Symphyotrichum Workout

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-11.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The past week has been fairly cool and it finally rained. This is a perfect time of the year to get dirty and do some fall cleanup.

One of the most baffling genera of plants on the farm has been the Symphyotrichum. Even pronouncing it can be a challenge. It’s pronounced sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum… With the help of a curator from iNaturalist, I have figured out the last three of seven species on the farm. That is until I find another species.

BEFORE I GET TOO CARRIED AWAY…

The above image was created by Jenn Deutscher and used here by permission. Her website is Alithographica and can be found online at www.alithographica.com. Retrieved on November 1, 2022.

My thanks to Jenn Deutscher for allowing me to use her illustration above. There is a good write-up about her on her website (linked above). She has won many awards and it is an honor for her to allow me to use just a small sample of her work here.

Explaining flower parts is somewhat confusing without something to go by, so I found the above image online. Flowers of the plant family Asteraceae are very complex. They may appear to be simple flowers, but really there are no simple flowers. Some species in the family have over 1,000 flowers in a single head. I tried writing about the parts, but it became very complex… Kind of reminded me of the old game we used to play as kids called Operation… I will explain a little as we go along.

You can read more information about the flowers in the articles supplied by Britannica article and  Wikipedia. You can also click on the plant’s name under its first photograph which will take you to its own page. There are several links at the bottom of each page.

You may not remember a previous post from last fall, but I found two species I couldn’t figure out. After a few days of their discovery, we had a good ZAP and that was that. I watched them throughout this summer but that was a waste of time since Symphyotrichum species here are fairly late bloomers. When they finally did produce flowers I was surprised…

The two species in question were Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) and Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster). Last fall when I first found them was a lot different. There was a colony of S. lateriflorum along the drainage ditch behind the north pond at the back of the farm and the S. ontarionis were behind the south pond along the fence. Umm… Both ponds are next to each other and I really never got the story behind that. I seem to remember the south pond being dug when I was a kid and perhaps grandpa was going to make one big pond. The north pond is spring fed but it does dry up. The south pond never dries up, but the water is always brownish whereas the water in the north pond is always clear. It’s just weird. When I was a youngster, and even a teenager, I didn’t think to ask about it.

Anyway, back to where I was going… Last fall, the S. lateriflorum along the ditch still had quite a few flowers, and there were only a few plants behind the south pond. The plants along the ditch appeared to have been damaged, like from deer foraging, and were short with a lot of smaller leaves. The plant I photographed behind the pond with a few flowers was erect. The flowers in both areas were similar in size and one could have easily said they were the same species. I submitted separate observations of plants in both areas on iNaturalist and then contacted a curator who suggested a different curator. This guy identified them correctly as Symphyotrichum lateriflorum along the ditch and S. ontarionis behind the south pond. Another member disagreed with one observation of S. lateriflorum (but he was correct). At the time, he didn’t say why and I just took his word. I read descriptions online, but they were clear as mud since the S. lateriflorum plants had been damaged.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) behind the south pond on 10-9-22, #916-26.

So, all summer long as I watched the two species growing, they all seemed to be doing the same thing. That’s when I thought maybe they were all the same species after all, likely S. lateriflorum… Then, when they started flowering there were S. lateriflorum everywhere. I was thinking that because plants along the ditch looked like the plants behind the south pond. Then, completely by accident, I spotted a few plants whose flowers were different and they didn’t have sprawling branches… I took photos, of course. Then, as I was leaving the area, I discovered ANOTHER species with hairy leaves. I took photos of that one, too, which turned out to be S. pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) that is common around where the barn is.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on the right and S. lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on the left on 10-9-22, #916-32.

This time, when I submitted the photos on iNaturalist, I contacted the curator from before. This time, he wrote why he agreed with the submission… The above photo shows S. ontarionis on the right with larger flowers and brighter yellow disc florets. The S. lateriflorum on the left has smaller flowers, creamy discs, and fewer white ray petals…

OK, let me just say a few things… The ray “florets” (petals, etc.) are what you likely notice first. What looks like an ordinary flat petal is actually tubular. Farther down the petal, you have the corolla that surrounds the stigma and style of the female flower. The disc flowers (florets) in the center contain both female and male parts and are considered perfect flowers.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-23.

With Symphyotrichum species, you have to take a close look at the flowers. Count the ray petals (ray florets) and look at the color of the disc flowers. Then, look at the involucral bracts (phyllaries) under the flower head. With Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, there will be 8-16 rays (depending on what site you look at, and what flower you look at) that are usually white. Other species have MORE. The disc florets in the center will be a creamy yellow whereas other similar species will be brighter yellow. These will turn a reddish pink with age and later brown on both S. lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. The involucral bracts of S. lateriflorum, are usually appressed (meaning they lay flat), and in 3-4 layers. The bracts of other species are somewhat “inrolled” toward the base and then “reflexed” where the tips of the bracts curl slightly outward. In the above photo, the flowers are 1/3″ or so wide. The flowers of S. lateriflorum tend to grow on one side of the flowering stems which is another characteristic of the species.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-31.

The flowers of Symphyotrichum ontarionis have 16-28 ray florets (ray petals, etc.) with brighter yellow disc florets. It gets more confusing the more websites you read descriptions from. Some list different numbers. GEEZ! The rays are also in 2-3 series which seem to overlap. Information online says the diameter of the flowers are 1/3-1/2″ diameter, but this one was 3/4″. The flowers grow on panicles but when I took the photos, there were only a few flowers open. The curator from iNaturalist said these could be S. lanceolatum, but I am leaning toward S. ontarionis because they prefer growing in wooded areas. S. lanceolatum prefers full sun. There are other reasons as well…

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-34.

The leaves are also controversial from site to site. It is very hard to see, but there are very tiny hairs on the upper surface, giving them a hard-to-explain feel. Almost smooth, but not quite. The undersurface of the leaves are similar, but the hairs are somewhat longer on the veins. Again, that could apply for either one or both species. I couldn’t tell the difference between either species as far as the leaf hair was concerned. Longer is still barely visible. The margins of the longer leaves are toothed from the midpoint.

Well, I think I have said enough about the S. lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. You can go to their pages, look at the photos, and go to the links at the bottom of the page to check out the other links if you want. Click HERE for S. lateriflorum and HERE for S. ontarionis. Ummm… I may be still working on their pages as far as descriptions are concerned, but there are a lot of photos. Oh yeah, I am going to move them around a bit, too. A work in progress. 🙂

<<<<Symphyotrichum lanceolatum>>>>

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-8.

Walking through the pasture on my way back from taking photos behind the pond, I ran across a small colony of what I thought could be Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster). After all, they were growing in full sun instead of in a wooded area. It was very windy, so getting good close-ups was pretty much out of the question. I tried…

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-9.

Typically, S. lanceolatum have flower heads that are 1/2-1″ in diameter and have 16 to 50 ray florets in 1 or 2 series (you can see this where they overlap). Different websites give different numbers, and they are usually white but can be bluish to violet. The disc florets in the center number from 15-40, are brighter yellow, turning a reddish-pink with age. The involucre is cup-shaped to bell-shaped. The bracts (phyllaries) are in 3-5 (6) unequal, overlapping series. They are appressed to slightly spreading… The plants produce quite a number of flowers on long panicles arising from the upper leaf nodes. Missouri Plants says the leaves of S. lanceolatum are very smooth, almost balloon-like, except for a few hairs along the margins.

I only found two plants on the south side of the main hayfield growing among literally thousands of Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane). I looked very carefully. The involucre of the Erigeron annuus is completely different and they have MANY more very slender ray petals.

<<<<Symphyotrichum novae-angliae>>>>

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-15.

The clump of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) finally came up and bloomed again. I began to wonder since they came up so late. They are a perennial like the other Synphyotrichum species, but this species hasn’t spread. I have no idea why and it is weird. The multiple stems grow so tall they can’t stand up. Last year, I measured one of the stems at 78″ tall. The Missouri Botanical Garden says they have a “robust, upright growth habit…” Hmmm… That is until they flop over. It would be a spectacular sight if they stayed upright, but they fall over even before the flowers open.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-16.

I am not particularly into pink, which I have mentioned before, but these flowers are pretty neat. The flower I measured was 1 1/2″ wide and I didn’t bother to count the ray florets. Information online says there are 50-100! You would think with all flowers that are produced they would spread by seed.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-17.

No use in denying their involucral bracts are reflexed! They are in 3-6 unequal, overlapping series.

<<<<Symphyotrichum pilosum>>>>

Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-35.

This Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) is the one I found growing close to the S. lateriflorum behind the south pond. Isn’t really a good example since the plants growing close to the barn growing in full sun are LOADED with small white flowers. I was going to take their photos but it was getting late and the sun was going down. After that, it was either windy or rainy, and then we had an “F” which put an end to the whole idea.

The flower heads are from 1/4-3/4″ wide and have 15-35 pistillate ray flowers (florets, petals). The discs are yellow turning reddish with age. The involucral bracts are weird in that they are kind of inrolled at the base then turn outward, then curve upward.

Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-37.

The fact that their leaves (and stems) are hairy (pubescent) is a definite indicator this species is S. pilosum. These plants can grow to around 5′ tall in the right conditions.

<<<<Symphyotrichum praealtum>>>>

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-5.

Talk about spreading… The Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) has no problems with that. I have taken photos of this species since 2018 but I didn’t get them identified until last year. They grow along the south side of the farm and nowhere else here. They grow in a few areas in front of the blackberry briars in the south hayfield all the way up to the gate along the fence entering the front pasture.

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-10.

This species has 20-35 lavender rays in 1-2 series. The yellow disc florets turn reddish purple with age (and it doesn’t take long). It seems since Symphyotrichum species are in such a big hurry since they bloom so late… The flower heads are 1/2-3/4″ across (or so)…

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-12.

The involucral bracts are slightly reflexed…

Symphyotrichum praealtum can get very tall, much taller than me.

Well, I guess I should be relieved the Symphyotrichum species here on the farm have been properly identified. At least for the most part. I’m not saying I am quite sure about S. lanceolatum, but I am fairly confident. GEEZ! If I missed talking about something important, just let me know. I am no expert, but I may be able to answer your question.

Now, I will have to check the seeds of the Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata to see if they are dry enough for an ID. Seems silly to have it down to the seeds for a proper ID. What if their seeds were variable. too. After that, the Euphorbia post will be ready.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY! Be thankful you can GET DIRTY!

Cactus & Succulent Update 2022

Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ on 10-16-22, #919-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The dreaded time of the year has arrived and I had to move the potted plants inside on January 16. I was still working on one last new wildflower ID and still needed a few leaf and stem photos. I had already taken photos, but the leaf and stem photos were blurry. I’m not sure if I can still take any since the “F”, and since then the wind has been blowing. Of course, it warmed back up…

As always, I take photos and measure the cactus and some of the succulents as I bring them back inside. Most of the plants were on the front porch this summer because the heat and the intense sun seemed a little too much for some of them last summer. Yeah, I know they are cacti, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like intense sun. Many smaller species grow in the shade of taller plants.

Last winter was not too good… My son and his friend were still here so they used the back bedroom. I usually kept the back bedroom cooler with a plant shelf in the south-facing window for the succulents and part of the cacti. but the shelf was placed in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room. Instead of the cactus being on a table in front of the sliding door, they were on another shelf in my bedroom. I couldn’t very well keep the temp cooler in either place. They are gone now, thank goodness, so the plants are basically where they should be.

As a result of more heat, for one thing, I lost a few plants over last winter from mealybugs… GEEZ! I think the worse was losing both Mammillaria pringlei and rhodantha… I also lost the Aloe ‘Lizard Lips’. I had all three of those for MANY YEARS.

Anyway, here we go in alphabetical order… You can click on the plant’s name under the photo to go to their own pages.

<<<<Aloe ‘Cha Cha’>>>>

Aloe ‘Cha Cha’ on 10-16-22, #919-1.

Aloe ‘Cha Cha’ is the last survivor of the five plants I received from Succulent Market in 2020. Ummm… I am trying not to mention… NO, I’m not going to do it! I did mention A. ‘Lizard Lips’ contacted mealybugs, but not from A. ‘Cha Cha’. Somehow it never had them and has done weirdly well… Of course, as you may be able to tell, it is a miniature.

<<<<Aloe maculata>>>>

Aloe maculata on 10-16-22, #919-2.

Hmmm… I just discovered a problem with starting at the beginning of the alphabet. Maybe I should have started at the end. Although the Aloe maculata are all doing GREAT as always, I have been promising it I would divide their pot for a couple of years. Maybe three. I had one in another pot that “somehow” contacted mealy bugs last winter and they kept coming back. SO, I did a terrible thing and threw it out the back door. The big pot was in my bedroom and it would get an occasional bug but nothing serious. Isolating this plant would be a problem, so I decided to put it in the basement in front of a window. I remembered I kept a lot of plants in the basement during the winter before and they always did fine. Well, the bugs didn’t like the conditions and they left and the Aloe came through with flying colors like it had been in perfect conditions. These plants are descendants of the Aloe maculata I called ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ that was given to me by a good friend, Kyle, when I was living in Mississippi. The plant, actually I think there were two, were from his grandma, Brenda, in 2009.

I was just thinking maybe I should use the basement as a quarantine station. 🙂 Well, if the plants are halfway dormant…

<<<<Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle)>>>>

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 7″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-3.

Another hmmm… As I looked at this plant, it started tapping its feet. It asked, “Do you notice something?” I said, “Ummm…” Last fall I told this Austrocylindropuntia subulata I would move it back to the center of the pot in the spring. As you can see, it is still not in the center. Maybe, in the back of my mind, I was thinking it would move by itself. I know the original plant was in the center when I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2019 when it was just a single stub at only 4 1/2″ tall. Now, it has grown appendages and its offset is 7″ tall…

<<<<Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’>>>>

Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ at 10″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-5.

At least the Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ didn’t give me any dirty looks and seemed to be quite content on the front porch. It grew another 1/4″ and is now 10″ tall. The top photo is the upper portion of this plant. I brought this plant home in 2018 when it was only 5 1/2″ tall. I really like monstrous forms of cacti.

<<<<Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’>>>>

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 10 1/2 tall x 10″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-7.

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ did very well in its usual spot over the summer on the front porch. I brought this plant home in 2018 when it was 7″ tall and it is now 10 1/2″ tall. I always like the tree-like appearance of older Crassula ovata. I had a fairly large Crassula ovata and a nice C. ovata ‘Lady Fingers’ that were AWESOME!

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ on 10-16-22, #919-8.

They can attract brown scale (from somewhere) which are easily removed with your fingernail. If you don’t keep an eye on them, the scale can spread to all the leaves and become a pain… Especially when you have a bigger plant with A LOT of leaves

<<<<Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’>>>>

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 4 1/4″ tall x 7 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-9.

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts”…GEEZ! I lost my train of thought. I have thought about removing her kids, but then I think about what she would look like all naked. No doubt, her trunk would be all brown and terribly unsightly so I just keep the family together. Someday, I hope to see flowers. After all, I have had this pot since 2016 and who knows how old it was before I brought it home. The main plant was only 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I brought it home, and the offsets were growing along its ribs. Now it is 4 1/4″ tall and the whole cluster is 7 1/4″ wide. This plant was originally x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and was described as an intergeneric cross between Echinopsis and Lobivia. Lobivia is now a synonym of Echinopsis, so I guess it wasn’t an intergeneric cross after all. 🙂 It was named “Rainbow Bursts” because of their “spectacular colors” (so the label said) over the spring and summer. STILL WAITING…

I was watching a YouTube video from Morris Park in the Ozarks a couple of pots that looked similar. With all the offsets and everything.

I still have the big pot of Echinopsis huascha, but they are looking very weird…

<<<<Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana>>>>

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady)at 9″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-10.

The Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) always seems happy no matter where she is sitting. She may have been happier on the front porch out of the wind so her hair doesn’t get messed up. She has grown another 1/2″ over the summer to 9″ tall. Hard to imagine she was only 2 3/4″ tall when I brought her home in 2016.

<<<<Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’>>>>

Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ (African Milk Tree) at 19 1/2″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-11.

To say this Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ has grown would be an understatement. I brought it home from Mast’s Greenhouse in June of 2021 when it was 6 1/4″ tall. By the time I moved the plants inside in October, it had grown to 10 3/4″. Every time I looked at the plants over the summer, I noticed this plant was growing and even had an offset. Well, lately, I had been busy and hadn’t paid much attention to the plants on the front porch. So, when I started moving the plants inside I was SHOCKED! This plant had grown to 19 1/2″ tall!

Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ on 10-16-22, #919-12.

Euphorbia trigona was named and described as such by Philip Miller in the eighth edition of The Gardener’s Dictionary in 1768. I don’t know where he found it exactly, but it wasn’t in the wild… You see, there are no known plants of this species in the wild, and it is possibly of hybrid origin. Information also says this species does not produce flowers. Hmmm… As with all Euphorbia, it does produce a milky latex sap.

<<<<Ferocactus wislizeni>>>>

Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) at 3 1/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-13.

The Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) has done quite well on the front porch and has now reached 3 1/8″ tall. This guy always got a little sunburned on the back porch, but it has had no problems on the front porch. It was only 1 5/8″ tall when I brought it home in 2019, so it has done well.

<<<<x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’>>>

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 4″ tall x 4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-14.

I had to throw out my older x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ in January because of mealybugs. I had sprayed, washed them off, etc. and I finally had to give up. Repeatedly working the plant over seemed to make the plant suffer more (especially during its rest period). I was happy to find a new one at the Kuntry Store in July that was 3″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. There were some really nice larger plants in combination planters, but I only wanted ‘Flow’. GEEZ, I hate it when that happens. It has grown to 4″ tall x 4″ wide since I brought it home. The plant didn’t have any sort of label, but I am assuming it is x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’.

<<<<Gasteria ‘Little Warty’>>>>

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ at 6 7/8″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-16.

The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ continued to do well and is now 6 7/8″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide. I really like this little guy. It was only 2″ tall x 2 13/16″ wide when I brought it home in 2019. The mealy bugs tried to infect this plant but had no luck.

<<<<Gasteria sp. ?>>>>

Gasteria sp. at 5 1/4″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide on 10-19-22, #919-16.

I thought I was going to lose this Gasteria last winter because of its issues with mealybugs. It still isn’t quite back to normal but it is OK. It even grew to 5 1/4″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide. I think I may put it in the cool front bedroom with plants that aren’t bothered by critters and keep an eye on it. Maybe I should put it in the basement… I would hate to lose it after almost 5 years. I was kind of surprised it had mealy bug issues since its leaves are so hard, but they attacked way down where the leaves attach. A very hard spot to get to.

<<<<Gymnocalycium saglionis>>>>

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-17.

The Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) had never had one single issue. No rust spots, sunburn, bugs, or anything. It has grown from 1 1/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide in 2019 to 2 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It had its biggest growth spurt in the first 7 months after I brought it home, and since then it is just grown slow and steady. At least it is still alive and well.

<<<<Haworthiopsis limifolia>>>>

Haworthiopsis limifolia (File-Leaved Haworthia) at 5 1/8″ tall x 6″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-18.

Formerly Haworthia limifolia, the Haworthiopsis limifolia continues to do remarkably well without a hitch. These plants are normally sold under the name Haworthia limifolia ‘Fairy Washboard’, but that is actually a common name along with File-Leaved Haworthia, Fairies Washboard, Swaiti Haworthia, and possibly others. The last name is possibly what it is called in Southeast Africa where the species grows in the wild. There are five varieties of the species… This plant has now grown to 5 1/8″ tall x 6″ wide from 2 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide when I brought it home in May of 2019. Who wouldn’t like its dark green color with all those ridges on the leaves?

<<<<Kalanchoe daigremontiana>>>>

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) at 27 3/4″ tall x 7 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-19.

I finally found a nice Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant). You may remember the “other” Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother Of Thousands) I have… I always thought something was a little whacky with the name, and then I finally figured out it was a Kalanchoe laetivirens. Anyway, when I was plant shopping at Wagler’s Greenhouse this summer, I saw they had quite a few of real Kalanchoe daigremontiana. Of course, I had to bring one home… It was 13 1/4″ tall x 13 1/2″ wide when I brought it home in May and now it is a shocking 27 3/4″ tall. Some of the lower leaves have fallen off, so the width has shrunk to 7 1/2″ wide.

Normally, I would have repotted this plant, but since I was a bad parent in 2022 it is STILL in its 4 1/2″ pot I brought it home in. GEEZ! Luckily, it performs a balancing act quite well. It was between two bricks on the plant table, which most of the plants were (or tucked in pot-to-pot) so the wind would blow them around. Right now, it is standing next to the kitchen sink. I am trying to figure out where to put it for the winter…

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) on 10-16-22, #919-20.

Like the Kalanchoe laetivirens (or x laetivirens since it is a cross between two species), this one also gives birth to plantlets along its leaves (which aren’t really leaves). I removed them before I brought it into the house. I learned a lesson from before…

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) on 10-16-22, #919-21.

This species has the purplish marking on its, umm… You know what I mean. A spider decided this plant’s “leaves” made a good home and it was COVERED in webs. I should have taken a photo, but that would have proved my neglect… I guess I could have said it was decorated for Halloween. 🙂 I don’t have a page for this plant yet.

<<<<Kalanchoe thyrsiflora>>>>

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) at 14 1/4 ” tall on 10-16-22, #919-22.

I found several awesome Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) at Mast’s Greenhouse in May and thought I needed to bring one home. I was surprised with buds when I was bringing the plants inside since they weren’t there the week before (unless I wasn’t paying attention). It was 6″ tall x 7 3/4″ wide when I brought it home, and now it is 14 1/4″ tall including the buds. Won’t this be interesting? Ummm… I have no page for this plant yet either.

The Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’, K. laetivirens, all the K. luciae, and K.orgyalis (Copper Spoons) are still alive but need some work… Sadly, the K. gastonis-bonnieri (Donky Ears) and K. beharensis didn’t survive last winter. The K. marmorata (Penwiper Plant) also finally gave it up. We had our ups and downs since 2018.

<<<<Kroenleinia grusonii>>>>

Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)… Greater (green pot) at 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide, and Lessor (orange pot) at 3 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-23.

These two comedians of the group are still alive and well. The Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) both continue growing head to head. I named them Greater and Lessor in 2016 because the one in the green pot has always been a little taller than the other. Lessor, in the orange or red pot (I can’t decide what color it is), has always been a little shorter and wider. Well, this year they are both 3 1/4″ wide, but Lessor is 1/4″ taller than Greater. Of course, they tried their best to convince me they traded pots. Crazy guys! Measuring them is tricky enough with them jiggling around and standing on their toes.

Apparently, the orange spots on these two guys was rust. Rust can be treated if you know what it is in the first place. Well, the rust issue has gone away, and the orange spots have turned white. Now that I know what it was, I will keep an eye on them.

<<<<Mammillaria hahniana>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-24.

This Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is now the oldest Mammillaria in my collection since M. pringlei and M. rhodantha died. This awesome cactus has now grown to 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide from 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide in 2016. It has been a great cactus and is a free bloomer when it gets in the mood. Old Woman Cactus is the common name iNaturalist gives this species…

<<<<Mammillaria karwinskiana>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-25.

When I was measuring Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) it told me it had an itch and asked me to give it a scratch. I was kind of speechless. It has barely ever spoken to me and now it wants a scratch. GEEZ! It just as well ask for a massage. Anyway… This cactus has done very well and has grown another 1/2″ taller and is about the same width as last year. It now stands at 4 1/2″ tall and is 3 1/2″ wide. To think it was just 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16″ when I brought it home in 2019. I really like its wool, hairiness, and those long, straight, white spines. But a scratch is out of the question.

<<<<Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 5 1/4″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-26.

The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) has been a great plant since I brought it home from Lowe’s in September in 2019. Its pot was laying on the plant shelf with the plant not even in the pot. I am sure it appreciates being brought home. I have always admired its blue-green color and all those golden spines, but the long central spines and short radial spines are also neat. It has grown to 5 1/4″ tall x 3″ wide and was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home.

<<<<Mammillaria mystax>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-27.

Very funny… The Mammillaria mystax shrunk! The measurement from last year was 3 1/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide and now it is 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide. Heck, it was 2 3/4″ tall in 2020. It has grown quite a bit, though, since it was just 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home in 2018. Sometimes that happens with cacti when they don’t have enough water. That is likely the case since they were under the roof of the front porch and most of the time just received rain as it blew in on them. I am not complaining that it shrunk especially since it is partly my fault. OK, it was likely all my fault. But, it was safe from the scorching sun on the front porch which I know it appreciated. How do I know? Well, it was smiling at me when I measured it and took its photo.

<<<<Mammillaria plumosa>>>>

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 2″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-28.

It is certainly a good thing this Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) hasn’t had any problems with mealybugs. How would you tell? I bought this cactus from a seller on Ebay in 2018 and it has been great. In fact, it is the only cactus I bought from Ebay that has survived. Even though it was very small at 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide it has done very well. The main plant has grown to 2″ tall and the whole cluster is now 4 1/2″ wide. This one you can pet if you so desire…

I lost several Mammillaria since last winter including M. decipiens (Bird’s Nest Cactus) that did very well since 2018, M. elongata (Lady Finger Cactus) that I brought home in 2018, M. pringlei and M. rhodantha I already mentioned, M. senilis (the one with the hooked spines I could never tell if it was alive or dead) since 2020, both M. vetula including ‘Arizona Snowcap’, and M. compressa from 2020. The M. spinosissima ‘Un Pico’ is still alive but looks terrible with A LOT of rust or something… One of the plants in the pot of 3 already died… I have learned that even though many species of Mammillaria are some of the best cacti to grow, when you bring home very small plants you are taking a risk. Also, there are many species on the market that haven’t been in cultivation that long and may not be good choices. Big growers plant seeds by the thousands and don’t necessarily care if they are good choices for pot culture. These days some companies aren’t even putting the names on the pots because they have no clue.

<<<<Opuntia monacantha var. variegata>>>>

Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) at 12 3/8″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-29.

You know, I really haven’t been into variegated cacti, but this Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) I saw at Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2020 caught my eye. It was only 4 3/4″ tall when I brought it home, and it has grown to 12 3/8″. It is very interesting…

Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) on 10-16-22, #919-30.

Actually, Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) has it listed as Opuntia monacantha f. monstruosa variegata (syn. Opuntia monacantha var. variegata cv. Maverick variegata). Which is a synonym of Opuntia monacantha… You know, someone always has to give it a cultivar name when it isn’t necessarily a cultivar. It is one of very few naturally occurring variegated cacti and it is a monstrose form. It is a dwarf, teratological variant of the larger Opuntia monacantha. Anyway, something weird is going on with its main stem… What are those protruberances? Could they be buds? I checked out photos on iNaturalist for the species and that could be very possible… Time will tell and keep your fingers crossed they don’t fall off if they are buds. You never know since I moved it into the house in a different light.

<<<<Parodia lenninghausii>>>>

Parodia lenninghausii, the orange pot on the right is 6 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide, and the green pot on the left is 7″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-31.

The two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball or Lemon Ball Cactus) are more serious than the two Kroenleinia grusonii, but they do have their moments. Sometimes these two agree with each other, and at other times they seem to have had a disagreement and won’t even look at each other. I kind of screwed up and named them Greater and Lessor as well, so I may have to change that. They have also done the switch… Lessor, in the green pot, is now taller than Greator… Lessor is now 7″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide, and Greater is 6 1/2″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide. Hmmm… I have been enjoying these two since 2-1-16. That was when I bought several cacti from Walmart and didn’t notice I bought two Parodia lenninghausii and two Kroenleinia grusonii until I was home… I am glad I brought two of each home to compare with each other as they grow.

<<<<Parodia magnifica>>>>

Parodia magnifica (Ball or Balloon Cactus) at 2 7/8″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-32.

The Parodia magnifica (Ball or Balloon Cactus) has done very well and has grown to 2 7/8″ tall but has shrunk 1/8″ to 3 1/8″ wide. It has a few brown spots that I am not sure what the cause is. I was watching a video on YouTube from Morris Park in the Ozarks where he talked about several issues with his cactus. This could be scarring from getting cold or perhaps from stretching as it grows… Apparently, it isn’t hurting it since it is growing and seems healthy otherwise. The marks are smooth without any sign of any kind of infection, past or present.

Parodia magnifica from the top on 10-16-22, #919-33.

I really like the top view with its wool along the tips of the ridges and golden spines.

<<<<Polaskia chichipe>>>>

Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe), the taller plant on the right was 3 7/8″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide, and the one on the right was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-34.

The Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe, ETC.) has done pretty well considering they don’t look that great. I’m not sure what happened to the one on the left, but the one on the right had straw flower damage. You know, those silly fake flowers they stick on with some kind of glue. Perhaps the other marks are naturally occurring as the plants grow. The big scar on the one on the right is likely from the straw flower. There were three plants in the pot, but one died last winter. The plant on the right now measures 3 7/8″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide, while the one on the left is 3 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide.

<<<<Stenocereus pruinosus>>>>

Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, ETC.) at 6 1/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-35.

The Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, Organ Pipe, ETC.) is still alive and well. This has been a great cactus. It now measures 6 1/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide from 2 7/8″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought it home in 2016. I always liked the V-shaped pattern on its trunk. This seems to be an easy-to-grow species, so if you find one…

<<<<Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus>>>>

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-16-22, #919-36.

The Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus is always the last on the list but is usually one of the first to be photographed. This Paper Spine Cactus caught my eye when I was plant shopping at Walmart on February 9 in 2016 because of its unusual spines. I was about to put it in my cart when I found a segment laying on the shelf. I decided to take the segment and put the pot back on the shelf. It has been very interesting to watch grow to say the least.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 919-37.

In the wild, their segments fall off and take root wherever they land. If an animal passes by, they also hitch a ride on its fur and do a little traveling. When I notice a segment has fallen off I just face it upward in the pot and it takes root. It has done well for the last couple of years and none of the segments have fallen off. The tallest has made it to 4″ tall without falling apart. The pot is getting crowded, so I should give it more space. Ummm… It has been in this pot since 2018. I did put a segment that had fallen off into another pot and it is doing well. I may give it to Mrs. Wagler of Wagler’s Greenhouse since we share plants. I haven’t seen any of these for sale at Wal-Mart or Lowe’s since 2016, so I am very glad I brought the stub home.

Overwintering “desert” cactus isn’t that hard as long as you don’t water them. If you do, just a little no more than once a month )or so) is sufficient. Tropical cacti, like Christmas Cactus and Epiphyllum, need a comfortable temperature and pretty much regular watering. I still have the three Epiphyllum that Tony Tomeo sent and they are doing well. They are quite interesting and somewhat entertaining. One was on the front porch and two on the back porch over the summer with the Stapelia gigantea. The Schlumbergera have had their ups and down over the summer because they didn’t get enough water (bad parenting). One has buds already and it was outside!

Anyway, there are many websites online pertaining to overwintering cacti inside. Reading one is sufficient because if you read several you might be confused. The care they suggest is somewhat controversial especially as far as the temperature. Once temps outside cool off and the day length decreases, they go into a dormancy mode. I always put them somewhere the temperature will be about the same when I bring them in. You don’t really want to bring them in from 40° F outside temp to 70° inside. Typically, I water them pretty well a week or so before I bring them inside so I won’t have to water them for a while. Well, I didn’t do that this time because I simply screwed up then evening temps started getting too cool. The debate right now is do I put the cactus in the south-facing window in a cool bedroom, or the west-facing window in the front bedroom, also kept cool. Cool temps do help control parasites, but the light really doesn’t matter because the cactus are sort of dormant. Then again, the cactus did fine with no parasite issues until last winter and only a few at that. Cactus don’t like to be bothered with sprays over the winter. At least that is my opinion.

