Friday, October 10, 2008

The 100 species challenge

One of the things that I didn't like about living in California was that I didn't know most of the plants that were growing where we lived. I've always liked to know the names of things growing along the side of the road, and I was never organized enough to have the camera along so I could take a picture and research it.

Suffice it to say, when I heard about the 100-Species Challenge scsours started doing this summer, I really liked the idea. Sadly, fall seems to have stopped her, and while there is a flickr group, it is composed of 1 person and no photos, but I'm still going to do it. The rules are in the link I posted, who knows how closely I'll stick to the rules. You know, cause I'm a rebel. I'm going to try to post two new plants a week, for as long as I remember.

1. California Poppy
Already knew: A Californian I never saw while in California. It really likes the weather here and wants to take over my yard. This picture is of one of the sad few remaining poppies, but for 3 months they dominated the front yard and made all the bees and butterflies happy, which made the dragonflies happy. This self seeds and will keep coming back unless you rip it out before it blooms.
Recently learned: It's drought tolerant, score! It beat out the Mariposa Lily to be the state flower of California. It is a mild sedative when smoked, although not actually an opiate because it has different Alkaloids.

2.Chinese Lanterns
Already knew: These are a good plant to dry, and will keep that pretty orange color with very little effort when you do dry them. Every craft store and grocery floral department right now is trying to sell you predried ones for Halloween decoration. They are cool though, with a little papery flower that looks very much like the origami balloons my sister used to make.
Recently learned: That little papery thing is actually the fruit of the plant and not a flower. It is edible and has medicinal uses, but it causes miscarriage and abdominal cramping, so people don't tend to use it. It is related to the Cape Gooseberry.

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