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October 1, 2010

Turkey Mullein

Good year for Turkey Mullein, too!

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Turkey Mullein, Dove Weed
Dry Creek
September 30, 2010

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Turkey Mullein, Dove Weed
Dry Creek
September 30, 2010

Toxic to animals, crushed plants were used by the natives to stupify fish. Dark, round seeds attract dove, quail and other birds.

September 8, 2010

Milkweed Seeds

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September 7, 2010
Greasy Creek


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September 7, 2010
Greasy Creek



Following the cycle (a promised follow-up to the August 5th post) of Milkweed. The fine filament attached to the seed has many uses.

August 5, 2010

Milkweed

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Showy Milkweed with seed pods
Greasy Creek
August 5, 2010

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Showy Milkweed with seed pods
Greasy Creek
August 5, 2010

I went back to Greasy today to see how the cows are getting along, some due to calve in 30 days. They looked great, but in that process I became intrigued with these Milkweed seed pods. The genus Aclepias, named for Aclepius, the Greek god of healing, comes from the many folk-medicinal uses of the plant’s milky substance, reportedly employed to clot small wounds and remove warts. Be careful, however, some species are toxic. Containing cardiac glycoside poisons, natives in the Southern Hemisphere used part of the plant on their spears and arrows.

I will try to photograph an open seed pod later on to show their fine seed filaments that have been utilized as insulation to replace goose down and kapok, and grown commercially as a hypoallergenic filling for pillows. The nectar was used by natives as a sweetener. The plant is also the sole source of food for the monarch butterfly larvae.


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Narrow-Leaf Milkweed with Tarantula Hawk
Greasy Creek
August 5, 2010

July 14, 2010

Western Morning Glory

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Western Morning Glory
Greasy Creek
July 14, 2010

I found quite a patch in the horse lot below Sulphur Spring, near where Earl McKee's folks had a cabin. He burnt it down years ago when his good stud found some squirrel poison that he had stored inside. Just Mornining Glory, now.

June 30, 2010

Centaury - long stemmed

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Centaury - Zeltnera exalta - long-stemmed
Dry Creek
June 29, 2010

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Centaury - Zeltnera exalta - long-stemmed
Dry Creek
June 29, 2010

It seems that I've been driving by this clump of centaury along the driveway for weeks, too busy to photograph. At the tail-end of its bloom, these are anemic examples of what they were at the beginning of June, blooming a week or two behind the larger and more flamboyant venusta. These flowers are about 3/8ths of inch in diameter and are liable to go unseen in the taller dry grasses. The late spring rains seem to have brought large populations of both varieties this year.

May 31, 2010

Centaury

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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta) with white flowers
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010

Continue reading "Centaury" »

May 29, 2010

Indian Clover

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(Showy) Indian Clover
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010

May 15, 2010

Indian Clover

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Indian Clover
Dry Creek
May 8, 2010

May 14, 2010

Rock Lettuce

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Rock Lettuce
Dry Creek
May 8, 2010

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

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Twining Brodiaea
Dry Creek
May 8, 2010

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May 8, 2010

White Owl's Clover

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White Owl's Clover (Valley Tassels)
Dry Creek
May 1, 2010

Elegant Clarkia

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Elegant Clarkia
Greasy Creek
May 6, 2010
Genus named (Clarkia unguiculata) in honor of Captain William Clark, Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806).

Bob and I ran across a hillside full (south-facing) on the way up Greasy Creek to fix fence and replace a gate the bulls demolished. Neither of us can remember seeing it before - wet spring.

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August 30, 2009

Tarweed

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Tarweed
Greasy Creek
August 30, 2009

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Tarweed
Greasy Creek
August 30, 2009

Oil is expressed from the seed and used as a table oil or lubricant. The nutritious seed can be dried and ground into a meal. From scalded seeds, the oil can be used for soap making. Flowering tops were used for a poison oak remedy. Leaves used as a tonic for inflamatory rheumatism. Northern California Indians made a cough syrup by drying the buds.

