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juicy, Lucius

Tilden Botanical Park: Flowers are Easy

Here I was trying to illustrate the botanical garden experience. One of the most obvious differences between a botanical garden and other types of gardens, at least to the lay person, are the labels.

As a hobby botanist I find that they make the experience richer because they put each plant in its botanical context. I go "Oh, so that's a Rosacaea? Yeah, you can see the remainder of the flower at the bottom of the fruit, just like on an apple. That makes sense" or "Ah, it's a Malvacae. No wonder I thought it was pretty. It's got that extremely prominent stamen too, like a hibiscus. I should have guessed." and I can't help but try teaching those around me to understand at least a smidgen of plant taxonomy. Plant geeks can be just as tedious as computer geeks or car geeks that way.

As a photographer I often find the labels intrusive, on the other hand. A big red thing like this one can totally ruin a shot. Having been irritated by the large labels a few times, I decided to take a photo that makes a feature of one.
Coffee berry label
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And here is a shot showing just the coffeeberry flowers. I'm not familiar at all with the Rhamnaceae or Buckthorn family. That's hardly surprising since they occur mostly in subtropical and tropical biotopes. Another well-known genus in the Rhamnaceae family is Ceanothus, the California lilac. Me, I would have guessed on Ericaceae, because of the heather-like, bell-shaped, flowers.
Rhamnus california ssp. nov., Coffee berry
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This is another new species to me, Ribes malvaceum, although I'm familiar with the genus. Ribes is the currant genus. There is a reason why the blackcurrant drink is called Ribena. I can only surmise that malvaceum has something to do with mallows. Perhaps it refers to the pretty, pink colour of the flower? Googling the name I find that there are a number of named cultivar grown in gardens in California but no information about the name.
Ribes malvaceum, Chaparral Currant
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Finally, a locally significant climber, Fremontodendron californicum 'Margo,' Margo's Fremontia. It was named after a California explorer and hobby botanist, the same person who had the city of Fremont named after him.
Fremontodendron californicum 'Margo,' Margo's Fremontia
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Comments

Yeah - plant geeks are boring too, I guess. I'm lucky 0ct0pus will come round gardens with me for at least the aesthetic pleasure, and octomule loves touching the leaves and looking at the trees. That way, I don't seem such a pain in the bum.

Those are lovely pictures - thank you for sharing!
Fremontia is one of my favorites. As you cross the Dumbarton Bridge eastbound into Fremont, it grows on the hillsides by the toll plaza. :)
Plant geeks can be just as tedious as computer geeks or car geeks that way.

I beg to differ! I think we're among the most interesting people around!

Spring is much more advanced where you are than up here. We have yet to see any shrubs in bloom.