Thursday, July 17, 2008

Buckeye and Swallowtail


California Buckeyes are native to the interior coast ranges, and are related to chestnut trees. The name comes from the appearance of the large nuts as they emerge from their shells. The trees have evolved to tolerate the long, dry summers, and frequent droughts here. They always drop their leaves before any of the other plants, which shortens the number of weeks their big leaves aspirate moisture. But this year ended its rainfall much earlier than usual, so even as this plant is still opening blossoms, some have turned brown, and some of its leaves are yellowing in preparation to drop. This swallowtail butterfly is working against the clock to get its job of pollinating done so some nuts can form in time.

8 comments:

Sara Nejati said...

It is the first time that I visit your photo blog.It is fantastic and also diffrent.I like your photos.
I remembered my Grandpa's garden by your this post's photo!
And want to post its pictures in the blog by the next week!

Mo said...

are the nuts edible?

Kelly said...

I know chestnuts are edible, because we roast them here in Geneva at Christmas, but I thought the buckeyes were not? Maybe I am wrong. This is a beautiful shot!

Meead S. said...

Hmmm...nice flowers!

Knoxville Girl said...

I'm impressed that you got such a clear shot of the butterfly before it fluttered away.

Barbara said...

Hi Willits..just want to say I enjoy your blog. Cheers from West Sacramento Photo of the Day.

USelaine said...

Sara and Meead - Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I enjoy seeing your pictures too. I'll watch for your grandfather's garden.

Mo and Kelly - These are not as edible as the chestnuts we are used to eating. Like acorns, the Pomo Indians knew how to leach the toxins out of them before using them for food. I can't find my book about it right now, but I seem to recall that these had less nutrition than oak acorns, and took longer to leach, so the Pomos only ate them in years when the acorn harvest was poor.

KG - It was pretty devoted to those flowers. I only have limited patience.

Barbara - Hi! I'm glad for your visit.

Kym said...

In general the buckeye nut/seed is poison unless treated but the flower smells heavenly.

Nice photo, Elaine!