Friday, May 17, 2013

Nature Study Outing - Wildflowers

This week we walked through a nearby neighborhood trail to observe the spring wildflowers that are abundant there.  This was a great introduction to locally-common wildflowers for the children, because on one half-mile stretch of easy, even terrain, we encountered over a dozen varieties, including:

Scarlet pimpernel
California poppy
Red-stemmed filaree
Wild radish (purple and white)
Mustard (not sure what kind, as they all look the same to me!)
Field bindweed
Common dandelion

and two that were new to us:
Wild teasel
Purple salsify

Purple salsify is such a interesting plant, and we saw it in all three stages: closed as a bud, open in bloom, and then topped with its seed pod, which looks like a giant dandelion puff and from which it gets another of its names: "Goat's beard."  Very fun.

There were also lots of wild grasses (wildrye, wild oat, bromes, and others), which provided ample stomping grounds for our crew. :)  We spent a bit of time sketching and a lot of time looking closely and comparing the different flowers.  I'm curious to check in again at this site during a different season to see what new flowers there might be.

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