Flora Friday: Plants Revisited

The Oregon Gumplant, aka Gumweed, scientifically known as Grindelia stricta, is blooming again near the northwest corner of the park, around one of the memorial benches. I’ve covered it in past years, but this year it seems extra vigorous, possibly because of the rains we had. Here’s some more images of it, complete with as-yet unidentified bees working to pollinate it. Well, that’s wrong; they’re working to gather up its nectar and pollen for themselves, and pollination of the flower is an unintended byproduct. Unintended by the insects, anyway. Intended by the flower, though. If flowers can be said to have intent. Hm.

Gumplant (Grindelia stricta)
Gumplant with bumblebee and small ants
Gumplant with bee

Meanwhile the Coast Tarweed (Madia sativa) that I saw a couple of weeks ago in very modest form, barely a foot tall, has grown and spread like… well, like a weed. Further down the slope at the edge of the Nature Area, some of the Madia grew taller than my head, and they had plenty of company. When I handled the plant, I got stickum all over my hands, and parts of my tripod are sticky from it days later. Madia has an unusual structure, with thick clusters of green sticky pods with tiny yellow flowers at their tips, and then at the very top one wide open flower, rich in seeds, reaches for the sky like a princess borne aloft by her adoring bearers.

Coast Tarweed (Madia sativa)
Coast Tarweed (Madia sativa)

The Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) is in fruit now all over the park, and in most spots it’s got past the young, svelte, tender, tasty stage and is in the mature, dry, bumpy, tough stage. I don’t know whether it’s tasty at this stage; haven’t wanted to try it. On the north side of the park I saw two colors, a red and a regular.

Wild Radish fruit, red variety
Wild Radish fruit, regular

The Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is now in full bloom almost everywhere. On a warm day with a small breeze the aroma is almost intoxicating. If you haven’t made the full loop of the park on the paved perimeter trail around the north side, do it, and slow down near the northwest corner where the fennel forest is most abundant. Ahh!

Fennel in full bloom

Flora Friday regulars Jutta Burger and Bob Huttar are on sabbatical but will be back with additional species discoveries.

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