Posts Tagged ‘tree flowers’

A Short Walk in Aruba

1 September 2019

Aruba lies on a diagonal (per conventional maps) in the south Caribbean Sea. On its sheltered southwest side live most of its people. A city called Oranjestad serves as its capital and main port. This is where I walked during my recent visit.

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For family and others that might have a sense of this, Aruba is just a bit larger than Beaver Island (largest island in Lake Michigan).

The climate in Aruba is similar to Sacramento. Average annual rainfall is just 19 inches, though this can vary considerably. Average temperature is in the 80s, and because it is so close to the equator, this varies little year round. Thus, the plants there do not really experience seasons, and I found many with new flowers, wilted flowers, and fruit all on the same plant at the same time. The island is at about 12 degrees north, compared to 38 degrees north for Sacramento and 32 degrees north for San Diego.

As mentioned earlier, it has a mixed Spanish/Dutch heritage (not including the original inhabitants who came from South America). Most islanders speak Papiamento as their first language, a Portuguese-based Creole brought in from Portuguese Africa. It also uses a lot of Spanish words and some Dutch words. And so we see the buildings that are typical of these towns have a Dutch-European flare:

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The above building is near the center of the shopping district, and the ones shown below are just a few blocks away.

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The shopping streets have the “nice” trees of this area, acacia and various others. Here is a typical acacia:

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Notice the pods, marking this plant as a legume. Legumes are known in the plant world as being “nitrogen fixing.” This means that they can serve as hosts to a kind of bacterium capable of removing nitrogen from air in the soil. The plant then uses this nitrogen in its leaves and seeds, also leaving much of it in nodules on its roots. When any of these plant parts die, they fertilize the soil, assuming the dead parts are left on (or in) the ground.

Here we have the flowers for this tree. You see here almost no petals. Unlike their cousins the locusts that grow farther north, the acacias are adapted to dry weather and that means different flowers.

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Here is another tree seen on the shopping streets. I have not been able to identify it.

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There was a persistent chirping coming from many of these trees, but it was difficult to identify its source. That is because the bird responsible for the noise is quite small and prefers to stay inside tree foliage. It is known as the bananaquit and is very common in these regions. I finally saw one sitting out on a palm across the street and did my best to get a picture of it.

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I walked out towards the edge of the shopping district, where buildings and plants changed a bit. The buildings got more run-down, and the plants became more indigenous. I don’t know about the animals, though!

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It seems these free-running chickens know to stay out of the shopping areas. This rooster is sitting in a tree that is very common in this area, and which I have identified as a tropical mesquite. Mesquites do well in arid regions. They are causing ranchers considerable trouble in the southern United States because they crowd out grazing grasses which feed cattle better and also hold soil better. But, that is a different issue.

Here the mesquite don’t seem to be causing any particular problems. And as they are also leguminous, we again have nitrogen fixing happening where they grow.

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Given the opportunity, mesquite will “lay down” and shade a considerable area. Notice also the traffic barriers, or bollards, which are seen all over these islands. Variations of these are used in many cities to deter vehicles from entering certain areas.

A closer look at these trees reveals the characteristic pinnately-compound leaf (arranged like a feather; pinna = feather) and seed pods.

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On photographing more of these trees, I came upon this odd image, mostly a shadow from my viewpoint. I brought out a little detail by running auto-color-correct on the image.

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As I continued my walk, I saw many more of these lizards, which all look basically like iguana to me.

I walked back into town along a sort of drainage ditch. It was well-kept but definitely had the appearance of a drain. Along the way I ran across several more showy plants and a few animals. I have not identified this tree with lovely yellow flowers:

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This, however, is a cordia. It has some other common names. According to articles, the fruit is edible but not tasty.

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Right at the water I found this bush, a seagrape.

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And hanging above my head, coconuts:

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In a park near the harbor for small boats, I saw this lizard. It did not seem too concerned about me being there, and was quite patient while I photographed it.

