Monthly Archives: May 2015

Mountain colors

Last night it snowed high up in the Catalina mountains. I had been planning to lead a nature walk in Marshall Gulch. Three days ago I twisted my knee, not by hiking in the rocky wilderness, but by standing up after sitting in our dining room chair! Because of the snow and the wonky knee I cancelled the walk.

Among other plants I wanted to show people the Orange Gooseberry (Ribes pinetorum). Some years I have hiked in Marshall Gulch too late in the season and have missed the flowers entirely. This year Ed and I were fascinated to look at the plant with its distinctive leaves, and what we imagine is the sequence from flower to fruit. The flower buds have a touch of pink in them. When the flowers open the petals are orange to red, and curve backwards.   Later it seems that they flatten out and the color fades a little. After that the petals point downward again, similar to the initial bud, and the fruit starts to form at the top.

Ribes pinetorum 1 ed Ed looking up at Orange Gooseberry bushes

Ribes pinetorum 5 Some of the branches

ribes pinetorumLF A single leaf

Ribes pinetorum bud The flower bud

Ribes pinetorum 7 red An opened flower

Ribes pinetorum open The flower with petals splayed out

Ribes pinetorumFL2_tmp A flower on the left, and on the right the dried petals with fruit forming above them

We have seen some coral root orchids this year. These orchids have no chlorophyl. They get their nourishments from fungus at their roots.

The oak trees on the mountain are starting to bloom, with their long male catkins and nearly invisible female flowers. This time of the year on the live oaks, some of the leaves turn color before falling off.



Below looking into a Netleaf oak (Quercus rugosa) with leaves ready to drop and male flowers


Our eyes were caughNetleaf oakt by the beauty of a

spray of lupine at the end of a fallen log. The yellow flowers are Wooton’s groundsel. There are a few flowers in the mountains. Many more will come out after the summer rains begin. log and lupine