Sunday, August 10, 2008

Critters, Flowers, and Seeds

This past week was very busy and very rewarding.

While out taking pictures of flowers, I mananaged to catch a few nice photographs of critters that were out visiting flowers for their nectar.

This Purple Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) with exceptionally deep color lavender blooms was being visited by a number of bees. They were moving fast, and I had a hard time catching up with them, focusing and shooting a picture before they were off and away.

Shrubby Blue Sage (Salvia ballotoeflora) is blooming by Madrone Lake. It has small blue flowers that were attracting several bumble bees. Note the orange pollen on his right leg.

Queen butterflies were going nuts over the Blue Mist (Eupatorium coelestinum) flowers. It was magical to see them all fluttering around the patch of flowers.

I was focusing my camera on an unusually handsome Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) when a little female Black Chinned Hummingbird few into my view.

There are some new blooms out as a result of the two inches of rain that fell as Dolly made her way into Texas, and the 1/4 inch this past week due to the tropical depression.

I think this is a Bush Sunflower. There is a huge number of yellow sunflower type plants, and I don't know them all, but the description in Marshall Enquist's book "Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country" sounded like the one I was looking at. If you are a botonist and see that I have misidentifed a plant please let me know.

These are the leaves of the plant in the photo above this one. They feel rough, and so does the stem.

This is a plant that was probably planted outside the window of our workroom. It looks like a color variety of the Gregg Salvia (Salvia greggii). I've seen them white, pink, and red, but not pink and white on the same flower.

These are the flowers of Shrubby Blue-sage (Salvia ballotoeflora). I've seen this lovely plant growing wild on the West Nueces River. We have had a specimen here next to the trail going down to the patio at Madrone Lake for years and it has done very well. Check out the image enlarged and see the fuzzy tops of the flowers.

Silver-Leaf Nightshade (Solanum eleagnifolium) is a common wildflower here at the ranch. I like it, and look forward to seeing the combination of purple-blue flowers and silver leaves in thick patches.

This is one of the Wild Petunias. I'm pretty sure that it is Low Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis). It certainly has pubescence on its leaves which is mentioned in most descriptions of it.

I have been trying to note and document the progression from flower to seeds, and have a few pictures of some outstanding ones.

When Milkweeds go to seed they can be quite dramatic. You can see the seeds still holding onto their fuzzy parachutes.

Queen's Delight (Stillingia texana) has yellowish-green male and female flowers on a spike that don't look much like flowers. The spike dries up and the fruit are green smooth pods with 3 lobes that appear at the base of the spike. In the photo above you can see 2 green fruits, and 3 remains of fruit.

There are rumors that we'll get some rain tomorrow, and today (Monday, August 11) is cloudy. We need rain, so I'm going outside to do a rain dance!

J David and I are going to West Texas for a little vacation. We leave tomorrow and will be gone a week. The gentleman that was at Big Bend and took our reservations, said that they have had rain and there are lots of wildflowers. Goody!

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