Sunday, February 28, 2021

Plant Story--Coralbells and Alumroot, Heuchera species

The coralbells or alumroots, Heuchera species, are a genus of 37 species in the saxifrage family Saxifragaceae. They are endemic to (native to and only found in) North America, at least one species native to every state but Florida. Some have really small ranges, within a single state or part of a state (see USDA map link). Mostly the wild ones are called alumroots, while the larger species, several of which have been domesticated as garden plants, are called coralbells.

common alumroot, Heuchera parvifolia
common alumroot, Heuchera parvifolia
the flower stalk is still expanding
(those are dandelion buds hiding among the alumroot leaves)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Visiting Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

February 2021 has put most of North America into a deep freeze, with unfamiliarly cold temperatures and, for many, lots of snow. Flipping through my pictures, I was drawn to memories of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica...because the memories include being bakingly hot.

January flowers, buttercup tree
Flowering in January, Cochlospermum vitifolium

Western Costa Rica has a very seasonal climate, with 70 inches of rain falling between May and October, and virtually none in November to April. At 9 degrees north of the Equator and close to sea level, it is very warm all year. During the rainy season, that warmth is tempered (or intensified, depending on your views) by humidity. During the dry season, the moisture evaporates away, and it is hot (monthly average highs 90-95 February to April) and dry.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Plant Story -- Star Fruit, Carambola, Averrhoa carambola

Star fruit is a distinctive fruit, appearing occasionally in northern U.S. tables. It is easy to learn to call it star fruit, since in cross section, it forms a yellow star.

star fruit, carambola
 Star fruits, carambolas, Averhoa carambola

Monday, February 8, 2021

Eight Anniversary of this Blog

I started writing this blog at the beginning of February, 2013. I didn't know how much fun it would be. I still haven't missed a week, although I have given myself permission to do so. This last year has been quite different from previous years, since, due to covid, I have not traveled more than 50 miles, which dramatically reduced my exposure to novel experiences to marvel at and write about. But I haven't found any shortage of topics. 

Big Island, Hawai'i
In February 2013, I visited the Big Island of Hawaii: 
this is looking south and west to the Kona Coast

These days A Wandering Botanist wanders her neighborhood, thinking about native and introduced plants, garden flowers, and weeds.