Saturday, June 21, 2014

Beach Botanizing

Fay Bainbridge Park.  Photo from the BI Parks & Rec website.
“Botanizing” is the act of studying plants, usually in their natural habitat.  In my case that typically means looking for plants I’m not familiar with, identifying them, and if appropriate tasting them. Today I had time to go botanizing.  In recent years I’ve not had time to do that much at all.  Botanizing in my youth is what really built my love of plants.  It’s a major part of who I am now.


I’m quite familiar with the woodland flora where I work and live, so coming across native plants that I can’t identify is unusual.  Well...that’s not quite true.  I’m a little daunted by grasses and mosses so there are many of those I can’t identify.  But I am working on them.  And sedges.  And willows.  Okay...maybe there’s more than I care to admit.  But I’m slowly chipping away at them.  Let’s just say I’ve just saved the hardest for last.



Something I really like to do though is go into habitats that I don’t botanize in much.  There is always something new to learn in those.  One of those habitats I don’t spend much time botanizing in are seaside habitats.  Fay Bainbridge Park has some nice flat dunes habitat.  So for you botanophiles, here are four plants that I learned today:


1)  Leymus mollis (syn. Elymus mollis)..  Grass Family (Poaceae).  Also known as Dunegrass or Dune Wildgrass. This species is a robust plant with bluish green foliage that can reach up to over one meter tall.


Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014
Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014




2)  Abronia latifolia.  Four O’clock Family (Nyctaginaceae).  Also known as Yellow Sand Verbena. Not a true Verbena, this plant produces thick, fleshy, glandular-sticky leaves growing from horizontal stems that spread along the ground.


Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.
Old inflorescence.  Photo my Darren Strenge, 2014.
By Eric in SF (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


3)  Grindelia integrifolia.  Sunflower Family (Asteraceae).  Also called Puget Sound Gumweed. The inflorescence is typically coated with a sticky resin. The stems can be somewhat reddish to purplish tinted.

Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.

Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.
Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.

4)  Cakile edentula.  Mustard Family (Brassicaceae).  Known as American Searocket. Like many seaside plants in sandy habitats, this species has thick, fleshy leaves, an adaptation for storing water in dry ecosystems.


Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.

Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014

Photo by Darren Strenge, 2014.



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