Mystery Seed of the Week On Sabbatical

After 220 mystery seeds, it is time to step back and evaluate where we want to go from here. Although seeds are incredibly beautiful and fascinating, frankly it is becoming increasingly difficult to gather new material each week. Therefore, Seed of the Week will be taking a brief sabbatical.

Some options for the future are:

  1. Posting plant-based lessons and activities for kids instead, getting back to our children’s science roots.
  2. Developing a website with all the mystery seeds as thumbnails and links to the answer posts, perhaps arranged via plant families to make it more accessible and useful.
  3. Continue onĀ  posting mystery seeds as before after gathering more materials
  4. Develop collaborations with others interested in botany/gardening/plants to expand into new projects.

Obviously, none of these ideas are mutually exclusive.

If you have any suggestions for what would be useful additions to this series, ideas for collaborations, or have comments about the different options, your input would be greatly appreciated.


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Seed of the Week: Thurber’s Cotton

Our mystery seeds in the “pod” were from a lovely plant called Thurber’s cotton, Gossypium thurberi.


If allowed to reach its full potential, Thurber’s cotton is a large shrub or small tree, reaching up to 15 feet tall. It is native to Arizona, and is also called Arizona or desert cotton.


Although I called it a pod not to give away the answer, this structure is actually a “boll.” If you look closely, you can see the white fuzz of “cotton” around the seeds. There usually isn’t enough fiber to bother trying to harvest it, though.


Thurber’s cotton plants have palmate leaves, mostly with three lobes. The leaves fall off in the winter.


The best part about the plant are the delicate, cupped flowers with a hint of pink.

Have you ever seen cotton growing? How does this plant compare?

Interested in finding out more?

Firefly Forest has more photographs

Check out Bug of the Week tomorrow for more about this plant.

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Bug of the Week: California Patch Butterflies Flying Through

This morning our front yard was all aflutter.

california-patch-22Many of our flowers were covered with small orange and brown butterflies. I counted at least eight at once.


I recognized that they were California patch butterflies, Chlosyne californica, which in spite of their common name occur in Arizona, too.



Looks like they might be migrating, as some of them were quite tattered.


They were fueling up on every flower they could find, particularly the rush milkweeds.

I was lucky to have seen them, because by noon they were all gone. Wonder where they are going.

Have you ever seen a butterfly migration?

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