Friday, September 22, 2017

Migrating Butterflies Love Rabbitbrush

"Kathy, I was at your plant walk Saturday at Devil's Backbone and today, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of butterflies there!"

painted lady butterflies, Devil's Backbone, Loveland, CO

I'd just picked up the phone in mid morning, Sept. 22. To be alerted by Sandy to the butterfly migration.

I'd read something about a butterfly migration in the Denver Post : more than the usual number of painted lady butterflies moving south along the Colorado Front Range.

I went to see for myself.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hawaiian Tea

Tea from Hawaii?

tea plants, Hawaii Tea, Volcano, Hawaii
Tea, Camelia sinensis, is a major tropical crop. Hawaii is the only state in the United States with a tropical climate, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Hawaiians are growing tea. But it did!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Plant Story--Rubber Rabbitbrush, Painting the Landscape Gold


Every fall, the Rocky Mountain foothills turn golden as the very-abundant rubber rabbitbrush, 
Ericameria nauseosa, flowers. It is a spectacular display, coming at the end of summer when most plants are through folowering.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Late Season Flowers

rabbit brush, not quite in flower
Rabbitbrush in August
I planned to write about rabbitbrush, Ericameria nauseosa, but on August 23, the plants weren't flowering at all. I went back August 31. On Aug. 31, I could have gathered a bouquet from a hillside of covered in rabbitbrush but fewer than one in 20 inflorescences had open flowers. It will be a good flowering year, but the flowering season has hardly started.

Who would have thought that late August would be too early for flowers?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Visiting Toronto--McMichael Center for Canadian Art

In Toronto on a Sunday morning in June, we caught the Art Bus to the McMichael Center

McMichael Center for Canadian Art

Just north of Toronto in Kleinberg, the Center was created in 1952 to display Canadian art, from both indigenous people and European Canadians. Although there were pieces by Canadians on not particularly Canadian subjects, the focus was art depicting Canada. Since Canada is a country of glorious natural beauty, it was a treat for a botanist and ecologist.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Plant Story--the Prairie Sunflower, Helianthus petiolaris

They remind me of pinwheels

prairie sunflower

bright yellow flowers all along the highway. From western Nebraska and Kansas west across Colorado, they are prairie sunflowers, Helianthus petiolaris.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Visiting Ontario, Canada--Plants of Toronto

In 2017, Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary. I took a tour of Toronto with Road Scholar link

Toronto is not only the city with the largest population in Canada (2.7 million people), but it is the 4th largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles. Greater Toronto has 7 million people. It sits along the north edge of Lake Ontario, so for Canada it is in the far south. Lake effects from the Great Lakes keep Toronto's climate mild, moist and unpredictable.


For me it is always a botanic tour, so here is a brief look at Toronto's plants.