July 11, 2009

Yellow Starthistle

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Yellow Starthistle (Baranby's Thistle)
Dry Creek
July 11, 2009

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Yellow Starthistle (Baranby's Thistle)
Dry Creek
July 11, 2009


Technically not a native, Yellow Starthistle was introduced to the West Coast from Eurasia in the 1860s and currently infests 800,000,000 acres in California alone, 8 times the acreage since 1958. Each plant can produce 150,000 seeds. Poisonous to horses. Bad stuff.

June 14, 2009

Common Gourd

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Common Gourd ( Wild Gourd, Buffalo Gourd, Calabazilla)
Dry Creek
June 13, 2009

Early Spanish Californians called it 'chili coyote'.

Native uses: The roots were crushed and mixed with the pith of the fruit for soap to wash clothes. The seeds were crushed and eaten. Portions of the gourd were made into a strong purge, an overdose of which could prove fatal. A tea was made to address bloat and worms in horses. Dried gourds were used as rattles in native dances.


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Common Gourd ( Wild Gourd, Buffalo Gourd, Calabazilla)
Dry Creek
June 19, 2009

June 12, 2009

Black Nightshade

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Black Nightshade, Deadly Nightshade, Poison Berry
Dry Creek
June 8, 2009

The berries are poisonous. Typically livestock avoid Nightshade unless grazing is short, but once ingested Nightshade can become addictive and result in death.

Native uses: Although the old leaves are poisonous, the young leaves are said to be used as a cooking herb. Boiling the ripe black berries destroys their toxic properties and they were often made into pies. The Natives used a decoction as an eyewash. Parkinson wrote, "The root boiled in wine and a little thereof held in the mouth eases the pain of toothache." Pliny wrote, "It is good to fasten loose teeth, and the juice of the root, mingled with honey, is good for weak eyes. Juice of the leaves and a little vinegar mixed together procures rest and sleep."

June 11, 2009

Narrow-leaf Milkweed

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Narrow-leaf Milkweed
Greasy Creek
June 11, 2009

May 30, 2009

Showy Milkweed

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Showy Milkweed (Indian Milkweed, Kotolo Milkweed)
Paregien Ranch
May 30, 2009

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Showy Milkweed
Paregien Ranch
May 30, 2009

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Showy Milkweed
Paregien Ranch
May 30, 2009

Everybody, at least beetles, bugs, bees and moths, like Milkweed for its source of nectar. Also an important larval food source for Monarch butterflies.


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Greasy Creek
June 11, 2009

How many insects can you see? At least eight on this milkweed flowerhead, including a honeybee, bumblebee and a male tarantula hawk. Approximately 2 inches long, the male tarantula hawk feeds off the flowers of milkweeds while the female hunts spiders, including tarantulas. Its sting can be one of the most painful in the insect world. The female lays a single egg in the paralyzed spider where its larva will feed upon the still-living spider, sucking juices and avoiding its vital organs for as long as possible.

May 11, 2009

Harvest Brodiaea

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Harvest Brodiaea
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Foothill Penstemon

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Foothill Penstemon (Foothill Beardtongue)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009


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Foothill Penstemon (Foothill Beardtongue)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Italian Thistle

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Italian Thistle
Greasy Creek
May 11,2009

Farewell To Spring

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Farewell to Spring (Winecup, Evening Primrose)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009


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Farewell to Spring (Winecup, Evening Primrose)
Dry Creek
May 9, 2009

Twining Brodiaea

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Twining Brodiaea
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Purple Milkweed

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Purple Milkweed
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Sweet Alyssum

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Sweet Alyssum
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Clay Mariposa Lily

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Clay Mariposa Lily, Mariposa Lily)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Common Yarrow

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Common Yarrow (Milfoil)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Common Pepper Grass

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Common Peppergrass
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

California Yerba Santa

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California Yerba Santa (Mountain Balm)
Dry Creek
April 5, 2009

Thanks again to Krys Munzing for identifying this one. Just now catching-up with old business.

