Lifestyle: plant identification from field guide: chicory

Local plant identification leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor reveals a great find from Nanaimo.

I was down in Nanaimo for a few weeks this summer. (BTW, I’ve loved Nanaimo since ’08, when we started traveling there.)

Notable in Nanaimo is the variety of trees and plants that aren’t apparent here, in Campbell River. This summer, down there, I noticed a rather untidy-looking plant with pretty blue flowers, growing to perhaps two feet in height. The plant is abundant in Nanaimo, growing next to the sidewalk and in untended lots. Like dandelions, it fades and then reflowers within short duration.

I never saw one of those plants close up, but its blue flowers are arresting. I decided to attempt identification, and think I have: chicory.

Source:

www.ediblewildfood.com

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing and B.C. Ministry of Forests, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, botany: yard find: knapweed

Plant identification means constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a recent lesson.

I’ve noticed this perennial in the yard since I can remember:

Apparently, it’s a knapweed.

Source:

wikipedia

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Tree identification: London planetree

The tutor identifies a London planetree.

A London planetree is a hybrid between American sycamore and Oriental planetree. (The Oriental planetree is a sycamore as well.)

London planetree’s leaves are similar to American sycamore, but its fruits come in strings of 2 to 4, like Oriental planetree. There’s a tree like that a few blocks away.

HTH:)

Source:

Brockman, Frank and Rebecca Merrilees. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: tree identification from field guide: English oak

The tutor shares his discovery of English oak in Campbell River.

English oak is easy to zero in on around here. First of all, it’s a white oak: the leaf lobes are round, rather than pointed. (Pointed means red oak.)

When you see a white oak here (knowing by its rounded leaves), it will likely (so far as I know) either be a garry or an English. Yet, the trees are easy to tell apart. The garry oak acorns grow on very short stalks, or possibly just right from the branch. The English oak acorns develop on long stalks.

HTH:)

Source:

Little, Elbert L, Susan Rayfield and Olivia Buehl. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Western Region. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: remote tree identification: American sycamore

The tutor shares a nice find from his walk home today: an American sycamore tree.

Sometimes, identifying a tree, one can’t get so close as one might like: the tree might be on private property, so the viewer can’t inspect it close-up. Yet, the tree might have distinguishing characteristics that can be identified from across the street. So it is with the American sycamore.

The American sycamore has maple-like leaves, but its fruit are hanging balls (called buttonballs). Specifically, the American variety has one ball per hanging stem. Also, the marginal clefts of American sycamore leaves are much shallower than those of other varieties I’ve read about.

There we have it: a local ID of an American sycamore:)

Source:

Brockman, Frank and Rebecca Merrilees. Trees of North America. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: plant identification from a field guide: California poppy

The tutor brings up an oft-seen ornamental in populated areas of Vancouver Island: the California poppy.

California poppies are hardy plants on Vancouver Island fields, and they’re perennial. They’re typically around 40cm tall, with netted foliage that isn’t very noticeable. The flowers are: they’re usually bright orange, about 1-2 inches across, with 4 petals. The centre is orange too.

Back in June, I walked by California poppies in a field on my way home. They’re still there; I wonder if they just keep flowering until the frost. Around here, you see them in untended fields, beside highways, etc. I think they’re often planted in places where the land has been disturbed but will not be landscaped.

Now school’s back in, my daily walks will likely resume: hopefully, so will my plant shares:)

Source:

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Botany: mast and masting

The tutor shares a couple of terms he recently learned.

In a forest setting, mast can refer to food dropped from trees and bushes, such as acorns, nuts, or berries.

Masting refers to the trees’ production of the mast, but can specifically mean their coordinated production of bumper crops some years, thin ones other years.

Mast and masting are interesting to the botanist, but perhaps even more so to the sportsman, since produce from the trees influences the behavior of game.

I’ll be talking more about mast and masting.

Source:

www.sierrapotomac.org

www.wvdnr.gov

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Oak trees: do red oaks produce acorns every year?

The tutor shares the answer to a question he’s long harboured.

Generally, red oak acorns take two years to mature. Does that mean the tree drops a crop of acorns only every second year?

According to Cathy Blumig of outdoorlife.com, red oaks flower every year. Therefore, they certainly can produce acorns every year: this fall’s acorns will be from the flowers of sixteen months ago, rather than from the recent spring. Next year’s acorns, in turn, will be from this spring’s flowers.

While the quantity of acorns from a red oak may vary from year to year, the tree can definitely produce them every year.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Botany: black walnut: juglone

The tutor researches the effects of juglone from black walnut trees.

Juglone is a toxin produced by the black walnut tree; it’s found throughout the tree and in its leaves, shells and nuts.

Apparently, to humans eating the walnuts, the juglone is not a problem. However, it enters the soil from the roots of the black walnut tree, as well as from its leaves, twigs, and even pollen falling to the ground – not to mention the nuts and their shells. Some plants, such as tomatoes, potatoes, lilacs, and rhododendrons, can be damaged by the juglone.

To be safe, composted matter from black walnut should wait a year or more before application.

Horses are particularly sensitive to juglone; neither black walnut shavings, nor the husk fibre, etc, should be used in a horse’s environment.

Source:

hort.uwex.edu

extension.umd.edu

www.livestrong.com

www.omafra.gov.on.ca

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Botany: can creeping buttercup flowers be orange?

The tutor discusses a find yesterday that has him guessing.

Yesterday, clearing foliage from between some paving stones, I noticed an orange flower. In fact, it was going to seed: the petals had collapsed, but still clung to the pistil. There seemed to be five, and they were orange. This plant was among a colony of creeping buttercup, and seemed to be that, as well. (Interestingly, none of the rest of the colony is flowering, so there were no other blooms for comparison.)

The question: can creeping buttercup flowers be orange? I seem to recall they can be, but wanting confirmation, I searched the internet. Two sites suggest that creeping buttercup flowers can be orange: mountainnature.com and kuleuven-kulak.be

I’ll be talking more about yard finds in future posts:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.