Saturday, December 16, 2023

CHAPTER 4: of the book DIVINE VISIONS of NATURE from the FOOTHILLS of MOUNT TIMPANOGOS

CLICK:  To RETURN TO HOME PAGE



INTRODUCTION
So far in the hiking season of 2023, in my determination to keep alive and be useful to lovers of nature's creation,  I have made three climbs to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT....the 3rd one very dangerous for a "recovering cripple."  During the rest of the season, I made it there three more times, plus blessed with being able to make over 100  more trips to the now 3 Trailheads with lesser, but signifcant hikes to be able to  share with all you the VISIONS of NATURE I have been blessed to notice, photograph and research.

Now, on January 1, 2024 I can say I ended 2023 yesterday making one very hard trip to the SPOT, and waited there until sunset to get the pictures I'll use to end my book....now with Chapter 6.....
....below a preview of what you'll see to conclude Chapter 6 as picture number 2 of 13 taken  from the SPOT... 
I then had to head down as quick as a cripple can
to get past the dangerous areas like the 
"ROCK & ROLL"
while there was still light and made it at dark to the Trailhead
 with hands almost frozen to my trekking poles!
NOTE: I didn't have gloves as I hadn't planned on going to the SPOT 
and returning after sunset when it get's cold fast!
NOTE: I confess my blunder of not obeying my own safety/survival rules in this effort.
***********  
I have done  my best to show you the beauty and fascination of the foothills and canyons of Timpanogos, as well as with most shared what I have learned about their edibility, their possible medicinal uses...especially what the Native Americans used them for. 
 
I have likewise given warnings of danger from some of them:  The rattlesnake, the Black Widow spider, Poison Ivy, Guatemala's equivalent, Amche, as well as others that are poisonous, like:  Meadow Death CamasWild Parsnip, and Spreading Dogbane, but also showed  the undeniable beauty even in those we should not eat, nor touch.

  This Chapter 4 
represents the beginning of Autumn and soon afterwards the end of the growing season.  So further along in this chapter I will show you that it's in the Fall when  Utah's largest spider....
....THE TARANTULA.....
.....can most often be seen as it is the mating season when the male is  out and about with his guard down and the female outside of her den waiting.....sex/reproduction dominating their lives.  
I was lucky to get a good portrait of one of these hairy monsters I'll share with you, along with some good accurate information!

Regarding the poisonous plants I have done my best to explain warnings about others and also recommend that before using the plants for food or medicine, 
DO YOUR RESEARCH
 which is easy to do on the internet.
*************
 
We will now embark on a new hike in the amazing 
FOOTHILLS of TIMPANOGOS  
with The Valley of our Lady of Mercy of Timpanogos spread 
out at our feet, Catholic Priests, Escalante and Domingues, describing it as, 
"..... the most pleasing, beautiful and fertile site in New Spain.” 


CHAPTER 4 
We will begin with one we have seen many times because in the foothills you can't hardly take a picture without it being part of the scene.....like above.  It was left for near to last as it is one we can call 
THE BEGINNING & THE END.
It began actually surviving the harshest Winter better than other plants and  in the Spring very much alive with its quite pleasant soft  green color and pleasant pungent odor.... and now as we enter FALL or AUTUMN each plant older than one year old is still working on producing tens of thousands of seeds to assure its life giving contribution on into the future



We began this Chapter with the title page using a photograph as the backdrop that shows  
it  snugglied up against a cherished  flashy partner...like the women in our lives!
It is RABBIT BRUSH which we'll learn about after we first understand 
SAGEBRUSH 
 

New plants germinate with the warmth of Spring, but 
as you'll see at the end of the Season a warm day or two has it germinating in December and it will survive through even the harshest cold and before the hot, often drought dominated summer, it will have driven its tap root from 1 up  to 10 meters deep into the ground to survive for as much as 100 hundred years!

Our foothills have at least two varieties of Sagebrush.  The one we see below is: 
BASIN BIG SAGEBRUSH
It can grow up to 10 feet tall.

So, above we see one of the old survivor Sagebrush that has for many years sheperded  mammals, birds, other plants and lichens, some experts call it "nursing" other life forms,
 we could also call this humbly  protecting all kinds of   
VISIONS of NATURE
such as the lichens we see adorning this old couple.  
Let's zoom in on them, taking a brief detour, and learn just a little about this 
unique living organism that we usually see on the rocks, 
but also on Gambels Oak, and other trees.

LICHENS
are a living plant structure partnership  with more than 
3,000 varieties just in the Rocky Mountain area.  
Two living organisms  somehow decided to uhselfishly 
get together for the mutual benefit of each other.
Wikipedia says simply:
lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship. 

I'll have more to say about this in what now looks like Chapter 6,
 using a word in its definition that fascinates me, as I have explained in my 
HIGH UINTA MOUNTAINS books

So, we'll  see more lichens later in our last chapter when most 
of the vegetation has either died, or in hibernation for the winter.

So, after seeing and learning about  the last plants, insects, and other life, 
we will learn a little about the incredibly colorful and abundant rocks 
and the geology of the foothills, 
but  lichens are a colorful example of SAGEBRUSH 
shepherding or helping to exist other 
VISIONS of NATURE.

In this picture we see two varieties of Sagebrush,  the taller in the background-left and right...one shade of light green which is Basin Big Sagebrush, then in the foregound another variety a yellowish/green color which I believe is a hybrid some experts call : 
BONNEVILLE BIG SAGEBRUSH
This variety grows to about 4 feet tall. 
For a while I had identified this one as Foothill Sagebrush,
 another hybrid from the Boise foothills,  and it might be.
There are at least 14 different varieties of Sagebrush as well as sub-species sometimes hard to identify.

Below is another picture I have used showing two different species  or variations of sagebrush, along with a 2 picture panel showing variations in the two types I have photographed.


The Basin Big Sagebrush behind my right shoulder and the Bonneville or Foothills Sagbrush in the foreground to my left.   Leaves of both are three lobed, but the Basin Big  are longer, the other quite short. with a different shade of green. 
tells us: 
Some species of sagebrush are fluorescent when submerged in water or alcohol and exposed to a black light, a method sometimes used to distinguish between species and subspecies.  
******
I haven't got into that , and probably won't.  So, since both of our varieties are similar in their growth and stages as well as their benefits, from here on what I say will apply to both.  
  
Above I mentioned the sheperding benefit, and below we see another  when SAGEBRUSH provides the shade, the moisture, and the protection for grasses, and other plants to be able to germinate and add incredible splashes of vibrant color to our foothills.

In this case a SAGEBRUSH gave protection to grass seeds in an environment making possible them sprouting onto the scene as well as the  visible seed pods of INDIAN PAINTBRUSH 
we see below brightening this wonderful scene.....



....as well as on the lower edge a few LONG LEAF PHLOX
flowers that are very common among the Sagebrush. The ones above were early in the season and bit pale still, but look how wonderful they become.........


.........especially when given a bit of shade by the Sagebrush. and just enough sun to give them vibrant color.

So, the grasses, other plants, wildflowers, as well as lichens are helped along by Sagebrush  throughout major portions of  the Western states where Sagebrush covers large percentages 
of states, like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, 
Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and others ......


......coming to 11 states with many hundreds of thousands of square miles dominated by sagebush that makes possible   the survival of many birds,  sage grouse,  rodents,  rabbits, antelope, wild horses, mule deer and elk.

Food for the Mule deer begins getting scarce....and then
 it gets worse with the onslaught of winter.


Mule deer are browsers eating twigs, leaves and the bark of trees and bushes, and life for them in the winter becomes especially hard when their food becomes scarce.....


.....so SAGEBRUSH to the rescue
especially with the young plants that have finished the growing season with new, fresh sprouts or branches seen above,  in previous pictures, and more below, all providing for the survival of our wonderful Mule deer.  
The deer move down the mountain to the foothills where they find Sagebrush that I have previously explained  finds these plants in the Spring as though trimmed with a hedge trimmer. 

Note: Late in December I begin seeing signs of Mule deer already sampling the Sagebrush as seen below:
                          
NOTE:  Early in the 2024 season I'll make sure and get photos of Sagebrush "hedge trimmed" by the deer and elk and insert here.

Elk, much larger than Mule deer, are generally GRAZERS, eating the grasses and other plants in the foothills like Alfalfa, Small Burnet, Steppe Sweetpea, and other plants and bushes as do also cattle and sheep. 

But, we can see above in a Winter scene in the foothills, the pickings are pretty slim  for Elk's  preferred foods.....all pretty scarce, or non-existent, so to survive SAGEBRUSH again comes to the rescue of these magnificent animals. 


Of course helping to make SAGEBRUSH
 "the most important plant in the West," 
is  helping the  large scale cattle and sheep operations so dominant in the West,  again wilth Sagebrush  keeping them growing and ready for market and our dinner plates...seen below in the 
West Utah Desert....

....the steers grazing...foraging  near the 
FISH SPRINGS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

And, as mentioned also WILD HORSES seen below near 
Simpson Springs in the West Utah Desert.


By the way, I have said, 
"Once I get the High Uinta Mountains properly reported on....now
 done with my original book divided into two, registered with the
 Library of Congress, and on Amazon....I would next do the same
 with the incredible WEST UTAH DESERT, that hardly anyone knows
 about enough to appreciate its exceptional history, diversity and
 beauty!"

In my youth I experienced two summers working there as a hunter and trapper for the 
Biological Warefare project at Dugway Proving Grounds, 
later I got impossibly stuck there with my younger brother, Howard, on a  coyote hunt driving a 1950 Chevrolet.   Then when I had a trustworthy 4 x4 vehicle I had more memorable adventures with sons Joey and Rich climbing the highest peak in the Deep Creek Mountains and spooky experiences in the Gold Hill ghost town and more.  Recently in my 2000 model Ford Explorer, before I wore it out in the Uintas,  I got more experience.....and photos.....like these of wild horses and others seen  below.  


All I need now is to sell enough books, or win a lottery, or inherit
 enough to get a reliable 4x4 car as my 24 year old Ford Explorer
 couldn't be trusted anymore  in the remote West Utah Desert 
where there are WARNING SIGNS when the pavement ends...




......where I took these photos a few years ago. 

