Showing posts with label sunflower family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sunflower family. Show all posts

Sunday, February 16, 2014

western coltsfoot ~ 02/16/14 ~ Los Padres Dam

Asteraceae

Not much was in bloom, just a couple small patches of white flowers: milkmaids, miner's lettuce, and this.  On first glance I thought it was cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum), but the flowers didn't look quite right to me and there weren't any leaves. After I got home, I flipped through my Wildflowers of Garland Ranch by Michael Mitchell and Rod M. Yeager, my personal favorite local flower guide.  I double-checked online (see embedded links in the ID above).  Michael and Rod also do an impressive online MontereyWildflowers site that I tend to forget exists.  It looks like they've made a lot of improvements in the past few years.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

telegraph weed ~ 12/07/13 ~ Fort Ord


Wikipedia says this is a roadside weed.  No kidding.  In my tradition of trying to capture plants in various stages through the seasons, I came across this lovely, dried flower-looking thingie (yes, my terminology).  Thanks to an instructive set of photos by Zoya Akulova on CalPhotos, I now know those thingies are "receptacle and phyllaries after fruiting".  So, I'm wondering how to label this stage, because * fruits/seeds is not quite accurate.  Any suggestions?  While reading up, I found an excellent compilation of information at The Weed Society of Queensland, even though their descriptors like "infestation" and "unsightly" are not generally used here in its native CA.

Friday, May 3, 2013

blow-wives ~ 05/03/13 ~ Fort Ord

 Asteraceae

posted 05/22/13 - I've seen these before but simply had never bothered to look them up.  Look at what I've been missing.  What a peculiar common name!  I wonder what the story is, because it seems like it should be a good one.  Trying to google it returns some lewd results.  You'll notice I added the fruits/seeds label instead of the flower label. Apparently, the actual flower is a tiny yellow ray flower; it's a native version of the dandelion. I caught the flowering stage a little too late in the bottom center of the first photo. Still, cool beans.

I wanted to note this hike, because I met a local woman online and took her along with me.  She searched the internet for Yadon's piperia after seeing flags just like I did.  She found my images through flickr [I don't know what to make of their recent changes; it's flashier probably for high phone traffic.], which led to my Yadon's blog posts.  We exchanged a couple e-mails and set to meet up. Oddly enough, this is the second time I've actually had a face-to-face with someone I met online because of my Yadon's photos.  Has anyone else experienced that with a particular photo set?

ps - Here are links for later, comparing blow-wives with silverpuffs at Sierra Foothill Garden and the inaccurate picture on Wikipedia, which has unfortunately also populated iNaturalist.org and EOL.org. Editing Wikipedia is a bunch of mumbo jumbo to me, so I asked the iNat fellow to correct this in the interest of internet-kind.  Even, UCSC Natural Reserves has this incorrectly pictured.  Erg!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

coast dandelion ~ 05/13/12 ~ Fort Ord

Asteraceae

posted 06/09/12 - I don't have an absolutely positive ID on this dandelion, since it was not from one of my three May guided tours of Fort Ord (easy-peasy for IDs) but rather through Andy, my anywhere running cam (as one kind blog reader called him). There are 4 spp./var. of Agoseris listed for Fort Ord, which on the surface look quite similar. The tricky part is the wide, large, serrated, and deeply lobed leaves in the center of the second pic do not belong to the flowers. If you follow the stems down from the flowers, there are small clumps of thin, lobed leaves, hence how I went about this ID.

Friday, May 11, 2012

marsh scorzonella ~ 05/11/12 ~ Fort Ord


According to David Styer, we were about an hour and a half too late to see this rare flower in full bloom. He must be out here quite a bit to know that information. It looks very much like the typical weedy dandelion. While the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is also found at Fort Ord, David said the marsh scorzonella is easily confused with cat's ears (Hypochaeris glabra and Hypochaeris radicata), which are also on his Checklist of Vascular Plants of Fort Ord, California. Geez, I never fully appreciated how many kinds of plants look like dandelions.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

CA goldenrod ~ 12/10/11 ~ Los Padres Dam


During this hike, I felt like I was in some kind of seasonal time warp. It is December after all. Here's another cheery flower that really should have finished blooming by now. Calflora shows there are 16 spp./ssp. of Solidago in CA. However, I'm fairly confident of this ID based on the leaf shape and the way the flowers are clustered on one side of the stem.

