Friday, February 29, 2008

What Are These Rock Piles About?

Saw lots of these on the side of the road out in the countryside in Morocco. Would never have known what they were about if I hadn't hired a car and driver for a few days. He told us that the containers hold honey. The area appeared to be devoid of inhabitants so I said "You leave money and take the honey?" "No, someone will notice if you stop and they will come to you." No one came to me while taking pics, but I was only there a couple of minutes.

This container looks so battered and has no lid. I am guessing it was too cold for there to be any bees yet, or they would be in the containers cleaning out the honey!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Fescue?

Since I work for an ornamental grass nursery, I notice grasses on my travels. This grass was carpeting the hillsides at around 1600 mt (5000') in the Middle Atlas.

Festuca ?

It is likely a Festuca however it is not blue enough to be Festuca punctoria. Like F. punctoria its leaves are incredibly stiff and spikey. You would definitely not want to fall on this grass nor can I image any animals grazing on it.

My daughter's foot for a size reference

This area should have been covered in snow. Luckily for us it wasn't.

A photo I grabbed before getting back into
the car. I love Arabic script.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Palm Trees in Morocco

Please indulge my fascination with palm trees. I am from a snowy climate and we just don't have them here.

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe these are dates hanging from this palm tree.

Date Palm

As we drove by many clumps of these I wondered if, since it looked like a palm, could it really be one? I was assured that it was. I should have put something beside it so it was obvious how short it is. I would say it is 12" in height.

Dwarf Palm

If one looked up and studied the palm trees, it was possible to note that they are not all the same. This one had very large drooping leaves.

Drooping palms

A typical scene of palms. I took the pic for the orange tree, cause I realized that I had not taken one yet.

Common palms

And for a little humour. We were on our way to the Marrakech airport when I spotted a few of these. I wish I knew why they felt a need to put really tall fake palms there.

Fake plam tree

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Have Been in Morocco

I just returned from 3 weeks in Morocco, where I took pics of as many plants as I could find to take pics of. However the variety of plant life is very different from in Costa Rica, where lush plant life is what the country is all about. Morocco receives very little precipitation, even on the coastal side of the Atlas Mts. (For those of you not sure of the country's locations, it is in the north-west of Africa, on the west side of the Sahara Desert). The native vegetation has a distinct "I have worked out ways to preserve moisture" look. This bougainvillea in Tarroudant, which is the only place I saw fields being irrigated with overhead sprinklers, obviously benefited from moisture and grew as tall as the lamp-post. The walls on either side are at least 8' tall.

Bougainvillea in Tarroudant, Morocco

Morocco appears to be in trouble this year, due to a combination of a lack of precipitation and such abnormally warm weather so early in the season. We (my daughter and I) were told that spring was about 6 - 8 wks ahead of schedule. In the area on the Algeria/Sahara side of the High Atlas Mts our driver/guide (who was very knowledgeable about the environment) pointed out 2 doves on the side of the road. He said that they should not be in the area so early. The warm weather had fooled them into thinking it was mid to late March. By being there so early there was not enough food for them yet so they were small. Since they themselves are a food source for locals, their small size affects the people of the area.

Much more about Morocco to come.