Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wild Silver Lupin

It is would be difficult to miss the showy wild Silver Lupin flowers that are blooming profusely in Pine Valley right now. They do extremely well with our dry soils and especially love to grow in surprising places where they have not purposely been planted.  Lupin is poisonous to sheep and cattle, but it is said that the Indians used Lupin as fodder for their horses to fatten them and make them "spirited and full of fire"!  I often observe squirrels and chipmunks feasting on the "poisonous" seeds and fully enjoying them.  Go figure!
Lupin Flowers
Lupin Leaves

Gumweed is blooming in Pine Valley

  Gumweed, also known as grindelia squarrosa can be seen blooming along Main St. and in pastures where the ground has been disturbed.  This is a very interesting plant as it has extremely sticky and gummy resinous leaves and flowers.  A member of the sunflower family that grows from 1 to 3 feet tall, the pretty yellow gumweed flowers may tempt a person to pick a bouquet.  Think again! The sap tends to linger on hands and clothing.

Indians used gumweed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis, colic and skin rash. Practitioners of folk medicine used it to treat cancers of the spleen and stomach, burns, colds, fever, gonorrhea, pneumonia, rashes, rheumatism, smallpox and tuberculosis.  Today, extracts of gumweed are used in medicine for treatment of bronchial spasm, asthma, whooping cough and poison ivy rashes.  In fact, the herb is officially approved in Germany for treatment of catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.  Who would have thought that such an innocuous and humble looking plant was such a powerhouse of healing!

****This article is for informational uses only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe for any medical condition.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ok! here comes a blog I've forgotten how to post. If it works and I remember how to add a photo I'll share sausquatch! Probably the real guy!  It's been almost 40 years so I'm not sure where he (it) has gone but this picture was taken in the gully near Jim and Rosalind Soltis's home. Anyone want to guess who these younsters are or who they belong to??

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday!

For those of you who remember Gunner the Pine Valley miracle puppy, he just celebrated his first birthday. Happy Birthday Gunner!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

White Prickly Poppy

Argemon, or White Prickly Poppy, can now be seen blooming in Pine Valley.  A member of the poppy family, Prickly Poppy gets its name from the many sharp spines on its leaves.  These spiny leaves prevent cows from grazing on the plant, which is a good thing since it is slightly poisonous to cattle.

The Prickly Poppy's seeds are a major food source for birds.  The seeds contain 25.8% oil, and are comparable to soybeans in oil content.  The oil is of such good quality that it was used as a light lubrication alternative during World War 2!

This is another plant that is even more fun to observe when you know its name and a few facts about it.  Look for the showy white blossoms on a spiny plant growing along roadsides and in waste places.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


File:Penstemon palmeri 4.jpgPenstemon  is a showy wildflower that can be seen growing in the Pine Valley Recreation Area and in dry rocky places around the Valley.  Several years ago, I noticed a man and a woman harvesting dry penstemon stalks along the road between Central and Pine Valley.  When I stopped and asked them what they were doing, they replied that the Forest Service contracts with them to provide penstemon seeds, which are then planted on areas that have had forest fires.  This helps to rehabilitate the area.  These plants are not only beautiful but are an important part of our ecosystem.