Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Okay, Back to Flowers (and Meat)

This is a snapshot of a California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia californica) I took as we drove between Crescent City, CA and the Oregon Caves. These plants grow in areas with serpentine rock outcroppings. Serpentine has a jade-green color and is a silicate rich in iron and nickel. It weathers into a reddish soil that plants have a tough time growing in. However, the California Pitcher Plant likes it just fine.

The California Pitcher Plant gains sustenance by attracting flies into the pitcher (under the curled head shown in the picture; this is not the flower as they were not in bloom while we were there). Once in the hollow shaft plant of the plant, the flies cannot escape the downward pointing hairs. Organisms living in the plant break down and consume the insects and release nutrients used by the Pitcher Plant. In a sense, they eat meat (belch). These are very rare plants found only in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

We found some Western Azalea (shown below) growing beside the bog where the Pitcher plants were. We felt very fortunate to find such beautiful flowers blooming in late October.

1 comment:

ladybug said...

I was there! It was cool! There are alot more special orchids, wildflowers,fungus, old miner's holes, and other miscellanous stuff at this wayside. Heck, there's even a port-a-potty with gratuitous fundamentalist christian graffiti (Don't know Jesus? Burn in Hell!)! Regardless of the religious persuasion of the park visitors, I hope to go back in the spring to see all the neat flowers blooming!