Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday flowers

Something a little different today.

These photos are all from our trip to Long Beach--they were taken around the house where we stayed, mostly along the path between the house and the beach.

It was fun putting together this post and trying to identify a lot of plants that are new to me. This website from WSU has a lot of good information, though I'm still left with a few question marks.

First we have the clear winner in the photogenic department, beach pea (Lathyrus japonicus).

And seashore lupine (Lupinus littoralis), a close runner-up. This species is much smaller than most of the lupines you'll see in your garden, less than a foot tall including the flower stalks, and it is seriously adorable. I was practically cooing to it in baby talk.

Here is another sweet pea of some sort, a little pink one. I'm not sure of its species, but I think I've pulled some of these plants out of my perennial garden. Now that I see the pretty bloom, I'm kind of regretting that.

It's interesting how getting out of your usual environment can change your perspective about whether a plant is desirable or not. When you don't know what's a flower and what's a weed, you can just respond to each plant's color and form.

Though even known weeds take on a certain charm among the dunes.

On the other hand, I took so many pictures of beautiful waving beach grass, and it turns out that much of what I was photographing is probably invasive. So that's kind of a bummer.

But here are some familiar faces, all native plants that we have growing in our yard in Seattle, or closely related ones. Beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis):

Sword fern:

Yarrow (the leaves look very different from what we have in our yard, so I'm not sure if this is a different species or just a different growth form characteristic of the seashore):

Western spiraea (Spiraea douglasii):

On the foredunes I think I found two species of beach rocket (neither one native to the West Coast). I'm pretty sure this is European beach rocket, Cakile maritima.

And though I'm less confident about this ID, I'm calling this one American beach rocket, Cakile edentula.

But some of these plants will have to remain a mystery. Like this wee daisy-like thing.

Or this one, with leaves that remind me a bit of of woolly sunflower, but which clearly isn't.

Or this one, with inflorescences that look like mullein,

but with a very different growth form.

Well, figuring this out will give me something to do next time, right?

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