Sunday, December 8, 2019

Growing on Sandy Tropical Beaches

beach in Hawaii
beach in Hawaii
Our world has more ocean than land, so there are vast coastlines. I live in the center of the second-largest continent, which puts me nearly as far from a coastline as is possible. So of course I'm enchanted by beaches.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Plants in Winter

trees in winter

When considering winter in Colorado, I often want to write that plants rest, but in fact, I don't think that is true. A rest is defined as a time to relax and recover strength. Plants drop their leaves and go dormant in winter because they cannot move ice in their tissues, let alone use it to grow. Furthermore, water expands as it freezes, so freezing rips up most cells. There is no recovery of strength in winter, only waiting out an impossible season.

That said, the plants that survive through the winter are an elite minority.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Plant Story: the Passionflowers, Passiflora

Amazing, peculiar flowers

passion vine, Passiflora species

The passionflowers, also called passion vines and passion fruit, genus Passiflora (passionflower family, Passifloraceae) include about 625 species, all but a couple dozen native to the Americas.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Reading Chinese Medicine Ingredients

peony flower

The Chinese herbal supplement lists as an ingredient "Radix Alba Paeoniae." It doesn't look like a standard botanical term and a Google search is confusing.

The ingredients of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be puzzling, but there is a system to it. This post is about interpreting Chinese medicinal ingredients. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Plant Story--Chicory, Roadside Blue

chicory flowers

You see chicory on the roadside during the morning commute, a splash of bright blue. Coming home, you don't notice it. When you think about it, the blue flowers aren't generally out in the fields either.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Plant Common Names--Rules and Customs

Solanum lycopersicum, tomato
tomato, Solanum lycopersicum
The scientific community has given every plant a single scientific name, written as if it were in Latin (link). But mostly people call plants by a common name, one in the local language. Many--if not most--common names are unlike the scientific name.
apple tree, Malus domestica
apple tree, Malus domestica

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Visting Michigan--Late Summer Splendor

forest in central Michigan

There are lots of places to see in Michigan. I attended the University of Michigan and over the years visited many parts of the state. I had the opportunity to return this fall. The trees were tall and green, the forest dotted with meadows and ponds.

Here is a look at central Michigan habitats, roughly the area near Grand Rapids.