Saturday, July 22

Stopping on Yellow

Here are two of the yellow coloured wildflowers you might see if you visited the Yukon right now. On the left is one little yellow arnica flower. As you can probably tell from the picture, it's closely related to sunflowers and asters. Yes, it's another member of the largest family of flowering plants--the composite family. This particular variety of arnica grows throughout the western mountains of North America, from the Yukon down through northern Mexico.

A web search for information on this wildflower quickly tells me that it is best known for it's use in herbal medicine. It's one of those "external use only" plants, rubbed on the skin in hopes of soothing all manner of owies--scrapes, bruises, sprains, muscle pain, chapped lips, irritated nostrils, acne, burns, sores, and eczema. And apparently, (Move over, Rogaine!) applied to the scalp, it will make your hair grow. It has the potential, it seems, to be one of those cures that is worse than the disease, so you may want to think twice before using it, especially up your irritated nostrils. It should come with a little warning sticker that says, "May produce severe inflammation."

On the right is another yellow wildflower. I know it doesn't look yellow in the photo--and the photo, by the way, is what it looks like right now--but it was yellow just a little while ago. It looked like this, and that's why it's called the yellow dryas. I don't know what you think, but I like them better as a little hairy fruit than in yellow flower form.

Dressed in their light lavender silky robes and golden crowns, their surname dryas seems quite appropriate. Dryas, as you know if you're up on Greek mythology, was the son of King Lycurgus, and thus a right royal myth prince. Unfortunately for young Dryas, his father went just a tad loony one day and mistook his own son for a patch of ivy and killed him. So in this young prince's memory, someone named these little whippersnappers dryas, because, I suppose, it would be next to impossible to mistake them for ivy. Unless you were loony.

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Both photos by oldest son are clickable for larger viewing.

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