Anyway, I will close for now. I have two posts in the making. One about Euphorbia (wildflowers) and the other about the Symphyotrichum species on the farm. I am waiting for the Euphorbia dentata and E. davidii seeds to dry which will determine the species. At least I hope. Both genera have been quite entertaining.

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

 

Wildflower Mysteries Along The South Fence…

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-14.

Hello everyone I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the cooler temperatures. I have been enjoying the cooler temps, but that means wildflower hunting for the year is coming to an end. I suppose that is OK for a while. That means I can update the plant pages and add new pages for what was discovered in 2022. I added 47 new species for 2022 to the list, 31 were wildflowers (including 4 ferns). I am still behind writing posts and it is getting a bit confusing. I try to write a page before I post about the species which isn’t working out so well…

This post is about what I found back on September 2 after 7 PM. The wind was blowing slightly, with little gusts when I would start to take a photo.

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-15.

On September 2, I set out toward the front pasture to check on the progress of the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). They were still “working on it” as far as flowers are concerned even though the plants are taller than me. They are now blooming up a storm… GEEZ!

I walked around the back side of the old pond and as I approached the fence I noticed the hops vine had climbed up the guide wire of a utility pole. The funny thing was the Japanese Honeysuckle was right behind it. It may have give one the impression the hops fruit belonged to the vine below it. I took a photo but unfortunately it didn’t come out well. The next time I went back the hops had already turned brown.

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-16.

The leaves of Humulus lupulus can be quite variable and always reminded me of a grape vine. In fact, I always thought the vines were grapes. I had checked a few websites before and they showed their leaves were more lobed. Well, this time I confirmed the grape vines were growing hops fruit! Imagine that! Maybe next year I can get to the fence and take photos of their weird flowers…

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-1.

Then I found something that left me scratching my head… The Japanese Honeysuckle covers the fence, which is an understatement but this flower growing from the honeysuckle left me very confused. Well, I figured if the grape vines could grow hops the honeysuckle may as well do something weird as well.

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-2.

I dug around a bit and found bean leaves… As you can see in the above photo there were more along the ground (which I didn’t notice until I looked at the photo). I put the flower photo on iNaturalist and it said it was Amphicarpaea bracteata, commonly known as the Hog Peanut or American Hog Peanut… Hmmm…

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut on 9-2-22, #908-3.

I never saw anything like it. Those are definitely weird flowers!

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-4.

Then I found a few clusters of seed pods… Well, that got me to wondering why a bean was called a hog peanut? I did some reading and found out the genus name, Amphicarpaea, is Greek for “two-seeded,” referring to the two types of seeds: above and below ground. What? Apparently, there are two types of flowers that both produce different fruit and seeds. The upper flowers (on the vine) are “normal” (chasmogamous) that pollinate like most other flowers. The plant also produces vines, or stems, that spread on the ground that have cleistogamous flowers, which means fertilization occurs inside a permanently closed flower. These flowers are inconspicuous and have no petals…The fruit (seed pods) of the upper flowers contain 2-3 seeds, while those of the lower flowers only have one. What is even weirder, is that they burrow into the ground. Information I read on one site (Climbers by the University of Michigan) that E.J. Trapp’s description in the American Journal of Botany (1988) says “runners (ground level stems) are produced that search out dark crevices in the soil. If these are found, the plant produces an underground flower.” How weird is that?

Pisaurina mira (American Nursery Web Spider) on 9-2-22, #908-28.

While looking around in the leaves, this Pisaurina mira (American Nursery Web Spider) ran for cover. She didn’t seem to appreciate me snooping around.

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat) on 10-2-22, #908-11.

Farther up the fence, since I am walking uphill toward the gate, I noticed another odd creature. What in the heck?!?! The wind was blowing a little, so getting a good photo was a little difficult. I had to have my trigger finger ready and must have took 20 photos!

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat), 9-2-22, #908-13.

I uploaded the good photos on iNaturalist and they came up with Fallopia scandens, the Climbing False Buckwheat. Hmmm… That makes a hop-bearing grapevine, a honeysuckle growing beans, and a fake buckwheat! What a day!

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat), 9-2-22, #908-12.

They have neat little leaves with twining stems that turn red in the sun. But what is it growing on? Hmmm…

Hmmm…

And it has fruit…

Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy), 9-2-22.

GEEZ! Poison Ivy!!!

Well, that’s it for this post and the Euphorbia post is getting close. Just waiting for the seeds to mature so I can confirm two of the species or one…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY. The cooler temps are making it more pleasant to work outside.

Variations Of Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) in the south hayfield on 9-17-22, #912-24.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been working on a Euphorbia post since the last one, but it is proving somewhat complicated. So, I thought I would work on an easier one for now.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-26.

There are Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susans) from one end of the farm to the other. You see them everywhere along highways, backroads, pastures, gardens, etc. Pretty much everyone knows what they are. For years, all the Black-Eyed Susans I have seen have been the basic orange-yellow flowers with dark brown discs (receptacles…) in the center. To be honest, I thought a Black-Eyed Susan was a Black-Eyed Susan. Once you see one, you have seen them all. Even so, I read in their descriptions they can have flowers with reddish markings on their petals and I have seen photos online but never in person.

On September 17, I went to the south hayfield to take photos of the Euphorbia nutans (Nodding Spurge) where I knew there were several colonies. Once I did that, I thought I would walk through the Black-Eyed Susans. I certainly didn’t have to look for them since 2/3 of the hayfield is covered with them. There are other wildflowers growing among them so it was no telling what I would find…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-25.

After I took several photos of the Euphorbia nutans, I walked about 20′ or so north and spotted something weird… Can you see the difference between the flowers on the right and left…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-30.

I have seen some weird things, and this was definitely one of the newest. Not exactly what I was hoping to find, but this was definitely interesting.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-32.

I had never seen Black-Eyed Susans with light brown receptacles… The disc “florets” are supposed to be dark purple to purplish-brown. The ray florets (petals) are also darker toward the center… I looked the plants over pretty good from top to bottom, and they are definitely Rudbeckia hirta… You never know since there are several species of Rudbeckia in Missouri. Maybe this is the Black-Eyed Susan’s idea of an albino…

I walked farther out…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-33.

HA!!! Would you look at that! I had often wondered if larger colonies would have more variation, and perhaps this is proof of that. Hmmm… Maybe it is from inbreeding.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-34.

I was glad I finally found Black-Eyed Susans with reddish color on the petals.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-37.

Among the whole area, there were quite a few smaller colonies here and there with these two-one petals.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-38.

The colonies with the reddish markings usually were mixed with flowers with two-tone petals.

I am glad I walked out into the Black-Eyed Susans and found the different flowers. I must admit I was surprised.

I will continue working on the Euphorbia post and others at the same time. I am a little behind, but I guess that’s OK.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful, and GET DIRTY!

 

Two New Species South Of The Barn… Both Herbals

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-25.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. You know, time flies when you put things off. Tomorrow seems to come so fast and the next thing you know, weeks have passed! Well, that’s what happened again. I photograph new species I find but maybe some of the photos didn’t turn out very well, so I have to wait until “tomorrow” to take more. Sometimes it is not tomorrow… Then there are “those” plants whose flowers only open in the morning. Well, I am not a morning person, which is another thing I am working on. HA! I have been working on that for a long time. Anyway, on September 1 (yeah, September 1), I needed to go to the hayfield to get photos of the ovaries of the Euphorbia corollata. You read that right, the ovaries. I will post about that later, but the first thing is first. I have to first post about what came first. 🙂

So, I walked through the gate by the barn and headed straight south then after 100′, more or less, I stumbled upon a good-sized patch of a species I hadn’t noticed before. I think the proper word is colony but I am using patch. Neither word really makes botanical sense to me, so I can use either one. I have walked through this area many times and hadn’t noticed them. In a way, I can understand that if the plants are shorter than the grass and everything is green. The only way to notice is if something unusual catches my eye. Sometimes you may find a species that looks like a different species until it does something weird… At a VERY QUICK passing glance, these plants could possibly remind you of Croton glandulosus (Sand Croton). Mind you, a VERY QUICK glance…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-29.

This is what caught my eye… The very small wilted flower was waving like a flag in the breeze! “WHAT IS THAT?!?!” I looked around to see if I could find better flower photos but they were all wilted. And there was A LOT!!!

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-30.

So, are those weird pods buds or fruit? Hmmm… Well, I took enough photos to get an ID on iNaturalist. It is Sida spinosa… Of course, you already know from the captions, huh? The preferred common name on some sites is Prickly Fanpetals, but other common names include False Mallow, Indian Mallow, Prickly Mallow, Prickly Sida, Spiny Sida, Teaweed, Thistle Mallow, White Broomweed, and possibly others.

I looked up the species on the Missouri Plants website and found out Sida is an unusual genus in the plant family Malvaceae and scrolled down to look at the flowers. I could have found that out on iNaturalist, but my habit is always to check on Missouri Plants (since I am from Missouri) and old habits are hard to break.

Flower photos would have been great because they are particularly weird… Well, like I said before, time flies. Missouri Plants says they flower from June through October so I had plenty of time…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-14-22, #911-1.

I finally made it back to the “patch” a little after noon on the 14th. As you can see from the top photo (top two on the plant’s page), the flowers can be hidden lower down inside the plant. In fact, when I went out this time, the flowers on top were already beginning to close and wilt…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-14-22, #911-3.

THEN, I finally took this good one. I couldn’t tell if the photos I took were good or not when I was taking them because the sun was bright and the images on the screen weren’t clearly visible. The flowers are very small and I was using a magnifying glass in front of the lens. 🙂

The flowers have a spiral look and the petals are kind of sideways. One side of the petals are longer than the other. How neat is that?!?! The pistol is typical of other members of the family.

When I did my initial research on this species, there wasn’t much at all. Just photos and descriptions. Some sites tell about it as a common weed and how invasive they are in some areas. One thing that caught my eye was how many countries it is considered a native.

I decided to type in “Sida spinosa herbal” and was very surprised. Several Sida species are used by indigenous tribes in South America and other countries for a variety of ailments. Other studies have found out they are good for many other conditions because of its chemical properties. You can read more about this plant, and its contribution to society by going to its own page HERE and scrolling down to the bottom to the links. NOT JUST A WEED! I haven’t written descriptions on its page yet. That is a winter project… 🙂

Now for the other plant on September 2nd… I was headed toward the boundary fence along the front pasture. On the way, I walked through the “patch” of Sida spinosa and stopped DEAD IN MY TRACKS!!! I was shocked at what I had finally found!!!

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-20.

HOLY CRAP! I could hardly believe my eyes! Right there in the grass was a single Physalis species. I looked around for more and couldn’t find any. I hadn’t seen any since 2019 when I found a Physalis longifolia (Smooth Ground Cherry) in a friend’s pasture. The one I found and couldn’t find again. Then, in November 2019, I found a plant here east of the chicken house that I supposed was, or had been, P. longifolia. Since it was November, all that was left were a few dead leaves and dried fruit. This plant had been very tall.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-23.

The Physalis longifolia looked like a horsenettle, but this new plant didn’t look like that at all. I took photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist for ID. Lo and behold, the new plant is Physalis angulata… Now I am wondering if the dried-up plant that was north of the chicken house was actually the same species. Anyway, I have been looking for them to come up again in the same area, but they never did. The seeds had to go somewhere. I figured unless they had been eaten, they would likely just fall on the ground. I should have picked the husked fruit and planted them myself… Live and learn!

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-21.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any open flowers and it was a little after 7 PM. I would have to go back another day to see if I could take photos of its flowers.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-26.

Common names for the Physalis angulata include Angular Winter Cherry, Balloon Cherry, Country Gooseberry, Cutleaf Groundcherry, Gooseberry, Hogweed, Mullaca, Sunberry, Wild Tomato, Winter Cherry, and probably others. This species fruit IS EDIBLE! You know, like those husk tomatoes you sometimes see in the grocery store.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-3-22, #909-1.

I went back to this plant on September 3 at about 1 PM and was able to find one of the flowers open. As you can see in the photo, the flowers are small…

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-3-22, #909-2.

The flowers of this particular Physalis angulata have no purple marking around the center, but apparently, they can have.

Interestingly, the Physalis angulata and Sida spinosa have a similar native range in North and South America. Both were used by indigenous tribes in South America.

You can visit the page for the Physalis angulata by clicking HERE and going to the links at the bottom of the page as well.

It is amazing how many wildflowers are used as herbals and even in pharmaceutical medicine. We have definitely learned a lot about rainforest plants from the tribes in South America and the Native Americans in the U.S.

I suppose the next post will have to be about the ovaries of the Euphorbia corollata and what else I found on September 1. Then it’s on to the fence along the front pasture. I need to stop watching episode after episode of Game of Thrones and get to work. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. The temps are cooling off nicely, so it is a great time to GET DIRTY. The only problem is the day length is getting shorter. No putting off until tomorrow. 🙂 Take my advice, I am not using it. 🙂

 

 

Revisiting The Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been watching the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree in the back of the farm all summer. Waiting for flowers can be a pain…

I found my first Leafy Elephant’s Foot on a friend’s mother’s farm while herding cattle in 2019.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-9.

Then, last October 12, I found a single plant in the south hayfield. I wasn’t quite sure what it was at first because the leaves were a maroonish color since it was in full sun. The flowers were wilted but the leaves did have a suspicious shape. The three leafy bracts surrounding the flowers were also a clue. I found it twice, but the day I went to mark the spot I couldn’t find it!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) at 37″ tall on 10-25-21, #852-4.

Then, on October 25 (after an “F”), I found a small colony behind pond #2 in the back of the farm. They still had a few leaves but the flowers had run their course. I measured the plants at 37″ tall. Ummm… I did mark the spot with an electric fence post.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 4-27-22, #874-1.

I was glad when they started coming up this spring.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 6-26-22, #896-18.

They had grown quite a bit by the time I took the above photo on June 26. But, so were the weeds and brush around them…

THEN… LO AND BEHOLD!!!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree on 7-9-22, #898-1.

On July 9 while looking at the persimmon tree, I found another small colony. I was happy about that! This one is maybe 100′ or so from the patch behind the pond and is very easy to get to.

By July 28 the flowering stems were getting taller but it was still a ways to go before the flowers emerge… GEEZ!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-8-22, #903-8.

I went back to check on them a little after 7 PM on August 8 and there were a few flowers but they were closed. It was a “what the heck” moment!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-19-22, #905-1.

I was busy for a while and didn’t get to go back and check on their progress until 6 PM on August 19. WOW! There were A LOT of flowers, but they were all kind of closed and wilted… GEEZ! I did some reading and found out their flowers only last a day. I think it is more like half a day!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-1.

I decided I would go check earlier in the day, so on August 20, I went back at around 12:30. BINGO! Well, perhaps a little earlier would have even been better…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-2.

So, you may wonder what is so special about the flowers of the Leafy Elephant’s Foot… Well, let’s have a closer look…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-3.

The above photo is two flowers, but I need to try to find one I can separate it a little without dissecting it…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-5.

I tried a few, but they didn’t cooperate very well without holding them. With the camera in one hand and the magnifying glass in the other, I couldn’t very well hold the flower at the same time. Finally, one paid attention somewhat.

The complicated part is explaining what is going on… First, you have three leafy bracts that surround a cluster of involucral bracts. Each involucral bract produces 2 sets of 2 phyllaries from which (typically) 4 flowers emerge. The flowers produce 5-lobed corollas (petals) that are positioned to one side of the flower. The flowers grow close together giving the appearance of a single four-petaled flower with 20 lobes. Luckily, all four flowers bloom the same day… Since there are quite a few bracts, blooming will continue through sometime in October.

The Missouri Plants website gives a very good technical description, but it can leave you wondering what you read. I found the write-up by Sid Vogelpohl from the Arkansas Native Plant Society to be very helpful.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-7.

Of course, I have to talk about the leaves because the flowers only help partially identify the species. If you run across a plant with large spatulate leaves before it flowers, you may have found an Elephantopus carolinianus

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-8.

It also has VERY hairy stems…

The next few posts will be about a couple of species I found south of the barn and my confusing adventure along the fence in the south pasture. Four new species right under my nose in one day!

Until then, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Temps are cooling off and it is a great time to GET DIRTY!

Six on Saturday-Short Walk on the Wild Side

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. We had a nice week with temperatures not too unbearable at all. I took a walk through the hayfield a couple of days ago to check on the progress of the Elephantopus carolinianus in the back of the farm. It always amazes me how some wildflowers start growing like mad after the hay is cut.

#1-Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

There were several Asclepias hirtella, the Tall Green Milkweed, blooming again. Normally, they don’t flower the second time but they are this year. I can’t quite figure out why they call this species Tall Green Milkweed when there are other species that grow much taller…

 

#2)-Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree.

I have walked to the back of the farm several times over the summer to check on the progress of the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot). These are really neat wildflowers that I only noticed growing on the farm last fall after they had already dried up. I found the dried up flowers and leaves in an area that grows up in poison ivy and other brush but I marked the spot…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

I was very happy when I found a colony under the persimmon tree so I won’t have to walk to the spot I found them earlier. Well, I usually go there anyway… The plants have mostly buds with a few flowers beginning to open up. Until the flowers are fully open, I can’t show you why I think they are so neat.

I walked through the brush behind the ponds to check on the Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) and S. ontarionis (Ontario Aster) but so far no flowers. At this point, they still look the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are both the same species but only time will tell…

#3)-Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

This area in front of the two back ponds is LOADED with Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). The wind was blowing so there wasn’t as much activity on the flowers as usual.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

The above photo isn’t that great because, as I mentioned, the wind was blowing… Many species of butterflies and other insects love ironweeds. Later on, they will be swarming with Monarch Butterflies and the always interesting hummingbird moths.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

The Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed) grow in another area. Baldwin’s Ironweed have recurved involucral bracts where Missouri Ironweed’s bracts are appressed. To be honest, some of the flowers in this colony have recurved bracts and some don’t… The two species do hybridize which can drive a person batty…

#4-Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

I walked to the pond in the front pasture to check on the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) which is also a late bloomer. They are also kind of late to come up in the spring which had me wondering if they survived the winter. The New England Aster grows to over 6′ tall. I put a water bottle at the base of the plant for size comparison…

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

I only found this species last fall because we had a late “F” and the flowers are pink. Their clusters of flowers caught my attention from quite a distance. I am hoping the same will be true this fall. They are working on it.

#5-Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

One of my favorite wildflowers on the farm is the Verbesina virginica also known as White Crownbeard and Frostweed. These are also very tall plants that grow much taller than me… They are always in the same location every year.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

They aren’t exactly early bloomers either, but they are getting there.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

They do have neat white flowers in time, but the neatest thing is their winged stems and very long leaves.

#6-Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean)

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

Even though seeing the Elephantopus carolinianus beginning to flower was exciting, I believe the find of the day was the Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean). The first time I found this species there were only a few flowers and the leaves had all dried up. Since then, I have kept an eye on them. This year I found a few growing closer to the gate and was able to get some good photos.

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

From a distance, they resemble an off-color sweet pea. I kind of like this color much better than pink. 🙂

That completes my Six on Saturday kindly hosted by The Propagator. Be sure to check out the other Six on Saturday posts.

Well, I better get going for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Be sure to get dirty if you can!

 

 

Tales From The Ditch…

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. We had more rain, up to 3 3/4″ through Thursday with more in the forecast. A few days ago I was trimming the ditch in front of what I always call the “other yard.” It is where my grandparent’s house was and where the garden is. Well, I didn’t plant the garden this year but that is beside the point. The part of the ditch in front of where the garden normally is can get a little wild. I can’t mow it with the riding mower because the ditch was cut too deep. I have mowed the front part with the riding mower in the past but it keeps getting hung up. Then I have to turn it off and pick it up and move it over. I can mow with the push mower, but my son finally moved out and he needed it for his yard. He hasn’t brought it back yet so I have to use the trimmer… Anyway, when I got to the mailbox I stopped dead in my tracks because of what showed up… Then I found more behind the mailbox. I continued trimming until the battery ran out of power then I went to the house to get the camera…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-17.

I was pretty excited I found what I “thought” was Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsetta) right in the ditch!

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-18.

Then I saw more behind the mailbox! Look how tall they are! It had been a while since I trimmed this part of the ditch, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been that surprised.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-19.

There was fruit and what was left of the flowers. NICE!!!  I took quite a few photos and noticed something weird…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-20.

A lot of the leaves are SPOTTED! Hmmm… It is normal for there to be some maroon tinting on the leaves, but SPOTS?!?!?! I thought only Euphorbia davidii has spots plus the leaves are shaped more like E. dentata… After uploading the photos on the computer and giving them a good look, I realized some of the leaves looked a little iffy… Then I did the drag and drop thing on iNaturalist and the top suggestion, actually the only suggestion, was Euphorbia davidii. GEEZ! That made me scratch my bald head! I wondered how in the heck could it figure that out from the first photo or even the second one? You can’t see spots. Honestly, I was wanting them to be Euphorbia dentata so I was trying to argue to prove my point. I have learned not to label the photos before I use iNaturalist because I think the algorithm can read… But, the more I wanted them to be E. dentata, the more I was beginning to see I was “possibly” mistaken. The leaves are somewhat more pointed than E. dentata, which are more bluntly pointed. Plus, the leaves of E. davidii are somewhat variable, more so than E. dentata.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-21.

Look at this photo… I know I am new when it comes to Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata, but this is weird among plants… What was a cluster of flowers and fruit with a short pedicel separated into three and grew longer peduncles (flower stems). The flowers and fruit are on one side and the leaves are on the other. That is weird…

Apparently, Euphorbia dentata is a native of Argentina, northern Mexico, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. The species has moved all the way up to Idaho and all the way to the east coast and up into Canada. It normally is found hit and miss in a few counties, but it seems once it gets started… I have been trimming the ditch since 2013 (when I moved back here) and never saw it until now. Well, if I disregard the plant I found in the basement of the old foundation last year I identified as E. dentata. Now there is the huge colony along the park which I wrote about a couple of posts ago…

It was found in a couple of places in Europe 15 or so years ago and is considered an invasive weed in several countries there.

For now, Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata are neat plants to photograph and write about. Time will tell what happens in the future. Sometimes plants show up and then all of a sudden disappear. You just never know…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) in the ditch on 7-26-22, #901-7.

Here we go again! Of all the species on the farm, the Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) has definitely spread the quickest since I found the first plant in the hayfield in 2020. Oh, there are plenty of other plants with much larger numbers but they have been here forever. When the conditions are just right for several years in a row, they spread. Remember the Persicaria a few years ago when I identified seven species? They are still here but the colonies aren’t near as large. You never know what will come and go…

Honestly, I think I need to stop mentioning this species and taking their photos. I think it thinks I like it but too much of a good thing…

Ampelamus laevis (right) and Convolvulus arvensis (left) on 7-26-22

I remember many years ago when I was a kid morning glories would come up in the garden. They would twine up the sweet corn and anything else if allowed. I always liked their flowers. Here in the garden, they are always the first plants to come up within a day or so of tilling. One came up and climbed on the asparagus a few years ago, so I left it so I could get photos. Then I noticed a few climbing on the sweet corn, which I left as well. But, then they started blooming they were NOT morning glories… They turned out to be Cynanchum laeve commonly known as the Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed. I could never get good photos of the flowers until now. I can now write a page for this species since I have more photos. 🙂

Ampelamus laevis (Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed) on 7-26-22, #901-1.

They definitely have morning glory-looking leaves…

Ampelamus laevis (Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed) on 7-26-22, #901-6.

But their flowers tell a different story…

Many websites are using the scientific name Cynanchum laeve, including iNaturalist with Ampelamus laevis as a synonym. I am sticking with what Plants of the World Online says for now.

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-9.

The other morning glory-looking vine is Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed). I first identified this species on a friend’s pasture in 2019. It has been growing in the ditch for a few years but I didn’t give it much thought. The flowers are either white to mostly pink…

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-13.

The underside of the flowers is somewhat strange. When I first saw their flowers on Kevin’s farm, they appeared to have pink stripes on the petals. I haven’t found a website that mentions this feature, but from the underside, the center of the petals seems to have a “thicker” stripe that are sometimes pink. In bright light, the pink color shines through to the upper surface. With this species, mostly single flowers appear on long peduncles produced from the leaf bracts. Another look-alike produces mostly doubles…

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-14.

From the above photo, you can see the calyx with five short sepals, the outer 3 being slightly shorter and narrower. Farther down the peduncle (flower stem) are a couple of bracts… These bracts fall off during the fruiting stage. In most species of plants, the bracts are part of the calyx…

I seem to be missing something…

Lathyrus latifolius (Bread-Leaved Pea/Everlasting Pea) on 7-26-22, #901-26.

Oh yeah! The sweet peas! Well, that’s what we always called them when I was a kid. The Lathyrus latifolius has been growing here since I was a kid, and even on the fence where I grew up. There is quite a patch of them growing in the area north of the chicken house in varying shaded or pink and white. This species is actually a European native that was imported as an ornamental. Other common names include Broad-Leaved Sweet Pea, Everlasting Pea, Wild Sweet Pea, Perennial Pea, Perennial Peavine, Everlasting Vetchling, and probably more.

The ditch is where a few of the daylilies also grow. They don’t normally produce many flowers, but like I mentioned in an earlier post, this has been a day lily year… Another patch in the shade and they rarely flower. There are A LOT of other species of “weeds” and grass in the ditch like the trumpet vine, Horse Nettle, etc. The ditch in front of the house has its own species, including Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia).

I am not going to talk about the ditch in front of the pasture. It is a complete disaster. Well, there are some interesting plants there, too. For the most part, the sumac has gone mad with threats of a complete takeover. I guess it is doing that because of my threats…

Well, that’s it for now. I am still waiting for the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) and the two asters to flower in the back of the farm to flower… It’s almost August, for crying out loud, and they haven’t a single bud yet! I think possibly the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) I found by the front pond last year may have come back. It is another late bloomer. I have been looking for it all summer, but it appeared they didn’t come up. Last week, I think I finally spotted it. I didn’t notice it until the end of September last summer when it was blooming… Keep your fingers crossed!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 3…

Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) at 2:22 PM on 6-26-22, #896-9.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. It has been hot this past week. It is 99° F as I am starting to write this post. There is rain in the forecast for next week so hopefully, the temps will cool off a bit.

I had an interesting walk in the hayfield on June 26, just a couple of days before the hay was cut. It was kind of difficult to walk in the tall grass, but I was on a mission and needed to get to the back of the farm.

Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) on 6-26-22, #896-10.

I made my way through the trees in an area north of the chicken house to get to the pasture. I ran across a couple of Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) on a limb that had fallen. I have seen these before and they are very weird and kind of slimy.

I did a little reading on the MushroomExpert.Com and found out a few things… There are several species of jelly fungi (even in other genera) that differ somewhat in characteristics. The issue is “this species is NOT actually Auricularia americana… Auricularia americana grows on conifers, NOT deciduous trees… You can click on the link above to get the whole story.

Interestingly, it was recently discovered there are several genetically distinct species of Auricularia in the United States but there was a snag in naming them. As with other plants, there are strict rules that apply when naming new species. New species of fungi have to be registered online and given an identifier number. When submitting their publication about the new species, they didn’t include the identifier number, so their publication was invalid…

Hmmm… That was in 2015, seven years ago. Did they resubmit the publication again with the correct numbers? It’s like watching a series on TV and being left hanging in the end!!!

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 6-26-22, #896-5.

By 2:32, I had made my way to a nice group of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). There are plenty of them here on the farm, as I have probably mentioned before, and are hard to miss because of their height.

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 6-26-22, #896-7.

There is always A LOT of activity on milkweed. Not only on their flowers but sometimes on their leaves as well. Milkweed plants serve our ecosystem quite well. More about those little black bugs farther down…

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-28.

Ummm… I was taking photos of the flowers, minding my own business, when a pair of Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) appeared. She started to blush and he said, “Do you mind?” I’m not sure if he was talking to me or the other bug…

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-29.

I moved to a different plant and found another one. I was trying to get good photos of its back, but these guys move rather quickly. I did some reading on several websites about this critter and found out it is very interesting. Interesting facts include:

The genus and species names mean “four-eyes” because their antennas actually separate their eyes, giving them four eyes instead of two.

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus prefers Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) over other milkweed species. Other members of the genus are also generally host-specific and prefer other milkweed species.

Adult Red Milkweed Beetles feed on the plant’s leaves, buds, and flowers. When feeding on the leaves, they cut a slit in the veins and feed on the sap as it runs out of the cut. They have to wipe their mouths on the leaves so their mouth won’t get gummed up… The toxins from the sap is absorbed into the beetles, which also makes them toxic to predators. I read where the toxins give the beetles their color, which is a warning to predators that they are distasteful and toxic.

Females lay clutches of reddish eggs toward the base of the plants and the larvae burrow into the soil and feed on the roots. Perhaps depending on when the eggs are laid, some information says they hibernate in the cells they make around the roots.

If they are startled, they make a shrill noise but they purr when interacting with other beetles… Hmmm…

Red Milkweed Beetles only live for one month…

Chauliognathus marginatus (Margined Leatherwing Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-11.

Then I ran into a very busy Chauliognathus marginatus (Margined Leatherwing Beetle) which didn’t want to stand still either. Another common name is Margined Soldier Beetle. To its right, hiding, is another one of those small black bugs… These insects are beneficial pollinators and they feed on nectar, pollen, and small insects such as aphids. Their larvae are also vicious predators. The coloration of the adults is quite variable. These are a farmer’s and gardener’s friends, so if you see them in large numbers on your flowers, don’t worry. They have their own mission and they will not damage your plants.

Oebalus pugnax (Rice Stink Bug) on 6-26-22, #896-19.

Then, I ran this Oebalus pugnax (Rice Stink Bug)… I have identified several species of stink bugs here on the farm that look similar, but this one was different. This bug IS NOT a friend, especially for farmers who grow rice, sorghum, wheat, etc. They feed on wild grasses and then migrate to fields to do their damage. They feed on the endosperm of the seed leaving an empty shell or shriveled kernels.

Adults overwinter near the ground in grass then lay their eggs in clusters of 10-30 in double rows on the leaves or seed heads of grasses. The nymphs molt 5 times to become adults in 18-50 days, depending on temperature. They can produce 2 to 5 generations per year…

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-30.

I moved on a little northeast from the milkweed and stumbled across another plant I hadn’t seen before. I took quite a few photos and uploaded the one above on iNaturalist to get an idea. Its top suggestion was Tragia urticifolia (Nettleleaf Noseburn), the second was Tragia ramosa (Desert Noseburn), the third was Rhynchosida physocalyx (Beaked Sida), then they went downhill after that. The first was a possibility but not the other two.

