Author Topic: A Botanical Walk in the Park  (Read 535 times)

Bill De Jager

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A Botanical Walk in the Park
« on: April 01, 2022, 23:46:26 »
A park near my residence has some semi-wild areas aside from the manicured portions.  As the normal rainy season winds down in coastal California (albeit having been unusually dry the past few  months) we have some green plants and flowers that will soon turn seasonally brown.  Interestingly, most of the species are actually imports from the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe that have a similar climate.  These and other species of similar origin have come to dominate grassy areas in most lowland parts of California.

The following photos were taken with a Nikon Z6 and the Nikon 105mm MC lens.  I found this lens very useful and user-friendly, with the only problem being inadequate background separation in a few cases due to the maximum aperture being not as wide as in many non-macro lenses.  Of course this result should be expected when using such a lens.



Mustard Plant by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Mustard plant (Brassica nigra rapa) [see discussion in posts below] in bloom next to trash and recycling receptacles.  This plant is the ancestor of several common garden vegetables and field crops.



Young Thistle by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Young Italian thistle (Carduus pycnocephalus, which along with several other non-native thistles is a noxious weed in California.  It makes an interesting subject, though.



Eucalyptus Contrast by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

This photo contrasts the large, peeling trunk of a Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus (Myrtaceae) with the juvenile foliage of a sapling to the right.  Mature trees have leaves that are quite different as seen in the background. This tree from Australia and Tasmania was widely planted in coastal regions of California up until about 80 years ago.



Thistle Silhouette by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Another Italian thistle bolting towards blooming.  The grasses on the left are ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) and wild oats (Avena fatua).

More to come...

Snoogly

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2022, 07:21:28 »
Thank you for your nice, and humble, images.

Here in the Tokyo area botanical life is still hard to see - apart from the brutal cherry blossoms. The next few weeks will a cusp period, and hopefully by May life will be prolific enough for me to enjoy it, and photograph.

At the moment it’s like everything is frozen in limbo. I have been for long nature walks, but never got my camera out of the bag. No new green life, and no insect life at all. Apart from those damn cherry blossoms! They are a national ‘circus and bread’ distraction from the realities of life, but unfortunately they don’t coincide with with a broader reawakening of the natural world.
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Richard Hawking (not Richard Haw!), in Tokyo

Bill De Jager

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2022, 00:53:00 »
Thank you, Snoogly.

Continuing with the photos from yesterday....



Oats by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Wild oats (a European species)



Milk Thistle by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), another European import, in its vegetative phase.  Soon it will bolt and produce large purple flowers.  I need to figure out the light-colored artifacts in front of the white areas, and see if I can reproduce them.



Lactuca by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Wild lettuce (Lactuca sp.) in bloom and fruit (the latter being the seed head about to disperse seeds).  The genus name refers to the milky-appearing latex (often mistaken for sap) which profusely bleeds from injured plant parts.

Bill De Jager

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2022, 18:50:06 »
Completing this series:



Poison Oak by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Poison oak, not an oak at all but related to the sumacs.  The scientific name is Toxicodendron diversilobum.  Leaves normally turn red in late summer and autumn, but with the drought conditions we've been having things are all askew.



Italian Thistle by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Italian thistle in bloom.


Hans_S

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2022, 01:07:30 »
Bill, it would seem your weeds are very similar to ours, thistles and mustard weed popping up wherever they get the opportunity. Understandable, I guess, due to the similar climates, we being roughly as far South as you are North.

I do like the oats!
Hans Schepers

Bill De Jager

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2022, 06:49:57 »
Thank you, Hans.  Similar climate, plus seeds were often transported from similar points of origin on livestock and agricultural implements, and later in seed shipments. The last of these is how the American west got tumbleweeds, which believe it or  not are actually from central Asia.

Snoogly

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2022, 09:48:53 »
I wish I could understand the weed situation in Japan. All I know are the plants that invade the planters on my balconies. Some weird things cropping up in my herb and veggie planters.
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Richard Hawking (not Richard Haw!), in Tokyo

Hans_S

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2022, 11:47:24 »
Thank you, Hans.  Similar climate, plus seeds were often transported from similar points of origin on livestock and agricultural implements, and later in seed shipments. The last of these is how the American west got tumbleweeds, which believe it or  not are actually from central Asia.

...and in our neighborhood, introduced during the 1800's by inbound sailing ships dumping their ballast on the shore line.
Hans Schepers

Birna Rørslett

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2022, 12:23:19 »
The assumed Brassica seems a bit odd to me -- are there photos showing its foliage or general habit?

Fons Baerken

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2022, 12:32:22 »
The assumed Brassica seems a bit odd to me -- are there photos showing its foliage or general habit?

Sisymbrium (rocket)

Birna Rørslett

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2022, 15:53:22 »
Fons' suggestion makes more sense to my botanical eyes .... Still, yellow-flowered crucifers can be quite hard to idnetify unless one has details available on the siliqua, foliage, and general habit.

Bill De Jager

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2022, 17:42:44 »
Our two abundant Brassica species in coastal California have long been called B. nigra and B. campestris. They are both naturalized annuals that can be very abundant in spring.   
The latter taxon has now been subsumed under B. rapa according to our standard California reference the Jepson Manual.  The Flora of North America agrees with this synonomy.

I'll get some photos shortly.

Bill De Jager

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Re: A Botanical Walk in the Park
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2022, 21:02:36 »
The following is only of botanical rather than photographic interest.

My carelessness - the correct species appears to be Brassica nigra.  The upper cauline (stem) leaves are not clasping and the pedicels are upright and adpressed.

Thank you to Birna and Fons for raising this issue.



Overall habit by Bill de Jager, on Flickr



Basal leaves by Bill de Jager, on Flickr



Lower cauline leaf by Bill de Jager, on Flickr



Upper cauline leaves by Bill de Jager, on Flickr



Pedicels by Bill de Jager, on Flickr