“Hoary Fuchsia” is a contrarian wildflower. For starters, it’s a contradiction in terms – a combination of words whose meanings are in conflict with one another. The word hoary means “having grey or white hair”, while fuchsia means “a bright reddish-purple color”. What were those botanists thinking when they named that flower?
But when you take a closer look, perhaps they’re not so crazy after all.
Here’s a photo that I took earlier this week. As you can see, the blossoms are a vivid bright red color but the leaves have a greyish tint to them.
And if you were to view those leaves with a magnifying lens, you’d notice that the stems and leaves are covered with gray-green hairs. (Click here and look at the third photo to see what I mean.)
There’s another reason why I consider this flower contrarian. It blooms in the late summer and early fall – August, September and October – and I’ve even seen blossoms in November! What kind of wildflower blooms during the driest part of the year? A contrarian one of course!
But again, when you take a closer look, it begins to make more sense. Check out this Hoary Fuchsia blossom. Notice the color and the tubular shape? Each blossom is about 1-2 inches in length and up to an inch wide. The red color and tubular shape are especially attractive to hummingbirds.
Several species of hummingbirds, including the Rufus Hummingbird, migrate through our area in the spring and fall. They need to feed on nectar-rich flowers in order to replenish their energy stores. There are plenty of flowers to choose from in the spring. But from late June through September, when they migrate from the Pacific Northwest and Canada back to Mexico, the pickin’s are slimmer.
So, what at first seems contrarian can, in the end, help make the whole system work better.
I was reminded of that lesson again this week. Thanks Spence, Jim, Henry & Susan.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at email@example.com for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, October 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30.
Saturday mornings, October 12 & 26.
New trail maps available. If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps of our local open spaces.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders.
Ask Dr. Norm: Do you have questions about the flora, fauna, animals, rocks, etc. in our Santa Clarita Valley? Here’s a place for you to ask your questions. Dr. Norman Herr, Ph.D., is a professor of science and computer education at California State University, Northridge.
Tell Us About Your Hike: Here’s a new website where you can post pictures, provide feedback and make suggestions about the City of Santa Clarita’s trails and open spaces.
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Source: Santa Clarita News