May 8, 2009

Milk Thistle

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Milk Thistle (Blessed Milk Thistle, Russian Thistle, Musk Thistle, Nodding Thistle, Bristle Thistle) only thistle with milky juice.
Dry Creek
May 6, 2009


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Milk Thistle (Blessed Milk Thistle, Russian Thistle, Musk Thistle, Nodding Thistle, Bristle Thistle) only thistle with milky juice.
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

May 7, 2009

Coyote Thistle

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Coyote Thistle
Dry Creek
May 6, 2009

April 10, 2009

Mustang Clover

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Mustang Clover (Yellow-Throated Gilia)
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

Satin Bells

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Satin Bells (pink fairy lantern)
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

White Lupine

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White Lupine
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

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White Lupine
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

Wild Hyacinth

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Wild Hyacinth (white brodiaea, wild onion)
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

Ithuriel's Spears

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Ithuriel's Spears (Grass Nut)
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

Tomcat Clover

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Tomcat Clover
Dry Creek
April 10, 2009

April 6, 2009

London Rocket

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London Rocket
April 6, 2009
Dry Creek

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London Rocket
April 6, 2009
Dry Creek

Horehound

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Horehound
April 6, 2009
Dry Creek

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Horehound
April 6, 2009
Dry Creek

April 2, 2009

Pipe Stem Clematis

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Pipe Stem Clematis
Dry Creek
April 2, 2009

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Pipe Stem Clematis (with Poison Oak)
Dry Creek
April 2, 2009

Purple Owl's Clover

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Purple Owl's Clover
Dry Creek
April 2, 2009

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Purple Owl's Clover and Blue Lupine
Dry Creek
April 2, 2009

Brewer's Lupine

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Brewer's Lupine
Paregien Ranch
April 2, 2009

Hairy Vetch

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Hairy Vetch
Dry Creek
April 6, 2009

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Hairy Vetch
Dry Creek
April 2, 2009

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Hairy Vetch
Dry Creek
April 6, 2009

Blue Field Gilia

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Blue Field Gilia
Paregien Ranch
April 2, 2009

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Blue Field Gilia
Paregien Ranch
April 2, 2009

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Blue Field Gilia and Blue Lupine
Paregien Ranch
April 2, 2009

Foothill Poppy

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Foothill Poppy
Paregien Ranch
April 2, 2009

March 29, 2009

Monkeyflower

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Monkeyflower
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Johnny Tuck

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Johnny Tuck
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Agoseris

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Agoseris
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Dandelion

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Dandelion
Dry Creek
Mrch 29, 2009

Lace Pod

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Lace Pod
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Thanks to Krys, the Lace Pod has been identified. It's one of those delicate little plants you can't help but notice when photographing something else. Included in only two of my reference books, 'Calflora.org' made it quick and easy to identify. I know I've become a little obscessed with knowing the names of our local wildflowers, but I think it's just plain ignorance not to know them when you've lived in a place most of your life. As many of these species are common throughout the West, knowing their names and native uses may be of interest to others. And lastly, when I certainly will forget their names, I've got a place to go to relearn them.

Native uses: seeds may be parched and eaten, or ground into a flour.

Red-Stem Filaree

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Red-Stem Filaree
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

White-Stem Filaree

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White-Stem Filaree
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

March 28, 2009

Pretty Face

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Pretty Face (Golden Brodiaea)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009


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Pretty Face (Golden Brodiaea)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

March 27, 2009

Purple Chinese Houses

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Purple Chinese Houses (with Fiddleneck)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Bur Clover

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Bur Clover
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

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Bur Clover
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Pineapple Weed

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Pineapple Weed
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Jimpson Weed

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Jimpson Weed (Thornberry, Mountain Morning Glory)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Native uses: solution from leaves to wash a horse that 'wants to stray'; roots used to make a drink that was consumed as a once-in-a-lifetime ceremonial event, or when a medical situation warrented a strong painkiller. Poisonous to man and livestock.

