Sunday, January 27, 2019

Travel Story: The Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies landscape

It has been some years, but we flew to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, rented a car and drove the Ice Fields Parkway through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is 277 miles from Banff (a hour west and a bit north of Calgary) to Jasper, Alberta, where the road divides and most vacationers turn around and head back to Calgary. It makes a spectacular vacation.

I live on the foothills of that same mountain chain, about 1000 miles south. So wouldn't it be the same?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Plant Story: Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia suaveolens

A striking tropical ornamental, in warm climates you can't miss angel's trumpet, Brugmansia (nightshade family, Solanaceae). (Datura species are closely related and also go by the common name angel's trumpet but are also called jimson weed and thorn apples. They are smaller, grow in colder climates and are nonwoody plants).

angel's trumpet, Brugmansia

This is an American tropical plant now found all around the world. The flowers come in shades from yellows to pinks to white.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Botanical Travel: Where the Weeds Are Strange

lantana, Lantana camara
lantana (Lantana camara)
Growing on the roadsides and vacant lots in Costa Rica, we saw lantana (Lantana camara, vervain family, Verbenaceae). In Hawaii it was Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum, ginger family Zingiberaceae)
Kahili ginger
Kahili ginger
Here is Kahili ginger, the dark green leaves, filling the forest understory in Hawaii
Kahili ginger in forest
All the dark green leaves are Kahili ginger
Wow! Aren't those pretty! But weird weeds to a Coloradan.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Plant Story--Rue, Ruta graveolens, Bitter

Rue. "You'll rue the day..."
garden rue, Ruta graveolens
rue, Ruta graveolens
Rue, Ruta graveolens (citrus family, Rutaceae) is a traditional medicinal and culinary herb, one we don't use much anymore. The plant is also known as garden rue (to separate it from other species of Ruta) and, especially historically, herb of Grace and herbygrass. It is not the same as, or closely related to, meadow rue (Thalichrium species, buttercup family Ranunculaceae) or goat's rue (Galega officinalis, pea family, Fabaceae).