What is that?

by Chuck Nishihira

A stretch of road that should have taken an hour to drive is easily stretched out to multiples of that with a plant-lover in the car.  To make it worse we had 2 plant-lovers in the car, each with a view of the opposite sides of the road. The happy conversations of the road is replaced with the silence of concentration scattered with the phrases “What was that?!”, “Wait, back up a little” and my favorite “Stop, stop, stop!”  Even when you know that at the end of the road is a plant-lovers paradise, the need to see everything takes over.  But sometimes it pays off.  This time we stopped the car to look at some nice colonies of a Gobenia type of begonia (and to feed a cute dog that was following our car all the way up the hill).  It was interesting to see the variation of leaf colors in what looked to be the same species.  This particular one held a seed pod and a very interesting one.  While my interest in Gobenias goes back a few decades, this appendage was unlike any I had seen before.  They were still quite hard and probably a ways off from dispersing their seeds, so if there is any change in their appearance, it is still a mystery to me- but what a nice photo opportunity!

We eventually did get to the end of the road and across the river. Here too was what appeared to be the same species, but in an even wider assortment of colors.

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