Monday, March 22, 2010

homework for a biologist - Q&D flowering plant i.d.

From the hike I took yesterday are, as usual, many unanswered questions. Most of which are "what is this plant?" So, here's a look at a few of the plants I got shots of, but was not certain re: it's name (common or scientific), or where I learned something about it today that I did not know yesterday.

Caveat: these names are my best guesses, based upon readily available references and these photos, and not from having the specimen in hand and our field scope out of storage (where it sadly waits for us) and Jepson's guiding me at every step in keying out. This is the quick and dirty (Q&D) version.

1st, candidate for most adorable. SO tiny. The whole thing is about two inches tall. A Lilliputian masterpiece.

I am basically in love with this plant. Linanthus bicolor is the scientific name, true baby stars and Linanthus are two of the common names ( Another common name listed is bicolor linanthus, but if the scientific name is Linanthus bicolor, I don't think that common name adds much, do you?

Here's one I learned last year and since forgot, but looked up again and, voila, caterpillar phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria):

It's a flower you can readily overlook as there are SO many other, much brighter white flowers, not to mention the purple, orange, yellow and pink ones. But it is a cool bloom, especially when you stop and look at it more closely.

Now, on to goldfields, which are painting the foothills right now (hence their name).

Now, a closer look:

This particular goldfield is sporting what I assume is a crab spider (family Thomisidae), specifically a flower crab spider (genus Misumena). SO cute. I love crab spiders and how they love to hang out on flowers. Charming trait.

Of course, once I think about it again, what better place to lurk than a flower, which SO many species are drawn to for sustenance... cute? Hm... maybe not so much. Efficient, yes.

Many blog entries ago I put up a picture of a spider doing a very good job of NOT looking like a spider. Pretty sure it's also a crab spider.

BTW Thank you, AGAIN. Check out this amazing picture...  Those are some fierce, stylish spiders.

Alright, that's all for now. More soon. Rest of day/life beckons... but so psyched about the additional photos I have to fling at you! And a tiny butterfly let me get SO CLOSE I was amazed...


P.S. Anyone else out there nuts about spring? LOVE it so much.


  1. Wow! This inspires me to find a local hike to look at spring flowers. I wish I (and family) could trek down there but we are so busy now. Keep the fab photos coming!

  2. =) I bet your spring is even more advanced 'cause you're lower elevation, tho' a wee bit further north. Of course happy to see you all whenever possible. Glad you like the photos. SO fun.

    Yesterday, while on the trail, near a few other photographers, I noticed we were all silent. We just stood or squatted, took pictures, and stared, drinking it all in. An extraordinary visual feast.

    "Can't talk. Staring."


Cool people write inside rectangles....