green lynx spider ~ 12/10/11 ~ Los Padres Dam

western variation female green lynx spider on cudweed
Peucetia viridans on Pseudognaphalium sp.
Asteraceae

That's quite a large egg sac she's protecting! She's about 1" or more in size but not very green, eh? While searching for an ID, I looked at other Oxyopidae, and none seemed to match as well as P. viridans. It helped to read that this spider can change color depending on the season or surroundings. As I was getting in close to take pictures, I got a whiff of the lovely scent from the cudweed. Green lynx spiders are not the only things that utilize cudweed blooms; Cindy at Dipper Ranch found American lady caterpillars tucked into her cudweed.

common yarrow ~ 12/10/11 ~ Los Padres Dam


posted 12/29/11 - When I started this blog 2 1/2 years ago, I focused on colorful, sunny flowers and animals that were already familiar to me. It's been a real joy learning more about my local natural world. My learning curve was a sharp incline at first and then it flattened out, partially due to blogging fatigue and partially due to my hesitancy to show off how much I don't know.

Without flowers, I'm often at a loss as to what a plant is. It's time for me to start looking at leaves. Once again, thanks to Flickr and Nature of a Man blogger randomtruth, I received help for the ID of this very common plant.

The white blooms in the last picture are either longstem buckwheat (Eriogonum elongatum) or naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum). I had several pictures of this buckwheat, but none of them turned out very well since my point-and-shoot couldn't find a focal point. Once again, I should have looked for the leaves to be able to distinguish between the 2 spp.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CA sagebrush ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

California sagebrush / old man
Artemisia californica
Asteraceae

This was definitely the dominant plant that I noticed during our hike along the water at Point Lobos. I loved how someone from CalAcademy on CalPhotos called this plant "old man" so I had to include it in the common name above. In my second blurry photo above, I was trying to show how the flowers turn into berry-like seeds. Doesn't that seem unusual? In any case, I'm becoming more familiar with the great variety of ever-present Artemisia in our area.

coastal sagewort ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos


Sometimes it takes me really looking into something several times before I get it. It never ceases to amaze me how many different kinds of plants there are. I've already mentioned (eh-hem, I do repeat myself regularly) there are at least 41 sp./ssp. of Artemisia found in California. I like the feathery soft leaves of this particular sagewort, sagebrush, sage, wormwood... whatever you choose to call it. The flowers did surprise me.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

seaside daisy ~ 10/02/11 ~ Shoreline Park

seaside daisy
Erigeron glaucus
Asteraceae

It sure is nice to have an ID that I don't have to extensively search. I'm a little surprised this is my first post of this common coastal flower. Interesting to note, my Introduction to California Spring Wildflowers of the Foothills, Valleys, and Coast book states the seaside daisy "flowers from April to August." That's true. However, I also have a habitat post that shows it blooms as early as February, and here's evidence it blooms as late as October. That's a significant difference in timing of blooms.

As part of my Nature ID blog, I'm attempting to document when plants actually flower around here and not simply repeat others' claims, which may not be entirely accurate. This is the reason why I am so particular about posting to the date of my photos.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pacific aster ~ 09/17/11 ~ Wilder Ranch

best guess Pacific aster / common California aster
best guess Symphyotrichum chilense (formerly Aster chilensis)
Asteraceae

Maybe someday I'll know how to properly ID flowers. I've looked at hundreds of CalPhotos and even resorted to trying to decipher Jepson this morning - I simply cannot get my mind wrapped around terminology like "± oblanceolate", "cyme" and "phyllaries." It doesn't help that names and distribution records vary widely depending on the source. For the time being, I think I'll stick with S. chilense as one of the most common asters in this part of CA, which doesn't mean the above ID is correct. Regardless of the ID, I welcome seeing this autumn flower. Last year I made a virtual collection of fall aster love.

common ringlet ~ 09/17/11 ~ Wilder Ranch


It's not unusual for me to see ringlets, nor is it unusual to see coyote brush. However, it is unusual to see coyote brush literally covered in ringlets. These butterflies were skittish and flew away from me as soon as my camera dinged when I turned it on (it makes me wonder about butterfly sensory of sound). The best I could do is capture 5 butterflies in the last picture, but I would guess there were upwards of 50 butterflies on this single bush. Interesting to note, I kept my eye out for every coyote brush after this encounter, and not a single one had a ringlet on it. Art Shapiro states on his website, "The second brood emerges in May-June, enters reproductive diapause and estivates until September-October, when it reemerges to breed." Yep, you read that right. Perhaps in other places animals reduce their activity during harsh winter months, but here in CA the summer can be equally harsh. I guess it's now the season of love for these nondescript smallish butterflies.

