• Not Blow wives, Silverpuffs

    by  • June 15, 2011 • How to

    Dang, and I put the name in the post title…

    A few days after posting Dandelions, Grand dandelions and Blow wives, I discovered on a native plant site that Blow wives are NOT Blow wives but Silverpuffs. Not only Silverpuffs, but Lindley’s Silverpuffs.  I was looking for why Blow wives was called that and happened by chance on a picture of a near identical plant. Then I googled both names and found this neat photo. Here is the picture…if you click it, you will find the site where I found it.

    Blow-wives (Achyrachaena mollis, left) and silverpuffs (Uropappus lindleyi, right)

    Blow-wives (Achyrachaena mollis, left) and silverpuffs (Uropappus lindleyi, right) Courtesy, Rancho San Vicente

     Silverpuffs are what I have in my meadows.

    Identifying CA Native Plants

    Identifying native plants is a fun challenge for me.  With the help of CalFlora and CalPhotos and learning to consult the Jepson Manual, you get a head start.  Google Images can help pinpoint colors and shapes. Google Books can give historical views since books have been written for ages about these CA natives.

     I’ve recently discovered Michael L. Charters’ site California Plant Names, with its section CaliforniaPlant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations.  If you have any sites you refer to, I’d like to know!

    I must say that this interest does not appeal to all, as you may already know.  My good friend Cheryl, who is a Master Gardener, hates latin names and tells me so whenever I utter one. If you’re still reading this, you may like Latin.

     Asking the experts

    I  like emailing experts occasionally to ask for IDs. You can find experts at University sites, It’s nice to have that option and an email from a lay person may seem like a novelty that folks welcome.

    One exception is that I received a cold shoulder form the Cornell University when I emailed about the so called ‘Cornell formula’ for a insect spray made from common household products.  I had heard of this formula for years, a mixture of detergent, baking soda and horticultural oil. They referred me one to another in their extension office and elsewhere and disavowed any knowledge of the formula.


    Correcting your Plant name

    This blog is on Word Press and while I don’t know how other blog servers work, when you name a photo file in WP, you can’t change it.  If you find that you’ve misidentified a plant and therefore a photo posted to the blog, you can change it in your post.  Fine, but Google still finds the file under the old file name.  I’ve had to change IDs several times and I follow a process where I delete the old photo, rename the photo file in my computer with the correct name and reload the photo into the blog. Does this sound tedious?  May be, but I’m usually glad to find the correct name and don’t want folks landing here being disappointed not to find correct info.

    I guess I’ll change the title of that post and add the info on Silverpuffs.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.