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Likewise, a brown pelican, sitting just a few feet away. The pelicans are just one of many sea birds that frequent the coast. Another one – more difficult to photograph – is the frigate bird, constantly soaring near shore.

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The harbor and similar tourist amenities weren’t stressed in this post, but here is a view of it:

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I found the area for the most part quiet and unchallenging. A nice place to go to “get away from it all.” It is not particularly pricey, though the cost of flying there can be several hundred dollars. For some, it is their favorite vacation destination.

 

 

 

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A flowering

31 March 2019

Facebook recently informed me by email that I was tagged in a photo. It turned out to be this picture taken in North Carolina last year, and recently posted by Ryan Prescott. It’s a beautiful communication of how people can come together when the need arises and help each other.

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This photo includes at least two people from California, several from Florida, one from Venezuela, and the women in sunglasses who I believe are from New York or that general area. We were all in North Carolina to help clean up after flooding and damage caused by a hurricane.

Sacramento Flowering Trees

Meanwhile, here in the Sac area certain fruit trees are very much in bloom.

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I noticed the incredible profusion of these flowers when I went shopping yesterday. I went back today to photograph them at the light rail station where they are most prolific, Sunrise station in Rancho Cordova.

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In this part of town some streets are lined with these trees. I am not sure of the exact species; they seem to be maybe an ornamental plum.

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Many trees and plants in this region are flowering or leafing out right now. They know they have a relatively short window of time between when there is some rainfall and when that stops and it gets really hot.

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These flowers won’t last long. The wind blows them away almost as fast as they can bud and mature.

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On this trip I also noticed the redbuds blooming very strongly. We don’t have a lot of redbuds here; I don’t think they are native to this area. But they do grow well here.

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Springtime is perhaps the perfect time to reflect on the importance of creative activities in the games of life. Where would we be without creation?

 

Second Warm Period on the Palouse

21 May 2017

The plants are popping out very strongly on our warmer days.

They seem proud this year. The weather was rough, and the warmth came late. They suffered this Spring, but came through it OK.

I hope we can do the same!

flowering apple tree

“I’m the best apple tree on the Palouse.”

quail on pullman trail

Quail like sunny days, too.

Spring!

17 April 2016
dandelions

Dandelions: The yellow harbingers of Spring.

This year we had a mild, wet winter, followed by a late cool-down, then a sudden warm-up. The result: Everything seemed to bloom at once!

This made available many non-showy tree flowers, which don’t get photographed very often.

All these photos were taken last weekend.

Nature area trees

Ash flowers

Ash flowers.

Maple flowers

Maple flowers.

Willow flowers

Willow flowers.

Fruit trees

flowering fruit trees

Flowering fruit trees.

In this area, most fruit trees are introduced. I haven’t tried to figure out here exactly which types of tree these are. All the showy-flowered fruit trees are in the Rose Family (Rosaceae) along with familiar fruits like raspberries and strawberries.

meadow by the bike path

Meadow by the bike path.

fruit tree flowers

Fruit tree flowers.

Bees (present but not pictured) pollinate all Rose Family plants. In contrast, most of the non-showy tree flowers are wind-pollinated, and their seeds wind-scattered.

urban fruit tree

Fruit tree in an urban setting.

Daffodils

Pullman daffodils

Pullman daffodils.

Somebody planted a lot of daffodils! I have never noticed them as much as I did this Spring. They are all over the place in the more recently developed areas. And I mean , really all over.

daffodils in runoff management area

Daffodils front runoff management area, Bishop Boulevard.

redwing blackbird

Redwing blackbird guarding his domain.

Walmart embankment

The “Walmart Embankment” and more daffodils.

daffodils

Daffodils up close.

Introduced urban trees

Aspen flowers

Aspen flowers.

I found this white-barked aspen near the top of the “south hill” in the hospital’s garden. It is not native to this area, nor is the birch pictured below. Birch, besides being somewhat delicate trees and preferring the protection of a forest, don’t seem to do that well in this area, but that doesn’t prevent this specimen in the middle of downtown from doing the best it can to reproduce.

birch flowers

Birch flowers