With such a vehicle, even in my 88th or 90th year I would 
HEAD WEST again  for another HIGH ADVENTURE 
attempting my 
 4th "Impossibe Dream" and my 6th book!
******

BEFORE WE GO ON TO OTHER MAGNICENT VISIONS of NATURE.....ONE FASCINATING & ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO BELIEVE....FACT ABOUT SAGEBRUSH
from:

FIVE THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT SAGEBRUSH 

https://appliedeco.org/five-things-you-didnt-know-about-sagebrush/

INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED ECOLOGY

1. They talk to each other (and other plants listen in)

Well not exactly talk, but they do release signals that other plants can exploit.  For example, when a sagebrush plant is attacked by predators like insects, the plant emits volatile organic compounds that neighboring sagebrush plants can sense and react to by producing defensive chemicals that make them unattractive, or even poisonous, to the attackers.  And other plants, like wild tobacco, can eavesdrop on this and ramp up their own defenses, significantly lowering damage from feeding animals.  Source.

NOTE:  Go to that source and learn the other 4 facts.
As a teaser:  
EVEN PRISON INMATES ARE GROWING SAGEBRUSH!
WHAT!  WHY?
************
Now
MEDICINAL & EDIBILITY BENEFITS
Native Americans used Sagebrush for ceremonies, fiber, dye, and many tribes traditionally used it as a medicine in a tea for stopping internal bleeding, treating headaches and colds. 

Other medicinal uses: Sagebrush is known to be an antirheumatic, a fever-reducer, ophthalmic (helping with eye ailments), and as a sedative. And from the leaves by concentrating the essence boiling them  making a decoction that can be used to treat stomach issues such as indigestion or a sore throat.

The leaves contain camphor....mostly the reason why it works as explained above, and  which I use as a disinfectant and itch reliever, and it's the camphor that makes it useful for colds, and sore throats, and also as a mosquito repellent.  
 I have also used
 SAGEBRUSH 
as my secret weapon on the Mule deer hunt....
..... which I will explain at the end of this discussion about this wonderful plant.

Towards the end of summer Sagebrush gradually enters the REPRODUCTION PHASE 
as seen below with a whole series of photos that are quite self  explanatory. I will just add some dates when some of the transition photos were taken.
July 18th


 September 27th


 
October 18th
 

November 5th

November 15th


And on December 7th these last photos of the 
REPRODUCTION PHASE
seeds already being distributed far and wide including
to help landscape my CABIN-A home in American Fork.


Some of them already sprouting  photographed on 
December 7th

They will make it through the long, cold Winter--except for a couple
 I'm going to transplant into a small pot and have growing in my Cabin-A, 
all the rest will have a leg up on the  2024 season and be beautiful, thriving 
SAGEBRUSH

NOTE:  You might recall from Chapter 1 that I used the SMOOTH SUMAC plant, 
with it's beautiful leaves in an actual 
landscaping project for my BYU Landscaping class.  
I also used Sagebrush, but experienced failure 
digging up and transplanting adult Sagebrush plants. 
 
I should have done a Google search and learned about the tap root
 as long and deep as 10 meters that makes a transplant totally impossible.  
But  Google Search didn't come into my life until  at least 
a HALF A CENTURY LATER!
However,  in 1960-62 I finally had success with some small recently
 germinated plants like seen above.  Now, in 2023, I will have a few
 with a headstart, and then have a ziploc bag of seed that will be
 planted along with many of the wonderful wildflowers we've seen
 already....with more to come...to make unique and beautiful the
 home site of my tiny home....
......and eventually make necessary a colorful 
APPENDIX to  a CHAPTER 6 
and then be ready to convert it to a printable book.

The tiny sprouts pictured above will survive the cold Winter and have a headstart 
in the Spring growing into beautiful Sagebrush that by their 2nd year 
will produce seed themselves doing their part in helping 
SAGEBRUSH be 
"the most important plant in the West."

Honestly!   Aren't Sagebrush and their unique colors beautiful?


2023 was a HEALTHY YEAR  for 
SAGEBRUSH, 
but 2022 was a different  for reasons 
I don't understand yet as I will show you below.

The following composite photograph shows another aspect of 
SAGEBRUSH's sheperding qualities. They are called
GALLS


Adult flying midges, that are tiny flies,  lay eggs on sagebrush buds in summer and the eggs hatch in the fall. Larva feeding induces galls to form in October and larvae spend the winter in the galls. In spring, a gall may be home to up to four larvae, which emerge as adults in late spring or early summer.

Below we see the GALLS all dried up having 
served their purpose without doing any harm to the sheperd 
except for a few dried up branches. 
 The picture below was taken in early 2023, and 
many of them soon disappeared......

...... and I saw no forming of GALLS this year.  I'll look
 more closely on my next hike that will  maybe be tomorrow,
 December 8th, before the snow predicted hits late in the day, 
and see if there are any signs of the beginning of this  other 
"ACT OF SHEPHERDING"
 performed by the Sagebrush.
>>>>>>>> 
We'll I did a VERY COLD hike today, December 8th,  examining all the Sagebrush 
where I had photographed GALLS during 2022, and on the large Sagebrush 
at the top of the composite photo I did find a few of the old ones, like seen below...

But no signs....yet, of anything new.  
In 2024 I will see what develops and add to this online book...here.
January 22, 2024
So far we have had a mild January, with temperatures averaging 11degrees above  the 32 degree normal so mostly I have persisted in doing my therapy with hikes in the foothills, and noticed for the first time GALLS on Rabbitbrush, then began looking closely on some young Sagebrush and noticed what I believe are the beginning of GALLS, seen below:


I will closely follow this new development and keep my eyes open for others to see what happens....and of course report my findings.
Scroll down to Rabbitbrush to see much more details about their GALLS.
NOTE:  Obviously this item, and many more from the VISIONS of
 NATURE covered so far, with more to come....will require another
 year or two to observe, photograph, research and learn enough to
 share with all of you and make the eventual book complete.   
So, I've GOT TO KEEP MOVING AT LEAST 
FOR ANOTHER YEAR OR TWO!
Feels great to continually find life fascinating 
with purposes worth persisting in action 
and sharing with others!
***************
Now, to my SECRET WEAPON!  
I have mentioned that in my youthful days of 
the MULE DEER HUNT.....
 ......I got a big buck 11 straight years...divided in the middle by
 nearly 3 years out of the country on an LDS mission in Central America.

SAGEBRUSH WAS A MAJOR REASON FOR MY SUCCESS

HOW COULD THAT BE?

My usual tactic was to backpack stealthilly  up high on the mountain
 and bivoac  even above where the bucks would be.  
Starting a month or so before the hunt I would gather tons....well, a lot.... of youngSagebrush leaves/stems like we see above, and in a big cardboard box I would put layer after layer of all the clothing, sleeping gear, air mattress, Army surplus rucksack,  socks, boots, and  even my rifle and ammo, etc...... literally everything I would take up the mountain and between each layer sprinkle a layer of crushed sagebrush leaves and tender stems....
....SO WHEN I WENT UP THE MOUNTAIN to SLEEP NEAR THE BUCKS....
...I JUST SMELLED LIKE SAGEBRUSH!
I even chewed on it to make sure my breath wouldn't frighten away that big buck I was after!
My bivoac camp was simple, no tent, no campfire, nothing  that
 would have the deer alert to trouble.  Sometimes I could have easily
 got my buck with my Colt .45 Defender pistol while still in my
 sleeping bag. 
Other times I literally had deer all around me all night, and one well  moonlit night I got a very big coyote just 10 yards from me when snug in my sleeping bag on top of my dry grass/hay bed under the stars.  With daylight I then got up, dressed, carefully skinned the
 large male...apparently the leader of the pack....

....I charitably giving one of the younger males a chance for leadership..... 
...and packed up my simple camp when my son David showed up having known where I would likely be....on Maple Flats just south of Y Mountain!  I didn't get my buck that time out, but did a few days later using the same strategy.  David later got his first buck up there too......
......maybe not smelling like a Sagebrush....but maybe he borrowed my formula?  So, several of my  11 bucks were harvested up there.....with a long drag down the mountain, and over the Y.  
Sagebrush was a major reason for my success. 
 Those were great days, as you can see below coming back from one of those hunts....this one on the backside of Timpanogos.... in my International Harvester SCOUT on which I built a beautiful.....albeit small....camper using just a saber saw and an electric drill. 

Other such successful hunts were in the Henry Mountains...
....the 11th hunt and the last before heading way south with my family to spend 35 years in the MOUNTAINS of the MAYA.
  
This was when camped high up  in the snow of the Henry Mountains
 my life was transformed by the Lord giving me the faith, 
love and the courage to dedicate myself saving lives among the
 needy Mayan people for 35 consecutive years....actually I'm still doing it 
through my friend and brother, Federico Veliz, 59 years later....
....story told in my book available by chapters on the same 
website that brought you here to be inspired by the 
VISIONS of NATURE from the FOOTHILLS of 
MOUNT TIMPANOGOS.
 
For that MAYA BOOK, if you're interested,  
just scroll down the list of options on the Home page, 
and you can learn about the fulfillment of the  
"IMPOSSIBLE DREAM"  among the MAYA.

The pictures from that last hunt, even up high in the Henry's,
 show Mountain Sagebrush behind me.  He kicked himself down the wrong side of the mountains so, I had to do the butchering job right there and with my old original World War II rucksack bursting at the seams  with 150 lbs. of meat, gear, professional camera and tripod, etc. I hiked out of there.  

So for now we bid farewell gratefully to 
SAGEBRUSH.... 
*************
.......and dive into learning about his 
STUNNINGLY FLASHY  COMPANION,
RABBIT BRUSH
Also known as 
Rubber Rabbitbrushand Gray Rabbitbrush.


There's little doubt about how wonderful the Fall blossoming
 of RABBIT BRUSH  is
as is obvious with the above portrait, along 
with its buddy Sagebrush.....
...but before making your conclusion, gradually scroll
 down to learn about it....then see the climatic portrait of this
 beautiful plant in the Foothills of the Wasatch in the area of
 Springville a few miles south of Timpanogos.


