Not A Silent Sunday-May 15 Update on the 17th

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 5-15-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I thought I would do an update about what is going on and growing. Friday afternoon I started pulling the chickweed out of the north bed, the south bed, and shade beds. I already did it in the bed behind the old foundation and corner bed but there is still plenty to be done… I have no “to-do list” because it changes with the weather.

I decided to walk around the house, go to the garden, then around the shade beds and take a few photos. The photos are in the way they were taken and not alphabetical order this time. The names of the plants are linked to take you to their page although they may not be updated with 2020 photos. I am a little behind but that’s OK since we are a continual work in progress…

The first photo is the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Information says it will reach maturity in five years and this will be its fourth summer. I haven’t measured it yet, but at maturity, the clump can grow to 4-5′ tall x 6-8′ wide. I moved it farther from the corner in 2018 to allow for that but I forgot something…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’.

When I brought home the Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ in 2018 I planted it to close to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. The Astilbe has really spread out all by itself and I forgot to consider that as well. The other Astilbe, that I forgot to photograph, has always remained small and really should be moved. I would really like a bigger bed on the north side but I would have to build a bigger house.

 

Stellaria media (Chickweed).

I don’t know if you have to deal with Chickweed like I do, but I am beginning to despise the stuff… I know it is good for this and that but I could easily do without it. To make it worse, I just spread the seed when I pull it up. I can’t complain, though, because I guess it does protect the soil from erosion and other harder to pull weeds would be growing in its place. I could use a mulch to keep it from growing but that would also interfere with the…

 

Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill).

The Geranium sanguineum is on the move this spring. It has all but died out on the left side of the bed but is trying to regain ground more in the center of the bed. The north bed is actually a little wet for it and I think that is one of its problems. Dad didn’t realize it needs more sun and better drainage when he moved it from the bed behind the old foundation. It is a survivor, though, as it has been here since I first bought it from Bluestone Perennials and put in the bed behind my grandparent’s old house in the early 1980’s (when I lived there). I moved in 1987 and my parents moved their new manufactured home here in 1996. Then, a few years later, the old house was torn down… Now that mom and dad have passed I am here by myself. Well, not actually by myself. I have the darn cats, chickens, and plants…

Now, going around the house to the front porch…

A few of the plants on the front porch.

Hmmm… I moved them outside then back in again since we had a frost warning on, um, whatever day it was. Now they are back outside again because they were beginning to give me dirty looks. With this many plants in temporary housing in the living room, I was worried they might start a mutiny or something. I had to start sleeping with one eye open. Anyway, most of them made it through the winter very well. There are a few exceptions but some even grew and flowered for the first time.

Now to the south bed…

Baptisia australis ? cv ?.

The Baptisia australis ‘whatever you call it’ is starting to flower and is looking really good. If you remember this is the plant I bought that was supposed to be ‘Lunar Eclipse’ a few years ago as a first-year plant. As you may know, they flower their second year so I didn’t know it was labeled wrong. Probably the person who put the label in the pot didn’t know either. Anyway, even though it isn’t a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ it is still a nice plant…

I haven’t taken any photos of the Iris yet…

 

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic).

The Elephant Garlic is doing great as always in several spots in the south bed. My neighbor gave me a start when I lived in Mississippi so I have been growing it for around ten years. I really enjoy the flowers and it is great for cooking as well.

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ on 5-15-20, #700-24.

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’) has been here in this spot since I planted it in 2014. The clump has barely gotten bigger for all these years. Then, when I was pulling up the Chickweed, I was surprised to see one had come up about 2 feet from the main clump. I have had some interesting conversations with this ‘Mainacht’, particularly about its size. I bought a large pot from the clearance rack at Lowe’s in 2012 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi that was a much larger plant with larger leaves. This one, I bought at Lowe’s in 2014 when I moved back here and it has always been so much smaller. So, I question this plant about the issue and remind it that no matter what it is still AWESOME. The plant always tells me it is because of the Elephant Garlic invading its space and would like me to move it. I did remove the garlic once but I guess several bulbules were left behind because it continues to come up. I have said many times if some plants don’t like where they are they will move with or without your help… Apparently, ‘Mainacht’ has decided to take matters in its own hands and is showing me a thing or two. As you can tell, the new plant is much bigger and even already flowering. Hmmm…

I have grown MANY Salvia over the years and this one has survived where most of the others have failed. The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is barely hanging in there and I didn’t take its photo. Interestingly, it has the same issue with the Elephant Garlic in the other end of the bed.

I kind of upset the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ because I didn’t take its photo this go around. I told him his photo has been taken more than any other perennial and right now he wasn’t doing anything exciting. I am also trying to encourage him to flower which would be well worth photographing…

So, let’s move around the corner to the back porch…

 

Most of the cactus collection on the back porch on 5-15-20, #700-4.

Most of the cactus collection are on this table on the back porch. There are a few on the front porch that seem to prefer less than full sun (at least for the moment). I only lost one cactus over the winter, the Echinopsis mirabilis, which flowered itself to death last summer. Man, that was AWESOME. If you missed it, click HERE for its page. I also lost the big Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) so I brought home a new one from Wagler’s a few weeks ago. Strange how small they look in this photo.

On to the northeast corner bed by the steps kind of where we started. Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is on the other side of the steps…

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 5-15-20, #700-23.

Last spring I put three Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ in the northeast corner bed. They went berserk and I soon realized I only needed one. I was very surprised when they all three started coming up this spring because hardly anything I plant here ever comes up the second year. HMMM… I do not seem to have a page for this one…

Now, let’s head to “the other yard”.

Garden 2020.

I am thankful I was able to buy a new motor for dad’s old Troy Bilt tiller. The last time I had a garden was 2017. I didn’t plant one in 2018 because I canned plenty of green beans and froze a lot of sweet corn from 2017. I was going to plant a garden last year but when I started the tiller it threw a rod after about 15 minutes. It also needed new tires because they had dry rot pretty bad. One of them was so bad I had to take the air tank to the garden and keep airing the tire up. It was full of slime and it started oozing out and the tire would then cake with dirt. Dad got a kick out of it but I really didn’t think it was that funny at the time.

There is still plenty of jars of green beans so I didn’t plant any. I used to eat a lot of green beans but then I got burned out. Dad didn’t eat them either. The sweet corn in the freezer is almost gone now so I planted plenty… Four double rows about 50 feet long. I planted half Peaches and Cream bi-color and half Incredible. There are 16 tomato plants, kale (three varieties mixed together), Sugar Ann snap peas, Black Diamond watermelon, some old fava bean seeds (which I bought and didn’t plant in 2017). I still have to plant the okra but it needs to be warmer and stay that way with no rain in the forecast or the seeds will rot. I am going to try ‘Jing Orange’ this year. I like experimenting a lot, especially with okra and tomatoes. For tomatoes, I bought Goliath, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and Rutgers. There were no Celebrity which I had good luck with in 2017. When I was a kid dad always liked Rutgers then he switched to Beefsteak which I didn’t like. I prefer Goliath as a beefsteak type so far. I wanted some sweet pepper plants but I didn’t find any.

OH, I put the mole repeller in the middle of the garden because I have had issues with moles eating seed in the past. It did a wonderful job in the shade beds and kept the moles out, even within 40-60 feet all around it.

 

Dad and the Troy Built on April 23, 2015.

I had to include this photo of my dad next to the Troy Built Horse from April 23, 2015. He was 84 when I took the photo. He bought this Troy Built Horse new in 1978 after his brother bought one. He passed away in 2019 but his memories are still here. He would be very happy the tiller has a new motor, which is its third one, and two new tires.

I lost this pruner when I was working on the tomatoes in 2017. I knew where I lost it but I could never find it. Sometimes when you lose something you can’t find it no matter what. I finally had to stop looking and figured the Troy Built would find it eventually. Well, it did… After being without it all this time. This pruner was in Suzanne’s stuff in Mississippi and I found it in 2009. I really love it.

