Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Wildflowers in Winter
This week's Wildflowers in Winter challenge is to photograph a winter image of wildflowers. Well, it's definitely winter out here on the northern plains and there's not much in the way of pretty wildflowers to photograph, but I did manage to get the lasting remains of the Curlycup Gumweed that is in the forefront of this picture. To see it in its mature form, click here. It's a pretty yellow wildflower that has a very aromatic smell and is sticky to the touch, whether you're handling the stems, leaves or the flower itself. It didn't get the name "gumweed" for nothing. It is said that plains tribes used it for treating colic, asthma and bronchitis and that early pioneers used the herb as a treatment for whooping cough and as an ingredient for asthma cigarettes (I can't even imagine trying this idea! Whew!)
These aren't flowers yet, but they are the buds of the soon-to-be catkins of the Cottonwood Tree which is a native growing tree here on the plains. It's always fun for me to watch them creep out of their pods like wooly, red caterpillars when the temperatures warm up in May. Click here for a picture of the catkin in "full bloom."