It is a perrenial evergreen shrub that reaches maturity in about two to
 four years, then continues for around 20 years.  Along with Sagebrush 
it is strangely in the family of Sunflowers.  Google it and
 maybe you will understand why, along with the experts.

Its scientific name translated to English is
"HEAVILY SCENTED GOLDEN BUSH"

This picture was taken on May 24th.

In all of its stages it  is quite attractive with Sagebrush-like soft but
 very nice colors.  It also would make a nice plant for  landscaping
 your home,  even a hedge along your property line, as I am doing.

 Its deep root system requires little or no watering, and it's fairly long
 brilliant yellow blossoming stage will have those passing your home
 slow down, and maybe even stop and ask you what is the name of
 that stunningly beautiful plant and how to get some seeds?

In the Winter it's quite different but still unique as you will see in pictures 
at the end of this section....also lasting a long time. 

Rabbitbrush, I'm told, has a noticeable scent especially when it is wet, 
or leaves crushed,  so it is suggested you not plant it where 
an evening breeze
 will carry it to the open window of your bedroom. I haven't noticed such 
as Covid-19  dulled some my sense of smell. 

This picture...not the same plant as pictured above....
.... was taken on June 24th


July 24th


Ants and aphids having a feast. 
Aphids feed on the sap from plants and produce a liquid called honeydew.  Ants love the "honeydew" and feed on it.  Experts say that ants actually "farm the aphids" with a symbiotic or partnership relationship without which aphids would have difficulty surviving.  Soon the quantity of Rabbitbrush blossoms will outnumber them, so I've not actually noticed any overall real harm done such as happened with Yucca reported on in Chapter 1. 

The Yellow Jacket is not out to do harm to the plant, 
rather on the hunt  for aphids.


September 5th


BENEFITS OF RABBITBRUSH
The Navaho ate the flower heads,  and leaves cooked with wild
 onions used to flavor meat. Seeds were added to corn meal, porridge
 and bread.  They used tea made from the leaves to bring down
 fevers, treat smallpox and relieve arthritis pain.  The flowers and the
 roots were used to make tea to relieve tuberculosis.  The roots were
 boiled to make strong decoctions to treat headaches, coughs, colds,
 and internal injuries and even menstrual cramps.  Rabbitbrush also
 have GALLS that were ground and used as medicine.
All of that and much more is explained, concluding:
"We are dealing with a plant heavily used as native medicine!" 
 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIO_PRvpCGQ
Above info also from a  video made by the 


September 30th

Further GOOGLING:

We find long lists of practical uses of Rabbitbrush, 

such as: 

  Traditional Uses and History of Plant:

-Rabbitbrush branches were burned slowly to smoke hides and boughs were used to cover and carpet sweathouses. 

-Mature flowers were boiled for at least 6 hours to produce a lemon-yellow dye for wool, leather, and baskets. Alum was then added as a mordant, along with the wool or leather to be dyed, and boiled continued for about an hour. When dying baskest the flower and buds were boiled overnight and the basket material was then soaked in dye for about 12 hours. The inclusion of immature buds or twigs gave the dye a greenish tinge. 

-The milky sap of these shrubs contains rubbery compounds and was extensively explored as a rubber source by the U.S. government in the 1950’s and early sixties. 

-Compounds being researched for nematicide. 

-The bark of the lower stem and roots of several species of rabbit brush was widely used as chewing gum. 

-The roots were boiled to make a strong decoction for treating coughs, fevers, colds and old internal injuries and for easing menstrual cramps. 

-To relieve headaches, the leaves were used to make a medicinal tea and it was applied as a lotion. 

-The leaf tea was taken internally to reduce fevers and relieve constipation, colds, and stomach problems. 

-Mashed rabbitbrush leaves were packed onto decayed teeth to relieve toothaches. 


RABBITBRUSH 

has about as long a list of benefits as any other plant I've researched. 



Butterflies love it too.

And below a
STUNNING SHOT of RABBITBRUSH
enhancing a lot an already awesome scene I call
CRAGS of the WASATCH

October 16th

Located east of North Springville, Utah where 1400 North Street
 comes off of the freeway leading to State Street with a McDonalds at the  stoplight. 

NOW REPRODUCTION


 October 4th

October 16th 

October 18th

November 6th

November 11th


November 4th


And on December 8th with both Rabbitbrush and Sagebrush
 liberally scattering their seeds for future generations.  

The SEASON for RABBIT BRUSH, and SAGEBRUSH in the FOOTHILLS of TIMPANOGOS 
ended on December 8th when I went to check for Galls in the
Sagebrush. It was cold, but I might mention that I will persist hiking
 in the foothills as long as the weather isn't too extreme and likely
 will use more photos I acquire in this online book....especially
 chapter 5.  
Doing my daily therapy in the cold of winter in the foothills will
 theoretically even make me stronger...
.......IF I SURVIVE.  
Keep tuned to see what happens!

January 22, 2024
Obviously I have survived...so far, as explained in the previous section on Sagebrush where I gave more information on GALLS.
I didn't mention GALLS on Rabbitbrush as I hadn't observed any during the 2023 season, but on the above date....still hiking in the foothills with some snow, I began finding GALLS on Rabbitbrush, as seen below: 


I'll repeat the paragraph from Sagebrush about GALLS:

Adult flying midges, that are tiny flies,  lay eggs on sagebrush buds in summer and the eggs hatch in the fall. Larva feeding induces galls to form in October and larvae spend the winter in the galls. In spring, a gall may be home to up to four larvae, which emerge as adults in late spring or early summer.

Directly concerening Rabbitbrush we learn the following at:

Have you noticed these small orbs attached to the rubber rabbitbrush in the Spring Mountains? These tiny growths are galls, which are caused by irritation of plant cells after insects feed or lay eggs on the plants surface.

In this case, these galls are caused by a specific type of fruit fly (Aciurina trixa) and contain their larvae. This time of year, the larvae feed primarily on the gall itself and will emerge in mid-February. In most cases galls are not abundant enough to harm the plants




I will follow-up on these and do my best to get  better, sharper photogaphs, and see what develops.  My curiosity got the best of me so I brought home several samples of GALLS from both Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush, a composite photo follows. 
The Sagebrush GALL shown in the Sagebrush segment was opened up but not sharp enough to distinguish clearly what was there.


Two Rabbitbrush GALLS were split open each with what we can call "a living space" for the larvae surrounded by nutrients, the right one with a developing larvae that came out of that space.  The larvae go through the winter feeding on the nutrients doing no harm to the Rabbitbrush plant, then emerging in the Spring.  
All very similar to a chicken egg, the developing chick feeding on the surrounding nutrients, then hatching as a living chick. 

The developing larvae enlarged below....sorry not clear.  I'll go again and get better photos.


On December 24th I did get more photographs, and brought 
home samples to disect and photograph which I'll insert below. 

We see below  a variety of different kinds of 
GALLS from  Rabbitbrush.


Above, on the right, is the larvae out of its living space. 

Below  on the left is seen clearly the larvae in the living space.
 

Following we see GALLS that are very different. 






I will continue my hikes, apparently all winter long, and do my best to observe, learn, photograph and share with those interested.  

REGARDING GALLS IN RABBITBRUSH
AN AMAZING DESCRIPTION OF ANOTHER 
DIVINE VISION of NATURE
From:
Russo, Ronald A. 2021. Plant Galls of the Western United States (Princeton Field Guides, 142). Princeton University Press. ISBN-10: 0691205760.

I’m fascinated by plant galls. The gall creator convinces the host plant to build a home. In this case, the fly or the fly larva suggested to the plant that it build the maggot a home, and the plant did.

It’s as if the parasite enters into a conversation with the host cells, infecting them with an idea that goes counter to the host’s interests. The maggot whispers to the plant: “Hey…Let’s build a hollow, thick-walled cell on your stem. I’ll live inside of it, and I’ll feed on you. And, oh! It would be nice if  the shelter is thickly covered with woolly white hairs, okay?”.

And the plant does it. This strikes me as being very strange, almost like since fiction.

NOTE:  The above writer was observing GALLS that were covered with cotton-like hairs which I haven't observed yet.  


I have to end this segment again with 
RABBITBRUSH's portrait...

In it's stunning blossoming stage it is a legitimate candidate as
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL of the
DIVINE VISIONS of NATURE from the FOOTHILLS of
MOUNT TIMPANOGOS
****************
Up the canyon, and above the "rock & roll" area, we enter a higher altitude 
with a lot of trees  where varieties of plants and flowers change....for example 
where I photographed Spreading Dogbane. Near there I also found
HOOKER'S ONION 
or Tapertip onion


These blossoming pictures were taken between 
June 25 and July 2
I found information on the TEXAS Database, with a few worthwhile facts summarized below.
First and very interesting:  
In the early days of the West, Indians saved at least one exploration party from scurvy by alerting the ill explorers to the curative properties of Wild Onion. 
 Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem bulblets are collected during the summer. Use as domestic onions, for seasoning of soups, stews or meat dishes, or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water.

This is one of a number of varieties of wild onion of the West.  All have edible bulbs, 



tells us:  
Edible and medicinal value: Indians used wild onions extensively. Their bulbs served as a staple and condiment to many different tribes. The crisp bulbs were gathered by Indians from Spring through early Fall. They were eaten raw and used as an ingredient in soups, stews and meat dishes. The bulbs also stored well for winter use.

Onions were by explorers and pioneers as well. The men of General George Crook's 1876 starvation march down the Yellowstone River partially survived on certain species of wild onion. Lewis & Clark also found them a welcome addition to a meat diet.

A few Indian tribes would crush the wild onion and apply it to bee and insect bites to reduce swelling and pain. Others used it to draw poison out of snakebites. A heavy syrup made from the juice of the wild onion was also used for coughs and other cold symptoms.

Wild animals such as bears, ground squirrels, and marmots also dig these bulbs. Milk cows that eat the foliage of the onion produce onion-flavored milk.

July 28th
I have not seen very many Hooker onion plants in our Foothills of
 Timpanogos area, but in the foothills of the High Uinta Mountains in
 the Uintah Basin area I have photographed huge meadows covered
 with this wild onion as seen below:

Here there are enough of them to think of harvesting.

