Brodiaea elegans at Hetch Hetchy – Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 282

Brodiaea elegans at Hetch Hetchy – Year of Yosemite

Brodiaea elegans a beautiful purple wildflower

Part of the joy of hiking is finding nature’s surprises such as this patch of beautiful wildflowers. This pair of Brodiaea elegans blooms was striking in color especially in contrast to the dreariness of the other muted tones produced by the cloudy weather.

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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Native Datura (Jimson Weed) Pretty with a Punch!

The first day we moved into our new house in N. Phoenix, AZ, we noticed a plant on the side of our yard that had dark, rather large, green leaves with tubular white flowers; also large. We had no idea what this was, but it was an impressive looking plant.

I have certain criteria for growing plants and one of them is the size of the flower in relationship to the size of the plant and leaves. I want a plant to offer color or a unique presentation. There are times when a plant provides other reasons for cultivation such as unique form, colorful leaves, etc., but I digress.

After doing a bit of research we found out that this plant was a native Datura or Jimson Weed.

Datura (Jimson Weed)

The plant pictured above isn’t the original plant, but it is a native Datura we grew from seed. As you will note it is rather large.

Here is a picture of a couple of the flowers in bloom.

Datura (Jimson Weed)

The flowers open in the evening because their natural pollinator is a Hawk moth which is out and about during the late afternoon and evening hours.

A close up of a single flower shows how inviting this might be for a moth or other pollinators such as bees. Every morning there are bees visiting the flowers to gather whatever pollen they can. The Hawk moth prefers the nectar and it has been noted by others that some of the moths seem to be a bit “high” as the Datura has hallucinogenic properties. Read more about that HERE.

Datura (Jimson Weed)

While this particular specimen is very white, I have seen others that have purple-to-pink tinges and, if my memory serves me correctly, I think one had purple stripes in the throat.

One of the positive characteristics of this plant from a gardeners point of view is that the mammals living in our yard, i.e. rabbits, squirrels, mice, packrats, javelina, etc. tend to leave it alone.

One of my favorite forms of the flower, because of its beautiful and unique form, is the swirled bud shape that it assumes the day before it opens.

Datura (Jimson Weed)

This particular plant wasn’t this robust its first year, but with every subsequent year, it has gotten larger and larger. The seed of this plant was harvested from a sprawlingly huge specimen. Now that it seems to have taken hold, we anticipate that it will remain a sturdy perennial.

This spring, once the blooms began to mature, I have been greeted with a dozen or more flowers nearly every morning. The flowers only last a few hours after daybreak and with the heat of the Arizona desert sun, this bloom interval will shorten.

I remove the spent blooms each morning and create a “dead head” bouquet.

Datura (Jimson Weed)

This seems to extend the bloom time by preventing the formation of the prickly seed pods.

Datura (Jimson Weed)
Photograph courtesy of www.desert.usa.com

If you live in an arid area with the appropriate temperature range and you would like to grow an interesting plant that is mostly pest free, I think the Datura would be a good candidate.

Hetch Hetchy Wildflower Identification Needed- Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 281

Hetch Hetchy tall silver-white wildflower

Tall plant with white flowers

I can’t tell you the name or identification of this wildflower; sorry. Perhaps if I took a closeup of the flower, I would have had more luck identifying it. I am the first to admit that this plant isn’t close to being the showiest in either form or color, but I found it attractive in this setting primarily because of the contrast with the surroundings.

I appreciated the silver/green leaves that appear a bit hirsute and the tiny white flowers opening along the stem and in the leaf axils.

Can you help identify this wildflower found at Hetch Hetchy (part of Yosemite National Park, CA)? If so, leave the answer in the comments below!

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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Meta Data – Day 281 YOY – Year of Yosemite

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Killdeer Eggs in Our Yard; Oh My!

Several days ago, I reported about the Killdeer that have taken up residence near our house in North Phoenix, AZ. We saw them for days as we worked outside early in the morning tending our plants and preparing for the warmer, or more appropriately, hotter weather. You can see that initial post HERE.

Well, now we know why they were hanging around. They found a spot on the side of our landscape that they felt was just right for their “nest” although it is far from comfortable or nest-like from my obviously non-avian point of view. It is actually a depression they created by moving some of the landscape stones to the side. The mother must also bear the brunt of the intense sun for the entire day. Our attempt to set up a shade barrier frightened her and had to be removed for fear of having the nest abandoned.

Killdeer eggs

Four Killdeer eggs in a hard-packed nest

Killdeer mother tending the nest

Killdeer mom tending her nest in the hot Arizona sun

It is amazing to see how well both the mom and the eggs blend with the surroundings. Each morning we must strain our eyes to find her once again!

Lupine Wildflower – Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 275

Lupine

Lupine wildflower growing through a fern

I am fond of lupines because they grow well in our Sonoran Desert environment at spring time and if there is a reasonable amount of winter rains, they can be quite spectacular.

We saw a number of patches of lupines along the trails as we hiked at Yosemite. They are more purple than blue, but the yellow highlights and gray-silver leaves (not pictured above) give them added interest and appeal.

This particular specimen was growing through a fern so the leaves are not visible in this photograph.

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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Forget Me Not – Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 274

Forget Me Not Flowers

Forget Me Not wildflower

There aren’t many blue flowers either wild or cultivated so it is quite a thrill to see them growing naturally in the wild. These Forget Me Nots were growing in a relatively isolated clump along the Sentinel Dome trail.

Individually, each flower may not be too impressive, but seen as a cluster of blue along the path of mostly pink and yellow wildflowers, they provided a beautiful contrast!

Here is a larger view of the flowers.

Forget Me Not Flowers closeup

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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Lupines Along the Path – Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 212

Lupines appeared along the trail

Lupines were abundant along the different trails. I highlighted lupines HERE and you can see that the plant looks quite different in the earlier post.

The variety in the picture above may be a different type or the fact that it is in full exposure of the sun, wind, snow, rain, etc. has stunted the growth. I find the leaf form very interesting and the leaves shed water which tends to form into drops.

NOTE – Lesson learned: Taking photographs from above the plant doesn’t always render the best perspective.

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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Meta Data – Day 212 YOY – Year of Yosemite

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Nikon D3300

GatorZilla – Giant Alligator Roams in Florida

Let’s face it, alligators look prehistoric. I am sure many people who have seen an alligator in its natural habitat has thought about the reptile-prehistoric animal link. They naturally look like something out of a monster movie. Of course they are not quite the same size as Godzilla was rendered to be, but there is one alligator in Florida that is pretty big. I mean this one is much bigger than most gators!

Watch the video below to see whether or not you agree that this gator is a relative of Godzilla; there is a family resemblance IMHO.


To See more Videos posted on JBRish, Click Here

Icons in Our Parks- Half Dome – Year of Yosemite (YOY) Day 195

Half Dome from a Webcam

One of the most iconic symbols of any national park – Half Dome

It is very interesting how some of our national parks have features that have become so iconic that they take on a personality of their own. Half Dome is one of those major icons. As explained in an earlier post, Half Dome is so recognizable that the North Face Company uses an abstract version of it for their logo.

One indication that Half Dome is a major draw to Yosemite is that there is a webcam set up so people can see it whenever they choose. The photo above was provided by a webcam funded through Yosemite Conservancy. The scene is of Half Dome from the Ahwahnee Meadow which is east of Yosemite Village (taken on January 13, 2017).

NOTE – While this is not a photograph I captured, I am using it as a springboard for a few following posts.

 
Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section.

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.

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No Meta Data – Day 195