Giant Salamander

Written by charlie   
Saturday, 05 September 2015 01:03
Im always amazed by the giant salamanders of Japan, they seem like something from an old school Godzilla movie! Up to 6 feet long -- seriously. When was the last time you saw a salamander larger that...4-6 inches?

YouTube never disappoints, check it out for yourself:


Cardinal flower

Written by charlie   
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00
The Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis L.) , an obligate wetland perennial found throughout much of the United States, is now in bloom. Its deep red, narrow, bell shaped flowers bloom in late Summer from a stalk ranging between 2-6 feet tall. True to its namesake, the deep red color is reminiscent of a Roman Catholic Cardinal's frock. In the photo below, I found a 2.5 foot specimen in bloom, happily growing in a mucky lakeside.

While the color is attractive to insects, the long, narrow flowers makes it difficult for them to navigate, and the Cardinal flower largely relies on hummingbirds for pollination.

Cardinal Flower - Wetland Plant

California Walnut and Jepson Herbaria

Written by charlie   
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 10:54
Curious about the California Walnut tree (Juglans californica) and its status as a wetland plant (it was recently changed from a facilitative (FAC) to a Facilitative Upland (FACU) plant by the Corps of Engineers after its status was challenged by the National Association of Home Builders), I stumbled upon the Jepson eFlora website. The site, run by UC Berkley, is an authority on the native and naturalized plants of California, which includes taxonomy, distribution maps and illustrations and photographs dating back decades. The distribution maps are particularly interesting; a mashup of googlemaps and data from the herbarium including the date and location of specimens found. The tools can also search by county, elevation range, and include additional data from over 30 additional herbariums. As far as I can determine, it does not offer a search parameter which limits a search to wetland plants, so its a good idea to have a particular plant or location of what you are looking for.

The Jepson eFlora site is here ,and a also of note, is Califlora with much of the same data.
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