I hope to find more of them in the 2024 season, and follow more closely 
their development and reproduction, and if achieved I will add  to this report. 
***************

Below we arrive again at the point where the trail heads up the mountain, 
the road to the diversion dam. 


You will notice a bunch of large boulders along the left side of the road, offering a favorable environment for 
UTAH'S LARGEST SPIDER
Sometime during the first days of October I was told by a couple of hiking friends that they had seen one up the canyon.  So whenever I was in an area where they could have burrows/caves I had my camera ready, with zoom lens fully extended and the right settings on my Nikon camera.


Low and behold, on one hike after resting on a favorite rock on the left where I have reported in the past a fossil looking like a bird's wing, I got up and carefully began my slow motion stalking pace up the road.  I kept to the right to be far enough from the boulders so my shadow wouldn't spook what I was looking for....a TARANTULA


Many of the best photos are just pure luck, and I had some 
that day, but I was also 
READY & PREPARED TO GET THE SHOT..
...and I DID as you see above!
He, most likely a she,  didn't wait around and pose for me, 
but was gone in an instant, and the many times I have stalked 
by that area since...ready for another shot, 
I've never seen one again.

LET'S LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT THESE FEROCIOUS LOOKING MONSTERS.
There are 3 species of Tarantulas in Utah. What we have in the Foothills of Timpanogos is the Desert Tarantula.  Northern Utah is the border of its range, sometimes occurring as far north as Cache County.  They spend most of their lives underground, but in the Fall begin looking for a mate.  Females, usually a light brown or tan color and larger than the males usually remain close to their burrows. Females are larger than the males and brown to tan in coloration, meaning that my picture is likely a female.
 The male has to go on a search for females.  Females live to be 20 years old or more, the males only around 7 years, sometimes dieing after impregnating a female....she  eating him, which some experts say is rare with tarantulas. Others have made YouTube videos showing that it does happen.   
 A few weeks later she expels an egg sack with from 300 to 500 eggs.  The sack is incubated in her nest for 7 to 8 weeks.  The spiderlings develop quickly, sometimes feeding on their mother, and sometimes she will catch food for her babies. Within a couple of weeks the spiderlings will go independent, but apparently the survival rate is not high one report I read saying that out of one hatching only one or two will survive.   
 Our Tarantulas in Utah are not deadly poisonous, 
the Black Widow being the only poisonous one we should be very careful with.  
A Tarantula bite might be painful and cause discomfort like a bee sting, but is not deadly.....except perhaps in the case of a small child.
*************

In an area where there are a number of kinds of grasses I began taking pictures calling the series:
THE GREENING OF THE FOOTHILLS
and I followed it throughout the season.
May 13th
After the first month, above, I settled on a view seen below with a
 photograph at least every week until the last one in December.
June 22nd

December 5th
But in that area I began noticing plants I hadn't noticed before, such as the one we see below....a thin, leafless yellow thread-like vine that would extend out all over, climbing whatever plants it found in its path, and eventually began the blossoming or flowering phase.....the experts calling it "a small inconspicuous white and yellow flower," that of course developed into the reproduction effort. 
I learned it is a parasitic weed called....
DODDER WEED.


July 10th


It eventually produced clusters of tiny white flowers about 1/8" or smaller 
in diameter that for me WEREN'T INCONSPICUOUS.
I began zooming in on them to be able to see and appreciate their 
miniature beauty as another 
DIVINE VISION of NATURE

LET'S LEARN ABOUT THIS FASCINATING
VISION of NATURE

website has a fascinating article about this unique plant that...if you don't find incredibly delightful and intriguing with a tiny, but lovely  flower--YOU NEED MORE TESTOSTERONE! 
I will insert it...the article not testosterone.... below....spreading it out between photos:
Patches of tangled, orange string engulf the shrubs by the side of the road. It looks like a Silly String party gone awry. But the pumpkin-orange filaments aren’t string. They belong to dodder—a stem parasite with a fascinating life history. It’s a plant that can see, smell, and even sweet-talk its host.

September 30th

Dodder is typically an annual that starts life a little late, giving its unsuspecting host a head start. Once emerged, the dodder seedling immediately begins to move, sweeping the area in a counterclockwise direction, looking for the perfect host. It can’t be just any plant. It has to be the right plant.

I wasn't alone in my interest of 
DODDER WEED
as you can see above.
Dodders use phytochromes (pigments that plants use to detect light) and volatile cues to “see” and “smell” the plants around them. They avoid potential hosts that are too young or too sick, leading one researcher to describe the search for a host as “intelligent choice and intention.”


The dodder seedling must work quickly—its root organ will wither away within a few days. From then on, the dodder is reliant on a host plant for almost all of its nutrients.
Once the dodder finds the perfect host, it wraps itself up the stem, producing haustoria (root-like structures) that invade the host-plant cells. The hyphae or filaments of the haustoria hijack the host’s nutrient transport system, transferring food and water back to the dodder.


The host plant isn’t entirely passive during this process. They can fight back with barrier tissues that block the dodder’s advancing hyphae or chemical inhibitors that retard hyphae growth.

Dodder and its host plant can “talk” to each other through the exchange of messenger RNA molecules. So what are the plants talking about? Researchers aren’t in on the conversation yet, but one suggestion is that the dodder is engaged in some “sweet talk,” sending messages that instruct the host plant to lower its defenses and allow the dodder in.

October 18th

A few species of dodder are agricultural pests and have given the whole group a bad reputation. But Dr. Mihai Costea, a botanist at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, says we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss dodder.

According to Dr. Costea, dodder is a keystone species in some ecosystems and deserves our respect. Many host plants can be bullies. They grow fast and aggressively, crowding out the shy, retiring types. But dodder, through its ability to reduce the host plant’s biomass and alter the way it uses resources, can modify the structure of the plant community, keeping the bullies in check and allowing other plants to flourish.

Four species of dodder grow in Big Bend National Park. Next time you see a plant strangled in Silly String, stop and take a look.


Ranger CA Hoyt


DODDER finishing the reproduction. seed producing phase.


December 5th

EDIBILITY & MEDICINAL QUALITIES
The orange color of the vines is carotene, but it shouldn't be eaten as it is poisonous.  None of the plant is typically  used for culinary purposes. 
GOOGLING it's medicinal uses we learn the above, and then:
That the the seed has been used for centuries in China as an herb that helps tonify and bring balance to the Kidneys and Liver.  Supports normal reproductive health, urinary tract health, normal eye function and normal digestion. 
Chinese Dodder seed extract is even available on AMAZON.COM Click on that and you'll see the following and more available.

*************
As I have said many times
DO YOUR RESEARCH 
*********** 
 
NOW BRIEF MENTION OF A MYSTERY PLANT 
or PAIR OF PLANTS
In the same "Greening"  and DODDER study area noticed a 
pair of plants like I had never seen before, and decided to follow
 them, hopefully to a blossoming phase, then reproduction.

July 10th

Every time I would check on the "grasses &  Dodder," and other
 plants in that area, I would check on this one, and take a photo.

August 8th
On this date I noticed it was seemingly trying to produce a bud of
 some kind and took a photo.  But eventually the one on each plant
 was eaten by insects.  Eventually with Autumn the plant dried up as
 we see below.



December 5th
And ended.  I or course will check on it next season and see if it was
 the end, or whether something will come of it to help identify it, and
 learn about it. 
***********
 In that same "grasses" area, as well as up along the road and then
 trail in Grove and also Barrle Creek  canyons, I began following this plant which is called:

 CURLY DOCK


CURLY DOCK is a weed which we are all likely familiar with.....one
 all of a sudden grew just outside my CABIN-A.  But we don't pay
 much attention to it because it doesn't have a colorful,  flashy flower.
 It does have one that I failed to photograph in 2023, but I will in
 2024 and add pictures here. 
But, the reality is that it is of value edibly, and medicinally, 
from the root up to leaves, stalk and seed.


LET'S LEARN MORE ABOUT IT
EDIBILITY:
Information from:  
The leaves have been compared to spinach, but their edibility depends a lot on growing conditions and time of harvest.  Those from harsh conditions and gravely conditions have been known to be very unpleasant, while from other environments it is said, tasted just like spinach! No, better, even—the sour, lemony aspect was much more pronounced."
Googling it we learn also:
 dock leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. When the plant sends up a stem, the basal leaves generally become too tough and bitter to eat, but those on the stem may be palatable. However, the best portion is the stem itself!


The stem is considered by some the best part of the plant for eating, but usually 
requires peeling off the outer layer that is very stringy. 

The seeds by some are consdered the best part of the plant and usually harvested once they turn from the original green to brown as we see here.  The seeds are encased in a papery covering.  Some reports I've seen explain how to remove it, but the best way is to use the entire seed and its papery case.  When dry,  grind it in a grain grinder, coffee grinder, etc. The papery encasement will add additional fiber which we all need more of.  The resultant flour is best mixed with regular flour for whatever purpose you have. 


THE ROOTS 
Curley Dock is a perrenial so it's best to wait for the second year, and harvest the root after the growing season because when growing  the nutrients are being sent up to grow the plant and reproduce. You will see on that website a massive Curley Dock plant, and find there a lot of necessary information, including even some recipes. 
MEDICINALLY 
GOOGLE tells us:
The plant has been used since around 500 B.C. for medicinal reasons, most of which are based on the plants roots. A poultice from the roots has been used for iron-deficiency anemia, blood purifying and liver decongestant, and it remedies constipation and syphilis.

The leaf stalks are used in salads. The root is used as medicine. Yellow dock is used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of nasal passages and the respiratory tract, and as a laxative and tonic. It is also used to treat bacterial infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
*******************

 Mixed in with Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush in the hills and the canyon , is a long stalk.....very Sagebrush-like in its texture and coloration.  




It is:
PRAIRIE SAGE
 or PRAIRIE SAGEWORT or  WESTERN MUGWORT 
or LOUISIANA SAGE
There are many varieties of this plant, and I have found it hard to pin down exactly which one it is.  I'll perhaps add information more specific in a day or two.  In the meantime let's go with 
PRAIRIE SAGE 

One of its strong characteristics is that it is very aeromatic with a strong sage aroma and several aromatherapy benefits.
Tomorrow, December 13th I will see if my dulled sense of smell from Covid-19 can confirm a strong sage aroma, and bring back some leaves to compare with what I find Googling it and confirm the identification. 
I did that and found the aroma was very nice similar to Sagebrush.
has the following information:
Used in aromatherapy applications, the scent of Sage Oil is known to cerebrally, emotionally, and spiritually stimulate and clarify the mind while exhibiting a balancing, uplifting, soothing, and strengthening effect on the senses to ease negative moods such as fatigue.
NOTE: Sounds like we all need to sniff this daily!



