Now available: 2023 Landscape & Nature Calendar

Those Little Wonders

In my September 2020 End Notes I mentioned the intense heat wave that we had, with temperatures over 110°F/44°C at our house, and I meant to include the following photo there, as one of nature’s little wonders – it was made about two weeks after that heat wave, along the Lake Hodges hiking trails during a morning walk.

It’s Trichostema lanceolatum once more (Vinegarweed) and I think this is all growing from one single root. It is certainly the biggest one of those flowers that I’ve ever seen – and look how great its delicate blue blossoms with the curled anthers look! That’s about 4 months after we had the last rain, and two weeks after a heatwave that was so intense that the younger leaves on some irrigated plants in our backyard simply got burned off. But this native plant is thriving, and is in terrific shape and a beautiful bloom:

And then just yesterday, on the first day of October, I found a wildflower in bloom that was entirely new to me. This is Solanum americanum (it goes by many common names, including Small-Flowered White Nightshade) and I would never have expected to find it in bloom here in the foothills on the first day of October (the more common Solanums bloom in early and mid spring). It too withstood the extreme heat, and is in bloom after months of seasonal drought:

The third one that we’re seeing along the trails, almost in ubiquity, is Croton setiger(us), also known as Turkey Mullein or (much nicer) Doveweed – I haven’t seen doves among it actually but rather, flocks of the always cute California Quails that fly away with an energetic flutter when a human or canine approaches. Its fuzzy and soft, pale light green leaves are a beautiful contrast to the darker and dry colors of other parts of the vegetation.

Meanwhile, many Coyote Bushes (Baccharis species) also have little white buds and some are beginning to bloom – a feast for bees and other little insects. And then there’s the tall yellow Goldenbushes and Telegraph Weeds, of course. I’m beginning to appreciate nature here in the summer months more and more.


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4 thoughts on “Those Little Wonders”

  1. Always surprising, nature. Seasonal changes are so complex and unpredictable. It’s very cool that you found a new flower, too – that does look like a Solanum. Doveweed is beautiful…as soft as a dove.

    Reply
  2. Lovely finds! We are having some weird blooming here as well. I think it’s due to the very cold we had and then warming up again. Spring things in bloom in autumn. A very weird year all around.

    Reply

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