Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers

Recently, I have been having a grand time driving around and hiking the hills of California looking for native wildflowers and photographing them. Then after spending hours trying to identify the plants in my photos, I use Google's Picasa to label them for posterity. These photos were taken in April several years ago when my husband and I hiked in the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA. That's Mt. Whitney in the photo above, the highest peak in the clouds. I have long been in the habit of taking a photo of any plant that interests me when I travel. Unfortunately, it has taken me four years to get around to identifying these particular photos. Because of the harsh climate and high altitude, they include some very interesting and very beautiful plants and I thought you might enjoy seeing them

An ugly name for a beautiful and striking flower—the purple ones. A lot of these desert plants have coarse, vulgar names. Locoweed anyone? The term fleabane is used for several plants and apparently comes from the fact that when burnt, the smoke drives away fleas.

These sweet little blooms have practically no stem (or leaves) and grow right on the ground. One has to be very careful where one steps. But they make quite a display when there are a lot of them—a carpet of purple and white. This plant is endemic to California alone.

Another plant that hugs the ground. "Woolly" refers to the tiny hairs that cover the leaves and stems. And this is one sunflower with no rays!

The queen of plants.

These flowers have no petals either. It's the bracts that turn pink.

Yes, ephedra... These plants have no flowers at all. They are gymnosperms like pines and junipers. Those yellow things are cones that form at the joints of the stems.

And as usual, there is one plant that I just can't seem to identify. I think this is an Astragalus (Locoweed), but which one?

1 comment:

  1. i like the pics! i like to collect the flowers. this sight is great to find all the cool names!