Monday, April 4, 2011

Retina Scorching Flowers of San Diego

The flowers around my house have exploded. Color is everywhere. Click on photos for a larger view and bare with me as I can't resist posting some photos of our local flowers that grow well in this area. If you choose the right plant for its environment, it will thrive with little care.

One of the local favorites is this vibrant fluorescent lavender ice plant (top left), the flowers of which have such an intense color that they could easily be mistaken as fake. During flowering season, it creates a carpet of color that can be seen for miles. Bright lavender is the most common color but a bright red type can also be found and in this photo (2nd down on left), they grow side by side.

But the classic California flower had got to be the California poppy which in the right season will cover the hills in orange and gold. Here is a closeup view of one poppy plant (top right) with multiple floppy four lobed flowers. However, apparently at this current time, all of the fields of gold that I found turned out to be caused by a different flower, the vibrant African Daisy (2nd down on right) which looks like fields of gold from far away (3rd down on right), but turned out to look quite different from poppies close up. They only share a common color.

Another common appearance here along the hillsides are bright fuzzy splashes of orange floating on top of other plants (3rd down on left). These orange vines (4th down on right) in the photo are not flowers at all but in fact are a parasitic vine called Dodder which first sprouts and grows as a normal plant but then must quickly find a host plant to feed from. It wraps it's tendrils around the host plant and derives all of its nutrients from that plant.

Dodder in our area seems to grow mostly through the winter and spring and then die back for the rest of the year, corresponding with the typical wild plant growing season here in San Diego where winter brings much needed rainwater but no snow except for in the highest elevations.

Other common sights during this time of year include delicate clumps of white flowered sweet alyssum (4th down on right), red rods of fluffy bottle brush (bottom right) hanging in profuse numbers from their trees, and hillsides of bulging purple Status, which are especially excellent as dried flowers (5th down on right and bottom right).

See Part II of Retina Scorchers here:Rockchaser: Retina Scorchers Part II

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