Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cool Plant Names

I've been studying for the informal final in the native plant stewardship program I've been participating in for the past ten weeks. One part of the exam is recognizing plants and being able to give their scientific name, so that's what I've been studying. We have a list of around 60 plants that the plants will be drawn from - I was already familiar with identifying most of them so mainly I have just been brushing up on the latin.

It helps me remember when I can associate more things with the name, so I've been looking up the meaning of some of the words (There are several good websites around to do that, the one I've been using is Dave's Garden.)

Some of the names are just fun like:

  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Bear grapes, bear-grape - I think these are from two different languages.

  • Pteridium aquilinum - Like a bird wing, eagle like

  • Petasites palmatus - hat like, shaped like the palm of a hand

But what I really like (for memory sake) is when the names correspond to something obvious in the plant:

  • triphylla - three leaves - the species name of our local trillium

  • sanguineum - blood red - the species name for red flowering currant

  • millefolium - thousand leaves - the species name of a local yarrow

And there are parts of the words that show up in a bunch of different scientific names, so are particularly useful to now:

  • parvi - small

  • folium - leaves

  • flora - flowers

  • albi - white

and the list goes on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Robins and Shakespear

The native plant stewardship program I have become involved with went on a field trip to Shadow Bog last Saturday. It was a neat place - lot's of plants I haven't seen too much outside of the muskegs in Southeast Alaska. The people there seem really neat. They started a foundation to acquire lands important to that water system back in the 90s I think and so far have acquired 10 of the 11 parcels they identified as being critical. They've worked on restoring the habitat and encouraging amphibians and providing educational opportunities for people in the area.

We took a walk on a boardwalk that is built out into the bog. When we stopped to talk a bit in one spot there were a couple of robins freaking out up in the canopy. Eventually somebody noticed the nest at about chest height just beside the boardwalk where we stopped.

On Sunday I went down to the Fremont Fair for a few hours. There they have a lot of booths selling things and of course overpriced fair food. They also have several stages with music groups performing, street performers (one group of jugglers was pretty entertaining, even if it seemed that their actual juggling skills were not particularly high) and some impressive art cars.

On my way back home I went under the Troll Bridge. Turns out there was a group putting on a production of "As You Like It" right there next to the street. I thought that was a really cool idea and would have liked to watch it, but it had already been going for quite a while and I had someplace to get to.