Now to the shade bed…

Hosta ‘Guacamole’.

Hosta has always been my favorite shade perennial and I started growing them in 1981 when I moved in my grandparent’s house after grandpa died in 1981. The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is looking great. I brought this plant home in 2014 so this will be its 7th season.

The Iris you see behind the Hosta are some I had bought in the early 1980’s. Believe it or not, they have survived in this area even after being mowed off for MANY years. Since I came back in 2013 and started taking better care of them they have really multiplied.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’.

The Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ was a bright addition to the shade bed in 2018 and is looking very good. This Hosta was developed in 1980 and there are at least 55 registered sports from Hosta ’Sum and Substance’ and 38 cultivars with it as a parent.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’.

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has always been a great performer and spreads very well. I bought it 2009, I think, while in Mississippi and brought it with me when I returned to the family farm in 2013. So, I have had this beauty as a companion for 12 seasons now… As usual, and for some strange reason, the deer sampled a few of its leaves again this spring. It is weird how they do that and never bother it or any other Hosta the rest of the summer…

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ was registered by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery with the American Hosta Society in 1995. It was selected as AHS convention plant also in 1995. It is the offspring of Hosta ‘Blue Umbrellas’ as the pollen parent and Hosta yingeri ‘Treasure Island’ as the pod parent.

Across from Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is a small area next to grandma’s old goldfish pool. I put a brick sidewalk around the pool in 1981 which I partially removed to dig a spot for the ailing Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ in 2017.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ has always been a favorite and I bought my first from Bluestone Perennials in 1981. This one is another Hosta I bought while iving at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009 and brought with me in 2013. We had some issues in 2016 so I moved it and it has done great since. This is an amazing cultivar that was registered in 1980 that has won numerous awards. It has over 23 registered sports. It’s most famous sport is Hosta ‘Regal Splendor’ which was registered in 1987 and became the American Hosta Growers Association Hosta of the Year in 2003.

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’.

Put on your sunglasses because Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is a bright one! Even from a great distance, this Hosta stands out in the shade bed. I brought it home from Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2017 and it was my first yellow/gold leaved Hosta. It is a 2005 introduction from Kent Terpening and Alttara Scheer. It is a cross between Hosta ’Split Personality’ as the seed parent and an unknown cultivar as the pollen parent.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’.

Hmmm…. I had doubts this Hosta is actually Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ when I bought it from Mast’s Greenhouse in 2019 because that cultivar gets pretty good sized. This plant seemed to be a miniature because it has remained so small. When I was at Wagler’s a few weeks ago I noticed several pots labeled ‘Blue Angel’ which were also very small. I mentioned to Ruth I had bought this plant from Mast’s last year and it is so small compared to what ‘Ble Angel’ is supposed to be. She said when they bought the rhizomes the “Blue Angel’ were very small in comparison to the other cultivars. So, I suppose it is possible it is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ after all but it sure has some growing to do… Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ is supposed to eventually mature at 36″ tall x 48″ wide with 18″ x 12″ leaves… It certainly doesn’t look like photos online. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiples more rapidly. Hmmm…

Also in 2017 I dug an area along the back of the goldfish pool and added several more Hosta Heuchera. Later I put some of the Iris from the other bed along the fish pool.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is one of several Hosta I brought home when I made the second shade bed in this area in 2017. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is a tetraploid form of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ introduced by M. & J. Fransen with thicker leaves and wider margins. It was a weird grower at first but did very well in 2019.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on 5-15-20, #700-10.

If you are a Hosta collector you shouldn’t be without Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’. I really like its corrugated and severely puckered leaves which gives them the cup-shape. This cultivar originated by Dr. Charles Purtymun at Walden West Nursery in Oregon. He registered it in 1989 as a hybrid of H.‘Tokudama’ × H. ‘Sieboldiana’. Since its introduction, it has set the standard for all other cup-shaped Hosta.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 5-15-20, #700-20.

I found this Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ at Lowe’s in 2017 and have really enjoyed watching it grow. Its leaves are kind of twisted and they change color somewhat over the season. Not only did it win the AHS Benedict Garden Performance Medal in 2007, but it has also been given Royal Horticultural Societies Award of Garden Merit. Since its registration in 1989, 17 other Hosta cultivars have been registered from it.

 

Hosta ‘Red October’ on 5-15-20, #700-18.

I am very happy Hosta ‘Red October’ is once again doing so well. This is another Hosta I bought in 2009 while I was in Mississippi and brought with me in 2013. It was in the original bed where H. ‘Guacamole’ or ‘Sum and Substance’ are now. It had issues in the spring of 2018 and I found out moles had tunneled under it over the winter. I dug it up and moved two parts of it next to two elm trees then put them back together in 2019. Hopefully, it will do well in 2020.

This Hosta was introduced by Roy Herold in 1995, although I think it was discovered in 1988. It was registered by Kevin Walek on Mr. Herold’s behalf in 2009. It is regarded as one of the best red-stemmed Hosta available.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on 5-15-20, #700-12.

The smallest of the Hosta in my collection is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. It was my first and only (so far) miniature Hosta. Hosta ‘Bue Mouse Ears’ has at least 24 registered sports and 2 seedlings where it is one of the parents. It is believed that another 28 cultivars have been registered from its sports. It is a MULTIPLE award winner.

Now for the Heuchera

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’.

Sadly, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ didn’t want its photo taken on the 15th because a lot of its leaves were missing. I think possibly I must have accidentally pulled them off when I was removing the chickweed. I decided I couldn’t do this post without a photo of it so I snuck up on it this morning and took a photo. Even though this photo was taken two days after the rest I put it in order where it should be (or would have been). I purchased Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ from Lowe’s in the spring of 2014 and put it in front of the Hosta bed. It had issues during 2016 so I moved it to the newly dug bed with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017. I also had issues with H. ‘Southern Comfort’ which I also moved to the same area but it decided to completely fizzle out. When I first wrote the page for Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ information online said it was the most popular Heuchera for 20 years straight… It was the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial of the Year in 2007.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 5-15-20, #700-8.

I bought this Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ from Lowe’s in 2017. It was introduced from Terra Nova in 2004 and is considered the “black standard”. Some websites say it is the darkest of any black-leaved Heuchera and the color holds up without fading. Information says this cultivar grows 8-10″ tall with flower stems to 24″ but that hasn’t happened. It is a great performer, though, even during the Japanese Beetle invasion when the bed turns from shade to part sun.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ on 5-15-20, #700-9.

The Heuchera ‘Venus’ is definitely a show stopper and it knows it. It is a very vigorous grower despite the conditions and gets quite large. The flower stems also get very tall. It is a great overall specimen and I am glad I brought it home in 2017.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ on 5-15-20, #700-7.

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is an awesome looking with bright chartreuse-green and ruffled leaves. It is on the smaller side and even its flowers are very dainty. It seemed to struggle somewhat earlier but it appears to have snapped out of it. It doesn’t seem to care for bright light and doesn’t like it when the Japanese Beetles eat the leaves off of the Chinese Elm that shades it…

Well, that’s it for this post. I better stop anyway of this post will get much bigger. I feel like I have written a book already.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, be thankful always, and GET DIRTY if you can.

 

 

 

Spit Bug?

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Have you ever wondered what that spit-looking stuff on grass and other plants are? Well, even as a kid I remembered seeing it and really never gave it much thought. I see it off and on and just thought it was weird. A few days ago I saw it on some grass and clover and curiosity got the best of me so I took a few photos. 

I uploaded the above photo on iNaturalist and it said “it was pretty sure” it was a species of Philaenus and showed a photo of an insect. The second and third choice were slime molds. Well, I thought at first it couldn’t be an insect so I checked out the slime molds. That just didn’t seem to be what it was either.