I checked on the Missouri Plants website and it wasn’t on the list but three other species were. The only one I saw that looked close (from the photos) was Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn). At the bottom of the page it says T. urticifolia closely resembles the species but isn’t found in Missouri. I checked the maps on Plants of the World Online, Flora of North America, USDA Plants Database, and BONAP and all agreed T. urticifolia isn’t in Missouri. Well, one would have been enough but I had to try. 🙂 The maps do show Tragia betonicifolia is in Missouri but not in Pettis County where I live. However, the species has been found in Henry County which is across the street, and Johnson County which is only a few miles away. How many times has that happened? Too many to count… Even the tree frogs that like my house are a species not found in Pettis County but they are in Henry, like 100′ away. 🙂

Even though I had my doubts the species was Tragia urticifolia, I went ahead and submitted the observation as such with seven photos. The more detailed photos you have the better especially when you are in doubt… Oddly, no one agreed or suggested a different ID even after a month (when I am writing this). I decided I would go back and do more exploring… There were only two observations of Tragia urticifolia posted in Missouri and one was mine. However, there were seven for T. betonicifolia and three were from botanists. SO, I sent them a message along with a link to my observation. One replied the next day and said “…I hate basing IDs on geography alone, so I keyed it out to confirm the ID. Your plant is T. betonicifolia. They are difficult to distinguish from photos (keying requires an angle of the flowers that shows the right character), so it doesn’t surprise me that iNat’s algorithm had trouble with it.” I can certainly understand that… Out of 909 observations (402 different species) I have submitted to iNaturalist, they have only been a little off a few times. I think that is pretty darn good!

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-34.

Tragia species are monoecious and produce separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers on the same plant but in an odd sort of way. Unlike members of the Asteraceae, for example, which produce male and female flowers on the same flower. They produce a single pistillate flower at the base of the inflorescence (floral stem), then a raceme of up to 30 staminate flowers. Compared to other photos I have seen online, the inflorescence in the above photo is, ummm, somewhat short and apparently, the pistillate flower has already been fertilized…

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-36.

The above photo was taken of a different inflorescence where you can see the fuzzy fruit that has started to develop from the ovary of the pistillate flower. Above the fruit, you can see the remains of a few staminate flowers. There were more staminate flowers at the top of the inflorescence but those photos were all blurry… By the time I went through the photos, the hayfield was cut along with this plant… GEEZ! You know what they say? “He who hesitates…” The ovaries have three large carpels…

OH, I better not forget to mention that Tragia species are members of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. They are covered with STINGING hairs that are said to cause intense pain. One website said as much pain as you could ever have. When I read that, I was reminded of my kidney stones…

if you want to read more about this species, the Missouri Plants website has some good photos with technical descriptions. The Arkansas Native Plant Society also has great photos and a lot of very good information.

Moving right along…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) on 6-26-22, #896-1.

I ran across a good-sized colony of Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane), which is beginning to be an old story. I first identified this species from a single plant I found in the south side of the main hayfield in 2020. Since then, they have spread like you wouldn’t believe! In 2021, I found one along the road in front of the garden so I let it grow… After the hay was cut in the south hayfield in 2021, a HUGE patch came up toward the front. This year, the single plant along the road in front of the garden turned into a HUGE colony… GEEZ!!! I think this species could be somewhat invasive…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) flowers on 6-26-22, #896-4.

They produce LOTS of flowers. Ummm… There are those darn black bugs AGAIN… Maybe we should have a closer look…

Corimelaena pulicaria (Black Bug) on 6-26-22, #896-13.

Well, I took several photos to get a good one… I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist and they listed several suggestions of species seen nearby. At first, I thought they were possibly Sehirus cinctus (White-Margined Burrower Bug), so I selected that name on the list and went with it hoping someone would have an idea. The color looked similar, but so did the other suggestions. Within no time, a member suggested the genus Corimelaena, a member of the family Thyreocoridae (Ebony Bugs)… So I checked the genus out and found a website that listed several species and what plants they preferred. Low and behold, it said Corimelaena pulicaria feeds on Apocynum cannabinum (among other plants). So, I went with that species and changed the name on the observation. Even though iNaturalist gives the common name Black Bug, many websites don’t even give a common name. There are many species of “Black”, “Ebony”, and “Negro” bugs in several genera that look exactly alike to me… I didn’t feel like catching one looking at this and that part with a magnifying glass… Looking again, they could be Corimelaena obscura… I think I will stop thinking about it for now and just stick with Corimelaena pulicaria or maybe just some kind of a Thyreocoridae. Well, since I can’t pronounce that either, how about just a black bug… 

I went on the back of the pond AGAIN to check on the Calico and Ontario Asters which basically looked the same as they did a month earlier only a little taller… Nothing exciting to report.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 6-26-22, #896-18.

I walked over to where the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) are growing and they were looking GREAT! I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but there are two small colonies. One behind the pond and one under the persimmon tree. The plants under the persimmon tree are much easier to get to.

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 6-26-22, #896-17.

The persimmons are coming along nicely…

Time has sure flown by The next post will be more or less up to date.

Until then, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and try to GET DIRTY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 2…

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on Brandon Road along the south side of Farrington Park on 6-12-22, #890-36.

Hello everyone! I am back again with part two. It has been very hot but we had a little more rain which cooled things down a bit for a couple of days. It will be in the upper 90’s again this week. It’s OK as long as I can keep working in the shade and there is a little breeze.

Nothing exciting to report before I begin on the update for June… The hay has been cut which makes it easier to walk around in the hayfields although all the wildflowers there have also been cut down. There are still wildflowers in the wooded areas, along the fence rows, and around the pond to watch. Oh, yeah, and the trail.

SO, let’s continue with June 5.

Tragopogon dubius (Yellow Salsify) on 6-5-22, #887-2.

There are two groups of these darn plants that keep evading getting photos of their flowers taken. They are growing in the jungle along the road in front of the southwest pasture/hayfield. I took photos of the plants and submitted them on iNaturalist for an ID and found out they are “likely” Tragopogon dubius (Yellow Salsify). Supposedly, the large yellow flowers are quite a sight and face the sun (like sunflowers). Unfortunately, on sunny days, the flowers usually close by noon. Even though I drive by them sometimes between 9-10 in the morning, I STILL haven’t managed to see them. They flower from April-August so maybe I still have a shot for a shot. The seed heads are around 5″ across and are a good 3′ in the air. This is the first year I have noticed them and I haven’t run across any on back roads or along the highways. It is also related to Tragopogon porrifolius which is used as an ornamental and their roots which taste similar to oysters. The USDA Plants Database lists 7 species and a few hybrids in North America… Tragopogon dubious (Yellow Salsify), T. porrifolius (Salsify), and T. pratensis (Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon) are found throughout most of North America. All species are introduced species (not native), mainly from Europe and Africa and have several common names…

JUNE 11… 

Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite Quail), 6-11-22, #889-1.

You know, I have often wondered what happened to all the Bobwhite Quail. They were everywhere when I was a kid. When I moved to the farm in 1981 after grandpa died, there was always a pair that nested in the fence row around the yard and several elsewhere on the farm. When I moved back here in 2013, there were none. Dad said between the hawks and cats, they just disappeared. So, on my way back from a friend’s farm (Jay), a pair was walking down the road in front of me. I slowed down and they didn’t seem to be in any hurry. I stopped to take a few photos. I was very happy to see them and even happier I had my camera. 🙂

June 12

On the way back home from Jay’s on the 11th, I took the road along the south side of the park. I noticed the Winecup Mallow was blooming up a storm. I had my camera so I’m not sure why I didn’t go ahead and take photos. Heck, it was almost a month ago. SO, I went back on the 12th… Ummm… I got a little carried away because I found A LOT of plants to photograph including a new species (new to me)…

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) along the south side of the park on 6-12-22, #890-7.

I drove down Brandon Road which runs along the south side of the park. I passed what I went for and had to turn around in a driveway on the other side of the road just past the park. On the way back, I had to stop to take a few photos of a good-sized colony of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). There seem to be an abundance of these along the back roads and highways (at least the few I travel on).

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) on 6-12-22, #890-11.

Then I drove back up to where the Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) was. The colony seems to get bigger every year. It is a spectacular sight that brightens up the whole area.

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) on 6-12-22, #890-18.

The flowers are so bright they can be difficult to get photos in bright light.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-24.

There were several other species of plants growing in and around the Winecup Mallow I had previously identified. But what caught my eye was one I hadn’t seen before but I knew what it was.  Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge)

I read about it before while working on the page for Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia/Tooth Spurge) I found growing inside the old foundation last year. I “think” I found several plants growing along the front of the foundation this year, but they haven’t flowered yet…  Ummm, they may have gotten trimmed off earlier… Well, I was looking inside the foundation for them. I did get some seeds from them but I neglected to plant them. GEEZ!

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-27.

The Euphorbia davidii has longer, narrower leaves with maroon spots…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-30.

Like the Euphorbia dentata, it has these interesting fruits… As with other members of the family, they exude a milky latex sap that is not good for you.

Euphorbia davidii is native to mainly the southwest United States and Argentina, but has spread eastward and can also be found in southeast Canada.

After I was finished taking photos along the road next to the park, I went to the trail. I am still in search of the allusive Cutleaf Grapefern… It was about 6:15 PM.

Sanicula canadensis (Black Snakeroot) on 6-12-22. #890-41.

One of the first plants I ran across was a nice Sanicula canadensis (Black Snakeroot). I first identified this species around the same area n 2021. This year I have found it in several areas on the farm. Despite its name, it is a neat plant that can grow around 4 1/2′ tall. It has odd flowers and neat leaves and has been used as a heart remedy…

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus’s Looking Glass) on 6-12-22, #890-49.

I then ran across an old friend, the Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus’s Looking Glass). What a neat little plant! I first identified this species from a single plant in the back of the farm in 2020, then found A LOT of them in the south hayfield in 2021.

Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed) on 6-12-22, #890-1).

Then I ran across the stately Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed). I first identified this species along the trail a year ago and there aren’t that many. These plants can also grow to around 4′ tall and have neat, good-sized leaves. They grow from a single stem and branch out at the top.

Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed) on 6-12-22, #890-5.

The flowers emerge at the top of long petioles, while the involucral bracts are 5-15″ below the flowers…

I was finally able to get into the trees in several spots… I looked here and there and there was no sign of the fern…

THEN FINALLY!!!

Sceptridium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern) on 6-12-22, #890-46.

There it was!!! The Sceptidium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern). I found several in April here and there but they seemed to have disappeared and the one I did find was small and weird… Well, at least I managed to find this one!

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-12-22, #890-31.

I continued looking to see if I could find more of the Grapefern. I walked into this one spot and turned around and saw this plant that resembled Silene stellata (Starry Campion) but something was a bit off… Silene Stellata isn’t supposed to have flowers like that! I took several photos to upload on iNaturalist and found out it was yet another Galium species called Galium circaezans, commonly known as Forest or Licorice Bedstraw.

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 6-12-22, #890-47.

There are A LOT of Silene stellata (Starry Campion) along the trail but finding them in flower is a different story! Missouri Plants say they bloom from June-September, so I thought I could keep an eye on them since they are right next door! Well, I went back to the trail on July 17 and all I found were dried up flowers. GEEZ!!!

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-37.

I found several clumps of Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) which are always neat with their long fern-like leaves.

Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-22.

Then, I ran across a new moss called Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss).  Hmmm…

Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-23.

Mosses are interesting and some species look A LOT alike. I did get some close-ups but they weren’t good enough to save. They did prove the species name, however, with a little imagination and help with iNaturalist and a few other websites.

JUNE 14…

Erigeron divaricatus (Dwarf Conyza or Dwarf Fleabane) on 6-14-22, #891-2.

I decided it was high time I identified these weird fuzzy-looking plants that like growing in the cracks in the driveway. They turned out to be Erigeron divaricatus commonly called Dwarf Conyza or Dwarf Fleabane. Hmmm… It’s an Erigeron species? Related to Erigeron canadensis (Syn. Conyza canadensis) (Horsetail) and Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) Weird! You would never imagine they are related…

Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory) on 6-14-22, #891-8.

Then this other plant said, “WHAT ABOUT ME? I have been here forever and you always pass me by”. So, I said, “OK, OK. I’ll take your photo.” It turned out to be Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory). Considered a common weed found in almost every state in the United States, in Canada, and even down into Mexico.

Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory) on 6-14-22, #891-9.

Their flowers have no petals and appear along the stems at leaf nodes. This species is a non-stinging member of the nettle family Urticaceae… The genus name means “walls” and the common name “Pellitory” also refers to it growing along walls… Hmmm…

JUNE 16…

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-16-22, #892-6.

Then when I was working on Kevin’s landscaping on June 16, I found another Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw)! It was growing through the ivy in front of a blue spruce! You just never know what you will find or where when you least expect it…

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-12-22, #890-34.

Some day I will get better photos of the flowers…

JUNE 22…

When I was driving along the back roads on June 22, I noticed a few clumps of these yellow flowers I hadn’t noticed before. Some of the colonies kind of had a raggy appearance and wasn’t sure if I could get good photos…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-22-22, #894-3.

Then, along a curve, I found a patch that looked a little better. I didn’t recognize the species, so I took A LOT of photos. The wind was blowing and the sun was fairly bright in this location, so I knew some of the photos wouldn’t that great. When I got home, I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist. The first suggestion was Hypericum perforatum also known as the Common St. John’s Wort. Hmmm…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-22-22, #894-7.

It’s a good thing I was able to get a good close-up or I would have had to go back and take more photos. Even so, you can’t hardly see the spots along the margins of the petals. You may have to use your imagination…

OK, here’s a zoomed-in screenshot…

In 2019, I found a few Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) in the southeast corner of the farm. The petals and buds were covered with spots. I have searched for it every year since but never saw the little “wort” again…

JUNE 24…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-24-22, #895-2.

After a couple of days, I went back to the same curve and got a shot of the colony of the Hypericum perforatum

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-3.

Right in the same area, I noticed these weird fluffy pink flowers. I went over to examine them and realized it was a plant I had been wondering about for several years. I actually never saw them in bloom, but I could tell from their leaves. When I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist, it conformed Mimosa nuttallii whose common names are Catclaw Briar, Sensitive Briar (or Brier), and probably others. If you get stuck my their thorns you would likely call them something else…

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-5.

The small leaves resemble those from mimosa or locust trees, or a few other plants with similar ferny leaves… I remember as a kid I would find them and tough their leaves to see what happens. I am now 61 and I still do it!

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-7.

It was kind of an exciting nostalgic moment when I touched the leaves and they closed up!

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-6.

One thing I don’t remember as a kid is the thorns. YIKES! I guess they protect the sensitive leaves…

It is weird how many species of plants are on this same corner. I have stopped there several times in the past to take photos.

Hemerocallis fulva (Orange Day-Lily), 6-24-22, #895-1.

Across the road was a small colony of Hemerocallis fulva (Orange Day-Lily). This has been a great year for them because I have seen them growing here and there on just about every road I have been on (some very large colonies). They are native to several Asian countries but now grow wild in other countries and a good part of the United States. According to the Wikipedia article, they were planted and naturalized in Europe as early as the 16th century. They are listed as wildflowers on several websites, including Missouri Plants. As you know, there are HUNDREDS of cultivars these days, but the plants on my farm (planted by my grandparents) and on many old homesteads have the same old orange flowers. Common names include Orange Day-Lily, Tawny Daylily, Corn Lily, Tiger Daylily, Fulvous Daylily, Ditch Lily, Fourth of July Lily, Railroad Daylily, Roadside Daylily, Outhouse Lily, Wash-House Lily, and probably others…

I think I will close this post and get ready for part 3… It will be about the photos I took on June 26. There are too many to include in this post.

Until then… Be safe, stay positive, keep cool, always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you get a chance!

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 1…

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) in a friends pasture on 5-22-22, #882-30.

Hello everyone! I hope this post find you all very well. It has been a while since my last post, but I am alive and well. I get busy doing this and that during the day then in the evening I watch something on the TV, sometimes longer than I want. Heck, I haven’t posted since April 24! I have been photographing wildflowers like before and am still finding a few new species on the farm. It seems odd how they just pop up. How did they get here and where did they come from?

