Monday, May 24, 2010

This Side of Spring

Purplish flowers were all the latest rage down at the American River yesterday. There were thistles in great quantities, a circumstance which seemed to please the bees to no end. In fact, it would have been worthwhile to spend an hour at the first growth of thistles I came upon; ever turn of leaf or flower seemed to be claimed by a different creature. Inevitably, there were many more bugs than there were good shots to prove it, but the focus held on this katydid nymph.
Wide, sunny spaces that had been green only last month were burned a dull brown and glutted with fluffy white parachutes of aster seeds. It was all the more startling, in such a wilderness, to come upon sharp strokes of colour effected by dwarf brodiaea (Brodiaea terrestris).

The predominant family in the park was definitely Fabaceae; the clearings that still had some life in them were thick with small lupins, and especially vetch.

For every plant I could more-or-less identify, there were at least two that I couldn't, so if any of you might give me a lead on any of the following, it would be muchly appreciated! The long, square stems of this one could reach the five-foot mark.

It isn't entirely the fault of a bad exposure that the plant below doesn't look too purple; it was only very faintly coloured in real life as well. (Note the almost-in-focus pipevine swallowtail on the top cluster of flowers!. . .Alas, only "almost.")

And yes, this one is stretching the "purple" label a bit, but I thought it was pretty nifty. Is it a showy native, or a showy escapee from a local garden?

[EDIT: 07/05/2011 It's a native, definitely Clarkia. Unless told otherwise, I'm going to assume it's Clarkia ungiculata.]

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