Sunday, January 29, 2023

Travel Story: Walking the Beach on Coronado Island, San Diego

We took a winter escape. To San Diego, California, in January. I knew it could be warm there, but it wasn't. Heavy rain had just swept inland and behind the front the highs barely reached 60 oF. In the sun, it was pleasant, but not very warm.

beach, Coronado Island, San Diego, California
Beach, Coronado Island, San Diego, California

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Plant Story--Buddha's Hand Citron

 This is the Buddha's hand citron:

Buddha's hand citron, Citron medica var. sarcodactylis
Buddha's hand citron, Citron medica var. sarcodactylis

It rarely appears in North American markets, but is common in Asia. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Plant Family: The Lamiaceae, the Mints

This is a mint 

henbit, Lamium amplexicaule
henbit, Lamium amplexicaule

this is a mint
Coleus, genus Coleus
coleus, genus Coleus

and this is a mint

scarlet beebalm, Monarda didyma
scarlet beebalm, Monarda didyma

This is also a mint

teak, Tectoma
teak, Tectoma

Wait a minute! All of those? They don't look like spearmint (Mentha spicata)

spearmint, Mentha spicata
spearmint, Mentha spicata

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Plant Story: Scarlet Runner Bean, So Handsome

My husband won't eat green beans. It is the one vegetable he totally rejects. But last summer I grew runner beans. Not as food, but because I think they're beautiful.

scarlet runner bean, Phaseolus coccineus
scarlet runner bean, Phaseolus coccineus

Runner beans, often called scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), are closely related to common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Both are native to the Americas, but scarlet runner beans are from mountainous areas in Central America, and were domesticated about 2,000 years ago. They reached Europe in the 1500s and became both an important vegetable and an ornamental. They are much less often grown in the United States. I recommend them!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Botanical Tourism: Life Lists

Its a new year and we pause to look both forward and back. 


What if, in the new year, you made a plant Life List? Bird watchers keep Life Lists of all the bird species they've seen, with the goal of seeing a large number of the 11,000 species of birds. That's probably not attainable, but Europe has 540 species of birds and North America 2,059, so one could see a significant portion of those. 

How would that apply to plants? There's a similar problem of too many species worldwide: over 400,000. Even Europe is daunting with 9,875 plant species, while North America has over 20,000. 
But I met a couple that were trying to see each of the 19 penguin species in world. That was quite a challenge because some of them are confined to remote islands in the Southern Hemisphere, but a manageable number. 

So consider these Life List ideas for plant lovers: