Sunday, August 27, 2023

Variegated Plants

Plant leaves are green, we all agree, maybe turning yellow or red in fall. But, in fact, you can grow plants with jewel-tone leaves. 

colorful leaves

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Plant Story--Purple Locoweeds, Astragalus and Oxytropis, Doubly Poisonous

That flash of magenta in the meadow 

locoweed flowers

A closer loook shows its a legume, pea family, Fabaceae. In the Colorado Front Range, only locoweeds, milk vetches and vetches are that color. The vetches, genus Vicia, are small and vining, with tendrils. That's not what I have here.

The locoweeds, genus Oxytropis, and the milk vetches, also called locoweeds, genus Astragalus, are quite similar. Locoweeds have flowers with pointed tips on the central fused petals (keel), pointed leaves, and virtually no stems. Milkvetches have blunt keels, less pointy leaves, hairy leaves and stems and leaves on flower stems. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Photos and Pictures, Ever Better

When I started doing field work, about 1972, the cameras available with good enough lenses to take photos of plants or insects were big heavy single lens reflex cameras. My camera was so unwieldy that I only took it with me about once a week, and on that one day got whatever photos I wanted. 

Photography wasn't easy. The macro lens unbalanced the camera, so it was hard to keep it stable. Worse, I had to get pretty close to the subject to focus, so the insects I wanted to photograph saw the big dark macro lens and moved to the other side of the stem or leaf. 

shieldbug with prey (ant) on Ipomoea carnea leaf
shieldbug with prey (ant) on Ipomoea carnea leaf,
  Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 1972.
Maybe the bug thought it was hiding in the leaf or just wasn't afraid, since
 brightly colored predatory bugs generally bite, sting, or taste awful.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

A Hike in Evergreen, Colorado, July 2023

Walk with me. Imagine late July at Alderfer Park in Evergreen Colorado, at 7800' in the Rocky Mountains. The morning was turning hot, but was still pleasant. 

Meadow Trail, Alderfer Park
Start of the trail