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CULT:Tumble Weeds

  • Subject: [iris-photos] CULT:Tumble Weeds
  • From: "Neil A Mogensen" neilm@charter.net
  • Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 07:28:04 -0500

I've had the same thought, Sharon. 
Living in the semi-desert, semi-steppe country has its charms.  There is an incredible native flora--the entire area is a beautiful forest--two to ten feet tall.  A good magnifying glass reveals awesome beauty in the tiny flowers that sprout, grow and bloom in a matter of a few weeks when moisture and temperature gradients cross paths.
Tumbleweeds are actually part of a very interesting extended family of colorful and fragrant plants.  The weeds themselves are delightful to watch germinate and grow.  The tiny germinating plants are exquisite, then the stems of the growing adult are a mix of pink and green in endlessly varying patterns. 
Small rodents can find shelter under their growth--for a time.  No coyote of any intelligence will endure the stings trying to go after them. Native delicate annual grasses find equal shelter under the weed where no grazing animal will disturb them for the same reason.  They do serve a purpose.
I never knew how fragrant the area was until I had been away for over a year, then returned.  Halfway through Utah I caught a trace of the fragrance, mostly the result of Artemisia tridentata (Great Grey Sage).  I was moved to tears.  It's a wonderfully rich, sweet and spicy smell.
Neil Mogensen  z 7 western NC mountains

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