Tells us:

History:
Another one of the more widely used native prairie plants, Native Americans used Prairie Sage for both medicinal and ceremonial purposes. The Dakota Sioux liked using it to begin most of their ceremonies as they believed it drove away evil spirits. Some tribes believed that by bathing in Prairie Sage water, you could restore yourself to a normal status after breaking a taboo or touching a sacred object. Other Central Plains cultures used it as a bed for storing their pipes. Early settlers used it by burning it before the body of a deceased person was carried into the church for the funeral. It served as an incense in the days before embalming. An infusion of Prairie Sage was taken by Arikara women to stop profuse menstruation and relieve the associated pains. Other tribes used an infusion to help ease stomach pains and a tea made from this species was used by many other tribes to treat tonsillitis and sore throat. Still others used it in a poultice to treat open sores. Another use of burning prairie sage was to drive off mosquitoes and other pesky flying insects. Ironically, the sage we use today is not derived from this species or even this plant family. Our modern herb is a member of the Mint Family.



Edible Uses:
Leaves and flowering heads are used as a flavouring or garnish for sauces, gravies etc. A herb tea is made from the leaves and flowering heads. Seed. No further details are given but the seed is very small and fiddly to use


Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are astringent. They were commonly used by the N. American Indians to induce sweating, curb pain and diarrhea. A weak tea was used in the treatment of stomach ache and menstrual disorders. Externally, a wash of the leaves was applied to itching, rashes, swellings, boils, sores, etc. The wash was also applied to eczema and as an underarm deodorant. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to spider bites, blisters and burst boils. A snuff of the crushed leaves has been used to treat headaches, the sinuses and nosebleeds.


Other Uses:
The plant can be burnt to repel mosquitoes. It makes a useful ground cover plant once it is established. The leaves can be placed in the shoes as a foot deodorant. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an underarm deodorant. The soft leaves can be used as a toilet paper.



Last of all,
adds: 
The Blackfeet chewed the leaves of prairie sagewort for heartburn (McClintock 1923, Hellson 1974) and applied the leaves to wounds to reduce swelling. Prairie sagewort was also used to treat nosebleed by stuffing the nose with the soft leaves. The roots and tops were boiled and drank as a tea for —mountain fever
*************
And much more. Go to that website for info.

By February 20, 2024 I found small plants and sprouts coming to life again as seen below.

************


Now, in the shade of a Sagebrush we come to what I have called
A SAGEBRUSH-LIKE PLANT
Because of its similarity in leaves and coloration, but.....


.......as the season progesses entering the seed producing/distribution
 phase....in that picture two down with leaves similar to Sagebrush, but the seeds and their parachutes aren't anything like Sagebrush, and in the last picture below taken on December 5th, 
we see that it is not evergreen like Sagebrush. 




Above I concluded from this picture in December that it was not evergreen like Sagebrush, but I just got closer and took pictures seen below showing the leaves are there still, just a very soft gray/green.....

..... so maybe it is evergreen making it still Sagebrush/like. I'll keep checking as we get into full winter.
On February 20, 2024 I photographed the plant coming to life.


So, thus far I'll have to call this one still
UNIDENTIFIED....SAGEBRUSH-LIKE
************************************

In a damper area near the creek I photographed 
on October 20th a plant known as:

SWEET YELLOW CLOVER, 
or YELLOW COMMON LELILOT 

According to Wikipidia It  is a species of legume native to Eurasia and and introduced in North AmericaAfrica, and Australia.[2]


Also according to Wikipedia: 

The seeds are eaten by game birds, including grouse.[5]

Sweetclover can be used as pasture or livestock feed when properly cured.[6] It is most palatable in spring and early summer, but livestock may need time to adjust to the bitter taste of coumarin in the plant. Prior to World War II, before the common use of commercial agricultural fertilizers, the plant was commonly used as a cover crop to increase nitrogen content and improve subsoil water capacity in poor soils.[3] It is the most drought-tolerant of the commercially available legumes.[7] Sweet clover is a major source of nectar for domestic honey bees as hives near sweetclover can yield up to 200 pounds of honey in a year.[3]


Where it is found, and even becomes envasive, it is eaten by deer , elk, antelope, and livestock.
************

UNIDENTIFIED
I thought it was Sweet Yellow Clover, but the flowers are on a hard stem, rather than the one seen with Sweet Clover.

I will continue to search for the identity of this flower.

***************
NOW TO OUR FEATURED PLANT 
for Chapter 4: 
The amazing....
SPIDER MILKWEED
also known as 
 GREEN ANTELOPE HORN
First we are seeing a new plant in early Spring:

  
At a much later stage of development the large plant below is not  too impressive...sort of dull and hard to make out...but hang on.

I got started too late when the branches were already 
beginning  the blossoming stage as seen below.

What the heck will this become?


Now she's starting to look better, and we 
can see what is developing.

These flower buds will soon burst open revealing what I guess we
 have to call flowers, but much different than anything we have
 seen so far.   Yet, they had what the bees, the bumblebees and other
 insects wanted, primarily the MONARCH BUTTERFLY.



While watching its development we had best begin 
learning about this plant.  Lets go to:
https://www.americanmeadows.com/

Description

Spider Milkweed, is extremely drought tolerant and thrives in dry, fast-draining soils.....

Perennial – blooms appear in the second season and will reappear for many years to come. 12" tall. Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis) is a shorter variety of asclepias... An earlier bloomer (May to June), Spider Milkweed is an important resource for early generations of Monarch butterflies, as well as an early nectar source for other pollinators and beneficial bugs. This variety is tolerant of dry conditions and thrives in fast-draining soils and full sun to partial shade. Requires a cold period in order to germinate and is best planted in the fall or forced into cold stratification for spring seeding.
A website entitled:
tells a long story that I'll insert between photos:
Milkweed grows throughout the US and is essential for the survival of monarch butterflies. All parts of the plant contain toxic cardiac glycosides, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, weakness, and confusion in small amounts, and seizures, heart rhythm changes, respiratory paralysis, and even death in large amounts. Milkweed can also irritate the skin and eyes if touched.




The Asclepias genus is a group of perennial flowering herbs also known as milkweed due to their milky sap. There are over 200 species in the Asclepias genus that are native to Africa, North America, and South America. Monarch butterflies cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and adult monarchs need milkweed to lay their eggs. The plant is most easily identified by its distinctive pod-like fruit containing densely packed seeds. When the fruit pods mature and turn brown, they burst and release the seeds. All parts of the plant contain toxic cardiac glycosides. The highest concentrations of cardiac glycosides are found in the plant's latex fluid followed by the stems, leaves, and roots. The plant is most toxic just before it reaches maturity.


Cardiac glycoside-containing plants have been used since ancient times for medical purposes. Milkweed has been used by indigenous peoples for swelling and rashes, diarrhea, and respiratory issues. However, cardiac glycosides have narrow therapeutic windows, meaning small changes in dosage can result in large differences in toxicity. Due to the prevalence of the plant, exposure to milkweed plants is very common. Unfortunately, even though milkweed is recognized as a poisonous plant, there are multiple websites that provide recipes for the preparation of fried milkweed pods, milkweed shoots, and milkweed elixir. Some of those websites state that the cardiac glycosides present in milkweed are water soluble, making milkweed safe to eat if cooked properly. However, there is no evidence that this is correct. Eating milkweed, even when cooked or boiled, is not recommended and is potentially very dangerous.


When swallowed, symptoms of milkweed toxicity usually appear within a few hours. Initial symptoms consist of stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, and confusion. Severe toxicity includes seizures, heart rhythm changes, and severe slowing of the heart rate. Milkweed is potentially poisonous to humans as well as animals. After grazing on milkweed in a field, sheep can develop difficulty walking, seizures, and death. 


The sap from the plant can also cause skin and eye irritation. If your skin comes into contact with milkweed sap, you should immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. If someone experiences eye irritation after getting sap in their eye, gently rinse the eye with room temperature water for 10–15 minutes. If there are any persistent skin or eye pain or symptoms, seek medical examination and treatment.

If you suspect someone has been exposed to milkweed and is having a problem, check the webPOISONCONTROL® online tool for guidance or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Diana Pei, PharmD
Certified Specialist in Poison Information



Let's go inside and see what's there, then follow with the 
REPRODUCTION PHASE










GOOGLING its uses I learned:
Although potentially poisonous, the plant has been used for medicinal purposes as well. Many indigenous tribes applied milkweed sap for wart removal and chewed its roots to treat dysentery. It was also used in salves and infusions to treat swelling, rashes, coughs, fevers and asthma.
Also:
The Omahas and Poncas ate the raw root of the butterfly milkweed for bronchial and pulmonary troubles. Butterfly milkweed root was also chewed and placed on wounds, or dried, pulverized, and blown into wounds.


WOW.....
.....WHAT AN AMAZING  PLANT!

But, we aren't through quite yet....as going off trail, as I often do, I found a patch of
YELLOW SPIDER MILKWEED 






I had never seen this before.  It is next to a plot of the normal plant,
 and I will watch carefully in 2024 to see what develops between two
 varieties next to each other and add on here what I see and learn.
************************
NOW TO A PLEASANT DASH OF COLOR
with
PERRENIAL or BUSH SWEET PEA
This is an annual plant best adapted to cool temperatures, and is not native of the desert-like foothills....

.....rather likely somehow escaped the city and grew well in the deep shade of some large sagebrush 20 yards behind the Trailhead restroom where one day its striking color called me to take its portrait.


It has a unique stem, where we see that it is a climber with thread-thin feelers sent out to grab onto whatever it encounters.



Its beautiful flower had taking her picture and later
 of its seed pods that will assure reproduction, and more of it for
 2024.....


