Tag Archives: Mt. Lemmon

Looking for wood sorrel

We hiked on Oracle Ridge today. My quest – to get a new picture of the wood sorrel (oxalis alpina), a pink beauty with three heart shaped leaves whose points meet at the stem of the flower. It took a while to see any of the plants, and the ones I found were scrawny, with flowers at the top of long slender stems, as they searched for the light in the midst of heavy summer foliage. Most of the flowers I saw were very pale, almost white. For some reason the heart-shaped leaves on lots of them drooped, as if wanting to minimize their exposure to the sun. My buddy and I hiked until we arrived at one of my favorite spots on the mountain, sitting on stumps beside a beautiful Alligator Juniper tree that I have painted several times. After a while I turned and looked down, and there, in a crevice, was the sorrel I had been looking for – but this time healthy, with pink flowers, large leaves, and even a tiny bee looking, I guess, for pollen. It was very touching to find what I was looking for after I stopped looking.

Oxalis and bee

Pleasing Fungus Beetle

Two of us were hiking on a beautiful ridge trail and had stopped for a rest and a snack. It was a gorgeous day, cool breezes keeping us comfortable in the shade of an old tree. As I ate my snack I took out my butterfly binoculars and studied the various little creatures inhabiting that part of the mountain. I saw a beetle and recognized it as the Pleasing Fungus Beetle, with its beautiful blue spotted coat. The beetle and I spent a delightful quarter of an hour together. I watched it climb over bits of debris, ending up on a small stone. The stone sparkled with thousands of tiny pieces of mica. The beetle seemed to like the stone, and wandered around, eventually centering on a spot which it circled many times before settling down for a brief respite. It reminded me of a dog going around in circles before plopping down for a nap. After a few more journeys around the stone, my friend spread its blue wings and flew about 6 inches to the next rock, and then tumbled out of my view.

Pleasing fungus beetle

Pleasing Fungus Beetle