Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cirsium scariosum Nutt.

Dwarf thistle

 Unlike the common weedy thistles we commonly associate with the name, Cirsium scariosum is a native. Found across California, these low-growing perennial thistles are not very showy, but have strong thistle characteristics, including tightly packed flower heads, and spiny leaves. They can be found in both rocky areas to meadows and marshy regions.

These perennial plants flower in the summer, and eventually die back to a rootstock later in the fall-winter.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Corallorhiza maculata (Raf.) Raf.

Spotted or summer coralroot

 A non-photosynthesizing, myco-heterotrophic member of the orchid family, C. maculata is found in shady areas in mountainous regions. Lacking chlorophyll, these plants are instead parasitic on the mycorrhiza of neighboring plants to steal photosynthates. One of the orchid's common names, the spotted coral root, derives from the red-brown spots on its flowers. These plants lack leaves, instead appearing as a long rachis with flowers arranged around the axis.