Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Plant Rant

Photo by Marty Horowitz 3/18/2015

Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa var. angustifolia) fruits. (Remember, the fruit is the thing that holds or contains the seeds.) As they age, the fruits turn green to pinkish, finally drying to tan/brown. Do not eat! I don't have a good photo of the flowers (that come before the fruits, of course), because they are tiny and I tend to miss them (because there are so many plants to look at in the canyon : -) Hop Bush is in the Soapberry family.

Photo by Ned Harris 3/29/2015

Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina) flowers are blooming. They aren't the 'typical' pea flower, but this plant has the typical foliage (line down the middle, leaf on either side) and the pea fruit - the tasty mesquite pod. The seeds inside are hard, but the ground pods make a lightly sweet flour. Native Seed SEARCH sells mesquite flour (albeit one made from the pods of a different species). Yum!

Photo by Gene Spesard 3/25/2015

If it looks like a dandelion, it's (very likely) in the Sunflower family. Silverpuffs (Uropappus lindleyi) flower. Take a closer look!

Photo by Ned Harris 3/25/2015

You can see that Silverpuffs gets its common name from its fruits! The seed is thin and black, underneath the silver 'puff' that allows it to be disbursed by the wind. If the fruit looks like a dandelion fruit (i.e., a ball of stuff you can blow off), it's (very likely) in the Sunflower family. Like Silverpuffs : -)

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