Mother’s Little Helper and Other Stories »« Darwin Day Delayed Due to Delightful Detectives

The Flower Which Is Driving My Readers Mad

Poor F and Adrian. I didn’t mean for my little photo gallery of Oregon flowers to torture them so. I’ve been watching their exchange with an eye to collaring a park ranger next time I’m down that way and demanding an identification, but Adrian’s asked for more pictures, and added “pretty please,” and seeing as how the damned thing intrigued me enough to shoot several photos of it which I haven’t yet posted, I’m in a position to oblige.

Here goes:

Mystery Flower 1

I hope no one’s expecting witty, clever and insightful commentary from me on these photos. What can I say, really? It’s a flower. It’s this big and it’s pink. I’m not even sure it’s properly a flower, because from what little I know about botany, the flower heads look like modified bracts to me. But what the hell do I know? I can’t even identify the damned thing, and it’s stumped some of my most resourceful readers.

Mystery Flower 2

Also, I have cramps. And my computer has taken a pathological dislike to the idea of uploading lots of photos. I tried shaming it by showing it how the Kindle Fire was playing Pandora and loading web pages with zip and zing, but it wasn’t impressed, so I rebooted its arse. I wish I could reboot my uterus, or even just boot it, but it’s hard to get at without medical help. Right now, flowers are making me think about reproduction, and reproduction reminds me that I hate my reproductive system. Perhaps my computer has picked up on this mood.

Mystery Flower 3

It seems that as these flowers age, they get whiter, sort of like my cat. My cat has got a lot of gray, where she’s not going bald. She is, however, still spry enough to shove her dear face in mine in the ay-em and wail like a banshee until she’s started me awake believing there’s some terrible calamity. Upon investigation, I discover her food bowl’s full, her water likewise, and her litter box accessible. She’s just decided to wake me early on a morning when I’m trying to sleep in. So the next day, as she’s snoring on the pillow beside me, I retaliate by tickling her nose and crooning “You’re so cute!” until she’s wide awake.  There follows a state of truce for one day, and then she gets her vengeance by shitting on the sofa.

I love my cat. I love my cat. I love my cat.

Mystery Flower 4

There you go. Nice up-close view of the aged flower head. Speaking of aged, did I mention what I’m listening to on Pandora? New Wave. I’m living the 80s, baby, yeah. And contemplating how certain eras have a certain sound. In the 80s, it was synthesizers and lisps. I have uneasy flashbacks to leg warmers and poofy hair. I remember taping songs off the radio and hoping that eventually the DJ would tell me what they were, but he almost never did. The DJ was a 13 year-old with a fantastic radio voice, total geek, one of my favorite friends. I could have asked him, I suppose, but he was always vaguely embarrassed about his job, so we tried not to mention it. I have no idea why.

And I’m thinking of Suzanne, who had her surgery today.  Successful, thankfully, done by a top-notch surgeon. I’m thinking of my other friend, whose news I haven’t heard yet. It’s the wait-and-see-how-bad-it-is game. I hope it ends up being the least worst news.

Think happy thoughts. Think of flowers and butterflies and rocks with wonderful inclusions and phenocrysts and suchlike. Happily, we can end with a photo that has got all three.

Mystery Flower Finale

Hopefully, one of these photos will lead through a breakthrough. If not, there’s always Oregon park rangers and the Kindle Fire. I shall pull up these posts and shove these photos in faces until an identification is accomplished, for the sake of F and Adrian.

Love and hugs, my darlings. I’m off to bury myself in New Wave and 19th century mystery novels again, but I’ll be popping up to post more photos (probably not of unidentified flowers so much, because one mystery at a time is enough), and there’s the super-late Darwin Day post, and possibly a new trip to Oregon if we don’t get rained out…

Comments

  1. Achrachno says

    Definitely family Portulacaceae; almost certainly genus Calyptridium. I’ll leave those closer to the problem to sort out which species. I have little experience in the NW.

    Some Calyptridium sp. are called “pussy toes” presumably because the infls. look like cat feet.

    • Adrian says

      Ann,
      Just looked up your plant name and it appears that this is now the correct one. It supercedes Calyptridium. Thanks.

  2. Adrian says

    Thanks Dana
    Very nice photos and yes they are bracts enclosing a small flower.

    It’s Calyptridium umbellatum – Pussypaws.
    Oh, I see I was beaten to it,well done the three of you. I should read the comments before jumping in.

    I’ll stick my neck out with the butterfly, is it Egleis Fritillary? The only distribution I can get is Northern Rockies.

    The rock is a granite, I think.

    Yes I’m a nature nerd.

  3. says

    Yep. I knew them as Pussypaws, didn’t know the scientific name.

    I do like the flower photos. I spend a lot of time hiking in the woods, taking pictures of wild flowers.

  4. F says

    Gah! It didn’t look like any of the pussypaws that I’d seen. That was one of the species which looked similar to me, but not quite identical.

    In here was the pussypaws which looked most similar, but with much larger flowering bits (looking like multiple “heads”), with much less red involved.
    http://www.rabeconsulting.com/pdf/plantbook.pdf

    It looked almost nothing like pussypaws I’d seen depicted elsewhere, but then, many images didn’t show the entire plant. Which is the sort of thing that drives me nuts with supposedly botanical imagery.

    Oddly enough, I was just looking for this bedeviling flower again today. Thank you so much Dana, and everyone with the answers. Y’all rock.

    And speaking of pussypaws, this is what my cat does to annoy me if she wants me awake: She sticks a paw on my lips, usually including single claw contact for good measure. Oh, My Little Arioch.

  5. F says

    Oh, and good for Suzanne. The break sounds awful, what with the splintery tibia.

    But I found this, from Stephanie’s post, to be positively delightful: bone graph. :D

  6. sithrazer says

    “I love my cat. I love my cat. I love my cat”

    Replace ‘cat’ with ‘kids’ and I’m having flashbacks to my childhood. It was my mother’s mantra.