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Saturday, July 2, 2016



   Saturday, 8:00 AM.  64 degrees F at the ferry dock, 62 on the back porch.  Wind calm, variable.  Sky sunny, humidity 64%.  The barometer is falling slowly, now at 30.14".  It is a quiet, pleasant morning.  The weather will be great for the 4th of July Holiday, then a chance of a thunderstorm on Tuesday.
   The beach pea, Lathyrus japonicus, in the Pea Family, the Leguminosae, has just come into bloom.  This plant is a native around the shores of the Great Lakes, and stony and sandy seashores in temperate climates virtually world-wide, including Japan, thus the species name (the genus name is from the Latin for pea).  The wide range of the plants on seashores is due to the ability of the seeds to float and survive for years in water, and then germinate when they are abraded by sand and stones. 
   The flowers are quite beautiful, pink when young and darkening to magenta when mature, but the plant is a very aggressive vine and can't be let loose in the garden, although it is quite easy to pull.  I always let a few grow where they can't cause too much trouble.  The "peas" are not poisonous, but I can't say they are very tasty; they are used in Chinese traditional medicine.  The beach pea belongs at the beach, where it is very welcome indeed.

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