Aug. 7th, 2011 23:38
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
branch of succulent plant snaking forward with sharp, spikey 'scales'

i have no idea what this is; i saw it in somebody's yard. some succulent, no doubt. but i know very little about that group of plants. i just liked the way it looks.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
blush pink to purple beach pea flowers

lathyrus japonicus, beach pea, native to BC (and just about anywhere else along the oceans). the seeds can stay viable even in sea water for 5 years, which explains that wide range. in an emergency edible, but the seeds contain an amino acid that can cause "lathyrism" in large quantities, a disease of the nervous system. i don't know of any medicinal uses.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
clusters of tiny white flowers

anaphalis margaritacea, native to BC, very common, grow in many kinds of soil, even very poor one on disturbed sites. they are great in dried flower arrangements and truly last for a very long time. the pearly white, papery bracts look like petals. it gives yellow/gold to brown and green dyes, depending on which parts of the plants are used. we didn't use it for anything medicinal, but there were stories from before my time of people stuffing pillows with the flowers; they smell good (not sweet and floral, more hay-like and earthy).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
magenta foxglove with white-and-maroon spots

foxglove, introduced from europe -- naturalised from garden flowers. very toxic; contains cardiac and steroidal glycosides. which lead it to be a valuable source of arrhythmia-controlling medicines, but determining the precise amount of the active drug present in gathered plants isn't possible for an herbalist, and small errors in dosage can be deadly -- making it unwise for people like me to self-medicate with it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
two grape leaves with rain drops

ever since we've lived here, there was a grapevine rootstock around the corner of the house, in the bed infested with bindweed. since the paramour's window has no shade in the summer, i used to train a couple of vines around the corner and let them go wild, so they'd cover the window. the first few years i'd cut back all the vines in the winter, and then train new ones the coming spring. the last 3-4 years i was too depressed to care what those vines did, and cut them back haphazardly in the spring (this did not improve the grape harvest).

last year the landlord killed the entire bed because he wanted to build a car port between our shack and the missile silo. less than half a square foot of soil remained at the very front of the new concrete, with some lemon balm. i was gonna take a cutting from the vine before he murdered the root stock, but that never happened. in protest (or something), i left the last grown vines up, and this spring, well, cutting back also didn't happen. desolately barren vines scraped against the window. i bought some bamboo to provide shade (but it's not fast-growing, so this year it's not providing much of anything. i also haven't repotted it yet. *sigh*.

anyway, imagine my surprise when the barren vines set buds. and leafed out. and bloomed. and now we have more grapes than we had the years before. the two vines i had trained around the corner rooted themselves in that postage stamp of soil that's still left, hidden by the lemon balm.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
bright magenta thistle heads

canada thistle, invasive. bad naming, since it doesn't originate in canada, but in eurasia. it's a ruderal species, which means it is among the first plants to colonise disturbed land after fires, avalanches, or human actions such as construction, clear cutting, etc. typical for a ruderal species are fast-growing roots, massive seed production, and modest nutritional needs for seedlings. butterflies and gold finches go nuts for it (the former for the blooms, the latter for the seeds).

allegedly the roots and stalks are edible, but i've never tried.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
looking up towards the sky through the umbels of queen anne's lac

biannual queen anne's lace, or wild carrot, the progenitor of carrots as we know and love them (you can really smell it; every part of this plant smells like carrot). emergent invasive in BC. roots edible in its first year; 2nd year roots are woody.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
8 reddish bracts standing up straight on top of fence

bracts of calystegia sepium, great bindweed, post-flowering. invasive. the flowers look like morning glory, only pure white. if it's grabbed a foothold in your garden it's extremely hard to remove because even the tiniest bit of runner produces new growth, and it runs every-damn-where. once the paramour had one come into his room from the outside, through the wall.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
tiny branchlet with blossoms growing out of tree

salal, evergreen shrub, native to BC. the "berries" are sweet and have a unique flavour. they go really well with the berries of oregon grape because their sweetness balances the tartness of the latter. the young leaves can be used to flavour soups. the mature leaves are a big staple for the flower industry.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
a meadow with purple and pink flowers dissolves into dots from a distance

meadow with seablush (plectritis congesta ) and camas (camassia quamash); both native to BC.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
rain is pouring down in front of a wall of ivy

last year we had the driest july on record since the 1950s, this year seems to be shaping up to be the wettest. i don't mind; i like it cool and rainy.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
small yellow flowers like asters, only more cup-shaped

gumweed, native to BC. i know nothing (yet) about it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
a bunch of small, pink flowers in a nodding umbel

nodding onion is native to BC, not uncommon. the entire plant can be eaten raw or cooked, including the bulb -- very oniony flavour. the juice allegedly can be used to repel moths as well as mosquitos and other biting insects.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
small, purple flowers growing in whorled clusters

self-heal, or heal-all, native to BC (and pretty much everywhere else with temperate climate). it is a panacea plant because it has been used all over the world to deal with a lot of different ailments. tough it does appear to have some real medicinal effects; anti-bacterial for sure.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
creamy spray of many tiny flowers

ocean spray; tall shrub with gracefully arching branches from which profuse clusters of tiny flowers cascade. native to BC. common around here. it only looks pretty during the short period it's blooming; the flower clusters turn an ugly brown afterwards, and it looks like the shrub is sick.

wikipedia has this to say about its uses: The Lummi used the flowers as an antidiarrheal and the leaves as a poultice. Many other tribes used the wood and bark for making tools and furniture. Noted for the strength of its wood, it was often used for making spears, arrows, bows, harpoons and nails. The wood, like with many other plants, was often hardened with fire and was then polished using horsetail. Several Indian tribes, such as the Stl'atl'imx, would steep the berries in boiling water to use as a treatment for diarrhea, smallpox, chickenpox and as a blood tonic.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
tiny twinflower colony

twinflower, native to BC (*wave*), and very common here on the island; it lives pretty much wherever there is forest. it is actually a tiny evergreen shrub; probably the tiniest shrub i've ever seen. like, miniature. you could use it for your model railroad. it's called "twinflower" because each stem divides in two near the top, and has two little bells on the extensions.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
aquatic plants, spikey on all sides

common mare's tail, emergent freshwater plant, native to BC. this image just wanted to be in black and white for more drama.

compare original here:

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
white yarrow, a thousand tiny flowers

native to BC, and pretty much everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, i think. ;)

common yarrow is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, stimulant and mild aromatic. the genus name achillea is derived from the mythical greek character Achilles, who supposedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
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