Environmental

Rainbow Manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowensis) | Botanical Pride

Rainbow Manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowensis) | Botanical Pride

Today, we’re talking about the only plant to currently have “rainbow” in its scientific designation: The Arctostaphylos rainbowensis, or Rainbow Manzanita.  This dicot shrub is native and endemic to California (4,5), existing exclusively in the far southern portion of the state, specifically between northern San Diego to southern Riverside counties. 

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

Hail and well met, everyone!

So, I’ve been posting here and uploading largely separate content on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/Ethnobotanicam). I’m experimenting with still posting on the various platforms I currently use (Youtube, Instagram and the like), but cross-posting here as a method of aggregating all my botanical content into one place. Let me know what you think. Have a fab day, everyone, and happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

Kate

Flies as Pollinators

Flies as Pollinators

Today, as you may have deduced, we will be talking about flies and their role as pollinators. 

May the 4th Be With You: an Expedition to Kashyyyuk

May the 4th Be With You: an Expedition to Kashyyyuk

On this, the 4th of May, we pay homage to the late Peter Mayhew, and everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca with an expedition to Chewie’s homeworld: Kashyyyuk.

Into the Desert: a Photo-Journal

Into the Desert: a Photo-Journal

A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I had the opportunity to drive out to Quartzite, AZ, for the day.  Because we were coming from southern California, this meant driving through Joshua Tree and the Sonoran Desert.  These are some photographs from the journey.

The Praying Mantis Egg Case and the Shrubbery

The Praying Mantis Egg Case and the Shrubbery

Today, we’ll be talking about the praying mantis, species diversity, and ecological niches.  All photographs and video were taken by me at the local arboretum and are indicative of a sort of capsule environment you might find in such a locale.

Flutter and Boots

Flutter and Boots

Subheading: The Monarch and the Tuxedo Cat

I thought last Tuesday would start like most Tuesdays, of late, dear friends: wake up earlyish and be at the arboretum to work with the plants. 

Under the Harvest Moon

Under the Harvest Moon

This time of year is about reaping what was planted in the growing time.  Look to your Springtime goals, dear reader, and see what you have accomplished.  Do you still need to do more on certain projects?  Are there others that have fallen dormant but you still hold on to? 

Things I Learned from Plants (A Series): #2. Water is Life and Should Be Respected.

Things I Learned from Plants (A Series): #2. Water is Life and Should Be Respected.

Water is party to all things, dear reader.  While all Earth-dwelling embodied lifeforms have their own characteristics, goals, needs, and expectations of their environments, water is a common necessity they all share.  Without proper hydration, the brain's receptors stop interpreting and correlating information and general organ failure occurs, plants are unable to photosynthesize, and moisture continues to evaporate from the body at a rather high rate. 

Things I learned from Plants (a Series): #1. Strong roots let you grow tall.

Things I learned from Plants (a Series):                       #1. Strong roots let you grow tall.

Have you ever noticed, dear reader, how a an unbalanced, top-heavy thing is prone to collapsing?  Some things are balanced by having a flat base on which to build, brick structures forming in orderly fashion.  Some have a reasonably stable base and overall structure, but topple when the weather or environment changes. 

So, heirloom varieties, right?

So, heirloom varieties, right?

Just like with family-specific heirlooms, a particular bit of furniture or item of jewelry, these varieties, and sometimes entire species are often passed down in their native habitats. 

Garden Helpers: The Bees, the Bugs, and the Doodlebugs

Garden Helpers: The Bees, the Bugs, and the Doodlebugs

What garden is complete without the gentle hum of insects, buzzing and chirping, going about their lives in their intrinsic ecological niche.

Dandelion: Healing Your Gut Since 659 B.C.E.

Dandelion: Healing Your Gut Since 659 B.C.E.

One of the most commonly seen and often unwelcome plants, the dandelion (Taraxicum officinale), is relatively easily distinguishable with its iconic, serrated or toothed leaves and domed flower heads .

Remembering Fern Gully

Remembering Fern Gully

In honor of today being Earth Day, I thought I would share some of my earliest memories of ecology and the need for ecoactivism.  Some of you might remember the 1992 film, Fern Gully; some of you likely weren't yet born.  I didn't know there was a sub-header for it until I was looking up information again, but it's "The Last Rainforest."  

Giant Hyssop (Agastache rugosa)

Giant Hyssop (Agastache rugosa)

Purple Giant Hyssop, Wrinkled Giant Hyssop, Korean Mint, Blue Licorice, huò xiāng (藿香), bangsnnip (방아잎), Patchouli herb--whatever regional name is chosen, they all refer to the same plant: Agastache rugosa (Fisch. & C.A.Mey.) Kuntze.  For purposes of this post, the two most abundant names I found were (Purple) Giant Hyssop and Korean Mint, hence the top-title billing.  

The Whomping Willow as the World Tree

The Whomping Willow as the World Tree

Forewarning to all ye who enter here: Thar be spoilers on this page.  So in the event you have somehow not yet read or watched anything of the Potterverse, you have been warned.  Let us proceed.  

The World Tree, in its many forms, is often depicted with the Overworld, the branches, representing the future, the spirit realm, and sometimes thought and possibility.  These are all unknown quantities most of the time and often thought to be subject to change based on current events. 

The Power of Growing Things

The Power of Growing Things

Getting out in nature is therapy, a form of self-care.  People often say that they need to "go be in nature."  Where is this nature?  Is it the mountains, tall trees a sheltering canopy overhead?  Is it the violent waves crashing against a battered rocky shoreline?  Perhaps "nature" is the expansive park in your town square, home to childhood games and Sunday picknicks. 

The Turning Seasons: Plants, Death, and Rebirth

The Turning Seasons: Plants, Death, and Rebirth

Today is Easter, the time when in the Christian tradition, someone who was once presumed deceased is reborn into a new, but strikingly similar form.  Yesterday was World Transgender Awareness Day, celebrating a community so often misunderstood, harassed, or ignored--a community whose very nature calls out in an expression of change, ideally able to embrace the individual's truest self.  On the Spring Equinox, March 20, was Ostara, the transition between the hibernation and death of winter into the rebirth and new life of spring.  I find it apt that all three of these events occur during a liminal period, not entirely one or the other--the dusk of one season and dawn of the next.

Houseleeks, Hens, and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Houseleeks, Hens, and Chicks (Sempervivum)

There are many species in the Sempervivum genus, each unique and with particular properties.  Noted by Linnaeus in 1757, the genus name translates to "always living," a reference to the plants' hardy, drought-tolerant nature, enabling it to survive in both intense heat and frost.  They are also known as houseleeks, hens, chicks, or hen's nests in some areas.