Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ranunculus, Ridiculous

First off, SpiderGirl was right about the ranunculus. The little yellow flowers which I call buttercups (as SpiderGirl pointed out, a type of ranunculus) are in fact, winter aconite (ranunculaceae, Eranthis). My landlady was kind enough to let me in on the secret of their exact common name (and kind enough to offer that I could dig some up and bring it over to my cottage!) Rock on!

Second… I’m in love with a spruce cone.

It’s ridiculous. It’s disturbing. It’s leaning towards dendrophilia!

Ok, it’s nothing untoward… nothing obscene...

Here’s the story: Monday, I was walking my month’s rent check to our landlady and landlord, when one of the great evergreens in their driveway gave me a gift: a cone!

I think you’ll agree that it’s just gorgeous… I picked up two, but I like this one the best – especially because it has a little twig of needles still attached. While I’m not certain of the species, after looking online I believe that this is likely a Norway Spruce. Interestingly, it appears to have already tossed its seeds out of the cone. I can see the groves under the platelets where they should be, but they are all empty.

Anyways, I’ve simply fallen in love with this beautiful cone. I love the feel of its shiny platelets, its uniform radial symmetry, its delicate fragrance, and its pretty little twig. I’ve been carrying this cone around for two days now. It’s been sitting on my desk next to my laptop when I write, and following me around the house while I work.

Is there an 800 number I can call to get help for this sort of thing? :)

Have you ever brought cones into the house (or kept them on the dashboard of your truck) and watched as they opened and closed their platelets? I don’t mean rapidly like fish gills, but slowly over time?

Later today, or perhaps tomorrow, I'll be sharing some more images from the stone ruins. Last night I took some great pictures showing how the trees have taken over what was once a large farm house.


  1. Don’t worry—you’re not alone in your love of cones.

    Two days ago I found three fist-sized cones from a lovely little Knobecone Pine that lives near the ridge of a canyon where I live. I took the cones home and now they sit on my patio where I drink my coffee and watch the hummingbirds sip at my blooming lavender.

    Here in southern California, among the high desert chaparral, we have more Coast Live Oaks and Sycamores then we do pines, but I do love the few scrubby, three-needled Knobecone Pines because they smell so nice.

    Plus, there’s nothing lovelier than listening to the wind whistling through the needles.

  2. Hello again JB! Hmmm... I have yet to meet a Knobecone Pine (at least, if I have I didn't know that's what it was), but I HAVE had fun roaming the hills in southern California. I've also looked down in valleys in So. Cal covered in oaks that look a lot like roaming buffalo!

    I agree - the voice of the trees on the wind is one of my favorite sounds on earth!

  3. cone removal? i don't know about that one. stone ruins, the mystery continues.

  4. Cue the mystery music! Those images will have to wait until tomorrow... I'm having connectivity issues... Darn Mercury!

  5. Your blog has such a lovely, serene quality to it.

    My husband is a garden person. We have about l/2 acre, and he has so many plants and trees, it is foreboding.

  6. Why thank you Barbara! When I first created my blog, one of the primary goals included writing something that was enjoyable for my audience to read each day...

    The news is so tough to read, and while I read it daily from many different sources online, I find myself longing for things to read each day that aren't such major downers as national and international affairs. I'm hoping that I can count my blog among the little online spaces that offer such a respite.

    Your husband must have fun with half an acre! We have about 2.5 acres back in Washington, but most of it is covered in forest (which I love). It made for challenging (but rewarding) gardening, especially because the soil is 50% ROCK... thank you, glaciers!

  7. That is one cool pinecone, could you post some native fungus on as well? -Ducklover

  8. You got it Ducklover. Check back next week and I'll see what types of fungi I can find for you!

    For now, you might like these two fungus pictures:

  9. I found quite a few exotic and interesting Fungi types on Bainbridge Island.

  10. I bet you did, Ducklover - there are lots of big, old trees there, and especially with all that moisture, it's fungi heaven!

  11. My fav kind is shelf I believe, at camp waskowitz I saw ones on trees bigger than a human head.

  12. Those sound beautiful Ducklover! There are some really amazing fungi out there. I've even read about some that can grow to be several FEET wide! Wouldn't that be something to see? :)

  13. Just like the water plants that grow in like, Africa that float and become about 7 to 12 feet I think. So large infact that children will play on the, while they are floating! I saw 6 of them in a Burke meusam greenhouse, though they were only about 1 to 3 feet and the bottom was overed in spikes.


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