FUNGUS FAKES FLOWERING

An alert individual  (David Hollombe) has pointed out that the false flower we reported on January 31, was produced on a plant by a rust fungus called: Puccinia monoica. The fungus invades the plant and prevents it from flowering. Then it turns the upper leaves yellow, making them look like flower petals. For a moment this deceived us. Evidently it also deceives pollinators who land on it, get frustrated, and fly off, helping the fungus spread. The host plant is usually in the mustard family. Thank you, David. fungus flower

 

Plant infected with rust fungus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Larson and I went to Milagrosa Canyon (which I recently incorrectly called “Milagro” which is Spanish for “Miracle” instead of Milagrosa, Spanish for “Miraculous”). He wanted to see the honeycombs that Ed and I saw earlier. I had a different camera lens and was able to get a better picture including bees flying in and out. Honeycombs2
Cliff wall with hive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cliff with the hive (left of the saguaro). Note Dave’s white hat in the foreground

 

 

We followed the trail up and to the left, finding a number of new flower species in bloom, like . Arizona fiesta-flower (Pholistoma auritum), Anemone, Twist Flower, and lots more of the Red Justitia.Pholistoma auritum7 We ended up at the base of a Rock climbing-wall. As we sat for our snack we couldn’t help noticing the marvelous echo, and even tested to see if burps would echo back at us (as Dave’s wife would say, “you boys!”). We saw ravens, swallows (or were they swifts?) and hummingbirds flying around. We were eventually joined by some rock climbers.

Arizona fiesta flower with its red, white and blue

 

 

 

The next day Ed and I walked a short distance up the Babat Do’ag. Trail, and found  29 species of wildflowers in bloom, including lots of Gordon’s bladder pod (Physaria gordonii). Noting the harsh weather conditions in other parts of the country we felt especially privileged to be in such miraculous country with warm sun and bright blue skies. Milagrosa canyon

Amsinkia6

 

Physaria gordoni7In Milagrosa Canyon looking back to Tucson

Note the remains of a saguaro left center, with its thin wooden skeleton tops curving to the right

 

 

 

 

Common fiddleneck (Amsinckia intermedia)

My fingers give an idea of scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gordon’s bladderpod (Physaria gordonii)

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