Strange Bedfellows

Botanically speaking of course…

Hope the new site banner help keeps you cool, if only for a second.

Try not to panic, but I think I will be switching to every other week postings during the summer.  I will continue to keep the calendar up to date.  If anyone has any bloom pictures from their travels across the universe I’d love to post them.

Today we are doing everybody’s favorite combo, bloom of the month/family affair.  To make matters more interesting, in celebration of me doing half as much work the next 3 months, the bloom of the month isn’t really a bloom and the plant family makes the Addams family seem normal.

First our non-bloom of the month.  This time of year there isn’t much in flower, and one of the more striking sights is these long strands of fuzzy balls draped over just about any plant that can support it:


Clematis lasiantha, or chaparral clematis has gone to seed, and are ready to send their progeny drifting through the air.

Also known as Virgin’s bower, old man’s beard and yerba de chiva, clematis is in the Ranunculus family.  The leaves are pinnately compound, with up to 7 leaflets.  The flowers which bloom from March-May are lightly fragrant.


The “fuzzy balls” are referred to as “persistent feathery styles, or plumose beaks”, and if you look close you see a seed at the base of each one.


In some shady spots or further up 33 (or if you come visit my nursery, it is literally entombed) you may see its less showy cousin:

Clematis ligusticifolia

Clematis ligusticifolia- Creek clematis

As I mentioned before… this is one WEIRD family.  Ranunculus is latin for “little frog”, and members of the family are mostly herbaceous.

One of my favorite local wildflowers:

Scarlet larkspur

Scarlet larkspur

There are a few amazing patches here and there, approaching the trough up Gridley is a great spot.

The more common and sullenly alluring cousin:

Blue larkspur

Blue larkspur

These beauties grace sunny grassy areas in Wills canyon

California buttercup

California buttercup

This is one of the few Ranunculus family members that have petals, most others are actually collections of sepals, known as a calyx.

I have these in my yard, Lanny recently informed me they can be found north of Ojai in shady moist areas:

Western columbine

Western columbine

I also have these weird, foul smelling-foliage plants in my yard, I’ve seen these up in the Sierras:

Western meadow rue

Western meadow rue

Stay cool ramblers….

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