Wednesday, April 25, 2012

cheeseweed ~ 04/25/12 ~ Frog Pond

Did you ever wonder how a plant got its common name? Cheeseweed, really? This non-native from Northern Africa, Europe, and Asia supposedly has fruiting heads that look like little wheels of cheese. I wonder if cheese fanatic Wallace of Wallace and Gromit was the one who named this plant. It should be noted that this individual was the only one I found at the Frog Pond and is not listed on either the old or the new 2012 CNPS plant list for the Frog Pond Wetland Preserve, Del Rey Oaks.

ps 05/06/12 - I did wonder if this was bull mallow (Malva nicaeensis), but according to Jepson, bull mallow should be trailing along the ground and not erect as shown.


Imperfect and tense said...

What a cracking plant, Katie, you obviously had a grand day out.

I couldn't place the genus at first, but a trip to my id guide showed that it's a Mallow. The description for Common Mallow, Malva sylvestris, states "rounde and flat, made lyke little cheeses" before continuing more normally "whence the names Cheesecakes, Pick-cheese and Bread-and-cheese." None of which I knew, so ta very much.

John W. Wall said...

Also, the "cheeses" are edible!

biobabbler said...

Hee. =) I've always thought that was a funny name. Sweet little flower, though. Thanks for answering the inevitable question. =)

Amber Galusha said...

I love the delicacy of this little beauty. Thanks for the post!

troutbirder said...

Pretty but they're sure are some strange name out there in the natural world... :)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, it's almost always a grand day out if one gets outside.

John, have you tried eating the "cheeses"? I may have to put it on the list of plants to taste.

bb, had never heard of it until I looked it up.

Amber, for such a robust plant, the flower looks so delicate... could be said about a lot of things.

Mr. T., the story behind many common names have just as much interest as the plant itself.