I went ahead and posted the photo as a class of Myxomycetes and a member commented, “have you considered spittlebugs?” and included a link. He also said, “If  you brush away some of the spittle it is usually easy to find the insect inside.” Another member said, “It’s not a slime mold. It’s called ‘cuckoo spit’ (in Australis).” 

So, I checked out the link for spittlebugs then went to see if I could find the bug.

I moved some of the spit around and didn’t see anything except for this yellowish speck which wasn’t an insect. So, I moved to another wad of spit…

 

Low and behold, there was a larvae of a spittlebug. That was really weird to find a little critter crawling around in spit…

Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug)

I took a few photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist and it was identified as Philaenus spumarius which is the Meadow Spittlebug.

 

Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug)

Wikipedia says it is the Meadow Froghopper or Meadow Spittlebug and it belongs to the family Aphrophoridae. The genus name, Philaenus, comes from the Greek word philein which means “love”. The species name, spumarius, comes from the Latin word puma which means “sparkling” from the foam nests. The name Philaenus spumarius is translated as “foam lover.” Hmmm…

The species originally comes from the Palaearctic ecozone. It was later introduced to North America and Canada. Apparently, it is important because it is a vector of Xyellia fastidiosa. Xyellia fastidiosa is a plant pathogen that causes several types of leaf scorches and other issues. So, this little critter is a valuable worker.

You can check out THIS LINK to Wikipedia to read more about the Philaenus spumarius. You just never know what is lurking around in the yard and pastures.

That’s it for this post. I have a few more posts in the works which I might be able to finish today. At least one…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive, stay well and always be thankful. I hope you are getting dirty!

 

Another Wildflower Update

Allium sp. ?

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. We had a storm pass through on Monday that did some damage in town. A big tree was uprooted at the park and a smaller tree snapped off at the base. There were a lot of limbs at the park and throughout the town. The house I grew up in had damage when two trunks of the same tree fell on it. It was a tree with four trunks and I remember it as a kid. Not much damage in my own yard, though, just a big limb that fell from one of the maples in front of the house. I was surprised the old elms in the chicken yard didn’t have issues break but they went through the storm.

I went back to the woods on Sunday, May 3, to check on the progress of some of the wildflowers and there were three I couldn’t find… It was later in the afternoon so I was more selective where I looked and didn’t have time to find many new plants. Before I left I took a few photos here and a few when I returned. As usual, they are in alphabetical order and not as they were seen. 🙂 It is easier for me to upload photos and write captions and then write the post.

I took a few photos of what appeared to be a species of onion but there is no oniony scent. Wild Allium species fascinate me and there are MANY. It is very difficult to tell which species is which so I just label them Allium sp. Missouri Plants lists 7 species of Allium and Plants of the World Online a whopping 977.

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Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Dragon Root)

air-uh-SEE-nuh  dray-KON-tee-um

I went back to the woods on May 3 and found the Arisaema dracontium starting to flower. I have seen photos online, but it is AWESOME in person. Not only does the plant only produce one leaf, but it also only produces one flower… I first posted about this species on April 26 which you can check out HERE.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Whereas the other Arisaema species I have seen online have a hooded spathe, the Arisaema dracontium is much different. The base of the spathe circles the apex of the flowering stem. The stem can be anywhere from 6-12″ up to the apex. The spathe itself will be around 2″ long, glaucous and glabrous, and partially open.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

One of several good-sized colonies of Green Dragon in these woods.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

The spadix can grow from 6-12″ long or more, the lower 2″ enclosed in the spathe.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Weird…

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Inside the spathe is where the male and female flowers are. In other words, the plants are monoecious with separate male and female flowers, but sometimes they are unisexual. The male flowers are above the female flowers and are both small and rather inconspicuous. Flowers last about a month and have a fungus-like scent that isn’t noticeable by humans…

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Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

HES-per-iss  mah-tro-NAH-lis

Hesperis matronalis is another plant with a mistaken identity. One evening toward the end of April I noticed what appeared to be a Phlox divaricata flowering in the area north of the chicken house where they have not been before. There is quite a large colony of them growing along the road up the street past the church which I also always assumed were Phlox. The Wild Blue Phlox (in the last post) grows abundantly in large colonies along highways and back roads in several areas. I decided to take photos of the plant and noticed right off it WAS NOT a Phlox divaricata. Hmmm…

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

Phlox divaricata has flowers with five petals and this one only has four… They have a pleasant scent which gets stronger in the evening. Hesperis matronalis is a biennial or short-lived perennial that comes up and forms a rosette of leaves its first year and flowers the second.

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

The other distinguishing feature for Hesperis matronalis is the leaves. Phlox leaves grow opposite one another on the stems and Hesperis leaves grow in an alternate fashion. The leaves have no petioles and darn near clasp the stems.

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket) along the road on 5-8-20.

Hesperis matronalis is a native of many Eurasian countries and was apparently brought to North America in the 17th century. The USDA Plants Database shows its presence in most of North America now. Common names include Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Sweet Rocket, and Wandering Lady. Many states have listed this species as a noxious weed and it is recommended not to move it or grow it under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination. Hmmm… Seed is available and wildflower mixes often contain its seeds which helped its spread in the first place.

You can read about the Phlox divaricata from a previous post by clicking HERE.

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Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

kee-LER-ree-uh  ma-KRAN-tha

Grass. It’s everywhere in one form or another sun or shade, wet areas or dry. Once in awhile I find a colony I hadn’t seen before which was the case on May 3 when I was exploring the woods. I spotted a colony growing in an open area between two wooded areas so I took a few photos so I could ID it using iNaturalist. It turns out to be Koeleria macrantha commonly known as Prairie Junegrass and Crested Hair-Grass. It is native to most of North America, Europe, and Eurasia.

 

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

The grass is suitable for livestock and wildlife and even used in fire control. Its seed can be ground and boiled and used for porridge and ground as flour for making bread.

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Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

la-POR-tee-a  ka-na-DEN-sis

There is a lot of this growing in the woods and is easily identified as a nettle because of its stinging hairs on the stems. There are many nettle species and this one happens to be Laportea canadensis also known as Wood Nettle, Canadian Wood Nettle, and Kentucky Hemp (and probably others). They weren’t flowering when I observed them on May 3 but will be soon.

 

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

Plants produce both stinging and non-stinging hairs and can leave you with an unpleasant experience of you aren’t careful. They can cause burning and stinging of the skin and sometimes can leave barbs in your skin. Skin can turn red and blister which may last for several days…

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Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

men-see-SPER-mum  ka-na-DEN-see

First off, kind of ignore what the genus name looks like because that is NOT how you pronounce it.  It has nothing to do with mini sperm. Secondly, it is NOT a grapevine. It is Menispermum canadense commonly known as Moonseed. It flowers and bears grape-like fruit about the same time as grapes BUT these are poison. Three key differences help to tell them apart. 1) the fruit kind of has a rancid flavor, 2) the seeds are crescent-shaped instead or round like grape seeds, 3) vines have no tendrils while grapevines have forked tendrils.

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

The principle toxin is dauricine and can be fatal even though the Cherokee Indians used it for a laxative. HMMM… It makes you wonder if they thought they were grapes and, well, we know what happened… Somehow, they also used the plant as a gynecological and venereal aid. I am not making this up. It is on the Wikipedia page. Did you ever wonder how many Native Americans died figuring our what plants did what? I wonder if they experimented on captives from other tribes? The roots have also been used for skin diseases and to treat sores on the skin. 

