The Bird and the Pine Tree at Crater Lake National Park

Tuesday’s Tree this week is the Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and its relationship with the Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana.) The Whitebark Pine is known as a “stone pine”, meaning that the cone doesn’t open on its own.

The Whitebark Pine needs the Clark’s Nutcracker’s sharp beak to open the cone and distribute the seeds, stashing them around Crater Lake. The Clark’s Nutcracker gets a winter food source from the “stashed” seeds, and the next generation of Whitebark Pine trees grow from the seeds not reclaimed.

(via: Crater Lake National Park)

The Canary Island spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) is a succulent member of the genus Euphorbia endemic to the Canary Islands. It is a small tree which grows to between 3 and 4 metres (9.8 and 13.1 ft) in height and is made up of fleshy quadrangular or pentagonal trunks that look like cacti. This specimen was photographed close to the Mirador de Archipenque at Los Gigantes.
 Photograph: Claude Meisch
(via: Wikipedia)

The Canary Island spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) is a succulent member of the genus Euphorbia endemic to the Canary Islands. It is a small tree which grows to between 3 and 4 metres (9.8 and 13.1 ft) in height and is made up of fleshy quadrangular or pentagonal trunks that look like cacti. This specimen was photographed close to the Mirador de Archipenque at Los Gigantes.

Photograph: Claude Meisch

(via: Wikipedia)

Redwood National and State Parks (NPS) - CA, USA:
There are many different types of berries in the forests of Redwood NSP. Some, like blackberries and thimbleberries, are edible and can be collected in modest amounts. 
Others, however, are NOT to be eaten. Pictured here is clintonia, also known as bluebead lily for obvious and colorful reasons. Its vibrant, almost unnaturally blue berries may look tasty, but make no mistake- eating them may leave you with a painful stomach-ache!

There are many different types of berries in the forests of Redwood NSP. Some, like blackberries and thimbleberries, are edible and can be collected in modest amounts.

Others, however, are NOT to be eaten. Pictured here is clintonia, also known as bluebead lily for obvious and colorful reasons. Its vibrant, almost unnaturally blue berries may look tasty, but make no mistake- eating them may leave you with a painful stomach-ache!

Some recent photos from the garden…

The Wild Poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla), which is native to this part of Texas, is growing really well in a pot with one of my Prickly Pears.

A 1st or 2nd instar Black Swallowtail caterpillar () sits on a leaf of the green fennel. At this stage, its not as shoy as it will be, and still mimics a bird dropping.

The Common Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) that I grew from seed have grown to about 8 feet in height, and are hosting all sorts of awesome little critter. I finally saw an adult froghopper (family Cercopidae) sitting near its larvae, spittlebugs. The picture here shows a male Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) sitting under one of the leaves. These have been great plants for bringing new inverts into the garden.

The bottom 2 photos are of the gorgeous blooms of my succulent Echeveria.

Rocky Mountain National Park - CO, USA
What’s Blooming? 
The Rybergia grandiflora, or Alpine Sunflower can be seen growing throughout the treeless Alpine Tundra Ecosystem. This is a great blooming year for these flowers, as it usually takes 15-20 years for the roots to gather enough energy to bloom. Come out and discover the unique ecosystem of the tundra at your Rocky Mountain National Park! - ch 
photo taken by Ranger KP

What’s Blooming?

The Rybergia grandiflora, or Alpine Sunflower can be seen growing throughout the treeless Alpine Tundra Ecosystem. This is a great blooming year for these flowers, as it usually takes 15-20 years for the roots to gather enough energy to bloom. Come out and discover the unique ecosystem of the tundra at your Rocky Mountain National Park! - ch

photo taken by Ranger KP

The  African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis, is native to west and southwest Africa but is now widely cultivated in other tropical countries. The oil from this palm is used both as human food and increasingly as a biofuel. Oil palm production has been documented as a cause of substantial and often irreversible damage to the natural environment. Its impacts include deforestation, habitat loss of critically endangered species, and a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. More about this species: Encyclopedia of Life Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad via Flickr 

The African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis, is native to west and southwest Africa but is now widely cultivated in other tropical countries. The oil from this palm is used both as human food and increasingly as a biofuel.

Oil palm production has been documented as a cause of substantial and often irreversible damage to the natural environment. Its impacts include deforestation, habitat loss of critically endangered species, and a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

More about this species: Encyclopedia of Life

Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad via Flickr 

libutron
libutron:

The Extravagant Black Bat flower
The unusual Black Bat flower, Tacca chantrieri (Dioscoreales - Dioscoreaceae), is quite distinctive by the strange, unique, near black flowers. The flowers, which can grow up to 25 cm long, have four large, dark-purple bracts and long bracteoles, giving the inflorescence a striking appearance that superficially resemble a flying bat, a sinister face, or a mean tiger with whiskers.
Tacca chantrieri is an endangered species that occurs in tropical regions of SE Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China, particularly Yunnan Province.
The features of these flowers have been assumed to function as a ‘‘deceit syndrome’’ in which reproductive structures resemble decaying organic material attracting flies that facilitate cross-pollination (sapromyiophily). However, a study on pollination and mating in Tacca chantrieri populations from SW China, has shown that despite considerable investment in extravagant display, populations of this species are predominantly selfing and that flowers have several traits that promote autonomous self-pollination.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©Stephanie Lichlyter 
Locality: Cultivated (Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, US)

libutron:

The Extravagant Black Bat flower

The unusual Black Bat flower, Tacca chantrieri (Dioscoreales - Dioscoreaceae), is quite distinctive by the strange, unique, near black flowers. The flowers, which can grow up to 25 cm long, have four large, dark-purple bracts and long bracteoles, giving the inflorescence a striking appearance that superficially resemble a flying bat, a sinister face, or a mean tiger with whiskers.

Tacca chantrieri is an endangered species that occurs in tropical regions of SE Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China, particularly Yunnan Province.

The features of these flowers have been assumed to function as a ‘‘deceit syndrome’’ in which reproductive structures resemble decaying organic material attracting flies that facilitate cross-pollination (sapromyiophily). However, a study on pollination and mating in Tacca chantrieri populations from SW China, has shown that despite considerable investment in extravagant display, populations of this species are predominantly selfing and that flowers have several traits that promote autonomous self-pollination.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Stephanie Lichlyter

Locality: Cultivated (Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, US)

Do you recognize this slender red plant as an orchid? 
It’s western coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana), one of several coralroot orchid species blooming now in shady conifer forests. Because they are leafless, these orchids don’t have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Instead, they rely on nutrients produced by fungi in their roots. 
Photo courtesy of Curtis Akin
(via: Yellowstone National Park - WY)

Do you recognize this slender red plant as an orchid?

It’s western coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana), one of several coralroot orchid species blooming now in shady conifer forests. Because they are leafless, these orchids don’t have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Instead, they rely on nutrients produced by fungi in their roots.

Photo courtesy of Curtis Akin

(via: Yellowstone National Park - WY)