Sunday, October 1, 2023

Northwest Oregon

My friend, showing me around her beloved Oregon, took me to the coast at Seaside. 

We walked the beach. (Of course!) Inland, in Portland, it was in the upper 80s and getting hotter. The beach, on the other hand, was chilly enough to require a sweatshirt. And the ocean so cold that few people were in the water.

beach at Seaside, Oregon
beach at Seaside, Oregon

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Flowers of Fall

We come past the Fall Equinox, considered the beginning of Autumn. Flowers of Spring--crocus, snow drops, daffodils--are famous. This time of year a new group of plants flower, less famous plants than those of Spring. They deserve more acknowledgement. These are the last plants to flower. Their blooms announce the very end of the growing season. 

butterfly on rabbitbrush
Battered butterfly on rabbitbrush (Ericameria) flowers

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Plant Story--Virginia Creeper and Woodbine, Parthenocissus

woodbine, Parthenocissus vitacea
woodbine, Parthenocissus vitacea

They are big vines, common and hardy. I want to talk about the native American plants in the genus Parthenocissus. The best-known is Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. It is native to eastern North America (Virginia!) but was long ago planted as a landscape plant, so it can be found from England to Australia. In the U.S., where it is found west of eastern Nebraska and in Canada, it is considered escape from cultivation.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Remembering Summer Hikes

Summer is ending, in fact, has ended for many people. Here are photos of the summer past, in the Rocky Mountains:

From meadows with knee-high grasses

mountain meadow

The trail led upward

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Plant Story -- Common Mallow, Malva neglecta, Edible Minor Weed

 You stop for a moment: what is that pretty white flower? 

common mallow, Malva neglecta
common mallow, Malva neglecta

Then you look down and think, "oh just a weed."

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Variegated Plants

Plant leaves are green, we all agree, maybe turning yellow or red in fall. But, in fact, you can grow plants with jewel-tone leaves. 

colorful leaves

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Plant Story--Purple Locoweeds, Astragalus and Oxytropis, Doubly Poisonous

That flash of magenta in the meadow 

locoweed flowers

A closer loook shows its a legume, pea family, Fabaceae. In the Colorado Front Range, only locoweeds, milk vetches and vetches are that color. The vetches, genus Vicia, are small and vining, with tendrils. That's not what I have here.

The locoweeds, genus Oxytropis, and the milk vetches, also called locoweeds, genus Astragalus, are quite similar. Locoweeds have flowers with pointed tips on the central fused petals (keel), pointed leaves, and virtually no stems. Milkvetches have blunt keels, less pointy leaves, hairy leaves and stems and leaves on flower stems.