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Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

To be quite honest I have never seen the fruit of a Mayapple until now. I suppose it is because I am looking for mushroom when they are flowering then pretty much forget about them after that. I did learn that the ripe fruit is the only part of the plant that isn’t poison. If the fruit isn’t ripe, it is also poison. So, what do I do? Wait until is it soft like a peach to try it? What about mushy like a persimmon? Remember from before I mentioned flowers are only produced from female plants, plants with two leaves instead of one. Fruit may be harder to find than female plants

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Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

SMIL-aks  tam-NOY-deez

Of all the plants in the woods I try to avoid for one reason or another, this one ranks #3. I try to avoid it so much that I pretty much refused to ID it until I ran across what I supposed was Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower) from the last post. Now, I am wondering if that plant was actually a deceptive Wild Yam… ANYWAY, there is absolutely no mistaking Smilax tamnoides commonly referred to as the Bristly Greenbriar, Hag Briar, and Sarsaparilla Plant.

Yes, this plant’s rhizomes are apparently where sarsaparilla comes from… YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!?!? You know what that is, right? The drink Sarsaparilla… Similar to root beer in flavor… Hmmm. I always thought it was spelled sasparilla. 🙂 

This plant is edible and young leaves, shoots, and tendrils can be added to salad…  DOUBLE HMMM...

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

Doing plant research has brought many smiles as many plants have evolved to survive. What people have used plants for is sometimes very interesting as well. This one is no exception… The thorns of this plant have been used as a “counter-irritant” by rubbing them on the skin to relieve localized pain… A tea made from the leaves and the stems has been used to treat rheumatism and for stomach issues… Wilted leaves can be used as a poultice for boils… A decoction made from crushed leaves has been used as a wash on ulcers (such as leg ulcers)… Tea from the roots is used to help expel afterbirth… TRIPLE HMMM… I could also mention testosterone and steroids but that has not been confirmed or denied.

We went from soft drinks and salad to being a counter-irritant, removing afterbirth, and the possibility of its roots containing testosterone or steroids. GOOD HEAVENS!!!

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Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

val-er-ee-ah-NEL-uh  rad-ee-AY-tuh

I have written about this species before but now their tiny flowers are open. I find this species interesting for several reasons. Their leaves are a very distinctive feature which you can see from a previous post HERE (since I haven’t gotten its page finished yet).

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

Another interesting feature is that although the plants have a single stem, the flowering stems branch out far and wide making you think there are many plants than there really are.

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Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

vy-OH-la  pew-BES-senz

Of the four species of Viola present on the farm (and in other areas), I think the Viola pubescens is the most interesting. When not in flower they pretty much look the other species. One might wonder why it has the name “pubescens” as a species name or “downy” as a common name… Well, it has nothing to do with flowers or leaves…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

I didn’t give much thought to the meaning of the names until I was in the woods on May 3 and saw this colony of Downy Yellow Violet looking a little strange. The yellow flowers had been replaced by fuzzy fruit…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet) on 5-3-20, #695-64.

Now tell me… Why in the world would the Universe decide to give Viola pubescens fuzzy fruit? Plants of the World Online lists 620 species in the Viola genus found nearly worldwide and this one has… FUZZY FRUIT! I don’t know about you but I think that is amazing.

Well, that is it for this post. I need to go back to the woods periodically to check for flowers on plants I already identified that weren’t flowering at the time. Finding some of them may be a bit of a challenge.

I moved the potted plants (cactus, succulents, etc.) to the front and back porches a while back because they were screaming at me. Tonight there is a chance frost so I may have to move them all back inside again for a few days. The Alocasia are still in the basement and I haven’t planted the Colocasia rhizomes yet.

Until next time, be safe, stay well, and always be thankful.

 

A Few More Wildflower Identified From A New Location

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The photos on this post were taken on May 27th when I visited another set of woods the same friend’s farm. This section is across the highway and East Fork Tebo Creek runs through it. The day I was there it was more like a small river. There are a lot of creeks that only have water in them during the rainy season, but Tebo Creek is well known around here and I have seen it get out of hand in the past. The photo above is along the north boundary and the creek also runs along the east boundary. I walked along the creek in several areas and the photo above is narrower and calmer than most. As I approached the creek in this area I scared the crap out of a pair of ducks. Besides birds and a moth, I saw no other wildlife but there were signs.

Upon entering the property from the highway I had to walk in water. This is a fairly low area, lower than the highway. Some of the first plants I noticed was Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny) which I was surprised to see. I didn’t take any photos even though I thought about it several times. I thought it quite odd it was even there and didn’t expect to see it in the wild. Cultivars of this species are popular as groundcovers in flower beds and they make great plants for containers and hang over the sides. It has naturalized in these woods somehow and I saw it just about everywhere.

There area is a mixture pasture with two large wooded areas. I walked through the first set of woods along a boundary fence and was greeted by a very large colony of wildflowers I hadn’t seen before.

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary)

(kol-IN-see-uh VER-nuh)

This delightful species is known as Blue-Eyed Mary, Early Blue-Eyed Mary, and Chinese Houses (a name it shares with other members of the genus). It was named and described by Thomas Nuttall in 1817 and is found throughout the eastern portion of North America. The flowers are two-lipped with two white upper lobes, two blue lower lobes and a fifth lobe that is folded and concealed.

.

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The leaves in the center of the plant are clasping, broadly lanceolate, fairly pointed, have irregular margins to slightly toothed. Many plants had secondary flowers emerging from long petioles above the leaves (axils).

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The lower leaves seem to be sessile but not clasping with rounded tips and lack the “teeth” seen on the upper leaves. The leaves and stems are slightly pubescent (fuzzy).

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The lower petals of the flowers can either be blue or purplish and rarely white (I didn’t see any all-white flowers). Collinsia verna is one of those rare wildflowers that produces “true-blue” flowers. I read somewhere the flowers persist after it produces seed. I have a photo of what appears to be a seed or a bug in its throat… You can check out its own page but it isn’t finished yet. I went ahead and published the draft so you can see more photos if you want. CLICK HERE. There are other weird things this plant has done to adapt but I really need to sit down and read about it thoroughly.

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Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone).

Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone)

As I was walking in the woods I spotted a few very small white flowers emerging from very small plants. There were very few of these but they seem to be hanging on as other plants could easily overtake them. Perhaps they come up and flower early then go dormant to avoid competition… Hmmm… Anyway, this plant also has a mistaken identity and also is also called Isopyrum biternatum (eye-so-PYE-rum by-TER-nat-um) on several websites and databases. One or the other is the listed synonym of the other and visa versa. Not that it matters, but at one time there were two Isoppyrum genera and one became a synonym of Hepatica.

Where was I. Oh, yeah! Enemion biternatum… It seems most wildflowers have some oddities and this one is no exception. Those little white petals aren’t petals. They are “petal-like” sepals. This species has NO petals or pedals so it isn’t going anywhere either.

 

Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone).

This dainty looking member of the Ranunculaceaeeeaaeea (Buttercup) Family has fibrous roots that sometimes produce small tubers. Its leaves grow in an alternate fashion, are ternately divided or trifoliate, and glabrous (hairless). The basal leaves have longer petioles (stems) than the upper leaves. Leaflets are broadly lanceolate to ovate, 2-3 lobed or parted, and sometimes have shallow notches at the tips. 

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Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy).

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy)

gle-KOH-muh  hed-er-AYE-see-uh

It seems a little odd for me to include this species in this post since I have written about it more than once. The reason I even took photos of it growing in the woods was that it seemed quite different than the overwhelming colony in the front yard. I first spotted it in the woods growing under a Multiflora Rose bush and even got under it to take these photos. Believe me, it was a perilous task. 🙂 After I took a multitude of photos and got out of the predicament I found myself in, I saw a lot more growing in the open than I hadn’t stumbled upon yet. The plants in the yard are very short while the plants in the woods were very tall and were flowering along the stem. I thought I had found another species of Glechoma BUT, apparently not.

 

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy).

The other strange thing was the placement of the fowers. This photo shows, well kind of, the petioles of the flowers growing from the, um, axil of the leaves in the center of the plant. The flowers were all facing the same direction on all of the plants under the bush. It was just strange and interesting. In my yard, the flowers are growing from the top of the plants.

