Wow. Well I haven't posted an entry on my blog in a really, really long time - too long! And so I'm sorry to any of my loyal followers out there (!) It isn't that I haven't been having any fun adventures or exciting nature trips,- just that time and activities have pulled me away from my logging duties and I've neglected to share with my followers, whoever they may be! Anyhow, it is way past time for an adventure update so lets get back to it!
I have to share one of my most recent kayak excursions with you.....on a hot, sunny day in August I decided to grab my kayak and paddle out to see one of my favorite lake spots and check out what nature was displaying. Summer was just starting to wind down and the plants here in central Texas were finally starting to breathe a little bit with the (slightly) cooler weather and ever so little bit of rain. They were finally starting to show some signs of life after our (typically) brutally hot, dry, and crackly-crunch summer! One of the neatest native Texas aquatic plants (in my opinion) is the AMERICAN LOTUS (Nelumbo lutea) and on this day I got to see them ALL OVER the lake!
Lotus plants seem to hide inconspicuously under the water all year long and then in the late summer - boinggg! They pop up all over the water's edge! They have great big, full, flat leaves, that are round and velvety green. They bob on top of the water or they poke straight up on a single central stem, but either way they are impervious to water as you can see from this picture of a water droplet on a leaf.
Apparently, one of the differences between a Lotus and a Water Lilly is the 'crack' along the topof the leaf. A Lotus is completely round without any break on the leaf and Lillies have that pie shaped section
The shallow lake water was also filled with some sort of aquatic plant that looked a lot like 'Anacaris' which is a Texas native, but I am not positive of the ID. Anyway, it made for some thick paddling at times, but the little fish I saw seemed to like it just fine - they were scurrying around in huge schools just under the greenery and flashing their white bellies with just about every paddle stroke.
Lotus plants seem to have 3 growth stages. First, they pop up with that big, beautiful green leaf, and then an awesome bloom comes out! Lotus have a most exquisite white flower. You might be able to see one of the creamy, white blooms in this mostly camouflaged, green shot I took (!) These Lotus were just going into bloom and it was really tough to get close enough in a kayak to get a picture. And believe me, I had my snake eyes open! I am actually surprised I didn't have a visitor while I was snapping up shots (!) but no snakey adventures on this day :) I'm hoping to get back in a few days and get more bloom pics, if I do I will try post them in a follow-up.
For the final stage of growth, after the blooms are finished, a brown seed head appears above the water with tiny seed 'container' holes. These seed heads are really beautiful and they make excellent cut flower arrangements too. They are great for decorating - last a really long time.
I wish you could see how beautiful this day was! The wind so calm, the water so still. The air was just barely moving - I even had a dragonfly stop to keep me company.....!
Anyway, it was hot, hot and hotter, but the Lotus didn't mind and a quick dip in the lake now and then was sufficient for human cooling too. It was lots of fun on this day and a pleasure to share some AMERICAN LOTUS pictures with you - Enjoy and Happy Nature Adventures!