Sunday, April 6, 2014

woodland star ~ 04/06/14 ~ Garland Ranch


Thanks to Wildflowers of Garland Ranch by Michael Mitchell and Rod M. Yeager, I knew both hill star and woodland star occur here.  It's been a very handy go-to guide for local plants.  Three years ago I photographed the square-calyxed L. heterophyllum, and I've been on the search for this v-shaped L. affine ever since.  Note the pretty red stem.

ps 04/22/14 - I discovered there are other Lithophragma found in our area.  I just noticed the 3-lobed petals shown above have notches, whereas the green one I photographed at Pinnacles does not.  I don't know if that's a common variation of L. affine.  There is a possibility this is a smallflower woodland star (Lithophragma parviflorum var. parviflorum), but I don't know the difference. 

false turkey tail ~ 04/06/14 ~ Garland Ranch

Stereum hirsutum complex

Look how smooth it is on the underside!  No pores!  From the top, it looks very similar to turkey tail with both having strips of fuzz, but the false's sparser fuzz is longer, even hairy looking. However, I tend to notice the false turkey tail's orange tinge from a distance and thinner edge, like a potato chip.  Plus, during the rainy season, I often see witch's butter with false turkey tail. This batch was growing on a fallen oak, which is typical.

I normally don't go around pulling fungi off wood to take pictures of the underside, but this comparison endeavor was for Cindy @ Dipper Ranch.  I have no idea if these comparisons can be made beyond my local CA range.

wedding tree ~ 04/06/14 ~ Garland Ranch

I think it's cool that Andy and I have made it a tradition to hike to our wedding tree on or around our anniversary.  It's not like we don't visit any other time of year, e.g., last November when it was dry, dry, dry or in February before the leaves come out.  It's been particularly interesting to look at my photos of this tree on an annual basis, showing variations in the timing of spring leaf-out and subtler, annual changes as the tree ages, not to mention the weather (it snowed on us in 2011!).  This year, the leaves were fairly progressed; some had already toughened up and were very shiny like typical summer leaves.  The last time it was anywhere near this leafy on our anniversary was back in 2010 when the catkins were still hanging on.  I don't know what's going on with the swath of no leaves in the last photo.  There's a patch of lace lichen there that hasn't spread much over the years, and supposedly it doesn't hurt the tree.  Also, notice how much greener the grass is in the shade of the tree versus out on the sunny hilltop?  What's that phenomena called?  It's as if mature oaks create their own personal water cache through their own shade.  Since we share this tree with other visitors to Garland, we also take note when other people leave their mark, in this case, a heart painted with... chocolate and vanilla pudding?  Cheers!