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Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star of Bethlehem).

Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star of Bethlehem)

or-ni-THOG-al-um um-bell-AY-tum

This species is not new to me as there is a HUGE colony somewhere on the farm. Anyway, I have photos of them from May 1 of last year but no page for them yet. I haven’t made it that far down on the list. This is the Ornithogalum umbellatum also known as Star of Bethlehem, Common Star of Bethlehem, Eleven O-Clock Lady, Nap At Noon, Grass Lady, and Snowdrop… Ummm, the last one it shares with species of the Galanthus genus (of various clades) of the family Amaryllidaceae. Ornithogalum umbellatum happens to be in the Asparagaceae Family… It has very neat flowers with six red petals. OK, so they are white. I thought about saying a different color to see if you were paying attention then I thought how disappointed I would be if you didn’t notice.

 

Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star or Bethlehem).

In my opinion, the neatest thing is the underside of the petals… This plant is NOT native to America but they have naturalized quite well…

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Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower).

Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower)

SMIL-aks  eh-sir-RAT-uh ?

I was walking in the woods minding my own business when this strange creature popped up and asked what I was doing there. I said, “What am I doing here? What are you doing here? Who are you anyway?” It stood up tall, spread its leaves and arrogantly said, “I have you to know I am Smilax ecirrhata and I am the only one in these woods and I am an Upright Carrion Flower! I am one of 262 species in the genus Smilax with is the ONLY genera in the Smilacaceae Family” “Well”, I said, “I am not so sure you are the only one in these woods, but you are the only one I have ran across. If you were the only one, how did you get here in the first place?” The plant looked at me with a big “?” on his face and couldn’t answer that question. Then I asked, ‘What a “Smilax ecirrhata anyway?” OH, I shouldn’t have asked that question because I thought the conversation would never end. He said he has a lot of dirty cousins that I may have met that are very territorial. He said I should be very careful around them because they aren’t as polite as he is.

From what I gleaned, Smilax ecirrhata is also known as the Upright Greenbrier that can grow to around 3 feet tall. The leaves grow in an alternate pattern from 1/2-2/3 from the base of the stem. It can grow up to 20 leaves that are broadly ovate, have prominent parallel veins, and have smooth margins. The largest leaves can reach 3-5″ long and up to 4″ wide. As the plants grow taller, the lower leaves fall off and become scale-like bracts. Sometimes tendrils are produced near the upper leaves.

 

Smilax ecirrhata (Carrion Plant).

From what I understand, umbels of flowers are produced from the lower bracts where the leaves have fallen off and sometimes from the middle leaves. The problem is these plants don’t flower every year and the plants are dioecious… Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. SOOOOO… I need to scour the area I found this plant in to see if I can find more. They flower in late spring to early summer for only about 2 weeks… Ummmm… The flowers have an odor of decaying meat. It will be interesting to watch this plant since it grows upright and not as a vine… I feel it is a rare find.

As far as its dirty cousins? Have you have ever been in a wooded area and ran across vines with MASSIVE amounts of thorns, thin and larger thorns on the same vine, with ovate-lanceolate leaves? Well, they are a species of Smilax. I have them growing here on the farm in several areas and once in a while one will pop up in the yard or next to a tree. I have never bothered to identify them so I didn’t know what they were until I met Smilax ecirrhata… You just never know what you will learn.

 

There are several trees that had damage from Beavers although I didn’t notice any new activity.

It was great getting out in nature once again and meeting new wildflowers. This was supposed to be a Six on Saturday post but I didn’t get it finished in time. So, I removed the numbers and now I can add more photos. 🙂 Well, maybe I need to take new photos that are current for the next post.

This has been a busy week with many things wanting top priority. The grass is growing like crazy in the yard and I haven’t been able to work on several projects. I did get the garden tilled again and I am ready to start planting. 🙂

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!

 

Shhh… Is Anyone Looking?

Morchella esculenta (Yellow Morel) on… Hmmm…

Hello everyone. I hope this post finds you well. Ummm… A few days ago I went back to the location I was at in the previous post only on the other side of the highway. I did find a few more wildflower species which I will write about next. I did find one more White Morel suitable to bring home and one I left behind because it was very small. ANYWAY… When I came back home after being in the woods for about 3 hours, I went to the area by the chicken house to see if I could find any Morels there. None AGAIN! So out of curiosity, I went to the brushy area along the fence. I never find anything there but you never know. I stepped through an opening where a fence had once been YEARS AGO. Grandpa had another fenced-in area here about 40′ x 150′. Anyway, it is all grown up and full of Vinca minor, gooseberry bushes, grapevines, poison ivy and so on.  I walked to the corner, covered in Vinca, and HOLY CRAP there were two HUGE Yellow Morels (Morchella esculenta). I looked across the fence and there were more. Forget I said across the fence. I didn’t say I crossed the fence but there were 19 more and some were partly covered and entangled in the Vinca. Now you are probably wondering how I knew there were 19?

OK, so here I was in a bit of a situation. The area along the fence is an overgrown mess between this property and the church next door. No one was at the church but there are neighbors across the street and a trailer park across from the church. Plus people were driving by on the street. Any other time of the year I would have just walked around the fence with no problem whether or not anyone was watching. BUT, this was NOT just any time of the year. This time of the year if you see people walking in the woods or somewhere weird, like an overgrown fence row full of vines, thorns, poison ivy (you get the picture) you know why they are there. Not that anyone is going to be looking but you still get a little paranoid. You have to keep these spots a secret even though they are right out in the open. I mean, this is not a place in a secluded woods.

I checked the fence and it was not a good place to cross. So, I went down a little farther and found a spot I could squeeze through. So I went through the fence so I could “rescue” the Morels from the Vinca. That sounds much better, but we still need to keep it quiet.

Of the 21 I found, several were beyond saving and taking to dinner. Who would have thought in such a ridiculous spot there would have been Morels. In fact, if they had been White Morels (Morchella americana) it is likely I would never have sen them. For those of you who may not know what Vinca minor is… For one, it is (or has been) popular as a groundcover that has escaped and went haywire wherever it is allowed or unnoticed. I don’t remember my grandparents every having it but somehow it has managed to go flourish in this area (and a few others). They make long semi-woody vines that go everywhere and are evergreen. Somehow, these Yellow Morels managed to grow through the mess of vines even though some were pretty distorted.

The color of these was them crying out, “SAVE ME!” So, I did.

I didn’t take any photos of them the day I found them because I wasn’t thinking about taking photos. I was in a panic situation seeing them all tangled in the Vinca. I went back today to take these photos. I am sure you are thinking I went back to see if there were any new ones…

Morchella americana (White Morel) on 4-15-20.

The one in the above photo is the White Morel (Morchella americana) I found on April 15. It is pretty good sized for a White Morel and they are usually somewhat smaller. I have found larger, though, but normally White Morels usually grow to less than 4″. Information suggests the earlier ones are larger. In 2013, I photographed a HUGE one under a Chinese Elm in February. I took a photo with my cell phone and sent it to a few friends because no one would have ever believed it. That was shortly after I moved back here and had a cell phone… I couldn’t figure out how to get the photo on my computer so it is lost and gone forever.

White Morels from April 21, 2019. As you can tell, they aren’t that large.

I am no Morel hunting expert and definitely not a fungi guy. 🙂 GEEZ! ANYWAY, Morels are pretty easy to spot as long as they are there. I started hunting with my grandpa when I was a little kid so it has just become a spring thing to go mushroom hunting.

Over the years I have heard a lot of stories about Morels that may or may not be true. I always heard they just pop up the size they are when you find them. I am not sure about that but I have gone through areas and found none and then go back a few minutes later and found them. Like walking on the ground caused them to “pop” up.

