Sunday, April 22, 2012

A few fruits and flowers this week

Schott's Whipsnake
A lovely yard-long beauty just like this greeted us last week, so Tu and I were carefully treading through the stoney creek today. We still aren't quite country-fied and are as nervous around herps as they are near us.
Here are two shrubs bearing summer berries for the birds and other animals. This shrub is in the olive family.The berries are an awesome blue color, about 1/4 inch long.

































Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens 

Stretchberry, Elbowbush, Stretch-berry, Downy forestiera, Desert olive, Elbow-bush

You can't really see them in this photo, but the barberry below is loaded with ripening red berries. It looks similar to a holly bush, but makes fruit now. There are several shapely agaritas standing free in open spaces. (If you double click on the images, you can see them larger on your screen.)

Mahonia trifoliolata 

Agarita, Agarito, Algerita, Laredo mahonia, Laredo Oregon-grape, Trifoliate barberry


We've seen several kinds of cacti, one being a cute little barrel shaped type (photo to come) and these two fruiting types:

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Christmas cactus, Christmas cholla, Desert Christmas cactus, Pencil cactus, Tasajillo

The fruit of the Christmas cactus is edible; it will be ready this winter. And how about these prickly pears! I wonder what makes the better fruit, the one with flowers with red centers or the butter yellow flowers? The pads and fruit are eaten the world over, and I look forward to trying out some international recipes. Nopales with eggs for breakfast, and cornbread and jelly from last year's fruit... or maybe batter fried strips tempura style.


Opuntia macrorhiza 

Common prickly-pear, Plains prickly pear, Prickly Pear, Twist-spine prickly-pear


Phlox roemeriana 

Goldeneye phlox, Golden-eye Phlox

Whereas there were meadows full of bluebonnets a couple of weeks ago, this week those same fields are blushing with fire wheels. There are also many types of yellow flowers, this lone Brown-eyed Susan stood out in particular.The sound of the bees was amazing, a low hum filled the air. And it was quiet enough that I actually heard the wings of a butterfly as it passed by... here the ambient noise is not AC units and traffic, but LIFE.

Gaillardia pulchella 

Firewheel, Indian Blanket









Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed Susan, Common black-eyed Susan, Brown-eyed Susan

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