Musing on Marah

marah & pine artwork

When I first looked up at this tall, dark pine and saw the vivid green vine of Wild Cucumber (Marah macrocarpus) reaching and spiraling upwards, it seemed like something truly magical. A verdant staircase of sorts that I wished I could somehow climb. The above image was the result of a bit of tinkering in Photoshop, but I think it’s a fair representation of how my mind first interpreted this beautiful scene. I must have spent a good 20 or 30 minutes circling the tree and appreciating the colors, trying to capture the details I loved most. Here are a few of my favorites…


marah & pine

marah & pine

marah & pine

marah & pine


If you live in this area, be sure to keep an eye out for this beautiful native which is currently blooming everywhere right now! Look for the attractive vine and leaves shown here… with the added bonus of sweet little clusters of white blossoms, which I will undoubtedly feature in future posts. (For more information, check out this Calflora page. An excellent resource for all things growing within the state of California!)

Harsi / February 21, 2011 / artwork, plants / 2 Comments

A Love Poem

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)


nature loves you

~ just as you are and how you is ~

nature makes space for you

when the world feels narrow and tight

nature embraces you

with strong and timeless arms

nature inspires the heart

your spirit unfurls like a leaf

nature loves you

~ just as you are and how you is ~


[Valentine’s Day hearts are compliments of the pretty little non-native, Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). This photo is from a few years ago… I’m eagerly watching for them to bloom any day now!]

Harsi / February 14, 2011 / flowers, plants, poetry / 2 Comments

What Will I Become? (Part I)

This is the time of year when green stuff is pushing up out of the ground all over the hillsides in southern California. Up until several years ago, I was really only familiar with the local wildflowers once they had bloomed. Before that show of beauty and color arrived, they mostly seemed to blend in with the grasses and other small plants. But as my interest in the native flora has developed, I can now recognize even the very first young leaves. I like to take note of where the small clusters are growing and then visit them on my daily walks. Occasionally, I talk to them and compliment them on their progress. *grin*


So, I thought it might be fun to share a few images of just leaves… with a BONUS surprise! If you click on the plant image, you will see a photo of the flower it will eventually produce. For those of you who want to try guessing what the plants are, I’ve put all the photo captions at the bottom so I won’t spoil it for you. Enjoy!





Plant 1: Lupine (Lupinus). Identifying this one to genus would be pretty simple for anyone at all familiar with the group — the characteristic and endearing leaf shape is a dead giveaway. But, there are so many kinds (100+ !!!) in California, many of which look very similar, that I wouldn’t even want to venture a guess as to species.

Plant 2: California Poppy (Eschscholzia). Again, there are several species of poppy that are possible in this area, but I believe this is likely Eschscholzia californica. (I adore the subtle pink edges on these frilly leaves!)

Plant 3: Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium). I’m almost 100 percent certain this is Sisyrinchium bellum — someone please correct me if I got that wrong! Unlike the previous two, this plant’s leaves are not very showy, yet the beautiful little flowers it eventually produces are perhaps my favorite.

Harsi / February 9, 2011 / flowers, plants / 3 Comments