Flowers and Not Flowers

The natural world is a place of wonder, you never know quite what to expect when you go traipsing about the woods and fields.   I find that I often make incorrect  assumptions tabout things that I probably should have known better.  After all, I know what a flower looks like:See now, that is simple, green plant puts forth pretty colors to attract wildlife and fool it into helping pass its genetic code to another plant.  Even grass has teeny tiny flowers, usually too small to attract the attention of humans.

So when I saw this:

Wild vivid color carpeting a hillside (these colors are only very slightly retouched to help bring up the green) I thought I was finally seeing grass in full bloom!  SQUEE!  Mind you this was a “Stay-on-the-path/boardwalk-thermal-area-of-doom” so I was unable to go check it out closer and get macro shots.  Yet my burning curiosity prompted me to ask a nearby park ranger what the story was on the pretty red grass.  Turns out the grasses had bloomed about 2 weeks before we got there and these are the seed pods, ready for birds and ruminants to mow down and transport to a different area in the park.  Whoops.  Not so squee.  But pretty feckin’ awesome, if you ask me.

Other amazing natural world sources of inspiring colors can be found on the microscopic level.  Get enough of them together and lichen can produce some pretty awesome rust red.  In this case on first glance I had thought it was the natural color of the stone, to be corrected when I approached closer.

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