Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Doubleheader: Beetles’ Favorite Fuzzy Flower

I love Silver Lake. It is full of marshy wetland goodness. I wish I knew it in all seasons, but even though I don’t, I can already tell you that one of my favorite months is May. That’s when the yellow iris burst out all over the place, and the yellow water lilies are also blooming, and then there are other, tiny, fuzzy white flowers that look like stars.

Image shows a sprig of white flowers growing up from the water, together with sedges and broadleaf marsh plants.
Mystery Flora I

They’re really good at reflecting sunlight, too, which makes them difficult for my camera to deal with. But we did our best.

Image shows a cluster of three of the flowers in closeup. They have five petals, which are covered in long, fluffy hairs.
Mystery Flora II

The patterns of light, shadow, and plants against the water made for some rather artistic moments.

Image is a single bloom in profile. Shadows from the other plants make black patterns against dark blue water. The petals of the flower are gently curled under.
Mystery Flora III

One day I shall process the hell out of that one and make it art.

These flowers, for some reason, are favorites of the local beetles. My photos of them from last year (sadly not accessible on this computer) have beetles lounging on them, perhaps because they are so soft and fluffy. This year was no different.

There are two brown beetles on one of the blooms. One beetle has pounced on the other beetle's head. On a long, broad leaf below, another brown beetle is taking a walk.
Mystery Flora + Cryptopods I

Here’s a closer look at the two on the flower – I have no idea what they’re doing.

Image shows the full cluster of flowers and the two beetles.
Mystery Flora + Cryptopods II

It’s possibly either poronographic or Not Nice, but hey, nature. Whaddya gonna do?

While these bugs were doing… whatever… their buddy went climbing up a different leaf.

Image shows the flower cluster with the two beetles, and a spray of leaves to the side. A beetle is climbing up from below.
Mystery Flora + Cryptopods III

I utterly adore these little flowers, and the beetles are pretty spiffy, too. Hopefully ya’ll will be able to tell me what they are!

For those interested in the catastrophic geology behind this serene and marshy lake, you can go read my post upon it, which rather gave me the inspiration and the title to blog the lead-up to the May 18, 1980 eruption. For more about the rather epic geologic history of the whole area, I also wrote up the story I found in the quad map documentation, which turned out to be some of the most fascinating reading I’ve ever done. I’m not even being a tiny bit sarcastic. There are times when I pick up a paper, expecting it to be a bit dry and possibly opaque, and I come across a beautifully-written scientific story telling me about other worlds that existed right here on Earth. People wonder why I spend so much time reading this stuff. That’s why. It’s just impossibly neat.

I’ll probably be talking lots about Mount St. Helens, as I’m working on expanding my series of guide posts into an actual book suitable for taking up the mountain. I need to try to get back there soon, too, so if you want to meet up there and do some exploring, perhaps we can arrange something. Bonus if you have a kid who’s willing to be all photogenic on the kid-friendly stuff. I’d like a portion of the book to advise parents on great things to do with the kiddos, so I’d like a young tester who’d like to help me illustrate some of the more awesome features. Also, could folks with disabilities either come along, or let me know what they need me to scope out for them? I want everyone to be able to find fun stuff to do.

Back to research for me. Good luck with our mysteries!

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Doubleheader: Beetles’ Favorite Fuzzy Flower

6 thoughts on “Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Doubleheader: Beetles’ Favorite Fuzzy Flower

  1. rq

    The flower is the bogbean. Took me a while, that one did. But Ah! you say, That’s a Finnish website! Well, there’s only one species in that genus. According to wiki,

    The North American form is often referred to as M. trifoliata var. minor Michx.

    So it’s local and edible.
    As for the beetles, it’s hard to say. I want a closer look at their antennae to be more sure, though I would venture a ponderous borer or related species as a tentative guess.

  2. 2

    Is this the Silver Lake in South Everett? The one within walking distance of where I’m sitting right now? I must make a note to go over there and walk around.

  3. 3

    .. have beetles lounging on them, perhaps because they are so soft and fluffy.

    Or because they are its main pollinator? Apparently, according to a doco I saw the other night*, the first very flowering plants were pollinated by beetles before bees among other insects and pollinator-plant relationships evolved. So this could be a ve-ery long frendship indeed!

    It’s possibly either poronographic or Not Nice, but hey, nature.

    Or both this being insects which are are known to combine mating and cannibalism for example – but I don’t know. Out of this Aussie’s jurisdiction here!

    * That doco being episode 2 of ‘How To Grow A Planet’ hosted by excellent geologist, author and TV science star Professor Iain Stewart. You can view it on ABC iview here :

    Or at least I hope you can – at least until until 12:20am on 5 June 2015.

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