May 18, 2014

it's all about scale... seeing the details

March in Arizona is prime wildflower time... the spring weather, warmer temperatures, and (hopefully) a good amount of winter rain all work together to make the short span of time between winter and the summer heat quite beautiful. Some years more than others, of course (that whole 'rain' thing is important!), and it helps if you know where to look, too. (The state parks department posts updates on their website to let people know when and where to go!) 

When we were hiking at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in March, along with the gorgeous vistas and beautiful scenery, there were quite a few wildflowers blooming. Here are a few pictures I took along the way (we'd be walking along, I'd see one, and yell ahead to Tom to 'hold up!!' till I took some pictures...) it made for some slow hiking! That's because some flowers are big, bright, and showy, but not all of them; some of them you need to look pretty carefully to see. 

These plants were growing out of a pretty-much-vertical hillside.
(the green arrows are pointing towards one individual clump.)

{a closer view}
This entire clump was, maybe, as big as my blue Pyrex mixing bowl??
(that's about 6 inches in diameter, and maybe, 4 inches high)

{closest}
I'd estimate that this pale purple flower was about as big as my thumbnail.

This plant was growing pretty much right out of the rock.
The clump of greenery was about the same size as the plant above,
but with bright red flowers on multiple flower spikes.
 
{closer}
This isn't the same exact plant, by the way.
That plant was on the edge of the rock overlooking the creek below,
but there were more growing right next to the path we were on.
(close proximity to the path made for much-less-scary picture taking!) 

{closest}
The flowers are quite complex, up close. By the tubular flower shape,
this plant is probably pollinated by butterflies or hummingbirds.
  
I didn't take a picture of this plant in its 'natural habitat' unfortunately.
I don't remember, but there probably wasn't too much interesting about it;
the (very!) tiny yellow flowers caught my eye, though.

{close-up}
This close, you can also see that the foliage is kind of 'hairy'

This view is along one of the paths,
where the tree on the left and the agave bloom to the right make a sort of 'arch' over the path.
(the plant I'm concerned with is the magenta flowers at the very bottom left edge of the picture.)

{closer}
Another low-growing plant with tall flower spikes.
This plant (+ flowers) was maybe, as tall as my knee, or taller??
(I don't remember, exactly.)

{closest}
These are a purplish-magenta color, and shaped a bit different than the red ones.
This one is probably pollinated by butterflies or hummingbirds, too.

I think the plants with the flower spikes are probably some sort of Penstemon, although I'm not sure exactly what kind. I don't know anything about the other ones- unfortunately, I haven't learned too much about Arizona wildflowers yet-- other than the fact that they're pretty!! They're also very ephemeral, too. There's a pretty short window of time when the conditions and temps are right for this sort of plant to do their thing: grow, bloom, and reproduce, so the seeds can wait through the summer till the next wildflower season.

It looks like this website: Sonoran Desert Wildflower Report has some good information about dates, blooms, names, and information about what plants bloomed when. I'll have to check it out myself, before next spring! (and also, maybe to get a macro lens for my camera, in order to get better, very close, close-ups.)




1 comment:

scrapperjen said...

Beautiful hiking path/park. The flowers are lovely!
I hope you keep posting.