Friday, June 5, 2015

The natives are restless

Needle-leaved navarretia (Navarretia intertexta), blooming this afternoon.

I have been clobbered by an evil stomach bug that has lingered now for four days, but I finally felt up for a little walk, and I wanted to check on a patch of small white flowers on sort of spiny stalks, just a couple of inches tall at most.  They've shown up elsewhere, and when these sweet furry green things became sorta sharp brown things, I assumed they must be evil.

When I saw them again this year in a spot in the second-year prairie, I had recognized that native annuals (like the previously-mentioned Midget phlox) were showing up in this area.  I thought that I had better identify everything, so I can walk through in the next week and pull the stray Prickly lettuce and mustard (thankfully, there is much less of this as the years go by).  They do have sweet tiny flowers, and before they become little sticker things, they make a lovely little patch like this...

And, sure enough, consulting my Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest (Turner and Gustafson), there it is on p. 161.  It looks like it will provide some needed competition to all of that Epilobium you can see sprouting around it.  We'll see how this goes, but my theory is that these annuals fill in and provide cover for the perennials that are coming up everywhere.  There's actually quite a bit of native grass species throughout, but they are still only little green threads.  After the perennials mature, these annuals remain ready to take advantage of any opportunity.  Now they're getting an unusual opportunity and I hope they behave themselves, but I think it is just this sort of biomass that creates an actual prairie as it composts.   

And here's a shot of clarkia and Oregon sunshine in all its glory as I walked back to the house...

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