Weekly Photo Challenge: Numbers #2 (Ninebark)

The ancient eavesdropper

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For my second Numbers WPC post, I decided to go with a photo of a beautiful native riparian shrub called Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus).  This species is called ninebark because there are 9 layers of shreddy bark on the stems (which remind me of light and dark brown strips from a peeled potato).  Ninebark can grow up to 12 feet tall and its white flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.  In contrast, beavers (and other mammals) tend to avoid eating its stems, at least in large quantities, because the bark acts as a laxative (this would bring new meaning to the expression ‘busy as a beaver’!).  You can see the reddish, inflated bunches of fruit on display at the top left which give ninebark its genus name of Physocarpus, Greek for ‘bladder fruit.’  They prefer wet, open spaces along streams and lakes, providing understory shade to cool the…

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