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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Alabama Botanizing

There are a lot of plants down here that I'm not familiar with at all.

Crepe myrtle trees (Lagerstroemia sp.) are planted everywhere! They seem to be the primary landscaping tree. They are often mentioned in fiction books set in the south, but I didn't know what they look like. Now I do! I've seen dark pink, light pink and white blossoms. They are a small, multi-trunked tree.

crepe myrtle

The bark is light gray and sheds throughout the year resulting in a mottled appearance. It's quite attractive.

crepe myrtle

Flowers are in a large panicle at the end of the branch. I think the main flowering season was past because there were only occasional blooms and people tell me the trees are covered with blossoms at the right time of year.

crepe myrtle

The plant was brought from China and Korea around 1790, and now has hundreds of cultivars with great variety. The petals are all crinkled like crepe paper, hence the name.

crepe myrtle

This evening we went to another house to pick up a few more of Loretta's boxes. While there, the owner asked me if I was familiar with the red buckeye (Aesculus pavia). I was not. I'd never even heard of it. It's another species in the same genus as the Ohio Buckeye and the Horsechestnut. It was already dark, so I didn't get a picture of the tree, but it's much smaller than its cousins.

The buckeyes grow 2-4 in a pod. This one has three.

red buckeye

While the Ohio Buckeye is a much darker brown, you can see how rich and reddish these look. I'm keeping a couple to see how they dry. A bowl full would be a pretty decoration.

red buckeye

We did more eating out with friends, and visiting. Also did some shopping for clothes for Loretta. I'm not much of a shopper, but it was fun to help her search some sale racks for things she would like, and she got several very pretty tops for very little money!

See Horsechestnut
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Ann said...

I've never actually seen a buckeye so I had no idea they were that large

Lin said...

I enjoy the foliage and local animals of the places we visit. I was really thrilled to see mongoose running around the parks in Maui. They don't have squirrels there--they have mongoose!

RNSANE said...

I'm a Georgia girl by birth, went to nursing school in New Orleans and then moved here or there, ending up in the San Fran area. I've never outgrown my love of crepe myrtles, though, and your photos made my homesick for my birthplace.

I also love dogwoods which are very prolific in the South, usually growing along the highways, in the shade of the tall pines.

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