bull thistle ~ 09/17/11 ~ Wilder Ranch


Cal-IPC lists bull thistle as a moderate invasive. By what I saw, I'd say it's taking over many areas of Wilder Ranch. No wonder, look at the sheer volume of seeds it disperses. In some areas, the fluffy seeds reached about 16" in depth and looked much like a fresh dumping of snow.

Heavy sigh... is it autumn already? Ever since I was sick this past spring, I feel like I lost a month and a half and am still trying to catch up with the rest of the world and nature's cycles. In any case, an older friend and I were recently debating when autumn officially starts. Is it on the autumnal equinox (this year it's 09/23/11), or does it start earlier with the equinox being somewhere in the middle of the season? I've come to the conclusion that seasons are nebulous relative terms, regardless of where the sun is located to the earth's equator.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

telegraph weed ~ 08/24/11 ~ Fort Ord



It's nice finding a plant I've never known before what it was and have only recently ID'd it. It's like being pleased to run into a new acquaintance shortly after the first introduction. There was one section of the trail where the telegraph weed was the predominant blooming plant, if not the only plant still in bloom among the dried grasses of late August. I have to say there was a little part of me that was glad to not see more sticky monkeyflower, which seemed to be on the tail end of its blooms.

Friday, July 22, 2011

bull and milk thistle ~ 07/22/11 ~ Elkhorn Slough

bull thistle (left) and milk thistle (right)
Cirsium vulgare (left) and Silybum marianum (right)
Asteraceae

posted 09/28/11 - The above are easily identifiable and distinct. However, I recently realized that I often falsely assume look-alike plants do not grow right next to each other. Once I think I've made an ID, I walk by similarly looking plants believing they're all the same. I may have hastily overlooked differences in patches of Clarkia, Delphinium, early leaves of soap plant and death camas, and false Solomon's seal. In upcoming posts, I'll have additional examples of this.



chicory ~ 07/22/11 ~ Elkhorn Slough


posted 09/16/11 - I'm very fond of this weed. Not only is the light lilac color my favorite, I have cherished memories of when I first saw it in Ohio. During the college years, we lived in a rather poor neighborhood of Cleveland, and this plant, ever the cheerful survivor, would spring up through the cracks in the sidewalks and in abandoned lots. I ignored the rusty hypodermic needles, brown bag wrapped empty bottles, and McD's wrappers strewn about the streets, and I would focus on the thrill of seeing my favorite color. Sonja told me how the roots have been used like coffee. That was the first time it ever hit me that wild plants could be used as food, and this is coming from a girl who grew up on a family farm. My naiveté seems silly now, but I really didn't know much about the world around me. Maybe I still don't. I think I've seen chicory occasionally here in CA, but until now I wasn't sure since it's not often that I see the same plants that live in OH as in CA, even if they're weeds. For what it's worth, chicory supposedly is native to Europe.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

CA cudweed ~ 06/30/11 ~ Fort Ord

best guess California cudweed / California everlasting
best guess Gnaphalium californicum (aka Pseudognaphalium californicum)
Asteraceae

I'm starting to like cudweeds despite my not being too fond of crispy, dried flowers. They remind me of the dead flower bouquets my mother used to keep in waterless vases or baskets about the house. I think the main flower was strawflower, which must have had their peak of popularity as craft fair staples in the 1970's since I don't see them around anymore. One of my assigned chores was to dust weekly and those bouquets were impossible to clean without breaking off petals. I despise dusting, which may explain why I have so few knickknacks in my own home.

I'm pretty sure of this ID. I've seen CA cudweed before at a different Fort Ord location when it was very green. However, with a touch of white fuzz on the stems, I wonder if it might be slender everlasting (Psudognaphalium thermale), although Calflora.org and Jepson disagree over its distribution. What made searching for possible IDs challenging is Gnaphalium cudweeds/everlastings are variously aka Pseudognaphalium, Euchiton, and Gamochaeta.