Sunday, August 28, 2016
Plant Story--Chokecherries, a Native American Cherry
We call them chokecherries. They are native American shrubs or small trees, in the same genus as cherries and plums, scientifically Prunus virginiana. They grow all across North America except the deep South (USDA map). We could have called them Virginia cherries, a much more dignified name. The name chokecherry name probably comes from the fact that the raw fruits are a shocking experience to your mouth: you pop one in and oh! my! it is sour, puckery, chokingly astringent. Yet chokecherries are edible and were widely used by Native Americans and settlers. Fruit pictures
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Common Names--What a Mess!
|Saskatoon berries, or you might know them as...|
To entertain with the stories I love, I have to identify the plant. That is what names are for--communication. Why is it so difficult to have widely recognized plant names?
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Visiting Baja California--Flowers in the Desert
|mesquite, probably Prosopis glandulosa, honey mesquite|
|desert scene, Baja California|
On the islands of the southern half of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), a surprizing number of perennial plants were flowering in mid-April.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Plant Story--Wavy Leaf Thistle, A Pretty Native, Not A Weed
Wavy leaf thistle, Cirsium undulatum, is a native thistle of the plains and the west of North America (sunflower family, Asteraceae). Thistles are a weird group: some are rare and endangered, some are extremely abundant noxious weeds. Wavy leaf isn't currently protected, but it is closer to being rare than noxious.
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