Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mystery solved!

Last year, in July and later in mid-August, I examined a woolly plant growing down near the moss level in the Oyster Bay meadow. I couldn't identify it.

Pale bluish-green plants, up to about 5 inches tall, covered with white hair. Today's photo.

I wrote about it twice last year, hoping for help with id. I looked for flowers, and found, on the third search, a couple of dead flower lumps, standing tall above the leaves. Still no help with id, although there were several interesting suggestions.

This morning, I joined a group from the Comox Valley Naturalists Society for a walk through the meadow. The group included a botanist, and she recognized the plant at once. It's a woolly sunflower, and has large, bright, yellow flowers, standing up to two feet tall. But not this year, either, although Wikipedia says it blooms from May to August. Maybe it has been too hot and dry the last couple of summers.

Woolly sunflower
Woolly sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum.

The page at E-Flora BC has 21 photos, mostly of the showy yellow flowers. In the several leaf photos, the plants are barely hairy.

Both stems and leaves may be covered with a woolly gray hair, but some plants lack this hair. The hairs conserve water by reflecting heat and reducing air movement across the leaf's surface. (Wikipedia)

Could the extreme hairiness be a response to the hot weather?

Eriophyllum lanatum
Woolly leaves, with insect.

More on this walk, later. I haven't even looked at my photos, yet.


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