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Jimpson Weed (Thornberry, Mountain Morning Glory)
Dry Creek
June 13, 2009

Part of the Nightshade family along with Tree Tobacco, Nightshade, tomatoes and potatoes.

Blue Lupine

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Blue Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Spreading Phlox

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Spreading Phlox (Bird's Eye Gilia)
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Silvercrown Lucina

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Silvercrown Lucina
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Lomatium

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Lomatium (Biscuitroot)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Native uses: young green stems eaten raw; tea made of leaves, stems and flowers; roots eaten raw or dried and ground into a flour - add water, knead and dry in sun or bake into bread resembling the taste of a stale biscuit. According to Donald Kirk (see 'References'), cakes would be about 2 feet long and a foot wide with a hole in the middle for hanging on the saddle horn or hanging in the rafters.

Bush Monkeyflower

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Bush Monkeyflower
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

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Bush Monkeyflower
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

March 24, 2009

Goldfields

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Goldfields
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Goldfields (with Minature Lupine)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

White-Veined Mallow

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White-Veined Mallow
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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White-Veined Mallow
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Native uses: Leaves, soft stems and flowers steeped and made into a poultice for running sores, boils and swellings. An infusion of dried leaves is good for coughs.

Pliny wrote, 'that anyone taking a spoonful of mallows will be free of disease; they soften and heal ulcers and sores.'

Parkinson wrote, 'Leaves and roots boiled in wine or water or in both with parsley doth help to open the body, for hot agues. Leaves bruised and laid on the eyes with a little honey take away the inflamation from them.'

Baby Blue Eyes

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Baby Blue Eyes (with White-Veined Mallow)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Baby Blue Eyes (with White-Veined Mallow)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

March 23, 2009

Phacelia

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Phacelia ramosissima (Scorpionweed)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Phacelia ramosissima (Scorpionweed)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Native uses: may be used as cooked greens. Plant may irritate suceptible individuals.

Lupine

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Bush Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Bush Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Minature Lupine
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

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Minature Lupine
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Mustard

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Hedge Mustard (Pamito)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

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Hedge Mustard (Pamito)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: seeds knocked into baskets and stirred in a pan over an open fire and then ground into a mush or stirred into a soup. Crushed seeds used as poultices or made into a tea. Young leaves boiled and eaten.

Common Brodiaea

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Common Brodiaea (Wild Hyacinth, Blue Dicks)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: bulbs edible raw, boil or roasted

Fiesta Flower

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Tidy Tips

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Tidy Tips
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

March 21, 2009

Sierra Shooting Star

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Sierra Shooting Star
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

Wild Cucumber

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Wild Cucumber (Manroot, Sierra Manroot)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: seeds roasted and eaten for kidney trouble; oil extracted from seeds for falling hair; crushed root mixed with sugar for saddle sores on horses; crushed pieces of green roots put in streams to stupify fish. The fleshy root of this climbing perennial may weigh as much as 100 pounds.

Miner's Lettuce

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Miner's Lettuce (Indian Lettuce)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: tender leaves eaten green, or cooked; made into a tea as a laxative. Helped prevent scurvy for the early gold miners.

Fiddleneck

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Fiddleneck
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Fiddleneck
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Popcorn Flower

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Popcorn Flower (Snow Drops)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Popcorn Flower (Snow Drops)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

California Poppy

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California Poppy
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Sulphur Ridge
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

March 19, 2009

Early Poppies

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Dry Creek from Paregien Ranch
March 19, 2009

The opinions expressed in the Western Folklife Center's Deep West online journals are those of the online journal participants and not the Western Folklife Center. The Western Folklife Center does not moderate these journals and as such does not guarantee the veracity, reliability or completeness of any information provided in the journals or in any hyperlink appearing within them.

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