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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On the rocks

Coast Rockcress (Arabis blepharophylla)

An early spring perennial growing around rock outcrops, along coastal bluffs, and on grassy slopes.  Flowering from February through May, with peak in March and April.

Look for bright pink petals (pale in some individuals, darker in others), oval basal leaves and cauline leaves (growing along the stem) that are often hairy.

Seeds are contained in long, narrow pods ~2-4 cm long (see below).

On 23 March 2012, I noticed a few flowers being eaten by woolly bear caterpillars (Platyprepia virginialis, which will become Ranchman's Tiger Moths).  

[For East Coast readers that I know are probably wondering, although also called a woolly bear, this is different than the familiar caterpillar with the same common name (or sometimes called a banded woolly bear) in the eastern United States.  That species is Pyrrharctia isabella and it becomes an Isabella Tiger Moth.]

We're lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely California endemic on Bodega Head.

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