For any use of my photos, please contact me at monika.wieland (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, May 8, 2009

More of South Beach in the Spring

I'll continue my series on plants of my street in the near future (I'm still working on several of the IDs anyway), but I have to share some photos I took today down at South Beach where my informal botanical study of the sand dunes continues.

With all the flowers in bloom its easy to bypass other small plants, but the detailed structure of this moss caught my eye:

Never having spent that much time looking at the flora on the beach, its still very weird for me to see things like horsetails and these bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) popping up out of the sand instead of in the moist woodland habitats I associate them with:

One thing I love about lupine leaves is how they hold onto water droplets. I captured these few rain droplets that had settled onto the leaves of a seashore lupine (Lupinus littoralis):

Yellow sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia) is emerging in mats all across the dunes, and I look forward to the clusters of yellow flowers that are soon to follow. I also found a weird group of yellow specimens growing in and among the normal succulant-looking green leaves:

I probably got most excited when I stumbled upon these very tiny common forget-me-nots (Myosotis discolor) that I had read about in my field guides. The flowers are just 1-2 mm wide, but bloom in yellow and turn blue as they age:

I was most shocked to read about this find, the meadow death-camas (Zygadenus venenosus), which has beautiful whitish-yellow flower clusters but is reportedly deadly poisonous. Indigenous people who ate the palatable common camas (that blooms in blue) had to be careful when digging up bulbs in the winter that they avoided the blacker bulbs of the death-camas:

It wasn't all about the plants today, either. One of the blue butterflies flitting about in the breeze finally settled down onto a field chickweed (Cerastium arvense) flower long enough for me to snap a few photos. My favorite North American butterfly and moth ID site quickly helped me identify it as a male Western Tailed-Blue (Cupido amyntula):

Luckily Keith spotted this ant colony before I blundered right into it:

Before heading home we checked out the meadows of American Camp just across from South Beach, only to find fields of flowers in bloom. The chocolate lilies (Fritillaria lanceolata) have now opened, and you can see the wash of color from common camas and buttercups in the background:

The fields of flowers made for such a great photo-op that even I agreed to get my picture taken:


The K said...

Great pictures again. Thanks for posting even though you're not feeling well. Question: how to you manage to identify all the plants? I searched on web to ID some of my photos, and it's really hard.

julie said...

you are a true naturalist, monika, and i am very impressed with your attention to flora and fauna. it is easy to get caught up with the busy-ness of life and overlook the amazing world we live in. thanks for the inspiration!

Monika said...

The K - I can share 3 tips that have helped me ID all the plants I post:

1) I haven't had any luck with internet ID, and just spend a lot of time paging through my field guides looking for something familiar.

2) My undergrad vascular plant class gave me an introduction to many flowering plant families, which is knowledge I'm calling on to narrow down my search.

3) I haven't been posting all the plants I *haven't* been able to ID!

Julie - I'm glad to be able to share my inspiration! Ever since I started this blog I have definitely made a point to slow down and pay attention to all the flora and fauna around me on a daily basis, which has done nothing but enrich my life.

Vickie said...

That was a lovely stroll on the beach. I loved it. Nice rain drops on the lupine and especially enjoyed that stunning black lily. Glad you missed the ants.