I will start the post with the Ranunculus (Buttercup) then begin the update with April 29.

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-22-22, #882-31.

I did have a breakthrough with the Ranunculus (Buttercup) species here. I am pretty sure I have them figured out, but how sure is a secret. It sometimes seems “we” make things harder than they really are. I don’t want to point the finger at myself so I am saying “we”. My higher self is reminding me that “we” in this case means me, myself, and I… I then remind my higher self I don’t even know what my higher self really is. It just sounds good and makes me sound spiritual. I started writing a post about the Ranunculus, but it was saved to the drafts. You know how it is… I start writing a post about particular wildflowers and once they fade the post is out of date.

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-22-22, #882-36.

I had been feeding the cows at Kevin’s and noticed his main pasture was LOADED with what I assumed was probably Ranunculus hispidus (Bristly Buttercup) even though I didn’t think they grew like that. Fortunately I was mistaken because I learned something. When I was taking photos, I took some close-ups of the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit. I had just been working on the pages of Ranunculus and was writing descriptions, so the descriptions of R. hispidus was fresh in my mind. SO, as I was taking photos of the leaves, I noticed something a bit off… The first two leaflets of R. hispidus leaves “usually” have small petiolules but these didn’t have any. Hmmm…. Also, the fruit, which I had disregarded before, were supposed to be different. SO, I took photos of the fruit to compare them with what was on the Missouri Plants website. USUALLY, flowers and leaves are enough to get a positive ID with most species. But since there are many Ranunculus species that look alike, you have to go further. Unfortunately, the close-ups of the fruit were blurry…

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-21.

Later in the evening, I went to check the plants around the pond on my farm but I stopped at the gate by the barn to take photos of a colony of Ranunculus parviflorus. Then I took a few other photos on the way to the pond of this and that… I checked the leaves on the Ranunculus there and was SHOCKED to see the same as the plants at Kevin’s. The darn HUGE colony I had been stumped over for several years were the same!!! By then, it was getting to dark to take good photos. On the 24th I was able to take some good photos, even of the fruit, which confirmed Ranunculus sardous, commonly known as Hairy Buttercup. The fruit of Ranunculus hispidus have long tips (beaks), while R. sardous are more stubby with short tips… Then I realized most of the photos of what I thought were R. hispidus were actually R. sardous. The only R. hispidus were taken in 2020 in another area on Kevin’s farm across the highway along a creek in a shady area. Ranunculus hispidus prefers a damper and less sunny habitat than R. sardous. That’s why I thought it was odd for them to ge growing in mass right out in the sun in the pasture. Ranunculus species are toxic to cattle but usually won’t eat them when they have other vegetation to graze on. Ranunculus sardous can take over when pastures are over-grazed…

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot or Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-10.

There are some good-sized clumps of Ranunculus parviflorus, known by the common names Stickseed Crowfoot and Smallflower Buttercup (and probably others) growing behind the barn and around the pond.

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot/Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-11.

Ranunculus parviflorus grow in thick mats and their long stems get tangled up. No mistaking this species here for sure.

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot/Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-12.

The weird flowers and fruit are very small…

Ranunculus species can be somewhat difficult if you are in an area where you have several species that are very similar. The Missouri Plants website lists 13 species of Ranunculus in Missouri and I thought I had identified six here on my farm and R. sardous wasn’t even in the running. After several years of deliberation, I think there are only three which includes the earlier flowering R. abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup/Crowfoot), Ranunculus parviflorus, and now R. sardous… The others I thought were here are likely R. sardous.

There will be more photos and descriptions on the page once I get it finished. I worked on writing descriptions during the winter for plants, but when May came I started taking more photos and pretty much skipped R. parviflorus. I will get back to writing descriptions and making updates once we get an “F” in October…

This post is catch up on new species I found since the last post until now but I have thrown in a few previously identified species as well.  Previously identified species, if they have a page,  are highlighted in green which you can click on to go to their own pages if you want to read more and see more photos. Some of those pages don’t have descriptions… It is a work in progress… 🙂

Starting with April 29…

Viola striata (Cream Violet) on 4-29-22, #875-38.

I really enjoy finding new species of Violets and this Viola striata (Cream Violet) just happened to come up in the north bed close to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. The Missouri Plants website says it is the only “stemmed” violet in Missouri with white flowers.

MAY 1…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet) on 5-1-22, #877-16).

Then, on May 1, I found the first Viola pubescens (Yellow Downy Violet) on my side of the fence in the back of the farm. The first one I found was along the creek on the other side of the fence and on a friend’s farm in 2020. I went back several times to see if I could find it again to photograph its fuzzy fruit. Unfortunately, I have yet to find it the second time… I am going to start taking old electric fence posts to mark locations… You can go to the plants page to see the fruit, but I haven’t written descriptions.

MAY 5…

Chelydra serpentina (Common Snapping Turtle) on 5-5-22, #578-9.

On May 5, I was walking around the back pond and this snapping turtle was being really weird. It was putting its head in the water and then back up, kind of like it forgot how to swim. The water was pretty shallow and just a few days earlier it was almost dry. After a few minutes, another turtle shot out from under it. Hmmm… Like I have said before, it would have made a great video…

MAY 12…

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-6.

Almost as exciting as finding a new species, is one that returns in the same area the second year. Well, it is highly likely that the Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) has been coming up along the fence in the southeast part of the farm for several years. I just found it last year…  Unlike its cousin, Potentilla recta (Sulfur Cinquefoil), this one has much smaller and brighter yellow flowers, and it has trailing stems. The southeast corner of the back pasture/hayfield is the only area I have found it. The Potentilla recta grows everywhere else.

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-9.

The flowers are rather flat. Some websites say the green calyx has 5 triangular tips that are a little shorter than the petals. The Missouri Plant’s website show flowers with multiple sepals, but they are shorter than the petals.

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-10.

I think its way of fruiting to be quite strange since the flowers were so flat looking. I have not seen any species except this one whose “receptacle” comes out of the flower. OK, technically, with this species (or genus) it is the hypanthia (hypanthium) which is a tubular or cup-like receptacle on which the stamens, petals, and sepals are borne (Missouri Plants glossary). Hmmm… Looking at the above photo, you try to make sense of that description. It looks like the petals and “cup” the sepals grow from slid down or it grew a longer peduncle… Anyway, I am glad I got a good shot as confusing as it is. 🙂

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) on 5-12-22, #881-16.

I also ran across a few nice-sized colonies of Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) in the pasture. I first identified this species in the area north of the chicken house in 2020. This is certainly a neat plant with small clusters of white flowers and weird leaves (especially the upper leaves.

Although Plants of the World Online says the species is Valeriana woodsiana, many websites and databases say Valerianella radiata. I contacted the editor of Kew and he said Valerianella species have been moved to Valeriana. Sometimes I ask him if he is sure… Some botanists disagree and the curators of some databases don’t either.

ANYWAY…

Tyrannus tyrannus (Eastern Kingbird) on 5-12-22, #881-13.

I continued my walk along the edge of the south hayfield when this bird came along for a visit. At first, it resembled a male Purple Martin, but as I looked at it close-up with the camera I realized it wasn’t. I found out it was an Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) which I had never seen before. Rather than flying high in the air, this bird flies just over the grass searching for low flying insects.

MAY 22…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-22-22, #882-44.

SOOOO, on May 22 when I was talking to myself about the Ranunculus, I saw this oddity sticking up in the Ranunculus parviflorus next to a gate by the barn. Previously in the day, I had photographed Lepidium virginicum (Poor Man’s Pepper) which had MUCH smaller fruit. Heck, it is so common along my driveway I hadn’t even bothered to identify it until now… Well, the plants along the driveway get mowed off so I photographed a much larger one on a friend’s farm. It was the same day I photographed the Ranunculus that turned out to be R. sardous on Kevin’s farm, which is why I was talking to myself. I was walking through the gate next to the barn and there it was, sticking up through a clump (understatement) of Ranunculus parviflorus… There were NO leaves on this stem so I took a couple of shots of the fruit then went on to the pond to check out the Ranunculus there… Later in the evening, I drug and dropped the photo on iNaturalist and it suggested a species by the name of Thlaspi arvense, also known as Field Penny-Cress

Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock) on 5-22-22, #882-2.

A friend of mine (Kevin) sent a photo of a HUGE colony of Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock) in 2021 from one of his pastures. I seem them all along the highway and backroads but had never seen any up close and personal. Then in April, I saw one growing along the edge of of the yard of the church next door that had been mowed off. On May 1, I spotted on right behind my own yard! It had no flowers, so I thought I would let it grow and then cut it down after it bloomed. Then on May 22, I noticed it had flowered to I went to take a few more photos. The plant was HUGE, taller than me. This is a plant you should be careful with as it is what killed Socrates… I also noticed a few more close to the same area. Time went by and the next thing I knew the hay was cut and they got baled up…

Cruciata pedemontana (Piedmont Bedstraw) on 5-22-21, #882-4.

Previously, on May 1, I photographed this plant when it was much smaller and submitted it to iNaturalist. I thought I had identified it before but apparently not. It turned out to be a large cluster of Cruciata pedemontana, commonly known as Piedmont Bedstraw… It is growing here and there in a few somewhat bare spots.

I am almost certain I identified a similar plant growing at the base of a sycamore tree in my yard last year. Hmmm… I have to do some checking.

Cruciata pedemontana (Piedmont Bedstraw) on 5-22-21, #882-5.

Now, if you look at the above close-up photo it may remind you of the dreaded Galium aparine, also known as Cleavers or Catchweed Bedstraw. Of course, it is a plant we love to hate because of those darn stick-tight seeds that stick on our clothing (the entire plant will stick to you even when green). In fact, the species name of this one used to be Galium pedmontanum… and it doesn’t appear to be sticky…

Cruciata pedemontana is an introduced species that Missouri Plants says was unknown in Missouri when Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri was published in the mid-1970’s. Since then, it has spread like wildfire and was reported in 43% of the counties in Missouri in 2020. The map on the USDA Plants Database is completely whacky for this species…

MAY 24…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-23.

Then, on May 24 after taking more photos of the Ranunculus, I started walking in an area north of the pond. LOW AND BEHOLD I found a good-sized colony of Thlaspi arvense!  Usually when I am walking in this area I am 20′ or so north and headed to the main hayfield which is why I hadn’t noticed them earlier.

Thanks to Dave’s Garden, I learned the scientific name is pronounced THLAS-pee ar-VEN-see. Hmmm…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-26.

These plants still had leaves but they can be absent at flowering. I always like clasping leaves. Just look at the ribbed stems!

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-30.

A few feet away was several smaller plants that were still in flowering mode. As you can see the flowers are very tiny. It was windy, so I had to take A LOT of photos!

MAY 25…

Packera glabella (Butterweed) on 5-25-22, #884-4.

On May 25 I was walking in an area behind the chicken house that had been covered in chickweed. I had never seen it so insane! Anyway, I spotted this yellow flower sticking up through the chickweed so I decided to check it out. Hmmm… It was definitely a new species I hadn’t seen before! Sticking up through the chickweed was a single plant of Packera glabella also known as the Butterweed, Cressleaf Groundsel, and Yellowtop. Missouri Plants lists four species of Packera in Missouri and says they can be very hard to tell apart and there is A LOT of controversy which is which. According to the maps on the USDA Plants Database, of the four found in Missouri, three are found in Pettis County where I live but none in Henry County (which is across the street). Not that the USDA maps are up-to-date, but you can still get a good idea. You can zoom in on your state and see the counties the species was found in. According to BONAP (Botia of North America Program), they provided maps for the USDA and all I have seen were updated in 2014… A LOT has changed since 2014!

Packera glabella (Butterweed) on 5-25-22, #884-5.

There weren’t many leaves and what there were had been chewed on. Fortunately, judging my the leaves and stem, I believe this plant is definitely Packera glabella. The other two possibilities, Packera obovata (Groundleaf Ragwort) and Packera plattensis (Prairie Groundsel), have different leaves and one is very hairy…

The USDA Plants Database lists 73 species of Packera in the United States and Canada. The species in the genus were formerly species of Senecio

MAY 28…

I decided I needed to go to the back of the farm again to check the progress of the Elephantopus and the asters behind the back pond. I didn’t want to write the “S” word. OK, I’ll do it anyway… The Symphyotrichum lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. I can’t spell those names without looking them up let alone pronounce them! Anyway, I went the same route as on May 25 behind the chicken house.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-38.

I crossed the ditch and was surprised to see the Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) had moved to a new location! It was in the vicinity where I found the Field Penny-Cress last year, but it was no where to be found in 2022.

In May 2021 I was having difficulties with my camera and it completely went bonkers for good at the end of a wildflower walk with my son. I had already taken quite a few photos with much difficulty and on the way back to the house I ran across a patch of Sisymbrium officinale which was a new species. I tried AGAIN to get the camera to work and it wouldn’t. The viewfinder was completely shot! I had watched a video on YouTube about replacing it, but just watching all that had to be done was exhausting in itself. BUT, Nathan is always eager to take photos, so he showed me how to take photos with his cell phone. He sent them to me once we got in the house but they were HHHHUUUUGGGGEEEE! It took a long time to download all of them and the photos filled my computer screen! At least I did get the species identified… SO, I was very glad to find them again on May 28th, just around 30′ or so west from where they were in 2021 and maybe 20 feet north of where the Field Penny-Cress is located.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-40.

While the plants are young and not flowering, the leaves could easily be mistaken for a species of Lactuca of even a non-spiny Cirsium. The lower leaves are fairly broad with several lateral lobes.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-44.

This species is a member of the plant family Brassicaceae and has very small yellow flowers. The odd thing about this species is that the fruit (seed pods) lay parallel to the stems…

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) on 5-28-22, #885-1.

Toward the end of the main hayfield, I ran across an Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed). I have several milkweed species on the farm but this was the first time I had seen the Green Milkweed here.

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) on 5-28-22, #886-2.

These are one of my milkweeds I suppose because of the color. I just went back to this plant’s page and realized I need to work on descriptions. GEEZ! The flowers are quite complex…

I made my way to the back of the pond along the drainage ditch to check out the, ummm…

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 5-28-22, #885-45.

The anticipation is terrible since the Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) won’t flower until August or later! There is another species, S. ontarionis (Ontario Aster), that is also behind the pond but farther south. Both are so similar they are hard to tell apart. The arrangement of the flowers and hairs on the leaves are somewhat different. I hadn’t noticed them until last fall and one of the curators on iNaturalist filled me in on how they were different and both species became became research grade. You remember we had a late “F” last fall, otherwise I wouldn’t have even noticed them. There are quite a few of both species growing behind the pond, or should I say “ponds” since there are two side by side. The Calico Aster is growing along the drainage ditch behind the old pond, while the Ontario Aster is growing along the fence behind the other. I think probably grandpa had a new pond made with the intention to make one big pond. Likely, the new pond filled with water before it could be finished because of a spring…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 5-28-22, #885-13.

I walked on past  the area where the Ontario Asters are to the location I found the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) last fall. I didn’t know they were there until they had went to seed and the leaves had dried up. The plant’s looked suspicious, even dead, and I realized what they were. Made me scratch my head for a few minutes because until 2021, the only Elephant’s Foot I had seen were on a friend’s mothers farm in 2019. Then last year, in October, I ran across a single plant in the south hayfield. Well, after a couple of days I went to mark its location and couldn’t find it again. SO, I was surprised I found it behind the pond and I did mark the location. I was glad they had come up again in 2022. Then came another surprise, but that is for another day…

Then, I walked toward the south east part of the farm. You never know what you will run across…

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-22.

I was walking along the fence and spotted a nice colony of Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy)… Hmmm… They were on the other side of the fence behind a Multiflora Rose bush. I first identified this species on Kevin’s farm north of town in 2019, then I found them in the hayfield here in 2021. They are pretty neat plants, so I crawled through the fence to get a few more photos.

