Thursday, February 23, 2012

Name That Wildflower -- Day 47

Walk: R/T CPMC, R/T car de Young lectures Distance: 20 Blocks

I don't have much of a mind for/interest in details; nor in naming things. Just about anything, but definitely flowers, shrubs, grasses, fungi. Occasionally I have been on group hikes that are filled with people who Love to name things, thrive on it apparently. It is a severe mismatch for me; I'm there to hike/get exercise/explore-adventure on a large, moving scale and they are there to stand, stare at, take photos of and discuss possible names and growing patterns, etc. of little things along the way. I try to be interested, and if I can catch sight of these things as I walk by, I actually enjoy seeing them. What their names are is of virtually no interest.

Out of guilt I sometimes attempt to change this. I've taken some classes on birds, gone on bird watching excursions (one lasting an entire weekend - oh my). I've also taken a seminar on identifying mushrooms and even took a field drawing class where my lack of fine motor skills combined with my aversion to details to make me by far the worst in the class. Unfortunately, as part of the class we actually had to show and tell what we'd drawn - 3 times, 3 drawings. Don't ask; even the instructor who had worked with amateurs for decades had a difficult time coming up with positive things to say. Luckily he realized I had a sense of humor and was pretty onto myself, so he just stopped trying and we all had a good laugh.

Like many people, I keep thinking, oh well, if I don't know the bird or mushroom or animal (scat) or whatever, there is always a manual. I can just look at the pictures in the manual, and, voila. Have you tried this yourself? The thing you are looking for simply isn't there. Even if I'm looking up a robin in the spring, it simply isn't there.

Of course, it is but I stare at the pictures and have serious doubts. I wouldn't want to bet that robin in the picture is the one I'm looking at (or remembering). And sometimes I would want to bet that the one on page... is the one I'm looking at. Then unfortunately the one on page ... is only found in Antartica or somewhere - and, if I've mentioned my finding to anyone, they are usually too embarrassed to even react so look down at their feet or roll their eyes at each other.

Yesterday's Gerbode Valley hike presented me with some opportunities to once again test my manual reading skills. There were just few enough wildflowers that I decided to take pictures of some with my iphone camera which doesn't take long to shoot. I decided to limit my photos (and stopping) to orange wildflowers, and found three.

The first even I know:

The California Poppy!!!

Then there were two more flowers to identify, so I decided to just wait until today, go online and research 'Northern California orange wildflowers,' 'Gerbode Valley orange wildflowers,' etc. What I 'discovered' was:

This little beauty may be a Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)

And this orange flower that was growing in abundance throughout the valley and must be as common as the spring robin is a complete unknown to me. I couldn't find anything that resembled it; or rather I found several things but they weren't it.

If you know its name, please leave a comment. And enjoy a good laugh on me; I'm used to it.

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