Sunday, April 24, 2016

Plant Story--Flowering Shrub of Spring, Amelanchier, Serviceberry, Saskatoon

A shimmer of white in my front yard: the serviceberry is flowering!

serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia

You might call it shadbush like my parents did, or saskatoon, as they do in Canada, or juneberry--the name you might see in the supermarket--or more regionally shadblow, sarvis or sarvisberry, sugarplum, wild-plum or chuckley pear.

All of these are names for native Amelanchier species, mainly A. alnifolia, though there are approximately 10 species native to North America (link: USDA plants)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Visiting Baja California—Amazing Plants

hillside, Gulf of California
island: Gulf of California
We set off for the Whales and Wildness cruise in the Gulf of California with Lindblad/National Geographic (link.)
From the moment I stepped out of the airport at San José del Cabo at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, the landscape was exotic:
scenery near San Jose del Cabo
From the van, north of San José del Cabo
The peninsula has a variety of climates, dry to extremely dry, hot to warm, some areas receiving summer rain, some with winter rain, all depending on exactly where you are. I saw only a sampling of it.

If you’ve been to the desert around Phoenix, Arizona, you’ve seen something like it. Deserts in this part of North America are very old. Baja California is in the core of this zone, with the most extreme, oldest desert and consequently with some of the strangest plants.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Visiting Portland--Japanese Garden

a red camellia
One of the highlights of Portland, Oregon for the plant enthusiasts is the Portland Japanese Garden (link).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Plant Story--Everybody Loves Narcissus and Daffodils


The English called them daffodowndillies 400 years ago. The scientific name is Narcissus. Narcissus, daffodils, jonquils and paperwhites and whatever other names you know, they are all closely related.  

They have been cultivated for hundreds of years, leading to diverse varieties and color forms now found all over the world.

Did you know they are poisonous?