Sunday, June 3, 2018

You can see a lot if you look

 This pearl of wisdom is usually attributed to Yogi Berra (not Yogi Bear), but I use it here to reflect on my photo adventure Friday whose initial goal was to update the condition of the Mountain Lady's Slippers and predict how long they'd remain in bloom.  People are constantly asking me about them.  When such a flower dominates our attention, a great deal can go unnoticed.  The above flower cluster, a lily, was formerly known as a Brodiaea, a genus of Lilies that has been broken up into several genera and even different families as our technology has incorporated affordable DNA analysis.  I think this one is now a Dichelostemma.
 An orchid found in the shade in the same vicinity as the Lady's Slippers is the Spotted Coralroot, often mistaken for Pine Drops, in the same family as Manzanita - not particularly close to the orchids.
 I photographed the first California WIld Rose I saw just to record it.  These were not particularly attractive specimens (above) but soon came across a spectacular one (below) and made note of the fact that there were no aphids and no evidence of pesticide use.  In past blogs I've mentioned my comment to participants in my guided hikes that I have a hobby of raising aphids.  This is mentioned after pointing out large masses of aphids, usually on Salsify flowers, that are being "herded" by a species of ant that feeds off aphid excrement.  The ecology of the relationship is usually fascinating
 enough that people will ask how I raise aphids, to which I reply, "It's easy; I just plant roses."
 These tiny blue beauties grow in or near water and are in the Borage family, the family of Forget-me-nots.  I usually call them wild forget-me-nots, but they are mostly known as Stickseed, of which there are several species in the Sierra.
 The American Dogwood is blooming profusely along the section of Spanish Creek near Oakland Camp.
I'll have to check this one out.  I'm rusty, but I think it's Chickweed.

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