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-25.

They have neat leaves…

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-27.

Plus their involucral bracts make a great photo…

Coccinella septempuncata (Seven-spotted Lady Beetle) on 5-28-22, #885-12.

I ran across a Rumex crispus (Curled Dock) with aphids being fed on by several Seven-Spotted Lady Beetles (Coccinella septempuncata). I had to take a lot of photos to get one good one. Thank goodness for Lady Bugs always at work…

MAY 29…

I decided to go to the Katy Trail next to the farm to walk around in the trees again to check on the ferns. Yeah, most people walk the trail so I have to be quiet if someone is coming. I may scare the crap out of someone. GEEZ!

Botrypus virginianus (Rattlesnake Fern) on 5-29-22, #886-1.

I did find several Botrypus virginianus (Rattlesnake Fern) but I didn’t find any Sceptridium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern). I wanted to photograph the Rattlesnake Fern in flower, so I was glad that mission was accomplished. I have been wondering if I should dig some up in the spring and bring them home with me. Walking through the trees along the trail is not easy when the underbrush starts taking off.

Ilex opaca (American Holly) on 5-29-22, #886-3.

Hmmm… I ran across a couple of  Ilex opaca (American Holly) trees which I thought was quite odd. What was a holly tree doing in the brush along the trail. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there are four species of Holly that grow in the wild in Missouri. The other three species lack the spiny leaves. When I lived at the mansion in Mississippi, the shrubs in front of the house were holly. I kept them trimmed back and always looked like I had been in a cat fight when I was finished. There was also a tall holly tree in the back yard. They can grow to around 50′.

Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) on 5-29-22, #886-6.

Then I ran across a Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) that was actually blooming. The plants along the road in front of the pasture are always in bud or the flowers are closed.

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-29-22, #886-14.

There are quite a few Silene stellata (Starry Campion) in the woods along the trail. I first identified this species from Kevin’s secured woods in 2020 but I have yet to see their flowers. According to Missouri Plants, they flower from June through September. I better get back to the trail…

I walked back home after I left the trail. It was about 8 PM and still light enough to get a few photos I needed.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard)on 5-29-22, #886-16.

I wanted to get a photo of the fruit (seed pods) of the Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) to show how they lay parallel to the stems. The other species in the family kind of hang outward.

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 5-29-22, #866-7.

I then walked to the back of the farm again where I found a good-sized colony of Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel). I first identified this species from a patch growing in the yard in 2020. A while back, I ran across  HUGE colony along a back road north of town. This species can become very invasive!

I will end this post and start working on part 2 which is for plants I photographed in June.

Until then, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!

 

Return To The Secluded Woods…

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-27.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I haven’t been to the secluded woods on a friend’s farm since 2020. This is where in 2020 I found the Green Dragon, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, and several other wildflowers I hadn’t seen before. It is always very interesting going into the woods but it can become hard to walk in as the summer progresses. The mosquitos are also terrible after mid-May.

On April 19, after I fed the cows there, I decided to check out the area along the creek where I found a single White Morel in 2020. This area wasn’t far from the driveway. Well, I found five Yellow Morels… Then I decided to walk down the creek (in the water) just to have a quick look. Time flies and I made it home at 3… I didn’t have my camera and it was going to rain so I didn’t go back.

I took my camera with me the next day so I could take photos after I was finished feeding the cows. First I checked to see if there were any more morels where I found them on the 19th. There weren’t anymore, so I stepped into the creek. The hillside on the west side of the creek is very steep, so it is best to just walk in the water.

The first photo I took (top of the post) is the (Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) growing at the bottom of a huge tree. I identified it in 2020 from photos I submitted on iNaturalist. This moss is really neat, but it is just getting started. Hopefully, I can make it back into the woods when it is in bloom.

Interestingly, north of this tree is just a regular forest, an open woodland with mostly brush all the way to the driveway. As soon as you go beyond the tree, you step into what seems like a magical world. All along the hillside to the fence. Past the fence is once again an open woodland with a lot of brush. There are open areas where the Jack-In-The-Pulpit and other hit-and-miss wildflowers grow, but mostly it is just low-growing brush that is hard to walk in.

Then I found this one…

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-35.

How neat is that? The Woodsy Thyme-Moss was really putting on a show. I hadn’t photographed it until now and it was a great find.

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-36.

When moss is blooming you literally have to get down on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass to have a closer look. Well, I was standing in water so I didn’t get on my knees this time. Different species of moss have different leaves and flowers. A lot of them have similar leaves but their flowers are so weird… Like the Bladder Moss on my farm.

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-37.

It took quite a few photos using a magnifying glass in front of my lens to get two close-ups that weren’t blurry. It had also been raining off and on for two days and was sprinkling a little when I took the photos. This was the first time I saw this moss in bloom, so I wasn’t going to let a few sprinkles stop me.

There is a lot of moss growing along the creek. On rocks, at the bases of trees, and on the ground.

There are also a lot of decaying branches and trees that have fallen over which is a perfect habitat for many species of fungi.

Now for the highlight of the day, as if flowering moss wasn’t good enough…

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-17.

On April 23 in 2020, I found a single Dicentra cucullaria next to the creek on a steep hillside. It was pretty close to the end of the creek and I could see the highway. All that way, I only found one plant like it and there were no flowers. I was able to identify it as Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) by its leaves using the “drag and drop” feature on iNaturalist. Anyway, a few days after I saw it, we had a huge storm and the plant was either washed away or covered with mud from water rushing down the hillside. It was gone… If it wasn’t for iNaturalist, I wouldn’t have known what it was.

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-18.

SO, on the 19th, I was SHOCKED to see hundreds of Dutchman’s breeches all along the hillside next to the creek. It was AWESOME!

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-17.

The flowers are really neat for sure but somewhat difficult to explain…

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-26.

Hmmm… The spreading petal spurs distinguish this species from Dicentra canadensis (Squirrel Corn) whose spurs are more rounded and parallel.

Dutchman’s Breeches are rhizomatous, but there are bulblets at the base of the long leaf petioles where they emerge from the ground… Hmmm… Perhaps I should dig some up and bring them home. I know just the spot to but them.

Then…

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-1.

Another plant I only found one of, and not blooming either, was the Cardamine concatenata also known as the Cut-leaved Toothwort. I looked for it every time I went back into the woods in 2020 but I couldn’t find it again. It just vanished.

This time, like the Dutchman’s Breeches, there were hundreds all along the top of the hillside.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-2.

The area in the above photo was one of a couple that has quite a few Cut-leaved Toothwort growing. They are in danger of being washed away or covered with mud if we get heavy rain. The fallen leaves have already partially washed off the hillside.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-7.

The leaves are a dead giveaway to what these plants are. The only thing I had to go by in 2020 which I uploaded on iNaturalist to identify the species.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-9.

The drooping flowers have 4 bright white petals surrounded by 5 sepals. The flowers will open up but perhaps were closed because of it being cloudy and rainy…

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-10.

Somewhere in there are the stamens, filaments, anthers, and the ovary…

There were also AAAALLLLOOOOTTTT of Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) whose flowers were closed. The White Fawn Lily (or Dogtooth Violet) (Erythronium albidum) were all over the place but haven’t started blooming yet. They are very close, though.

In all, it was a great day! Now I can finish the pages for the Dutchman’s Breeches and Cut-leaved Toothwort so I can get them published.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Spring is definitely a great time of the year. Time to GET DIRTY!

 

Short Wildflower Walk on 4-10-22…

Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) behind the barn on 4-10-22..

Hello everyone! We had a thunderstorm move in a little after 1 AM on Tuesday night. With all the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning we still received less than 1/2″ of rain. The Weather Channel said the rain was supposed to stop at 1, so I waited until then to feed Kevin’s cows. It all but stopped when I left but started again at 1:30. Then at 1:45, I noticed a few tiny snowflakes that didn’t last long. I arrived at the other farm, where he lives, at about 2:15 with no rain or anything. Then, when I pulled up to the feed troughs, it started sleeting like mad! It lasted until I was finished then suddenly stopped. By the time I was back at the gate, the sun started shining. That was weird! The wind that had been blowing for DAYS calmed down.

This post is continued from the previous one where I had been looking for plants in the shade bed on Sunday, April 10. When I was finished, I started my walk to the back of the pasture. Actually, finding the morels among the Hosta triggered the desire to take the walk. Of course, I took my camera so I could call it a wildflower walk rather than a mushroom hunt. Just in case I didn’t find any. 🙂

Anyway, without further blabbing…

I walked around the barn and had to get a photo of a good-sized colony of Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) (top photo). It seems like this spot changes from year to year as far as what species is growing here. Just so happens, that it is the Dead Nettle’s turn. I am sure you have seen fields that have turned purple in the spring. It is either Lamium purpureum, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), or a combination of the two. They like each other and normally where you have one, there are a few of the other. Dead Nettle normally grows taller and the Henbit just seems to fill in the gaps. Of course, chickweed is usually there as well. I have been tempted to walk out into a field just to check.

Barbarea vulgaris (Yellow Rocket/Bitter Wintercress).

Not far from the Lamium purpureum were a few Barbara vulgaris. One was just itching for me to take a photo. There are a few in the south hayfield whose flowers are already open. There are 10,473 Barbarea vulgaris on the farm (just guessing) all in a rush to produce seed. In the spring, the yellow flowers you see first out in the countryside are likely this species.

I ventured on to an area in front of the pond in the back pasture. Ummm, along a ditch that drains into the pond. I rarely go into this spot during the summer because of low branches and a few annoying Multiflora Roses and/or blackberry briars. I never really paid much attention to which. Closer to the pond is much easier access. Anyway, I went right in because it always seemed to be a good spot for “you know what” to be growing. I always look for activity from deer or wild turkeys because they like them, too. There was a lot of evidence of recent activity, so I started looking through the leaves. I found four…

Physcomitrium pyriforme (Common Bladder Moss) on 4-10-22, #866-22.

Closer to the pond were several clumps of Physcomitrium pyriforme (Common Bladder Moss). Moss has always intrigued me and if I lived in the woods I would have it everywhere. There are several clumps in the north flower bed and along the north side of the garage. I submitted this photo to iNaturalist and the suggested species was Physcomitrium pyriforme (Commo Bladder Moss) and a couple of others. Other members had posted VERY detailed close-ups, so the next day I was in another area and I took a few close-up shots. I agree it is the Common Bladder Moss.

The plants growing among this clump of moss is a Solidago sp. (Goldenrod).

Solidago sp.

There is a HUGE colony of Solidago in this area and LOTS of it growing along the edge of the south hayfield, and several other areas. I like it, but it is kind of frustrating I haven’t figured out the species. S. altissima and S. gigantea are the two species I think they are. One or the other or both. They have similar symptoms (I mean, characteristics).

I crossed the fence behind the pond and walked along the creek for a while. The woods back there are becoming a briar jungle, just wasted space where an abundance of native plants could be growing that like dappled shade or open woods. When I was a kid, I used to hunt “you know what’ with my grandpa in this area. I haven’t found hardly any since and most years I find none. I think it was 2013 when I found this HUGE False Morel but I haven’t seen any of those since either. I need a photo!

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple).

I ran across one of several colonies of Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) that apparently hadn’t been up long. I had never seen any this small, which is kind of odd. Another thing I have heard is that when the Mapapples start to bloom then you will find “you know what.” Well, they are a long way from blooming…

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple).

A little farther down was another colony that had leaved out more but they look a little off. Like that had been “F” bit. You know what I mean. 🙂 The word I don’t use in the fall applies in the spring as well.

So, I walked back toward the house to take a few wildflower photos.

Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle).

The white-flowered Lamium purpureum first showed up in the spring of 2020 in the area northeast of the chicken house. There were only a few the first year but they have multiplied quite a bit. I am not sure how common Dead Nettle with white flowers are, but this is the only spot I have ever seen them. It is quite a treat but rather odd. How about you? Have you ran across any with white flowers? Information online says they can be pale pink, lavender, pinkish-purple, or white…

Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) on 4-10-22, #866-25.

I stumbled on this Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) along the fence in the same area as the white-flowered Dead Nettle a few days ago. Well, heck, it is a few days ago when I took the photo. Anyway, it was last week when I first saw it. I needed to get better flower close-ups for this species so I thought I would give it a shot.

Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) on 4-10-22, #866-27.

This one is pretty good despite it bobbing around in the wind. I could pass for a living manikin waiting for the wind to stop for a few seconds, kind of like a dog on point… I had to keep pressing the trigger to keep it in focus. There are several of this species on the farm, and I even found one in the backyard when I was mowing today (April 14). Of course, I mowed around it. Well, it takes a lot of effort to grow like that.

Identifying Ranunculus species drives me a little crazy. There are two species, I think, that look like this but I am pretty sure I have it correct because of their flowering time. This one is pretty easy. The others… Well, there are three more here that I am maybe 60-75% sure of. If there were more than 3-4, I would check myself in.

Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy).

The Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy) has the best-looking flowers of the four species of Viola I have identified. The above photo was taken on April 4 at the entrance of the south hayfield but I didn’t get good photos of the leaves and stems. There is a good-sized colony north of the chicken house, so I stopped there to get more photos. This spring I have noticed more of this species than ever before, almost as many as Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet).

Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy).

These don’t have the typical “Violet-looking” leaves as the others I have identified.

If you think the flower looks similar to a Johnny-Jump-Up, you would be correct. Johnny-Jump-Up is the common name for Viola bicolor Pursh which was named by Frederick Traugott Pursh in 1813. That name became a synonym of Viola rafinesquei which was named by ‘ol what’s his name… Umm… Edward Lee Greene in 1899. It’s kind of a confusing story, but there was another Viola bicolor named by a guy named Hoffman that became a synonym of Linnaeus’s Viola tricolor. I think Hoffman was confused and could have been looking at Viola tricolor with bicolor flowers. Well, sometimes V. tricolor produces bicolor flowers. GEEZ! Anyway, somehow, even though Pursh’s V. bicolor was named before Hoffman’s V. rafinesquei, the latter name is listed as accepted by Kew Science. I suppose common names of the synonyms get transferred to the accepted species as “other” common names. There are still quite a few websites and databases that use the name Viola bicolor which is perfectly fine. They don’t have to agree. Possibly, both species were accepted for over 100 years before botanists or testing decided they were the same species.

The Missouri Plants website lists 12 species of Viola in Missouri.

OK, I am finished with this post now.

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. I think it is about time to GET DIRTY!

The Shade Bed on 4-10-22

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Sunday afternoon I was writing a post and then I decided I wanted to check the progress of the Hosta and Heuchera in the shade bed. Honestly, I was writing a post that was pointing the finger at myself for procrastinating… Who wants to do that? At 61, I think I am allowed to procrastinate a little, then go take a nap.

On March 20, I walked around the house to check on the perennials, which didn’t take long… A few plants had started coming up and the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ was already in full swing. Even the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ that I didn’t cover up for the winter has a few new leaves. I went to the shade bed to check on the Hosta and they hadn’t started sprouting yet. I was hoping they didn’t fizzle out over the weird winter temps. Previously, I thought I had noticed the Baptisia sprouting, but on the 20th they weren’t there. Either I was hallucinating or “something” ate them. They are up now for sure and so is the Spearmint I planted in 2021… Which spread. Well, other plants have come up now so I will have to take more photos for another post. I can delay the other post I was working on… 🙂

The photos are as I took them instead of in alphabetical order. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages even though I haven’t added these photos.

The top photo is the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. I was glad to see it has started coming up. I was wondering about it since the deer (one particular doe in general) completely destroyed it early and kept eating it all summer. But, as you can see, there is hole in the center where the main plant used to be. GEEZ! It had gotten so big before!

Morchella esculenta.