Supposedly, different species prefer growing under different trees. In my experience, that really hasn’t mattered that much. They do have preferred conditions, but at times, that hasn’t mattered much either… One year I went hunting in the back of the farm along the creek several times and found none, like usual, and came back and found quite a few in the open in the back yard. They haven’t come up again in that spot. Many years ago I found several in the apple orchard. Never again… I heard you can take the water you clean them in and throw it out and they will come up here the next spring. That may happen if there are spores, but I think very fresh mushrooms aren’t likely to have spores. NOW, I did see spores in some of the older yellows I found. I threw them along the north side of the house. 🙂

Yep. Morels in the skillet in 2019.

There are more than one species of Morels and many people get them mixed up. That is because their seasons overlap somewhat and there are various shades of each. Even on iNaturalist with several identifiers, if you look through the photos uploaded from others you will see some are possibly misidentified. Many members upload photos and say “Morchella species” without claiming a species name. Of course, I had to use species names because I don’t know any better and want people to think I do. 🙂

Then we come to the subject of the False or RED Morel. A few years ago when I was in the woods along the creek I spotted this odd creature. It looked kind of like a Morel but then again it didn’t. It was sort of a dark reddish-brown and pretty good sized. It was, for lack of a better word, weird. I took a photo with my cell phone (this was 2013 when I had one) and then brought it to the house. I showed dad and his response was, “I don’t know about that. I wouldn’t eat it.” Dad never ate mushrooms of any kind that I am aware of… Not even on pizza. False Morels are considered poisonous but some have eaten them with no side effects. Probably they didn’t know at the time they were poisonous. Even if you don’t get sick and die, they apparently have a carcinogenic chemical… I recommend not trying them.

NICE! The bad thing was that I wasn’t alone. I had to share with four other people! This year I am alone and I did not have to share. 🙂

Back then I thought all Morels were the same. I didn’t know there were different species and barely had heard of the False Morel. So, I didn’t really investigate that weird mushroom. I took dad’s advice and threw it out the door. For the most part, Morels are hollow white the False Morels are not.

Morchella species are found in many countries and several species are endemic to more than one. In the past several years more study has been done. I have read more about them this past week because curiosity got the best of me. Below are just a few of the MANY sites online that provide a wealth of information. There are also plenty of YouTube videos.

Wikipedia

The Great Morel homepage and Morel varieties gallery

The Morchellaceae: True Morels and Verpas (MushroomExpert.Com

MushroomExpert’s homepage is quite exhausting…

iNaturalist

I think I will stop for now…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful. Get as dirty as you can if the weather is nice.

 

15 New ID’s While Mushroom Hunting

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) on 4-23-20, #690-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Thursday… What an afternoon! It had rained earlier and I was itching to go mushroom hunting for Morels. It had been cloudy but it started clearing off in the afternoon so I decided to go to try out the woods on a friend’s farm. Now, I would mention his name and the location but you know I have to be secretive in case I find the motherload. 🙂 ANYWAY, this section of wooded area has been untouched. I started out walking along the creek and for a while I was even walking in it (with rubber boots). I walked around for at least 2 hours and didn’t find a single Morel until I was ready to come home and then I only found one… Next to a tree along the road. I took my camera with me and it was a matter of minutes before I spotted the first colony of plants that stopped me dead in my tracks. It just so happens it is also the first of 14 new ID’s for the day in alphabetical order…

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Dragon Root)

air-uh-SEE-nuh  dray-KON-tee-um

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) on 4-23-20, #690-3.

When I first laid eyes on this small group of plants I knew right away they were a species of Arum. It is unmistakable! A single leaf with a series of leaflets on top of a single petiole. I had never seen any of these in the wild, or hardly ever any type of Arum in the wild for that matter so I was very excited. As I walked around I saw several other small colonies on this one particular hillside. They haven’t started flowering yet so you can bet I will be keeping an eye on them. When I came home, I went to the iNaturalist website and identified this species as Arisaema dracontium also known as Green Dragon and Dragon Root. Information says they flower May through June…

Not far from where I found the Green Dragon, I was once again spellbound! The whole area was teeming with so many species of plants I was familiar with but then it happened… Right in front of my face was a sight I have longed to see…

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Arisaema triphyllum (JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT)!!!!

air-uh-SEE-muh  try-FIL-um

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-7.

I knew what it was from photos I have seen before, but I had never met it before in person. I was walking along looking here and there searching for Morels and there it was… There were several plants but only one with a flower. It was so incredible to finally see a Jack-In-The-Pulpit in person. Arisaema triphyllum

 

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-9.

Ahhh. There’s Jack… The first two plants I photographed were the beginning of a very eventful afternoon. Later I found more Jack-In-The-Pulpits higher up on the hillside. Other common names include Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, and Indian Turnip.

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Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort)

kar-DAM-ih-nee  kon-kan-teh-NAH-tuh

Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort) on 4-23-20, #690-18.

In the same area as the first two photos, I found this neat plant identified as Cardamine concatenata commonly known as Cut Leaved Toothwort and Crow’s Toes. At first glance, I thought it would be a species of Geranium because some of them have deeply lobed leaves. However, iNaturalist suggested differently and it was confirmed.

 

Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort) on 4-23-20, #690-19.

Believe it or not, it is a member of the Brassicaceae Family and will flower soon (Mo. Plants says April-May). There are no buds yet but you have to admit the foliage is neat.

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Carex albursina (White Bear Sedge)

KAR-eks  al-bur-SEE-nuh

Carex albursina (White Bear Sage) on 4-23-20, #690-22.

I found this interesting clump of grass in the same area that wasn’t familiar to me. There were several suggestions from iNaturalist and I double-checked them with Missouri Plants and came to the conclusion this could be Carex albursina commonly known as the White Bear Sedge (after White Bear Lake in Minnesota)or Blunt-Scaled Wood Sedge.

 

Carex albursina (White Bear Sage) on 4-23-20, #690-24.

It has super-long and broad leaves, more so that other Carex species, but the reddish-green stems are NOT 100% normal. Carex is a complicated lot with many sections. Carex albursina is in the Carex sect. Laxiflorae Section… In general, grasses can be complicated to ID. I will know more when it flowers…

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Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup)

Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup) on 4-23-20, #690-32.

This cute little fungus with no pronunciation on Dave’s Garden is called Coprinellus micaceus. This species prefers growing on or near rotted wood and even grows underground. Common names include Mica Cap, Shiny Cap, and Glistening Inky Cap. Wikipedia says:

“A few hours after collection, the gills will begin to slowly dissolve into a black, inky, spore-laden liquid—an enzymatic process called autodigestion or deliquescence. The fruit bodies are edible before the gills blacken and dissolve, and cooking will stop the autodigestion process.”

AND…

“It is considered ideal for omelettes, and as a flavor for sauces, although it is “a very delicate species easily spoiled by overcooking”. The flavor is so delicate that it is easy to overpower and hide with almost anything. The fungus also appeals to fruit flies of the genus Drosophila, who frequently use the fruit bodies as hosts for larvae production.”

Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup) on 4-23-20, #690-31.

The cluster in the above photo was next the first group. Ummm, actually I attached them backward.

One other thing…

“A study of the mineral contents of various edible mushrooms found that C. micaceus contained the highest concentration of potassium in the 34 species tested, close to half a gram of potassium per kilogram of mushroom. Because the species can bioaccumulate detrimental heavy metals like lead and cadmium, it has been advised to restrict consumption of specimens collected from roadsides or other collection sites that may be exposed to or contain pollutants.”

Personally, I think I will stick to Morels…

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Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches)

dy-SEN-truh  kuk-yoo-LAIR-ee-uh

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-23-20, #690-33.

