Back in the summer, you may have read in this column about the statewide native plant photo contest, "Snap That Plant!" sponsored by the Native Plant Society of New Mexico.
The results are in, and we're pleased to announce the winners of the Taos Chapter submissions. In addition, we are more than excited that our winning Taos photograph was subsequently chosen by the state committee out of more than 120 submissions as the overall winning photograph for the state.
John Whitman, a member of the Taos chapter, submitted a photograph featuring not only a picturesque native cutleaf coneflower but also native moth pollinators as well.
This description accompanied his photograph, which was taken in Amole Canyon: "…two Gnophaela verticulata (police-car moths) not yet dry enough to take flight from a dew-laden bloom of Rudbeckia laciniata."
Whitman then quoted Willa F. Finley and LaShara J. Nieland, authors of "Land of Enchantment Wildflowers: A Guide to the Plants of New Mexico": 'The Cherokee ate the leaves as spring greens, but note that the plant may be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The Navajo used it to treat indigestion and colds.'"
Whitman admits to being neither a botanist nor an entomologist but a photographer first and foremost. "I bought my first camera in 1975 and still take more photos with a camera than with a phone." He first came to Taos in the early '90s to attend a North American Mycological Association "mushroom foray" then moved here in 2014.
Our selection committee was torn between two photographs for second and third places, so we simply selected two runners-up. John Denne of Peñasco submitted a photograph of a western monkshood with the following narrative: "I found this western monkshood (Aconitum columbianum) during a July hike up Comales Canyon. It was lovely in the daylight, though I also wanted to try the flash on it, to see if I could bring out the fine hairs on its stems. A native bee was also interested in the plant at the same moment, and we worked around each other for a few wonderful minutes, three species dancing around each other, using each other. I hope the monkshood got pollinated, and I hope the bee added to its winter stores of pollen, and I hope my photo brings a smile to someone who is in need of one." Yes, indeed it does.
Heather Wade submitted a stunning photograph of a nodding onion, Allium cernuum, decorated with sparkling raindrops. She wrote: "It had been raining for hours, in Cimarron Canyon, when finally...it stopped. I quickly got out of the tent, ran to some flowers I had admired earlier and took this photo of a nodding onion holding on to a few raindrops. Good thing I did it then. It rained for 10 more hours." Although Heather lives in Albuquerque, she submitted her photograph to our chapter since we represent Northern New Mexico where the picture was taken.