Ever vigilant…

The male Red-wing Blackbird appear flighty and quite noisy when one strolls through the prairie. Here at a restored prairie-land in Lincoln Park, Chicago a Red-wing Blackbird remains alert while resting on a fence and then a pathway. The restored prairie is fenced and therefore protected; but the location around South Pond is a favorite hangout of families when visiting the adjacent Zoo making feathered parents alert and restless. Males may guard up to a dozen ground laid nests. It appeared that today he was watching some young ones practice flight. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A caring, vigilant father watching over his young. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A momentary change of location while this Red-wing Blackbird keeps close watch on passers-by. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Handsome, until he opens his mouth…

Male Peacock feathers. Copyright 2019 Pamela Breitberg

Hello! Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Handsome pose, as it hopes to attract the attention of a female passerby. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

When the male Peacock makes his mate-seeking call it is piercingly loud and awfully tuned. His call does not match his beauty Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Conspicuous males…

Soft red, fuzzy Chenille Plant (Plumbago auriculata) blooms are all male. The female blooms are inconspicuous. Perhaps more interesting, the male blooms have no petals! So to be pollinated the plant uses male attractiveness to spread pollen while the female does the work of seed production. This seems more like birds and other animal kingdom members than plants’ design.

Chenille is a favorite material for warm winter robes and these plants’ blooms do resemble it’s namesake.

Aptly named Chenille Plant commanded my attention as well as pollenators. I am constantly amazed by nature’s multitude of design choices; each a little (or big) miracle. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Image showing details of another of God’s wondrous designs. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A Nest of Seeds…

Female Cycad plant in seed. Copyright 2018, Pamela Breitberg

A “nest” of seeds. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A non-palm, palm looking plant. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Leaves are large and prolific on each plant. They are palm-like, glossy and tightly arranged around a center single stalk. This is not a palm at all, but its own species, Cycad. This was near the Spanish Moss shown a few posts ago; so when looking at the center I was not certain whether the “fuzz” was fallen Moss or apart of the plant. It turns out the plant is a female (yes, there are separate female and male Cycads) with seed resting inside a fuzzy cushion.

This striking plant is a frequently found garden species in southern regions of the U.S. This one was in the Alfred Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee, Florida. Cycad has many names and a Japanese ancestry.
Formally it is known as Cycas revoluta (Syotetsu [Japanese ソテツ], sago palmking sagosago cycadJapanese sago palm). Cycad means “curled back” referring to the leaves’ downward curve.

From: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/sago%20palm.htm

“Female plants produce a round, felt mass in the center of the leaf mass. Bright orange to yellow seeds mature on the female plant during mid-summer to fall.”