Monday, April 26, 2010

More Wildflowers

I thought I'd put up a few of the other photos of interesting native plants that I have taken on my recent hikes. So many things are in bloom right now that I easily take 100 photos on each hike. The first four were taken on Palos Verdes, either along Burma Rd. in the PV Nature Preserve, or at Forrestal Preserve, both of which are in the Portuguese Bend area. The next three were taken at Oak Canyon in Anaheim.

The top photo is of Narrowleaf Bedstraw, Galium angustifolium. If I had a true macro lens, I might have been able to get a shot like
this. Happily, I have one on order which means that when I get it, I will be going out to take 100 more photos! (At least!)

This unusual plant is called Rattlepod or Santa Barbara Milvetch, Astragalus trichopodus var. lonchus. It grows mostly along the coast of Southern California. It also has the name Locoweed because animals exhibit bizarre behavior after eating the leaves. The seeds in the pod (one of which is in the photo) rattle around, hence its other name. But the most interesting thing about this plant is that it is one of the favorites of the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly. The larvae like to eat the seeds inside the pods.

Adding to my collection of phacelias is this Sticky Phacelia, Phacelia viscida, which apparently comes in several different colors. It also grows mostly along the Southern California coast. The yellow flowers in front in the photo are not phacelias. That's Yellow Sweetclover and is not a native and it is very invasive. The yellow flowers in the back are Black Mustard, also not native and very invasive.

I have posted photos of Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum, before, but I keep trying for the perfect shot of this plant. Usually you just see the flower sticking up through some other plant. There's really not much to the rest of the plant anyway, but in this photo you can see the whole thing. It is also called Wild Hyacinth and comes in white as well as various shades of blue to purple.

This may look like another photo of the bedstraw at the top, but this plant is much larger growing to almost tree-size. It is called Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum. Another name for this plant is Greasewood as the plant is very flammable as though it did contain grease. There are several plants in the southwest that are called greasewood for the same reason. Chamiso comes from the Portuguese word chama meaning "a flame." The fasciculatum part of its latin name comes from the fact that the leaves are very needle-like. This is the first of the photos that I took in Oak Canyon.

Another Oak Canyon plant is this Silver Puff, Microseris lindleyi. It can be found all over California and other parts of the West. The buds will open to a yellow flower followed by these silvery seed heads. A very striking plant.

I found this plant along the road leading to the Oak Canyon Nature Center. It took me awhile to figure out what it was. I went back a week later to take more photos, but the plant was gone! A victim of the weed-whackers. Finally, I found it was Snakeroot or Purple Sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida. I hope to see another one somewhere someday.

And last but not least, this bit of the fauna of Palos Verdes. I nearly stepped on him! He sat there and let me take several photos before straightening himself out and swiftly slithering into the bushes.

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