....and future generations will accept it as a legitimate 
WILD DIVINE VISION of NATURE

*******************
NOW WE COME TO AN EXOTIC LOOKING PLANT I'VE BEEN CAREFULLY WATCHING
Do you see it? Actually there are two below....do you see them?
My trekking pole will indicate their size....very small.


We zoom in.....



....and then zoom in  more.

This wonderous plant is called

DOUGLAS DUSTY MAIDEN 
or FALSE YARROW or DESERT PINCUSHION   

It's scientific name is 
Asteraceae Chaenactis stevioides
the last part being of interest as the species name, “stevioides” means "like Stevia", a genus in the Asteraceae family that grows in Paraguay and from which the artificial sweetener Stevia was derived. It was named after Pedro Jaime Esteve (d. 1566), a Spanish physician and botanist.

Douglas Dusty Maiden is biennial.  They spend the first summer and fall growing and in their second year flower and produce seed expiring by mid-summer of their second year.

The pictures that follow of the blossoming stage were taken in past years in the foothills.   




According to:
Medicinal: According to the Malheur Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon State University: "Infusion of the plant is used as a wash for chapped hands, insect bites, boils, tumors, and swellings by the Okanagon, and Thompson. A strong decoction of the plants were applied to snakebites by the Thompson, Okanagon, and Paiute"



The U.S.Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Service in its PLANT GUIDE tells us:
Douglas’ dustymaiden can be used as part of a native forb component in wildland seedings to increase biodiversity, improve wildlife habitat, and provide food for numerous birds and mammals. Douglas’ dustymaiden is readily visited by pollinators and other insect species. It is considered an important species for sage grouse during brood rearing because of its insect associations. Ethnobotanic: Douglas’ dustymaiden was commonly used by Native Americans to treat a variety of health problems. A poultice of Douglas’ dustymaiden was used by Native Americans to treat swelling, sores and aches (Foster and Hobbs, 2002; Moerman, 1998). A tea made from the plant was used to slow heart rates in children (Foster and Hobbs, 2002; Moerman, 1998) and for indigestion and headaches.




Last, is the REPRODUCTION STAGE we see above
 with further development below  with each seed having what I'm
 calling a "parachute" quite a bit different than others we have
 seen....


.....but it works as we see in our foothills many young plants coming up like we see below, so far in a quite restricted rocky area as we hike the road ....
....just up to where the trail heads up the mountain and the road to the diversion dam  and there are now a few plants along the edge of the large boulders where I photographed the Tarantula.  

It is a biennial  so the above small plants I have been following this fall will survive through the winter and blossom, produce seed next spring and summer, and then die.    I'll be watching them carefully during the winter and in the 2024 season when there will be many plants blossoming with photographs I will add to this section.   I will be dong the same with quite a few others to make
 complete my documenting of the 
VISIONS of NATURE.

There is another wildflower called
DUSTY MAIDEN
but with the scientific name as Chaenactis alpina the last...alpina...being the important 
distinction designating it as "alpine" 

 I  photographed it well above the 11,000 foot timberline in the High Uinta Mountains above Amethyst Lake on the North Slope.


Similarities with our desert/foothills variety are evident.
**************
Now on to another beautiful and unique   
YELLOW WILDFLOWER 
one of the most common in our hills we see below sprouting very quickly in April and  May.


A month or so later the plant is over a foot tall with flower heads
 forming that are very different being full of a thick  white gummy
 liquid. Below follows the emergence of the wildflower called:
CURLYCUP GUMWEED

About this unique wildflower that has 28 different species, 5 in Utah, I will insert below photos showing the evolution of the plant and between the beautiful photographs I will be citing a lot of interesting information  from.  

Southwest Desert Flora

You can click on that for more info.
Habitat Preferences: Upper deserts pinyon-juniper, pines, plains, often in disturbed areas, stream-sides, roadsides, hills, overgrazed rangelands; soils often clay, sandy and alkaline.

Recorded Range: Grindelia squarrosa is found over most of North America, absent from the southeast states bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

Comments: Most species of Gumweeds have very distinct looking bright yellow flower heads surrounded by bright green succulent looking bracts curved outward. The flower heads and herbage emit a sticky gummy white colored resin. Taxonomic confusion exists between this species and the superficially similar looking Curlytop Gumweed, Grindelia nuda. Some botanists consider them as one species.

According to the On-Line Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley; Variety Grindelia squarrosa var. serrulata is toxic as it concentrates selenium. This would make it toxic to cattle, humans, and other mammals if ingested.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Curlycup Gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa flowers, seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents in search of food, nectar or cover.

Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
Plant species of the genus Grindelia are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia mortua. Curlycup Gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa brightly colored flowers and plants are heavily visited by butterflies, moths and other insects in search of food, nectar or cover.


Special Value to Native Bees
According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Curlycup Gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of Native bees. Click here for more information on their Pollinator Conservation Program.


Ethnobotany
Grindelia squarrosa is used for a multitude of purposes by North American United States indigenous peoples.
  • Blackfoot Drug, Liver Aid; Decoction of root taken for liver trouble.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Dermatological Aid and Eye Medicine; Decoction of flowering tops applied to skin diseases, scabs and sores and Gum rubbed on the outside of eyes for snowblindness.



  • Cheyenne, Northern Drug, Disinfectant; Decoction of flowering tops used to wash sores and other skin lesions.
  • Cree Drug, Abortifacient and Gynecological Aid; Used to prevent childbearing and Infusion of buds and flowers taken to ease and lessen menses.
  • Cree Drug, Kidney Aid and Venereal Aid; Plant and camomile used for kidney pains and Used for gonorrhea.
  • Crow Drug, Cold Remedy and Cough Medicine; Taken for colds and Taken for coughs.


  • Crow Drug, Pulmonary Aid and Respiratory Aids; Taken for whooping cough and pneumonia and Infusion sniffed up the nose for catarrh and Taken for bronchitis and asthma.
  • Dakota Drug, Gastrointestinal Aids; Decoction of plant given to children for colic and Infusion of plant tops given to children for stomachaches.
  • Dakota Drug, Pediatric Aids; Decoction of plant given to children for colic and Infusion of plant tops given to children for stomachaches.


  • Flathead Drug, Cold Remedy and Cough Medicine; Taken for colds and Taken for coughs.
  • Flathead Drug, Pulmonary and Respiratory Aids; Taken for whooping cough and pneumonia and Taken for bronchitis and asthma.
  • Flathead Drug, Tuberculosis Remedy and Veterinary Aid; Infusion taken for tuberculosis and Flower heads rubbed on horses' hooves for protection against injury.


  • Gosiute Drug, Cough Medicine; Roots used as a cough medicine.
  • Lakota Drug, Antihemorrhagic; Decoction of blossoms and fetid marigold taken for the spitting of blood.
  • Mahuna Drug, Dermatological Aid and Disinfectant; Poultice of plants applied to cuts and Infusion used as a disinfectant wash.
  • Montana Indian Drug, Venereal Aid; Decoction used as an antisyphilitic.


  • Paiute Drug, Cough Medicine and Expectorant; Decoction of plant said to be a good cough medicine and said to be a good expectorant.
  • Paiute Drug, Pulmonary Aid and Urinary Aid; Hot decoction of young shoots taken for pneumonia and Infusion of plant taken for bladder trouble.
  • Pawnee Drug, Veterinary Aid; Decoction of tops and leaves used as a wash for saddle galls and sores on horses.



  • Ponca Drug, Tuberculosis Remedy; Decoction of plant taken for consumption.
  • Shoshoni Drug, Analgesic and Cough Medicine; Decoction of plant taken for stomachaches and said to be a good cough medicine and Dried buds used for coughs.
  • Shoshoni Drug, Dermatological Aid and Disinfectant; Poultice of boiled plant applied to swellings and Decoction of plant used as an antiseptic wash to help heal broken bones.



  • Shoshoni Drug, Emetic, Expectorant and Gastrointestinal Aid; Infusion of plant taken as an emetic and Decoction of plant said to be a good expectorant and Decoction of plant taken for stomachaches.



  • Shoshoni Drug, Misc. Disease Remedy and Orthopedic Aid ; Decoction of plant taken for smallpox and measles and Poultice of boiled plant applied to broken legs.



  • Shoshoni Drug, Urinary and Venereal Aid; Infusion of plant taken for bladder trouble and Decoction of plant taken for venereal disease.
  • Sioux Drug, Gastrointestinal Aid; Infusion taken for colic.

  • Further Googling tells us:
    It has yellow, daisy-like flower heads and a sticky, resinous sap covers its leaves. It is both edible and medicinal and has been used in European and western herbology and in Native American medicine.
    As we have seen in all the above citations, but a 
    WORD OF CAUTION FOLLOWS:


    Also GOOGLING  we learn:
    Gumweeds can have toxic properties which to a large extent depend on the soil where they grow. This is especially true for curlycup gumweed. When excessive selenium is absorbed, the plant becomes poisonous.
    NEWSLETTER

    Concerns

    Because of its resinous coating, curlycup gumweed is not palatable to either livestock or big game. Some upland game birds will utilize the seeds. In dense infestations of curlycup gumweed, livestock are reluctant to graze between the plants, leaving some grasses ungrazed. Although, Sheep will nip off a few flowers when hard pressed.

    Gumweeds can have toxic properties which to a large extent depend on the soil where they grow. This is especially true for curlycup gumweed. When excessive selenium is absorbed, the plant becomes poisonous.

    SO, DO YOUR RESEARCH 
    perhaps with the Forest Service Office in Pleasant Grove, U.S. Bureau of Land Managementor, or USU Extension Utah County Office ; Phone 385-268-6530 ; Address 1426 E 750 N | Suite 202. Orem, UT 84097 ; Hours Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m..

    This guy has NO CONCERNS, 
    but we aren't caterpillars,  bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, nor insects, 
    so we have to be careful in our learning and experimentation.


    Above, along with a grasshopper, we see a Spider Milkweed seed heliocoptering by on its way maybe to your backyard.



    Now our wildflower begins to  dry up to enter its
    REPRODUCTION PHASE 


    As the seeds dry up they will be shaken loose by the wind or animals and hikers brushing against them helping to scatter them.



    New plants have sprouted all summer and now begin 
    to show the colors of Autumn and will likely survive the winter making it what. 
    Wikipedia calls a biennial or short-lived perennial plant. 


