Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cliffrose in bloom

Perhaps you have noticed the scrubby roadside plants covered in cream colored blossoms. Perhaps, but not as likely, you've been travelling with your windows wide open and suddenly been hit with a heavy fragrant scent while driving through the countryside. Odds are that the source is cliffrose. Whenever I hit a big patch of cliffrose, the scent can be nearly overwhelming; it reminds me of Dorothy's problem when she came across the Deadly Poppy Field in The Wizard of Oz.

Two dry country, scrubby bushes are blooming right now. In addition to the cliffrose, you'll probably also see Apache plume in the same dry, rocky locations. Easy to tell apart once you know the secret: cliffrose blossoms literally cover the plant; Apache plume flowers are far less dense and are whiter, while the cliffrose are cream colored. Both are important browse plants for deer.

And, yes, both are members of the rose family, though a quick look at the arrangement of the center of the flowers would tell you that. Note the contrast between the small, leathery leaves and the lush blossoms. Such minimalist leaves are typical of arid country plants. BTW, the Cliff Rose subdivision is named after the plant; Cliff Rose, if you will recall, is where many of the streets are named after the streets on the original Monopoly Board.

The Day's Linkage: If you hadn't already heard of the Lowe's owl family, you have now. The he and she nested in the rafters; now a third, much younger owlet has been photographed by Karoliina. On the subject of nests, Rich came across a mother humming bird sitting on her miniature nest. Finally, if you're a garage sale afficianado, this site is for you, even when you travel.


Omegadad said...

Happy Mum's Day, Mom!

(And thanks for the cliffrose.)

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

There is a wren-type bird here, Willy Wagtail, that builds it's nest of cobwebbing in similar proportons to its body size as the hummer, it is, however larger.


Anonymous said...

Nice photos.

azlaydey said...

I watch the hummingbirds bathe in my bird bath, by swooping down and barely hitting the water. I now have ring necked doves taking turns on a nest containing two eggs, right by my garage door. I can watch them from my kitchen window. I love Mother Nature.

Granny J said...

od -- thanks, but did driving through Canada teach you Brit-talk? Mum, indeed.

bro -- does this brid critter have an official name?

steve -- sgot on Mothehr's Day just for you and other readers!

lady -- I have heard that you have birds galore at your place up in Chino.

Kim said...

Thanks for the interesting information. Wish I could smell one :)

Granny J said...

kim -- I certainly hope you include cliffroses in some of your landscape plans!

jarvenpa said...

Oh, thank you for sharing. It is fascinating to see a new plant. My region is forest land and meadow and very wet in the winter, so we certainly don't see your desert plants here.
But we do have rocks in cages.

Granny J said...

jarvenpa -- always glad to share our wildflowers! We can be wet in winter, but unlike Calif., we get our summer monsoons as well, which is when our mountain annuals do their fast track appearance.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

Willy Wag-tail = Rhipidura leucophrys. An insectivore what wags its tail and is very cheeky.


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