You know, there are MANY wildflowers with similar leaves or a portion of their leaves look like the leaves of other species. Huh? If you were an ordinary person walking in the woods for some reason in the spring, you may completely overlook this wildflower and think it was the same as a weed growing in a fence row or along the house. BUT, since you are reading this you are an extraordinary person and not ordinary at all. So, if YOU were walking in the woods in the spring you wouldn’t just be there for exercise. You would be looking for Morels and wildflowers. 🙂 If you spotted this clump of leaves you would notice right off it was somewhat different and perhaps you would think they resemble the leaves of your Bleeding Heart. I knew this plant was not an ordinary weed so I took a bunch of photos to get a proper ID. There are no flowers so I used the drag-and-drop upload gizmo on iNaturalist. Sure enough, it turns out to be Dicentra cucullaria also known as Dutchman’s Breeches, Butterfly Banners, Kitten Breeches and White Hearts. Missouri Plants says they flower from March through May so I have to keep an eye on this colony. I think this species goes dormant after flowering but I will have to refresh my memory… Bleeding Heart species have been moved around a bit depending on dormancy issues…

Dicentra cucullaria depends on bumblebees for cross-pollination. In fact, its flowers have adapted specifically for bumblebees. Its seeds are kidney-shaped with a fleshy organ called an elaiosome which is a food for ants. Of course the ants gather the seed and take them home where they germinate. Pretty smart of nature, huh?

I found this interesting article on Dave’s Garden from Sharon Brown (2010) titled “Dutchman’s Breeches, A Comedy Of Errors”. It’s pretty good and will leave you smiling.

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Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily)

er-ih-THROH-nee-um  AL-bi-dum

Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily) on 4-23-20, #690-39.

Hmmm… As I was walking through the woods there were LOTS of Claytonia virginica (Virginia Spring Beauty) with various shades of flowers. There were also these other leaves among them and even where there were no Claytonia. There are literally hundreds! At first, I thought they were the same only some didn’t have flowers. Then I got to thinking that couldn’t be right because Claytonia virginica leaves are narrower and they normally don’t grow like this. PLUS, these leaves had dark markings. SO, I took a few photos and used iNaturalist to figure out what they were. Sure enough, these leaves are from Erythronium albidum commonly known as the White Fawnlily. Other common names include Small White Fawnlily, Dogtooth Violet, White Dogtooth Violet, Trout Lily and White Trout Lily. It shares some of those names with MANY other Erythronium species. There were no flowers and Missouri Plants says they flower from March to May. HMMM… Again with March-May. This is the end of April already!

Oh yeah… They are closely related to tulips.

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Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox)

floks  dy-vair-ih-KAY-tuh

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox) on 4-23-20, #690-53.

Hmmm… There are A LOT of Phlox divaricata growing in MASSIVE colonies along several highways in the area. I had been wanting to stop and get some photos but usually hadn’t thought to bring the camera (even though I drive by them almost every day). I was happy to see quite a few of them on the hillside where I was exploring. Common names of this particular species include Wild Blue Phlox, Lousiana Blue, Woodland Phlox, and Wild Sweet William.

 

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox) on 4-23-20, #690-55.

Phlox requires cross-pollination to produce seed. Because of their long, narrow corolla tubes only butterflies, moths, skippers, and long-tongued bees can pollinate their flowers.

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Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal)

po-lig-oh-NAY-tum  by-FLOR-um

Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) on 4-23-20, #690-72.

OH YES! I knew what this was even though I hadn’t seen any for MANY years. The Polygonatum biflorum is growing in several nice sized colonies on the hillside. Of course, there were no flowers but the Missouri Plants website assures me they will in May through June. At least it doesn’t say April through May. This species is commonly referred to as Smooth Solomon’s Seal, Small Soloman’s Seal, or just plain Soloman’s Seal

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Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster)

sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum  kor-di-FOH-lee-um

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Common Blue Wood Aster) on 4-23-20, #690-97.

Hmmm… I stumbled across this plant in a different area than the rest on this post. It was after I spotted the Morel that I decided to walk to another area. I took several photos of this small clump for ID then continued looking around a bit. Then, at the edge of the woods I found a larger specimen so I took a few more photos. I had not seen anything like this in my neck of the woods so I was very curious… Once back at home, with the help of iNaturalist, I found out is it was Symphyotrichum cordifolium commonly known as Common Blue Aster, Blue Wood Aster, and Heartleaf Aster.

Hmmm… I have one or more species of Symphyotrichum at home but this one was easily identifiable. There are so many species of this genus that look so much alike they are difficult.

 

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Common Blue Wood Aster) on 4-23-20, #690-98.

The long, serrated, heart-shaped leaves aren’t found in many species of this genus and there is only one similar on the Missouri Plants website. The website lists 14 species native to Missouri but there could be more. This one flowers from August through November so I will have to be patient for flowers.

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Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s Butter)

Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s Butter) on 4-23-20, #690-100.

I have seen this jelly fungus identified as Tremella mesenterica in the woods before but I hadn’t done a proper ID until now. Its common names include Witch’s Butter, Yellow Brain, Golden Jelly Fungus, and Yellow Trembler. It is actually a parasite that grows on the mycelia of crust fungus. It appears after a rain as a slimy glob but that turns into a thin film after it dries (which revives after another rain). Information says it is edible but bland and flavorless. It grows in many countries and is said to add “texture” to soups. I think I can live without it…

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Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn)

Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn) on 4-23-20, #690-101.

Now, this is one I haven’t seen before… There were several colonies of this fungus identified as Urnula craterium growing on a south-facing hillside that wasn’t quite so shady. The Devil’s Urn actually grows on decaying Oak and other hardwood species. It is parasitic and produces a compound that inhibits the growth of other fungi.

 

Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn) on 4-23-20, #690-103.

It had recently rained so I got this show of water inside the urn. Ummm, this species is also edible but has a tough texture. I will pass on this one, too…

I had a great adventure in these woods and I will revisit to see if I can take photos of “flowers” instead of just leaves and stems. No telling what I will find in the weeks and months ahead. One great thing about this set of woods was there was no trash anywhere. It was almost as if no one had even been there before. Some of you may have experienced some of these plants in your area, but they were the first for me and I am grateful for the experience

Hmmm… I don’t know if you have noticed, but there are Impatiens capensis (Jewel Weed) seedlings in several of the photos. They are coming up everywhere on this hillside and along the creek. It is a non-native invasive species that will threaten this amazing natural habitat within a few years.

After I returned home I went to the area north of the chicken house where I had found my first Morel of the season on April 15. There are a few wildflower species in the open area and among the trees I am keeping an eye on for future ID’s.

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Geranium carolinianum (Carolina Crane’s Bill)

jer-AY-nee-um  kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-um

Geranium carolinianum (Carolina Crane’s Bill) on 4-23-20, #690-40.

A while back I found a single plant in the midst of a colony of yet to be identified species of Ranunculus south of the pond in the front pasture. While taking photos of Ranunculus abortivus behind the chicken house a few days ago I spotted this cluster to photograph. I have finally identified it as Geranium carolinianum also known as Carolina Crane’s Bill. Soon there will be flowers…

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Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot)

ra-NUN-ku-lus  par-VEE-flor-us

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot) on 4-23-20, #690-89.

AH HA! Finally I took some good photos of the Ranunculus parviflorus fora positive ID.  There are several Ranunculus species on the farm that can be tricky to ID. This one has distinctively different leaves. Its common names are Stickseed Crowfoot or Stickseed Buttercup. Sometimes it is referred to as Small-Flowered Buttercup but that name is more commonly used for Ranunculus abortivus. This species forms dense colonies or clumps while most species here don’t.

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Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

val-er-ee-ah-NEL-uh  rad-ee-AY-tuh

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-104.

I found this neat wildflower growing in a wide area north of the chicken house. It as some very interesting features and there was no mistaking it as Valerianella radiata commonly known as Beaked Corn Salad. Plants of the World Online is being weird with this one. It doesn’t list the species as accepted but if you type in the name is says it is a synonym of  V. woodsiana. That name isn’t listed on the Valerianella page either. Either they goofed or maybe they still aren’t sure… For now, I will stick with Valerianella radiata because that is the name the other sources I cross-reference with use. It is also the name iNaturalist suggested.

