Saturday, September 03, 2016

Tied in knots

As the year winds down, the roadsides and bushes are bristling with seeds of all sorts. Rose hips and burrs, berries and nuts, ballooning hairy cat's ear and hawkweeds, pods and fluff and coins and teasels, spiny balls and powdery dusts.

I noticed a tiny plant in a muddy bank on Tyee Spit; a clump flat against the soil, barely two hand's width across. Among the feathery leaves were a few specks of pink, miniature flowers, too small to notice, except that I was watching my footsteps carefully, trying not to slip on the unstable bank.

Common stork's bill, or red-stem stork's bill, Erodium cicutarium.

I found a match in my guide, but wasn't sure of the flowers; five petals, or four? So I went back a few days later. Too late; the flowering season is almost over.

The last buds, in my hand. I have them in water now, but they haven't opened.

Three seed capsules

The guide book says, about the seeds,

"Capsules, 33-5 cm long, splitting open into 5 segments, each with 1 or 2 smooth seeds, and tipped with a spirally twisting, persistent style."

I had brought home the bit of stem with seed capsules and buds, and tonight, when I checked, the capsules had split open, and there were the twisty styles.

They've tangled themselves up.

I teased out a couple. They're thread-thin.

The furry tips will contain one or two seeds each.

More seeds tomorrow.

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