Bodacious Botany: A Biological Nova

Lockwood and I see some pretty amazing plants on our geological journeys. Take this bright yellow beauty we found at Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon:

Image shows a plant that slightly resembles an ornamental lettuce. It's bright yellow int he center. The leaves closest to the center are yellow-green, gradually becoming more green the further from the center they are.
Mystery botany I

That’s like a botanical nova on the ground! It was hugging the scarp along the hillside.

Image shows the same plant from a distance. It's hugging a cliff of unconsolidated sediments behind it.
Mystery botany II

Oh, yes, I see you eyeballing all that geology there. Never fear, we shall be exploring it in earnest someday! Meanwhile, revert your eyes to the plant in question. It insists.

Image shows the center of another plant. It has tiny yellow flowers closely-packed. A few stamens are extending from them.
Mystery botany III

You can see how the wee flowers of the inflorescence start out rather subdued, but they appear to bust out in a kind of botanical riot as they age.

Image shows the center of the plant. There is a riot of spiky yellow flowers.
Mystery botany IV

Or perhaps they shed all those bits and reduce back to the flowers. I’m not sure. All I know is that a plant that looks a bit like a silly ornamental lettuce at first glance repays close inspection.

Image shows a smaller, younger-looking version of the same plant.
Mystery Botany V

And it’s surrounded by some pretty hardy stuff. This is an Oregon Coast headland, which is subjected to a lot of strong wind and lashing rain. There aren’t a lot of trees growing here. I suspect it’s because of the geology, but we’ll find that out when I finally write up the location. Someday. I promise it will happen!

Meanwhile, let’s zoom out and take one last look at our splodey yellow friend.

Image is a zoomed-out version of the plant above, showing it surrounded by other hardy headland plants.
Mystery botany VI

Oh, nature. Even your modest little lovelies are somehow epic.

Bodacious Botany: A Biological Nova

9 thoughts on “Bodacious Botany: A Biological Nova

  1. rq

    Maybe not a brassica. To be honest, I’m rather stumped right now. Something about it looks awfully familiar, but I’m not finding the right words.

  2. rq

    Also, it is native, and apparently rare. A real winner!! :) The family is Apiaceae, which is carrots, parsley and celery. Hence the vaguely familiar appearance (and yes, the sharp pointy leaves are more appropriate to a version of parsley than a version of lettuce!).

  3. 8

    Three .. Two .. One .. Lift off .. Happy New Year!

    Welcome to the Year of Pluto & Ceres :

    Best wishes for Dana Hunter and y’all. Here’s to 2015 being an astronomically great year with clear skies and smooth sailing ahead! :-D

    (Off topic sorry but still.)


    Oh, yes, I see you eyeballing all that geology there. Never fear, we shall be exploring it in earnest someday!”

    Rounded river pebbles in what looks like wet clay. Fluvial / lacustrine environment. Looks like river bank somewhere yeah? (Hmm .. re-reads post -coastal headland.)

    Plant looks like two different ones with different leaf shapes – perhaps clump of two species together? Reminds me of the ice plant* (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum?) here – where we rarely get more than a little frost. Almost brocoli like heads infloresences there. Very nice. Is it edible or have native uses as bush medicine etc I wonder? Thanks Dana. (Thanks rq for the id & link too.)

    * See :

  4. 9

    I thought I replied to this yesterday, apparently I never clicked “submit”.

    I see at least four or five different types of plant in that clump. Click the second image for a bigger view. The only one I can identify is a plain old dandelion.

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