Climbing Milkweed (Funastrum cynanchoides)

Climbing Milkweed was my photo of the month for June, and I’ve finally gotten around to evaluating and processing the rest of the photos of this plant, made at a number of locations in San Diego County. The Wikipedia article mentions the Sonoran and Mojave deserts as habitat – that seems to be pretty far off, considering that I made these photos at the slopes of coastal lagoons…

The good thing is that the only recorded observations for Climbing Milkweed in the county are all one and the same species – Funastrum cynanchoides var. hartwegii, formerly also known as Sarcostemma cynanchoides ssp. hartwegii, with the common names Climbing Milkweed, Fringed Twinevine (that’s a nice tongue twister, isn’t it?) and Twining Milkweed. What a boatload of names! :-)

Just like the bugs ;-) I like the other Milkweeds too, but I do find Climbing Milkweed especially beautiful and fascinating. The vine looks so delicate and fragile – and then develops these astonishing flower umbels! It’s almost hard to believe that they come out of the thin vine – but there it is…

Tech (Organization)

Out of the ~100 photos that I originally made, 25 keepers remained, and of these, 8 made the cut for an appearance in this blog post (that’s not an unusual rate for digital photography, I’d say – in other words, don’t feel bad when you throw away 75% of your digital photos!).

One of the first things that I do after importing flower and plant photos is to identify them. Calflora’s “What Grows Here” feature is an excellent helper and I’d like to place a plug for their current fundraiser here. Once identified, I put the name (common and scientific) into metadata. I simply use title or caption because I don’t want to create hundreds of keywords for flowers and plants – I’ll surely refine my selection of photos of them over the years, but I don’t expect to make a lot more photos of them regularly that would make it necessary to organize them with keywords.

Once I’ve done that, I create a Smart Collection in Lightroom with “Any Searachable Text” as match and the name of the plant as the condition. With plant names that usually consist of two or more words one needs to use the “contains all” qualifier – otherwise photos that contain (in this example) either “climbing” or “milkweed” would be included. :-}

The only downside of Smart Collections is that it’s not possible to create stacks within them (stacks are limited to physical folders, and Smart Collections can contain files from multiple physical folders) so it’s important to create stacks of similar photos first – something that’s ideally done right after importing anyway. ;-)

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