    *************************

    Mixed in with Curlycup Gumweed and all the other plants of the
     foothills we find another plant that escaped the farms in the valley
     below and now is part of the community of wild plants.
     
    It is the favorite agricultural-domestic livestock food in the U.S. and
     much of the world, and so common most ignore it in our foothills.

      You might remember from my writings that in my 26 years of dairying in Guatemala, a BYU professor of Agriculture/Animal Husbandry on a visit immediately noticed we didn't have fields of it nor silage.....both critical to dairying in Utah and the U.S. 
     and he began calling me a 
    "RODEO CLOWN"
    I was proud to adopt that nickname, lauging all the way to the BANK...many times, and can't resist adding a picture of two of our cows and a heifer that all defeated in a Livestock Show  the
    GRAND CHAMPION OF THE JERSEY BREED IN ALL OF CENTRAL AMERICA.
    Our CHAMPION COWS 
    are being shown by THREE OF MY CHAMPION KIDS that another of our 
    lame critics predicted would be "DUNDERHEADS" for being raised in the
    Mountains of the Maya. 
    From the left, Dunderheads, RICH "DITO," DAVID and JULIE
    NOTE: I'm not demeaning the plant, Alfalfa,  in this section. Our unique challenge 
    just demanded we find a better solution for our climate and situation..
    ....and it WORKED LIKE A CHARM!

    Now to the 
    AMAZING PLANT called
    "THE FATHER OF ALL FOODS" 
    Being that, best for us all to learn why.
    Its DIVINE flower and fascinating REPRODUCTION STAGE 
    is ignored by most since it's so common.  
    I hope to remedy it being ignored. 
    It is.....

    ALFALFA

    The Mormon butterfly doesn't ignore it for good reasons.  We shouldn't either 
    and hopefully won't from now on.






    Tells us a lot about this amazing plant and I will insert their words as we scroll down and view this beautiful 
    DIVINE VISION of NATURE.
    Alfalfa (/ælˈfælfə/) (Medicago sativa), also called lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. 


    It is used for grazinghay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop. The name alfalfa is used in North America. The name lucerne is more commonly used in the United KingdomSouth AfricaAustralia, and New Zealand
    The plant superficially resembles clover (a cousin in the same family), especially while young, when trifoliate leaves comprising round leaflets predominate. Later in maturity, leaflets are elongated. 


    It has clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in two to three turns containing 10–20 seeds. Alfalfa is native to warmer temperate climates. It has been cultivated as livestock fodder since at least the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
    Below, when we get to the REPRODUCTION STAGE I'll quote again some of the above words.


    Alfalfa seems to have originated in south-central Asia, and was first cultivated in Central Asia.[6][7] According to Pliny (died 79 AD), it was introduced to Greece in about 490 BC when the Persians invaded Greek territory. Alfalfa cultivation is discussed in the fourth-century AD book Opus Agriculturae by Palladius, stating: "One sow-down lasts ten years. The crop may be cut four or six times a year ... A jugerum of it is abundantly sufficient for three horses all the year ... It may be given to cattle, but new provender is at first to be administered very sparingly, because it bloats up the cattle."[8]


    The medieval Arabic agricultural writer Ibn al-'Awwam, who lived in Spain in the later 12th century, discussed how to cultivate alfalfa, which he called الفصفصة (al-fiṣfiṣa).[9] A 13th-century general-purpose Arabic dictionary, Lisān al-'Arab, says that alfalfa is cultivated as an animal feed and consumed in both fresh and dried forms.[10] It is from the Arabic that the Spanish name alfalfa was derived.[11]

    In the 16th century, Spanish colonizers introduced alfalfa to the Americas as fodder for their horses.[12]


    In the North American colonies of the eastern US in the 18th century, it was called "lucerne", and many trials at growing it were made, but generally without sufficiently successful results.[7] Relatively little is grown in the southeastern United States today.[13] Lucerne (or luzerne) is the name for alfalfa in Britain, Australia, France, Germany, and a number of other countries. Alfalfa seeds were imported to California from Chile in the 1850s. That was the beginning of a rapid and extensive introduction of the crop over the western US States[6] and introduced the word "alfalfa" to the English language. Since North and South America now produce a large part of the world's output, the word "alfalfa" has been slowly entering other languages.

    Ecology[edit]

    Alfalfa is a perennial forage legume which normally lives four to eight years, but can live more than 20 years, depending on variety and climate.[14] The plant grows to a height of up to 1 metre (3 feet 3 inches), and has a deep root system, sometimes growing to a depth of more than 15 m (49 ft) to reach groundwater. Typically the root system grows to a depth of 2–3 m (7–10 ft) depending on subsoil constraints.[14] Owing to this deep root system, it helps to improve soil nitrogen fertility and protect from soil erosion.[15] This depth of root system, and perenniality of crowns that store carbohydrates as an energy reserve, make it very resilient, especially to droughts. Alfalfa has a tetraploid genome.[16]


    Culture[edit]

    Alfalfa is widely grown throughout the world as forage for cattle, and is most often harvested as hay, but can also be made into silage, grazed, or fed as greenchop.[22] Alfalfa usually has the highest feeding value of all common hay crops. It is used less frequently as pasture.[18] When grown on soils where it is well-adapted, alfalfa is often the highest-yielding forage plant, but its primary benefit is the combination of high yield per hectare and high nutritional quality.[23]

    Its primary use is as feed for high-producing dairy cows, because of its high protein content and highly digestible fiber, and secondarily for beef cattlehorsessheep, and goats.[24][25] Alfalfa hay is a widely used protein and fiber source for meat rabbits. In poultry diets, dehydrated alfalfa and alfalfa leaf concentrates are used for pigmenting eggs and meat, because of their high content in carotenoids, which are efficient for colouring egg yolk and body lipids.[26] Humans also eat alfalfa sprouts in salads and sandwiches.[27][28] 


    Like other legumes, its root nodules contain bacteria, Sinorhizobium meliloti, with the ability to fix nitrogen, producing a high-protein feed regardless of available nitrogen in the soil.[31] Its nitrogen-fixing ability (which increases soil nitrogen) and its use as an animal feed greatly improve agricultural efficiency.[32][33]

    In most climates, alfalfa is cut three to four times a year, but it can be harvested up to 12 times per year in Arizona and southern California.[43][44] Total yields are typically around 8 tones per hectare (31/2 

    +short tons per acre) in temperate environments, but yields have

     been recorded up to 20

    tones per hectare (9 short tons per acre).[44] Yields vary with region,

     weather, and the crop's

     

    stage of maturity mprove yield, but with reduced nutritional content.[45]

    when cut.


    Harvesting[edit]

    When alfalfa is to be used as hay, it is usually cut and baled.[55] Loose haystacks are still used in some areas, but bales are easier for use in transportation, storage, and feed.[56] Ideally, the first cutting should be taken at the bud stage, and the subsequent cuttings just as the field is beginning to flower, or one-tenth bloom because carbohydrates are at their highest.[57

    When used as feed for dairy cattle, alfalfa is often made into haylage by a process known as ensiling.[24] Rather than being dried to make dry hay, the alfalfa is chopped finely and fermented in silos, trenches, or bags, where the oxygen supply can be limited to promote fermentation.[61] The anaerobic fermentation of alfalfa allows it to retain high nutrient levels similar to those of fresh forage, and is also more palatable to dairy cattle than dry hay.[62] In many cases, alfalfa silage is inoculated with different strains of microorganisms to improve the fermentation quality and aerobic stability of the silage.[63][64

    NOTE:  Click above on Wikipedia to get much more information.

    THE REPRODUCTION  STAGE
    I'll now quote from a previous paragraph:
    "flowers followed by fruits spiralled in two to three turns containing 10–20 seeds. "


    Notice the seeds pods....like  stringbeans.....but  curled up like a corkscrew


    The "corkscrew" seed pods above on the left show a seed inside an opening pod, which I'll show below blown up.




    I took some of them home to photograph carefully, including a seed



    To say the least it is a very tiny seed as seen above without cropping
     the photo and enlarging it as I did in the previous picture. 

    And, SURPRISE, SURPRISE you can get a wide variety of Alfalfa supplements reasonably priced like the one below at 
    AMAZON.COM 


    GOOGLE it to learn much more, including a CAUTION or two.

    NOTE:  By the way, if you want to know what we did in Guatemala
     without alfalfa & silage......and as a RODEO CLOWN  quickly
     turning around a bankrupt dairy eventually with record  breaking
     production and champion cows......you'll have to go back to the
     home page, and section by section read 
    the history of us achieving an
    "IMPOSSIBLE DREAM" in the MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA. 
    ***********

    Amidst Alfalfa, Rabbitbrush and Sagebrush all of a sudden I found a small white flower that worked out being of the Aster family with many hundreds of varieties worldwhide as I explain below.
    It is the 
    WHITE WOODLAND  ASTER
    I will admit some difficulty in identifying "aster-like" wildflowers....at least to which type.   It is a huge family of flowers, sometimes of different colors and characteristics.....and apparently different opinions about identification and naming among innumerable publications.  This is especially difficult for an admitted amateur in this field, but in this case as explained below, I'm at least sure it is an aster. 


    It was not growing low to the ground amidst masses of the same such as the  Desert Star flower described in Chapter 1,  rather in long stems climbing among other plants. 

    The ASTERS  can  be identified by the overlaping rows of leaflets under the flower head as we see below, distinguishing them from other similar wldflowers like the Fleabanes that only have a single row of leaflets.


    The composite photograph below actually shows at least two, maybe three different white flowers, the 3 in the upper row are  very tiny growing low to the ground.  The large picture on the bottom is a higher stemmed plant and we can see by the overlapping rows of leaflets or bracts under the flower head that it is an ASTER.   


    The photograph below shows the end of the REPRODUCTION stage of the same plant we see above. Once again we see the overlapping leaflets on the lower part of the flower head assuring us it is an ASTER. 

    So,  I believe it is the
    WHITE WOODLAND STAR ASTER
    but I'm not 100% sure and will have to wait for the 2024 season and observe more closely the at least three different tiny white flowers photographed so far. 

