This post today is not so much a flower but a really interesting shrub I saw while recently hiking in Sedona, Arizona. A shrub commonly named pointleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens), manzanita meaning “little apple” in Spanish. These plants make berries (that look like little apples, hence the name) which are a food source for various wildlife in this dry and harsh environment, and are also harvested to make jam in some parts of Mexico. They have gorgeously twisted, blood-red bark and branches ending in small green leaves. Even more fascinating is that many of them are a tortuous combination of dead (grey) and live (red) parts which look as though blood is streaming down the side of the plant. It is also fitting that an area famous for its red rocks has its very own red shrubs too. Happy weekend everyone!
The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, Western Australia is a unique and bizarre landscape marked by incredibly yellow sand. The Pinnacles themselves (in the top photograph, and seen in the distance of the bottom photograph) are ancient limestone formations, which range in height from only an inch to 16 feet tall (5 meters). They formed millions of years ago from broken down shells, but exactly how these limestone towers came about is still debated. A three hour drive north of Perth along a picturesque coastline of stunning beaches is a wonderful journey to this alien landscape. In the early mornings or late afternoons you even have the chance to see emus and kangaroos amongst the shrubs. Different times of day can completely transform this landscape, with the sun and pinnacles creating large, interesting shadows all around them. Most definitely a landscape photographers dream. It might have been a very different photograph to the middle of the day in summer when I went, dripping with sweat in a dessert with no hope of shade! Perhaps the feeling of being on another planet was just a delusion from heat exhaustion, but either way, a very cool place to visit.