Jay planted one bulb a few years ago, and now he has a half dozen of these spotted flowers (above) and a few albinos (below) from the same original bulb.  We had fun speculating on how this happened.  Seeds?  Subterranean roots?  Maybe both?
 In this lasat photo, I was in the mood to play with the light.  I call it Birthwort Abstract.

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