Sasanqua Camellia

Camellias are evergreen shrubs native to south and eastern Asia. The most economically important species of camellia is Camellia sinensis, the tea plant. Dried leaves of this camelia are very familiar because of their use to brew tea.

Two other species of camelia are common ornamental bushes in warmer regions of the United States. Camellia japonica produces large showy flowers and typically blooms in winter. Camellia sasanqua is similar, blooming with slightly smaller flowers in the fall and winter. In Japan leaves from the sasanqua camellia are used to brew tea, while its seeds are used to make tea seed oil.

In Louisiana this is the time of year that Sasanqua Camellias are in full flower. The pictures below show three sasanqua camellia bushes that are currently blooming in our yard.

Dark Pink

Light Pink / White

White

Clear Water

We are fortunate to live beside a lake with very clear water. Effectively capturing its clarity in a photo is difficult.

Real estate ads for properties on lakes in the area with clear water commonly include photos like this, taken looking down on the water from our dock. Plants on the lake bottom, under about 3 feet of water, are clearly evident — but it does not provide a good perspective.

The short video above shows how you can watch fish in the lake from your kayak. I think they are bluegills.

Pictures of lily pads in the lake taken from the kayak give a better perspective of the water’s clarity.

This Painted Turtle was also enjoying a day on the lake. It is easy to see these turtles swimming under the water, but getting a photo of this is tough.

Attractive Fungi

What’s our first thought about fungi? Fungal infections? No doubt certain occurrences of fungus are unpleasant (athlete’s foot, black spot on roses). However fungi are critical to all life, particularly because over 90% of plant species benefit from a symbiotic relation with fungi termed mycorrhiza.

Occasionally fungi in the form of mushrooms are attractive. Following are two examples.

These small mushrooms were growing on wood chip mulch in our garden. They most likely are Coprinopsis lagopus, commonly known as the hare-foot mushroom. These mushrooms last only a few hours before they dissolve into an inky mess.

These large mushrooms were found growing from a standing dead tree in the Chippewa National Forest, near Walker, Minnesota. They are Pleurotus dryinus, or Veiled Oyster mushrooms. This mushroom is most often found growing on decaying wood of oak, ash and beech trees.

August Favorites

The slideshow below features photos of wildflowers seen in our area in late summer.

Sunflowers

The website Minnesota Wildflowers lists ten species of sunflowers within the genus Helianthus. The ‘Picture This’ app made the species identifications listed above.