Our Window on Nature

. . . exploring the world around us

Archive for the 'Plants' Category

Ghostly Remnant Of A Forest

Posted: Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 @ 3:39 pm in Trees | Comments Off on Ghostly Remnant Of A Forest

Sitting on our desktop there’s a weathered twist of wood that we like to think is American chestnut. We found it near the top of a North Carolina peak and carried it, sodden and heavy with the remnants of winter, all the way down to the motorhome. In spite of the fact that one of […]

Deadly Datura

Posted: Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 @ 11:35 am in Flowers | Comments Off on Deadly Datura

One of the Southwest’s most attractive plants, the Sacred Datura, is also one of its most deadly. Every now and then newspapers carry the grisly story of someone who, after experimenting with a species of Datura, wanders for days through desert delusions until brought down by the searing heat. While seeking heavenly visions, the user […]

Palm Oasis: Remnant Of A Tropical Past

Posted: Friday, June 8th, 2007 @ 1:53 pm in Trees | Comments Off on Palm Oasis: Remnant Of A Tropical Past

When we think of palm trees, we imagine tropical beaches and pineapples, and dancing girls shaking their hips to the rhythm of drums. Palms belong in Hawaii or Bali, or at least in the Florida Keys. In California, however, native fan palms are surrounded by desert. Sound like a contradiction in terms? These California fan […]

Cattails — By Any Other Name

Posted: Sunday, May 20th, 2007 @ 10:56 am in Plants | Comments Off on Cattails — By Any Other Name

Flagtail, marsh beetle, blackcap, water torch. Visit the shoreline of most lakes, rivers, marshes, and ponds, and you’ll see areas of these grasslike plants stretching as much as 10 feet high above the water. In some places they are called rushes, flags, or Cossack asparagus. Names used by American Indians are just as descriptive: prairie […]

The Oldest Living Tree is a Bush

Posted: Sunday, May 6th, 2007 @ 1:05 pm in Plants | Comments Off on The Oldest Living Tree is a Bush

When we were kids in school, it was common knowledge that California’s redwoods were both the world’s oldest and its tallest trees, and that the earliest of them sprouted at about the time Jesus Christ was born. Then some wise guy discovered bristlecone pines of twice that age growing atop the barren peaks of California’s […]

 
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