    WHY IS IDENTIFICATION IMPORTANT?
    Until we know for sure what wildflower/plant we are dealing with we can't really know for sure  anything about it, especially the EDIBILITY and MEDICINAL USES and BENEFITS, or whether perhaps it being POISONOUS or not.

    NOTE:  The information below is based on the above Woodland Star Aster actually being that.  At least I know it is an Aster, so feel  safe in giving the following information. 

    White Woodland Aster has a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans, and is used in herbal medicines for its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
    The roots of wild asters have a bitter-sweet flavor, and have been used in China for centuries to relieve coughing, wheezing and other lung conditions. The flowers and leaves can be eaten fresh or dried.


    INSTEADING tells us:
    The leaves and flowers of wild asters are also edible and considered beneficial to one's health. Combined with bloodroot, aster makes a good laxative. An infusion of wild asters eases headache symptoms. The flowers and leaves can be eaten fresh or dried in salads or cooked lightly and served like spinach.
    Overconsumption can cause problems, so best
    DO YOUR RESEARCH

    ************


    Early in June I began watching and following
     the development of this pretty hairy plant.



    Within a month there were large sprawling plants like we see below.



    Here they are beginning to develop flower heads with 
    what would be brilliant yellow blossoms.  We are seeing the overlapping leaflets at the base of the flower head, so can e sure it is an ASTER


    By mid-July there were smaller plants in 
    full bloom as we see below.


    And, by early August huge plants decorated our foothills with
    The HAIRY GOLDEN ASTER


    The Navaho used the plant to induce vomiting,  to treat sexually transmitted diseases and indigestion.   Roots were heated and applied to cavities to relieve pain.


    Below we can see clearly the overlapping leaflets under the flower head showing us 
    this is of the huge ASTER FAMILY 


    The HAIRY GOLDEN ASTER warms
    our heart but isn't as long lasting as Curly cup gumweed. 



    Above and below in early August showing the beginning of the
    REPRODUCTION STAGE



    Tells us:
    Either dried or fresh, the flowers and leaves of the Aster plant can be eaten. However, they are most commonly used nowadays in herbal teas, fresh in salads, or used as garnish. 
     Can you eat aster leaves?

    Even large leaves are tender and delicious and remain so after flowering and well into autumn. The flower stalks, flowers, roots and seeds are not worth eating.
    Asters repel almost all insects. You can plant asters with sunflowers for a colorful effect, or on their own as an effective insect repellent.




    By mid-September it is over with.



    By mid-September it was overwith for GOLDEN ASTER.
    Below we see a Golden aster plant on January 22nd, 2024.

    And below we zoom in to see green leaves at the base indicating that
     it is a perrenial plant. I will follow this same plant as it develops in
     2024. 



    **************

    But we aren't through with the ASTERS as there are at least 7 more varieties in our foothills and canyons, all of them purple of one shade or another.......we will call all of them 
    LEAFY ASTERS
     I'll show them to you sort of casually divided into what I see as three
     different types or shades, each of actually 7 groups each starting with a group picture.
      Usually the darker ones are found in the canyon, the lighter with
     more sun in the foothills.

    1.
    Description

    Reportedly, there are over 250 different types of asters growing all over the world. Botanists have reclassified this genus after studying the plant's morphology and DNA. The Aster genus is restricted to plants native to Europe and Asia. The species native to North America belong to two other genera, Symphyotrichum and Eurybia. The common name remains Aster for all the genera.


    Asters have daisy-like flowers and come in a variety of colors. They are easy to grow and require very little maintenance. They typically bloom in the late summer and fall, and they add color to the garden as the seasons change. The plant is erect and mounding. Its height may range from 6 inches to 8 feet tall with a width of 1 to 3 feet.


     Asters are a member of the Asteraceae family. The name Aster is Greek, meaning "star," and refers to the appearance of the flowers. 

    This genus is native to Eurasia, northwest Africa, Canada, and the northwest United States


    Any species or cultivars of this genus would be a lovely addition to any home garden. It may be planted in a container for use on a porch or patio. It will also add color to a cottage garden or border garden. Butterflies and bees will appreciate the flowers, particularly as summer is ending and the evenings are getting cooler.


    Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems: The Aster genus has no serious problems. It would be wise to monitor for lace bugs, mites, aphids, and Japanese beetles. Rusts, powdery mildew, downy mildew, leaf spots, and Verticillium wilt can occur.


    VIDEO: Part of the Native Plant Picks series from the North Carolina Sea Grant led Coastal Landscapes Initiative.

    Profile Video:



    ****************


    ANOTHER VARIETY A BIT DIFFERENT
    2.


    GOOGLING it we learn from:
    © Homestead Stories: Beautiful Wild Asters Galore • Insteading

    Edible and Medicinal Uses for Wild Asters

    These little charms have edible and medicinal* uses as well. The root of wild asters can be added to soups and are believed to have significant medicinal benefits. The Chinese have used the root for centuries as an herb to relieve lung conditions like coughing and wheezing. It has a bittersweet flavor.

    ************

    AND ANOTHER IN THE FOOTHILLS BELOW 
    3. 


    The leaves and flowers of wild asters are also edible and considered beneficial to one’s health. Combined with bloodroot, aster makes a good laxative. An infusion of wild asters eases headache symptoms. The flowers and leaves can be eaten fresh or dried in salads or cooked lightly and served like spinach.


    ***************

    UP THE CANYON WE FIND YET ANOTHER SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT
    4.


    *************

    ALSO UP THE CANYON ANOTHER VARIETY
    5.

    ************

    ANOTHER ASTER WITH A NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE



    **************

    6.


    **************
    7.




    MUCH MORE CAN BE LEARNED ABOUT THIS BEAUTIFUL WILDFLOWER
    BY GOOGLING IT & with 
    VIDEOS AVAILABLE.....one above
    **************

    As we come to the end this chapter we will end with three plants the first two with likely the smallest wildflowers, first...
    PROSTRATE KNOTWEED

    Can you see the tiny white flowers?   You most likley have not, nor even imagined such was
     there.....so pay attention and be prepared for a surprise.

    As you can see above, it is an invasive plant that spreads out on compacted soils.  It's root system is very fine and can get it established where other plants have difficulty.  It also is the first to germinate in early Spring and so beats more desirable plants and grasses and takes over.  So it is considered a noxious plant or weed that most people want to get rid of........IF THEY CAN!

    Let's do our best to find reasons for calling it a 
    DIVINE VISION of NATURE
    Below I have zoomed in on it.  Now we can  see the tiny 
    white flowers about 1/16th of an inch in diameter.

    Of course I will zoom in much closer below and was 
    lucky to be able to show you that 
    IT IS BEAUTIFUL!





    Not only is it a pretty little flower, but the
     PROSTRATE KNOTWEED
    is actually good for something!

    We learn at 
     Prostrate Knotweed can remove Damp-Heat to relieve itching and expel parasites. It is used to treat intestinal parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm and pinworm. This herb is also indicated for vulva pruritus, eczema, and damp-sore caused by the accumulation of Damp-Heat in the lower energizer.

    Young leaves and plants - raw or cooked[105, 177]. Used as a potherb[183], they are very rich in zinc[179]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Seed - raw or cooked.
    For precousions go to the website

    I just found on Facebook an inrteresting description 
    & way of eating it.
    Prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare) is an interesting but easily overlooked edible plant. This introduced species is found throughout the world. It makes its home in waste places such as my stoop—earning it another common name, “doorweed.” I’ve stepped over this plant for years. It is so wiry-looking, it doesn’t appear as if it would make a good edible. Recently, however, I trimmed all the tenderest growth from a tightly packed population whose tips had started to reach upward for the sky, and whizzed them in the food processor with garlic, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and Romano cheese to make a pesto. The greens are mild so the pesto took on the other flavors, which was fine by me. I ate it on toasted sourdough for lunch. Yum.
    Prostrate knotweed is often sprawling, but it can also grow erect. The stems are branched with swollen joints at the notes. The leaves are small and lance-shaped, green to bluish-green. Tiny reddish to white buds at the joints are followed by similarly-colored, 5-petaled tiny flowers. Don’t confuse prostrate knotweed with prostrate spurges (Euphorbia, syn. Chamaesyce spp.), which are toxic. If the plant you picked has a milky sap where injured, it could be a spurge, so steer clear. They will burn the mouth.
    Because prostrate knotweed can grow in unclean locations, it is important to be mindful and not forage it from a roadside or, in my region, a mining tailings pile. If you are concerned about contaminants from above—like footsteps and animal traffic—you can give it a 10-minute soak in water mixed with vinegar before using.
    My continued love affair with wild pesto comes from Dina Falconi’s master recipe, which allows for many wild variations on pestos. She was kind enough to share it with the wildfoodgirl blog here: http://wildfoodgirl.com/.../lambs-quarters-pesto....

    PROSTRATE KNOTWEED
    Is said to sometimes be confused with another plant, so best let's end this chapter with it........
    **************

    CREEPING  SPURGE

    For sure it is developing into a beautiful plant and uniquely different!


    And we are beginning to see it also is an invasive plant that spreads out low to the ground.  Its flower is perhaps smaller than that of the Prostrate Knotweed


    Now, let's begin zooming in more.
    In the picture below are  visible several  seed pods that are divided into sections each containing one seed about 1/25th of an inch in diameter

    And, importantly learn about 
    CREEPING SPURGE
    ........the stems contain a milky latex liquid that is poisonous capable of causing skin and eye problems, and if eaten can cause serious digestive disorders, and even death.




    reports:
    The sap of many spurge family plants is caustic or a skin and eye irritant. The sap of flowering spurge is an irritant for many people although it has traditional medicinal uses.
    Several medicinal uses by the Cherokee are reported including a treatment for cancer, a purgative, an ointment for sores, and numerous uses of the root: a physic, a treatment for pin worms, and treatment of urinary tract diseases.
    *************
    With that I will end Chapter 4, reminding all about 
    "THE MOST IMPORTANT PLANT IN THE WEST"  
    its love affair 
    WITH PERHAPS THE PRETTIEST!


    Next
    CHAPTER 5........
    .......that to have it in time for a Christmas present for my loved ones and friends, will likely be afterwards followed up online with more complete text explanations about what will be illustrated
    with photographs. 
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