Thursday, June 9, 2011

pipestem ~ 06/09/11 ~ Pinnacles

Cool, eh? I had absolutely no idea what this was and wasn't sure where to start looking for an ID. The leaves reminded me a little of poison-oak, but I knew it wasn't that. Based on the shiny and leathery looking leaves and thinking it was a shrub or tree of some sort, I looked at pictures of all the trees and shrubs found in the Pinnacles area. No go.

So, I asked myself, me of very little botanical knowledge, "What does this look like?" Well, it looks like a Dr. Seuss character. I got a hint by searching online for "Dr. Seuss looking tree flower." No, seriously, this is how I found a picture titled Dr. Seuss flowers with a description of clematis seed heads. Bingo!

It's a vine that used a dead tree as support. With a check of the Pinnacles plant list, I discovered there are two species of Clematis, the other being western virgin's bower (Clematis ligusticifolia). Due to the more compact leaf shape and the fact this was found nowhere near a stream, I picked pipestem for the ID above. Please note both species of Clematis have common names that readily apply to other plants, such as the pipestem found in southeastern U.S., Agarista populifolia.

Oh! Getting back to Dr. Seuss, I was curious to know which character had the fuzzy top. Out of several, I decided the chaparral clematis silky seed plumes look a lot like Truffula Trees from The Lorax. How did I not read this book as a child? Sigh... I usually avoid linking to sites that obviously violate copyright, so I am conflicted about including links for those like me who have not heard the story of The Lorax. However, considering there are thousands and thousands of sites that include images and text which have nothing to do with Dr. Seuss, here are three links to this wonderful environmental story ahead of its time: text, video, and blog entry.


Jeannette said...

It's never too late to read Dr. Seuss! We were just admiring clematis up at the Ben Lomond Feed Store nursery which is a place you would enjoy.

I try crazy googles too and they often do work.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

It's been ages since I've been to Ben Lomond. Just did a search... Mountain Feed and Farm Supply? It's either Ben Lomond or Felton that has an incredible local grocery store, the likes of which I wish we had in our area. Hmm, sounds like a day trip north is in the offing.