2021—Commemorating a Native

Last spring, during the early days of the Pandemic, I found great joy in using my macro lens to photograph flowers. I found many of my subject flowers on my daily walks, usually in the landscaped area along the sidewalk and the occasional dandelion in a neighbor’s lawn. I felt some guilt filching blossoms from these public areas but not enough to keep me from doing it. After all, it was just one or two every once in a while. When I began to travel again wildlife returned as my primary focus and flower photography was put on the back burner. Then, a couple of days ago on my walking route I espied a cluster of white flowers on the edge of the community park that I mistook for dandelion seed pods. They were the same size and shape but as I looked more closely, I realized they were something different. I used my iPhone App called “PictureThis” to identify them and discovered them to be an annual wild flower called a Blow Wives (Achyrachaena). I’d never seen them before and I discovered happily that they are native to California and southern Oregon. I plucked a few blossoms emerging through the weedy grasses in the median strip between the sidewalk and the street. Many were already starting to fall apart and when wind gusts hit them, some of the tiny flowers and seed pods blew off the round pompoms. The very next day, the Park and Recreation Department mowed all of the grasses and wildflowers in the park. Despite the fact that I picked a wildflower, and to do so is illegal in California, apparently mowing them down is not. So, I consider my deed one that allowed me to commemorate these lovely natives that, at least for now, no longer bloom along my route.

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