Flora Friday: Two New

Flora Friday co-directors Jutta Burger and Bob Huttar, who have been photographing and identifying just about everything that grows in the park, are on hiatus, but served as consultants in the identification of the two plants featured today: the Crown Daisy and the Pale Flax.

Crown Daisy

Crown Daisy (Glebionis coronaria)

These grow in a couple of clusters of about two dozen flowers each on the east side of the park, almost hidden by tall grasses, just on the edge of the cliff over the water. They’re commonly known as Crown Daisy; the scientific name is Glebionis coronaria. Some of the flowers are solid yellow, as in the photo above. Others growing on the same stock are white with yellow centers, like this one:

The plant is used as a leafy vegetable in many Asian cuisines, either as an addition to other dishes such as omelets, stir-fries, and soups, or alone as a side dish. Details on Wikipedia. Jutta has seen it sold as a vegetable in Asian markets.

The plant attracts a number of different bugs to feed on it and/or to pollinate it. Here are two examples:

The first one is some kind of leaf hopper, munching on the edges of a petal. The other probably a March fly (Bibionid). I would send them in to http://bugguide.net for identification but they are swamped with new ID requests coming in every minute.

In the park, these clumps of Crown Daisies stand all by themselves. They show few signs of spreading. However, the plant has that potential. The California Invasive Plant Council has put out a Weed Alert for this plant.

Links: Wikipedia CalFlora CalPhotos CalIPC

Pale Flax

Pale flax (Linum bienne)

This little blue flower popped up in the Nature Area on the north side of the park alongside the bright yellow Birdsfoot Trefoil and the red Crimson Clover. The three colors made a pretty combination.

This is a flax, and judging by the pale color, it’s Linum bienne, pale flax, the wild species. This is the ancestor of the common flax, Linum usitatissimum, which is grown commercially and yields nutritious and useful seeds, oils, and fibers. See Wikipedia for extensive information on the cultivated flax.

Pale flax (Linum bienne)

This tiny blue jewel of a plant faces daunting challenges.  It’s not considered invasive.  How is it going to survive in a habitat where almost everything else is classified as invasive, aggressive, noxious, or toxic?  

Links: Wikipedia CalFlora CalPhotos


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