Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

March Wildflowers, Part 1

I know, I’m late. But you’ll like these — I know because I really like them. 🙂

It rained quite a bit in March, meaning we got over an inch(!). And the rain in December got everything ready for a show last month. I’m breaking this up, because there’s so much to see, and I know how long it can take to load pictures, so here we go with Part 1:

First, a bit of overview.

The ground is covered with a multi-colored carpet.20140429-200102.jpg

The bluish carpet:

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The yellowish carpet:

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OK, if it were a carpet, it’d be called “thread-bare”, what with the underflooring showing through and all. But hey! It’s supposed to be a desert over here, y’know!

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Viewed as thumbnails, these look like pictures of dirt. And in person it also looks a lot like just dirt, and one could easily overlook the tiny flowers covering the ground. These days, I have the time to really look, and see how pretty they all are. So I’m inviting you to look closer with me.

Now the particulars.

This last picture includes almost all of the little beauties I wanted to show you today. And one — the prickly pear — that will wait for April’s show.

First off, a near relative of a flower we glimpsed last month: the Cryptantha. Several species of this plant grow wild here. The flowers are exceptionally tiny, but very pretty.

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This is called Popcorn Flower, for the random way it pops up blooms all around the ball.

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According to my Arizona wildflower experts, there are 36 species of Cryptantha here, and they are a kind of borage. My gardening books all say that borage is good for the soil, so I should be glad to have so much of it growing here. But as you can see, it’s very hairy, and I mentioned how irritating that is to my delicate fingers (ha!) when removing them from the “domesticated” part of the yard.

Next up: the blue flowers:

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This is the Miniature Woollystar (Eriastrum diffusum), related to Phlox. It’s called “wooly” for all the little hairs. I’m pretty sure the hairiness of all the plants here is a strategy for water retention.

The last little flower in this clump is one of those referred to as a DYC (Dratted Yellow Composite, related to Asters), and I’m not quite sure about its name.

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It could be a Fiveneedle Pricklyleaf (Thymophylla pentachaeta). I’m pretty sure, but again, there are so many DYCs around, it’s hard to tell them apart.

The last (for today) is not in the group shot above, but is also one of the tinier flowers that bloomed in March, and it’s called Common Fiddleneck, or Rancher’s Fireweed (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia)

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This is also a kind of borage, and hairy. In my yard, it’s more rare than the Cryptantha, and the plant is much taller (up to a foot tall). Here’s one more:

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Again, a hairy little plant, but pretty just the same.

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