tropical beauties

I think this Golden Orb Weaver is Trichonephila plumipes, sometimes called a Tiger Spider. Its web glows yellow, and the legs are a light orange colour, black at the joints. Big spiders are so impressive! This type is not confined to the tropics, so I hope to see more when travel to the sub-tropics.

There are some 750 different types of pandanus; I have no idea which one I was sketching! I love their aerial prop roots.

salvia apiana

White sage has been widely poached from the Santa Monica Mountains (and elsewhere) to sell as ‘smudge sticks’ to folks with no cultural connection to the spiritual practice of smudging … yet another case of capitalism leading to species depletion.

After hearing me mourn the situation, Annette gave me this (nursery-raised) plant yesterday. I will try to keep it alive by practicing benign neglect — it wants no food and little water. First step will be getting it out of the rich potting mix and into the sandy, nutrient-poor native soil. Wish me luck with its nurture!


Astrida and I are going to do some indigo dyeing today. I realized that I know nothing about the indigo plant, so did some research (thank you, internet).

True indigo is a legume with pink or violet flowers. It has been naturalized to tropical and temperate Asia, as well as parts of Africa, but its native habitat is unknown since it has been in cultivation worldwide for many centuries.

Dye is obtained from the processing of the plant’s leaves. Today most dye is synthetic, but natural dye from I. tinctoria is still available, and that’s what we’re going to be using today.