 

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-108.

This species is considered a winter annual as it grows a rosette at that time of the year. In the spring it grows a tall stem up to 16″ tall Its interesting leaves grow in an opposite fashion and clasp the stems. The leaves are kind of oblong and fairly smooth with a few coarse teeth toward the base. Its stems are four-sided and have fine hairs.

 

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-109.

The plants are dichotomously branched toward the upper part and terminate in small clusters of flowers.

April 23 was sure an eventful day. It took a while to go through all the photos I took, make positive ID’s, begin word documents to finish later, and write this post. I have added all the plant’s photos I took on their own pages (as drafts) to work on now…

I have now identified 217 species of wildflowers, fungi, birds, butterflies, etc. Basically, anything that will hold still for a good shot. All are uploaded on iNaturalist. This is a great site and there are members worldwide that contribute through observations they have made. Give it a shot.

OH, I saw a hummingbird for the first time on Friday so I filled the feeder on the front porch.

I guess I am finished with this post now. Until next time, be safe, stay well, stay positive, be thankful, and GET DIRTY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster In The Yard-Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel)

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-5.

Sheep Sorrel, Sour Weed, Red Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

ROO-meks  a-kee-TOE-sell-uh

Synonyms of Rumex acetosellaAcetosa acetosella (L.) Mill., Acetosa hastata Moench, Acetosa repens Gray, Acetosa sterilis Mill., Acetosella multifida subsp. tenuifolia (Wallr.) Kubát, Acetosella multifida subsp. vulgaris (Fourr.) Kubát, Acetosella vulgaris (W.D.J.Koch) Fourr., Acetosella vulgaris subsp. tenuifolia (Wallr.) P.D.Sell, Lapathum acetosella (L.) Scop., Lapathum arvense Lam., Pauladolfia acetosella (L.) Börner, Rumex acetosella var. tenuifolius Wallr., Rumex arvensis Dulac, Rumex falcarius Willd. ex Ledeb., Rumex fascilobus Klokov, Rumex tenuifolius (Wallr.) Á.Löve

Rumex acetosella L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Rumex. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Accepted infraspecific names include Rumex acetosella subsp. acetoselloides (Balansa) Den Nijs, Rumex acetosella subsp. arenicola Y.Mäkinen ex Elven, and Rumex acetosella subsp. pyrenaicus (Pourr. ex Lapeyr.) Akeroyd. I think only the last one is found in the United States (in New York).

Plants of the World Online lists 195 species in the Rumex genus (as of 4-18-20 when I am updating this page. Rumex is a member of the Polygonaceae Family with a total of 55 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.

Distribution map of Rumex acetosella from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved on April 18, 2020.

The above distribution map for Rumex acetosella is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map for North America on the USDA Plants Database is similar.

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This post is similar, with some editing, to the pages I write. I am not sure how many pages there are now, over 500 maybe.  I found this good-sized colony of Rumex acetosella, or Sheep Sorrel, in the yard while I was mowing. I am sure it has been here for years but somehow I just now noticed them. A colony that big couldn’t just magically appear in one spring. 🙂 I didn’t know what it was at first and probably before I just thought it was smartweed because at a glance that’s what it looked like. But, since I have been doing a lot more wildflower ID, especially with the several Persicaria species in 2019, I knew this wasn’t any Persicaria. Besides, in April they are just beginning to come up. I went around most of the colony of whatever it was so I could take photos later and properly make an ID.

Rumex acetosella is a perennial plant that spreads by seed and long creeping rhizomes. It is a native of Eurasia and the British Isles.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-7.

So, after taking a lot of photos I uploaded the first one on iNaturalist, entered my location, and within seconds I had the ID of this colony. It is just weird this plant is not growing anywhere else on the farm except this one location in the yard.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-8.

Stems are upright or ascending and grow up to 18” tall and often branch out at the base. Each branch terminates with an inflorescence. Stems are ridged and hairless (glabrous) with a papery sheath (ocrea) at the nodes. Stems seem to be green at the bottom but reddish at the top and kind of streaked in the middle.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-9.

The interesting leaves can be thin to slightly succulent, narrowly ovate, lanceolate-elliptic, lanceolate (lance-shaped), or oblong-obovate, usually with a pair of triangular spreading basal lobes.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-10.

The basal leaves are somewhat larger and form a rosette but I need to take a closer look or maybe find plants somewhere I haven’t mowed. I didn’t notice any rosettes of larger leaves on my first observation of this colony BUT after looking at photos on Missouri Plants I think I have noticed them in other places. So many plants look a lot alike in the spring before they start flowering. Since I mowed this colony a few times I could have damaged the basal leaves.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-11.

Flowers are born on long inflorescences with several racemes. It is like the entire upper half or more of the plant is an inflorescence. Flowers are staminate (having stamens but no pistols). None of the flowers were open when I took photos. Flowers are dioecious meaning plants produce all male or all female flowers and they are wind-pollinated. You can see in the above photo the leaves have cut by the mower.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-12.

The above photo shows the papery sheaths on the stems where leaves and branches emerge. They become nearly translucent and raggy with age. Stems have ridges that seem to be red-tinged in the middle of the plant and more reddish at the top.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-13.

The flowers are hairless I think, or mainly so. What appears to be hair in this photo are likely grass clippings.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-14.

The above photo is a good example of an “obovate-lanceolate” type of a leaf. Even though the upper leaves are pretty small, you can see they are lance-shaped, broader in the center, taper to a point, and have interesting spreading basal lobed. Information says the basal lobes are triangular. Hmmm… Interesting how you can see a raised vein on each side of the midrib from the upper surface of the leaf otherwise it is very smooth. Even the leaf margins are smooth. This leaf was fairly thick and fleshy for its size.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-15.

The underside of the leaf I was photographing shows a very prominent midrib and a few veins going toward the margins. The undersurface appears kind of powdery but I can’t remember the scientific name. Perhaps finely pubescent…

OH, the leaves have long petioles…

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-16.

Plants produce oxalic acid which gives it a sour flavor and tannins which contribute to its bitterness. It is used in cooking and in salads but should be used in moderation. The species name acetosella means “acid salts”. Handling the plant can also cause dermatitis in some people.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-17.

Rumex acetosella is a problem species that grows in a variety of conditions but prefers acidic soil. It can become quite invasive. Information suggests the species contributes to hay fever due to its windborne pollen.

Normally, I allow plants to naturalize in certain areas, but perhaps this one I should think about eradicating. Information suggests it could be a problem and may be hard to get rid of.

I am going to keep my eye out for some larger rosettes and maybe I can find this plant elsewhere on the farm (ALTHOUGH, I am not sure I want to).

I visited the area along the creek at the back of the farm and FINALLY found the wild strawberries with the yellow flowers. I think Tony Tomeo and I discussed them earlier. They are Potentilla indica whose one common name is Indian Strawberry. There are no fruits yet which is OK because they aren’t really a strawberry and have a very blank taste. I lived in Springfield, MO one time and part of the yard was LOADED so I had a sample. It was a very disappointing experience. I also photographed Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens, which was VERY exciting and will be posting photos later. I also got some good flower shots of Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple). I also found a good-sized Morel next to the chickenhouse a few days ago. Hopefully, there will be more. There is something about Morels that just gives you a kick-start for spring. Highly motivational. 🙂

I hope you are all well as spring is well underway in my neck of the woods. It is almost time to move the potted plants outside and there WILL be a vegetable garden. 🙂 I put a new motor on the tiller and bought a couple of new tires so it is ready to go. The new gator blades on the bigger riding mower work great and the yard looks very good… What a relief!

That’s not all I have to say, but I think I better close for now. Until next time, be safe, stay well, stay positive and be thankful!