Friday, August 13, 2010

Passing the buck

I blame it on the mosquitoes. And the midges and horseflies.

I should have dawdled more on the road to Bella Coola. I should have taken more time examining the vegetation. I should have taken repeat photos, in case of fuzz. I should have collected a few samples. Now I'm stuck with iffy photos of plants that I can't quite identify.

If only the bugs hadn't been quite so hungry!

I saw this blue/pink/purple bush by the side of the road all through the Chilcotin. It looks like a legume, but what kind? The leaves are palmate, like a lupin's; the flowers have two petals above, fused, two below, I think. The colour varies. The plant itself is about a metre tall, shrubby.  We can't find it in any of our books.

On dry soil, Tatla Lake.

Another, on wetter ground by the river. Tatla Lake.

Near Heckman Pass, in a forest recovering from an old burn, I took a couple of quick shots at some ferny leaves. I didn't even see the old flower heads:

Some kind of lousewort, Pedicularis sp.

The old flower stalks, blown up. It seems that the flowers were pinkish.

At least I recognize these:

Dwarf lupins, pine seedling, and burnt logs.

And this is a salsify, gone to seed:

Also called "oyster plant". Tragopogon dubius. On the Coquihalla Highway.
"... the flowers ... close up at midday or in cloudy weather, a habit that makes them often hard to find and earns them the name 'Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon'."
(From Plants of Coastal British Columbia, Pojar & MacKinnon.)
Smoke has the same effect as clouds; all the flowers were closed:

Yellow flowers are hidden in this closed umbrella shape. Near Alexis Creek.

Tiny lichen, on caked soil.

Top view.

And a horsehair lichen:

Speckled horsehair, Bryoria fuscescens, probably. I like the way it has woven itself into a rope.

Next time, I'm wearing a bee-keeper's outfit.


  1. I'm not sure, because there is no reference scale, but I think your mystery plant is alfalfa. Sometimes you'll come across a cattle loading pen and it will be covered in alfalfa, the seeds of which are spread by cow pies.

  2. cwt;
    You're right; it does look like alfalfa, specially the second plant, growing where water was available.

  3. I see now why it isn't in our books; it's not a wildflower, but a crop plant gone wild.

  4. Nic Slater3:10 pm

    Love your photos, reminds me of hiking around with no specific destination, just to take it all in. Your Speckled horsehair, Bryoria fuscescens, is that the same as Old Man's Beard?

  5. Nic,
    That's interesting! What we always call "Old Man's Beard" is our wild clematis. But I looked it up; these hairy lichens also get the name.

    And they look more like a scraggly beard than the clematis, too.

  6. You've been a busy traveler this year. Your pictures are wonderful (as usual). - Margy


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