Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Beauties

This is Claytonia, commonly called "Spring Beauty" and that it is! The ditches over in Wilderness are white with these delicate little flowers that range in color from white to pink with pink veins and stamens. The macro lens reveals the exquisite detail of the little flowers that grow from a small underground tuber similiar to a small sweet potato that has a nut like flavor. Named for Va. botanist John Clayton.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ditch Patrol 09

The 09 Ditch Patrol is off and runnin' so to speak. Generally the Crocuses mark the official start in Feb. I didn't shoot any this year as everyone knows what they look like and it's tough to be creative with them. Add in the fact that I can't get up anymore after getting down to their level. Below are a couple I took previously that I don't believe I sent out. The first one shows the Crocuses colorful reproductive apparatus with the central orange (female) pistil and the three blade like (male) stamens covered with pollen (analogous to sperm in animals)

The next three pics are of Sanguinaria, commonly called "Bloodroot". I've been looking for this somewhat rare plant for years and finally found some last spring in a ditch (where else!) over in Wilderness battlefield. It is one of our earliest spring flora blooming in March. I found it today in full bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous with the pristine white petals radiating from a cluster of bright yellow stamens. The plant is toxic although American Indians used the red juice from the root (hence the name) for a variety of ails including war paint for their faces and bodies. The plants are somewhat inconspicuous amid the leaf litter etc on the ground. The first flower is a bit smaller than a quarter and the last 3 about nickel sized.