Catching the spring loaded seed propagation
One of the first spring wildflowers to bloom in the Southwestern U. S. also happens to be one of the smallest, the Filaree Storksbill.
Native to Eurasia and in the Geranium Family (Geraniacea) this plant was brought to America by the early Spanish settlers.
Considered by many as a bothersome weed that must be extinguished, the tiny pink flowers of the Filaree provide a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies that are just coming out of winter. Furthermore, I have observed the ladybug alligator-shaped larva being drawn to the plant in early spring.
The Filaree plant is entirely edible and has a flavor similar to parsley. Its root was used by the Zuni Tribe to relieve stomachache, sores and rashes.
Growing in clumps, tiny pink flowers which are not much more than a centimeter in diameter are supported on slender red stems that are around 5 centimeters in length.
One of the most interesting facts of the Filaree is how it propagates its seeds. The seed-pod of the Filaree is shaped like a stork's bill and is approximately 3.5 centimeters in length.
As the seed pod ripens, it begins to twist into a spiral which will then create a spring-like effect that launches the seed-pod from the mature plant.
After the seed is launched, it floats through the air on feathery parachutes. When the seed contacts the ground, it becomes self-buried and a new plant will develop.
Learning all these fascinating facts about the Filaree has broadened my appreciation for this prolific plant. I am always amazed with nature's diversity, come next spring I will be taking an even closer look at the tiny pink flowers and green fern-like leaves. Until then, check back and follow my blog to see what intimate moments my macro lens is ready to share.
What an exciting and interesting photo-adventure this day has been. I love it when I am drawn to an area and not knowing what to expect I get treated to new experiences.
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