Wednesday, April 24, 2013
When I got home, I checked all my field guides, and couldn't figure out what was going on. I then sent it to the experts, asking if this was ordinary variation in the Common Buckeye. They said no, it is a subspecies of the Common Buckeye: Junonia coenia grisea. I have been watching and rearing butterflies for about 30 years and have never seen one that looks like this before. So it was a very special find. Thanks to all of you who helped with this butterfly.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Ferraria crispa is blooming now at the UC Botanical Garden. I love these flowers! At a distance, they fade into the foliage, but up close, the detail is amazing! The spots and crisped edges look like something from another world.
Easy to grow if you have good drainage, it can even take over your garden. It is listed as a weed in Australia. Needs summer drought. Can be grown indoor. Some people have trouble getting it to bloom.
Annie's Annuals calls it a "freaky flower" and I think they are right.
Reported both as smelling bad and with a vanilla fragrance. Maybe that is due to variation in the plant, but maybe due to variation in human noses. I forgot to test it, so no report from me.
This plant has many interesting common names. Sea Spider. Black Flag. Starfish Lily. Starfish Iris. It isn't black; it is in the Iris family and looks more like a starfish than a spider, so I vote for Starfish Iris.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I took this pic at the UC Botanical Garden on Thursday, 11 April, 2013. It was in the African Area right next to the Arid House. Looks like a Chalcedon Checkerspot to me. It is quite variable and therefore difficult to identify.
This species is odd in that the third and fourth instars hibernate, sometimes for years. The caterpillars eat a wide range of plants, which is also unusual. They include plants in the for-get-me-not, rose, monkey flower and honeysuckle families.
This species occurs in many western states at many elevations.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
This used to be Coreopsis gigantea, but the taxonomists decided to complicate things. So now it is Leptosyne coreopsis.
Before it has flowers, it looks like a small palm tree. It would be great as part of a miniature landscape. Really cute! I can just imagine it with tiny toy dinosaurs at the base.
Yellow daisy flowers pop out of the top in spring and summer. Looks weird to me.
Drought tolerant. Likes well-drained soil.
Blooming now at the UC Botanical Garden.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
"Inky purple blooms with a glowing red center make this perhaps the most striking of the “Baboon Flowers” for the garden & this species is no slouch in terms of toughness either. Clay, drought, poor soil, deer – it takes all comers. Just watch out for those pesky baboons. Babianas like a dry Summer rest, but we’ve discovered that they can take some Summer water just fine. Where hardy, you’ll find that this species will increase every year, gently but steadily - profusely enough to share, but not so much as to ever be unwelcome. A fine bulb! Grows to 1’ high & is in flower from around mid-March to early-mid April. Summer deciduous & returns with the Winter rains. From South Africa.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Another wonderful plant blooming now at the UC Botanical Garden.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Madrones are are blooming now. The flowers look like Manzanita flowers because they are in the same family. But Manzanita is a bush and Madrone is a tree, a GREAT BIG tree. It can become more than 60' tall and the trunk more than 5' wide. I always thought of them as small trees because of the specimens in cultivation that I saw were always small; like the trees at the UC Botanical Garden, which are only about 10-20' high with trucks less than a foot wide.
Madrone is native to coastal California, Oregon and Washington. It is a fast-growing broad-leaved evergreen. They don't like their roots disturbed and are therefore difficult to transplant.
Many birds and mammals eat the berries which ripen in the fall. Humans have used this tree for medicinal purposes. The Salish people of Vancouver Island used parts of the plant to treat colds, tuberculosis and stomach ache. Several tribes of the Pacific Northwest protected the Madrone from fire because according to their myths it provided an anchor in times of flood. So this is yet another sacred plant.
Friday, April 5, 2013
This plant has several common names. It is known as Chaparral Yucca, Foothill Yucca, Common Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, and Our Lord's Candle. I find it interesting that it is named after both a weapon and a sacred object. The leaves are narrow and sharp and do look like knives or perhaps the blade of a bayonet. And the creamy flowers on the tall stalk do remind me of candle. So, I guess it makes sense. Similar species that grow in the Midwest are called "Ghosts in the Graveyard" because it grows wild in rural cemeteries and the pale flowers on the stalk look like an apparition.
Perhaps this would be a good plant for the sacred plants tour.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
This would be a great plant to include in a sacred plants tour. It seems like it would also be a great plant for a ground cover in this area, but I rarely see it in gardens.