Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Interpreting "Taste of Yosemite Mumday"


1. First shot was exciting for me, 'cause the violets on our property are yellow. These are VIOLET violets. So beautiful! Along the road between where you park and where you start the hike to Taft Point (McGurk Meadow sign). My first pics of the day.

So, being the geek I am (albeit short of time lately), I search for "Yosemite NP plant species list."

Blamo. Instant paydirt:  Taken from the a-MA-zing An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park by Stephen J. Botti (2001)(I think we have 2 copies). Nice job, NPS!!

So, then I search for Viola (violet genus) and get this:

Viola adunca Smith
Viola arvensis Murray
Viola glabella Nutt.
Viola lobata Benth. ssp. integrifolia (S. Watson) R.J. Little
Viola lobata Benth. ssp. lobata
Viola macloskeyi F. Lloyd
Viola pinetorum E. Greene ssp. pinetorum
Viola purpurea Kellogg ssp. integrifolia M. Baker & J. Clausen
Viola purpurea Kellogg ssp. purpurea
Viola purpurea Kellogg ssp. quercetorum (M. Baker & J. Clausen) R.J. Little

Woah. Thatsalotta violets! So, thinking "purpurea" sounds promising re: purple, I look that up.

Yup, bright yellow.

Hmph.  Well, I WASN'T going to look them all up, but since I am a biologist, I was unable to NOT. (hint: that's a good thing about doing something professionally you are naturally interested it. You go the extra mile (or millimeter) just 'cause you're interested. And, therefore, do a better job.)

I did look up arvensis and it was at least purple... macloskeyi = white, pinetorum = yellow, lobata = yellow, glabella = yellow, arvensis = white and yellow and NOT native.

So, hm... that makes, uh, ONE violet species from the list that's actually violet, so it looks like I was right to be excited by the find. =) Therefore, going out on a limb and calling it Viola adunca.


2. Had 2 thoughts of this in the field: 1) eggs? 2) slime mold? I just vaguely thought #2 'cause they looked a little fuzzy for eggs, but really looked egg-like.

Well, looked up both and SLIME MOLD is my verdict! Check out the 2nd picture here. Looks just like them (if you zoom way in on my pic). Very exciting (to me). I'm a fan, probably because I had a teacher in undergrad who was very into them.

If you don't know anything about them, they have a very wacky lifestyle and ability to change when they are going from "cruising around" phase to "sending out spores" phase. Trippy things.

3. Obviously butterfly, but realllly don't have time to try and figure this puppy out, I am SO not expert, but if YOU are so motivated, here's Yosemite's butterfly list. PLEASE let us know if you figure it out--I'd love to share that with everyone.

4. Beautiful, idyllic meadow and ever-so-inviting trail. (Note the crowds)

5. My view from the rock where I ate my lunch. Yeah, it's okay.

6. Awesome tree/rock combo at Taft Point. The VIEW those things have is CRAZY. Take a few giant steps forward and you're SAILING down to Yosemite Valley floor, about 4,000 feet below. I actually got dizzy at one point looking down, which is very rare, so it's a CRAZY drop off. Beautiful and thrilling.

7. Corn lily. Ah, how I love thee. Those patterns and shapes KILL me. Oh, and btw, it's poisonous, so maybe that accounts for it's ungrazed and therefore perfect form.

Okay, running out of time, but couldn't resist. Corn lily in bloom mit pollinators:

It's worth a "click" to see those flowers up close--a-MA-zing things. Bees diggin' in.

So, a lovely day in the park. Oh, and I startled a beautiful sort-of-blondie bear. I was cruising down hill on the very soft dirt (so, unintentionally quiet) and turned a corner and there it was. Saw me and startled and ran off. Then stopped, looked back at now TWO people, and took off running.

Good bear.

Beautiful, glowing young adult. MAN those big things can move! It was a lovely "nature moment."

I seriously "heart" the NPS.

xo biobabbler


  1. That looks absolutely gorgeous scenery! And who knew that so many violets were any other colour than violet?

    As for your butterfly, western US species aren't my thing, but I think it's a fritillary. You probably already knew that. Wish I could narrow it down a bit.

  2. You know, I really wasn't sure if it was a fritillary or not 'cause it is smaller than other for-sure fritillaries I've seen (like giant STUNNERS I see at Mono Lake). As you can see, my knowledge re: butterflies is THIN. So, your narrowing it down is very helpful. Thanks very much!

  3. Consider me equally flummoxed on the non-violet violet. Rather like running across a blue orange.

    Who was it that said the only part of a bear you should ever see (from reasonably close range, anyway) is its rear, as it runs away?

  4. Re: bear-hiney-view-only-please: I totally agree. Glad to see it. Glad to see it run away (on so many levels). It's best for everyone. =)


Cool people write inside rectangles....