While I was digging around and pulling up chickweed (GEEZ!!!) around the H. ‘Potomac Pride’, I found this Morchella esculenta (White Morel)! Well, I went blank for a few seconds. Of course, that triggered a desire to completely forget about the Hosta and go hunting. But, I left it alone and continued looking for Hosta. Well, kind of. I dug around in the chickweed on the way to the next one… I have never found Morels in this area.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’.

Surprise, surprise! Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is alive and well, too! What a relief! Two down and 9 to go. It seems like it has only been a couple of years since I brought this Hosta home, but it is working on its fifth summer already!

Morchella esculenta #2.

Then, I found morel #2…

Hosta ‘Guacamole’.

NICE! The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is up. What would life be without guacamole? Well, I guess that depends… This one had mole issues a few years ago. They like burrowing under their roots over the winter which pushes them up. That’s not good! The mole repeller has helped A LOT…

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Bugleweed).

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ made it through the winter wherever it is growing. It seems to spread during the winter and this photo is one that is completely out of place. Well, I just let them grow wherever they want because you never know. One of the main (oldest), umm, clusters is getting too thick and needs some thinning out. They can have issues if they are too thick. I like this cultivar better than some of the others because of its smaller, dark leaves.

I moved over to the corner shade area next to the end of the old goldfish pool. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’… Just a small indentation in the soil where it is supposed to be…

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’.

The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ (Coral Bells) is off to a good start with a few new leaves. Coral Bells are great plants that come in a wide variety of leaf colors. They prefer a fairly shady spot, although there are new cultivars that will grow in full sun.

Lumbricus terrestris (Common Earthworm).

I disturbed an earthworm while pulling chickweed. It’s funny how they stretch out so long and then shrink for a few seconds when you pick them up.

Morchella esculenta #3.

Then while digging through the chickweed, I found this TINY morel. I have never seen one that small before. There are plenty of myths surrounding morels including one that I was told when I was a kid about them popping up full-grown. That would mean they grow underground then just pop up all at once. I think people thought that because they would hunt over a spot then come back later and find a few more. Supposedly thinking that walking over an area would cause them to magically appear. That obviously is not the case…

I have them labeled as Morchella esculenta, but I am somewhat confused about the species name ordeal. It has been an ordeal for a long time and even taxonomists are confused. Testing has solved a lot of the confusion which led to A LOT of species becoming synonyms. Of course, it added a few new species of morels. When I submitted the first morel photo on iNaturalist, it suggested Morchella americana and said the common name was White Morel. Hmmm… I looked up Morchella americana and one website said Morchella esculenta was a synonym. I thought that was nuts, so I did some further investigating and found out that was incorrect. Morchella esculentoides is a synonym of M. americana... Morchella esculenta is alive and well and its common names include True Morel, Morel, Yellow Morel, Morel Mushroom, and Sponge Morel (from Wikipedia), and who knows how many more. The “official” common name is apparently Yellow Morel. Morchella americana was “new” to science in 2012 and its “official” common name is White Morel. I got a kick out of the article saying it was “NEW” to science in 2012. No doubt before that, everyone thought they were M. esculenta. I apologize for blabbing so much about the morels but I could continue.

When new species are named and a document about them is submitted, it goes through a long process of evaluation. It takes YEARS. Just think about how many words are written describing a species whose name changed a few years before but was unknown by the author.

One more thing… Species in the Morchella genus, and probably other fungi, are HIGHLY variable. The grays come up first, then the ones that are more white, the yellows. So, no matter what your morels look like or when they come up, they could be (and probably are) the same species. Until now, I have not found the color variation I would assume are what people call greys (grays).

That took three days off and on…

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’.

I found one spot out of three where I planted the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ but I was so excited about the morel I forgot to take its photo. I took it the next day. OOPS! I accidentally broke off the baby morel! I will look for the other ‘Krossa Regal’ in a few days.

Then I moved around to the other side of the pool.

Heuchera ‘Obsidian.

The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is putting out a few new leaves. This one seems to be a little slower coming around in the spring. It is also smaller than the other two.

Heuchera ‘Venus’.

Heuchera ‘Venus’ has been growing new leaves for a while. This one is certainly semi-evergreen and doesn’t hide even during very cold temps. Heat and dry soil don’t bother it as much as some either. The deer have never bothered it like they have H. ‘Obsidian’.

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’.

As you can tell, Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ has been growing new leaves for a while as well. I thought it was kind of fragile at first, but it can take cold temps very well. The heat is sometimes a different story…

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.

I thought the Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was a goner a few weeks ago. This one heaves quite a lot over the winter and even in the spring. I usually bury it a little deeper in the spring because its roots will start showing. But, this winter it didn’t heave and there is a low spot where the main roots are/were. Hmmm… Maybe the moral of the story is to put soil around it instead of burying it deeper. I was very happy to see it sprouting.

Hosta ‘Red October’.

Being the second oldest Hosta in my collection (2010), it is always GREAT to see the H. ‘Red October’ return in the spring. We have had our difficulties with moles in the past, but it has survived.

I still haven’t found Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’, ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Dancing Queen’, or the small unnamed one that was labeled ‘Blue Angel’… I may have to dig for them like before. I have lost a few along the way that haven’t been replaced yet…

I went for a walk to the back of the farm afterward but I decided to make another post about that adventure.

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

 

 

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet): Often Missed Early Spring Wildflower

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-3.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The first early spring wildflowers are off and running and I feel like I have come back to life. Well, I am somewhat tardy since some have been blooming for a while now. I was on a walk to the back of the farm on Sunday and spotted a couple of good-sized colonies of dainty wildflowers. Hmmm… HOLY CRAP! I had not identified these before!

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-2.

It seems early spring wildflowers are the same every year. The first, whether you notice them or not, are usually Veronica persica (Bird’s-Eye Speedwell). They are the wildflowers that are so tiny you can easily miss them and start blooming when they are still tiny plants. They are followed rather abruptly by Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s Purse)Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle), and Stellaria media (Common Chickweed). The Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) start flowering at about the same time in some areas (in the sun) while the ones in the shade bloom a little later.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-6.

Back to the Tiny Bluet… I seem to remember seeing these before somewhere but it was so long ago I had forgotten when and where. Seeing them in the back pasture close to the pond kind of jogged my memory, kind of like deja vu…

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-7.

Houstonia pusilla is a member of the plant family Rubiaceae along with Cleavers (Galium aparine). You know, the silly plant that sticks to everything.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-4.

Actually, the hairy leaves reminded me more of Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed/Clammy Chickweed) which is in the family Caryophyllaceae… Hmmm… I haven’t seen those for a while.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-8.

The flowers of the Houstonia pusilla are trumpet-shaped and have 4-lobed calyces, 1-4 mm long. Just glancing from above, you wouldn’t even notice the flowers are even trumpet-shaped.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-9.

One of the colonies had darker, more purplish flowers. Flowers of the Houstonia pusilla are usually sky blue or lavender, but can also be white or pink. All have the reddish ring around the throat that seems to radiate outward.

This species is a winter annual with a fairly weak root system. They only grow 2-4″ tall and blooms in March and April. Apparently, they prefer growing in bare spots where they don’t have much competition with grass. Who could blame them, they are so small and wouldn’t get noticed otherwise.

At last, spring seems to be here. The grass in the backyard already needs mowing. The plants inside are itching to get back on the porches for the summer but they will have to wait a little longer. The wild crocus have bloomed and soon the tulips will have their chance. The Grape Hyacinths are at it now but there don’t seem to be as many as before.

Winter has been weird with temps up and down. The Hosta… Well, it appears ‘Empress Wu’ may be the only one that survived the winter. I keep checking and hopefully, they will return. I have had some of them since 2009…

I am STILL writing descriptions for some of the wildflowers and I still have 20 or so to finish! It is a winter project but I have been kind of lazy in that respect. I get caught up watching a series or a movie instead of working on descriptions. GEEZ!!!

Since the weather is warming up nicely I will have more to write about…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. It is getting time to GET DIRTY!

Hmmm…

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all doing well. We have certainly had a strange winter with the temps up and down. It gets cold then the temps go up into the upper 60’s and even the 70’s. It seems like spring is here then winter comes back. It snowed a little yesterday off and on but the roads were fine. Then I got up this morning and looked out the front window and saw A LOT more “S”…

I measured the “S” on a plant table on the back porch and it was 9″ deep… I have been feeding a friend’s cows and I have to drive up a long hill to get to his house. I called him this morning and said I didn’t think I could make it up the hill. He said he had 11″ but he cleared off his drive and it was already melting.

The thermometer on the back porch was in the sun when I took the photo at about 9:30 AM… I think it was actually 21° F. It will warm up to about 30 by noon…

I have been doing another friend’s chores farther out of town on a back road but I can’t get there today. He fell about a month ago and dislocated his shoulder and has a lot of bone fragments. The surgeon said he is going to try to repair it rather than do a replacement… The road to his house drifts pretty bad and likely the county won’t grade the road…

The good news is that spring officially arrives on March 20… We have to remind “whoever” is in charge of the weather so maybe we won’t have anymore “S” and the temperatures will stay warm. Just a thought. 🙂

Until next time… Stay warm, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful…

 

 

I Should Have Done That and What If’s?

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Toothed Spurge, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Today started out cloudy but now it is nice and sunny at 53° F at 1:30. The forecast says it will be back down to 25 tomorrow…

I am continuing to update the wildflower pages, writing descriptions, and adding more photos I took over the summer. As I am doing this, I have noticed several occasions where I am thinking “I should have” gone back later and taken more photos. I always take a lot of photos because some don’t always turn out so great. Sometimes I miss something or need better close-ups of the stems and flowers. Then, over the winter when I am working on the pages and descriptions, I can’t go take photos because the plants are gone. Then the “what if’s” set in…

Everyone has those “I should have done” and “what if” moments. For me, it starts with “I need to do” then months later it becomes “I should have”… I know we have all been there many times because I hear it A LOT from other people. Or how about “you should or could have done” this or that. That’s when you reply, “yes, but…” Then the “what if’s” come along for a ride which can lead us to procrastinate”… How long that list can get?

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Toothed Spurge, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-20.

The perfect example is the Euphorbia dentata, commonly known as Toothed Spurge, Green Poinsettia, Toothleaf Poinsettia, and Eastern Toothed Spurge (and possibly others). This annual species grows in a variety of habitats and can be found from the central U.S. eastward to the coast, northeast Mexico, and Ontario in Canada. Information online says they grow along streambanks, ledges, tops of bluffs, forests, glades, upland prairies, fields, gardens, ditches, along railroads, and so on. The seeds of this species don’t germinate until it gets plenty warm…

So, where did I find it growing? In the basement of the foundation where my grandparents house was. There is nothing down there but old boards and brush from the yard. It is weird to me how the seeds got down there in the first place and germinated. I suppose there is enough decaying brush for the seeds to germinate and the plants grow, but it is still weird…

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Tooth Spurged, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-21.

It was almost 8 PM when spotted this odd ball down in the basement on September 24. Instead of getting a ladder to climb down to it, I just zoomed in and took several photos the best I could. I “should have” went back and took better photos the next day. But, no, I didn’t… Now, “what if” if more seeds don’t come up in 2022?

Well, that got me to thinking… What are the odds the seeds will germinate in 2022? I would say very slim. If they don’t come up I can’t get more photos. Then again, what were the odds the seeds even wound up and germinated in the old foundation in the first place?

I got right up, grabbed the camera, then took the ladder and climbed down into the foundation…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-1.

I sat the ladder down next to where I thought I had seen the plant. A little to the left and I would have been right on top of it…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-2.

I pulled off several of the old flowers hoping there would be a few seed but I left more than I took. Now, the flowers of many Euphorbia species are weird in the first place. Euphorbia dentata flowers are quite similar to the Poinsettia we buy during Christmas (Euphorbia pulcherrima). In fact, Euphorbia dentata used to be called Poinsettia dentata. Writing descriptions of the flowers is quite difficult, especially without good close-ups. The stems terminate with 1-3 clusters of cyathia with 25-40 staminate flowers and immature fruits. Oddly, the ovaries hang on the outside… They become 3-lobed fruit which contain 3 seeds…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-3.

Once I brought my find to the house, I crumbled up everything and started looking for seed. Sorry the photo is a little blurry, but those seeds are only 2-3 mm long… The ruler is on the metric side. Now that I have a few seeds, I will see if I can get them to come up in the spring in a better place than in the old foundation.

Plants of the World lists 2,028 species in the Euphorbia genus worldwide. There are 227 genera in the family Euphorbiaceae. The Missouri Plants website lists 11 species in Missouri and I have identified 3 on my farm. I know there is at least one more that has very tiny leaves that grows prostrate.

Members in this family have a milky sap that can be toxic…

That’s it for now. I hope you are doing well. Take care, everyone! Be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this post finds you well. Another year has gone by and it is time to move forward. 2022 came with the coldest weekend so far this winter. We have had great weather so far.

2021 was difficult for many people throughout the world. Many have lost loved ones, income, and businesses. COVID still lingers and it is likely it will continue to be a problem. Two very good friends of mine now have COVID…

I haven’t posted for a while because I have been working on updates. Well, it is partly because I haven’t had much to talk about either. One day leads to another and now it is 2022.

I don’t get out much but I did go to my sister’s for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was good to get away for a few days each time. My brother-in-law told me they enjoyed my company and I didn’t have to wait until next Thanksgiving to come for a visit. Hmmm… Getting to their house in Raytown is fairly simple and only takes about 1 1/2 hours. Leaving their house and getting back on the right road is a little different and isn’t just a matter of going in the opposite direction… If I went there more often I know it would be easier.

Anyway, both of their vehicles are broke down, so I was glad I decided to go on Friday afternoon instead of waiting until Christmas morning. We went to their church’s Christmas Eve service Friday evening and again to church on Sunday morning.

I didn’t take my camera but I wish I did. They feed the birds and squirrels and have MANY feeders in their front yard and back deck. The squirrels seem to come from the whole neighborhood and one is a silvery color. Sunday, a couple of interesting wrens showed up on the back deck like I haven’t seen before. They were browner than the wrens that come to my yard in the summer. They also have quite a few hummingbird feeders with perches which is quite interesting. They way they don’t have to hoover and can sit on the perch while they eat. I am going to have to get one of those so I can get better photos…

I bought birdseed a few days ago and filled the tube feeder in the front yard. I haven’t seen many birds yet, but I am sure they will come. I think many of the migrating birds haven’t come because of the mild weather.

There isn’t much else to talk about. My birthday came and went with only four people remembering. 🙂 My own kids didn’t even remember so I didn’t remind them. It’s just another day. It’s odd how when we are young we want to be older, and when we get older we think we need more time to get done with what we wanted to accomplish… Time waits for no one… I am very thankful to be in great shape with no health problems at 61.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I do have a mental list of things I need to accomplish in 2022. It is somehow the same as 2021 and possibly the same as 2020. I have made some progress and I seem to like to use income as an excuse. Then when summer gets here I use the heat as an excuse. The fact that I am 61 now will be another excuse I can use. I always “think to myself” I am too old to get out in the heat even though I wouldn’t like it someone else reminded me of that. In my mind, I am thinking it doesn’t matter how old I am. So, there is this argument in my head… I am still quite capable of doing whatever I need to do so I should just do it… So, I suppose if I were to have a New Year’s resolution, it would be to stop procrastinating and just do it…

I think as we get older, we should challenge ourselves. We somehow get in a rut, and perhaps get comfortable, with thinking we need to slow down, or perhaps maybe we think we don’t have to do as much. If we are still healthy and capable, we need to keep going and do as much as we can. We still have a home (and farm) that needs to be taken care of. Once we retire (not that I am retired), we have more time to do things we want to do, things we have put off for when we have more time. If you slow down, one day you may not be able. You will notice your joints getting stiff, or maybe you will get tired sooner. It gets easier to say, “I can do that tomorrow.” Maybe it will rain tomorrow, or be too hot or cold. Tomorrow leads to another tomorrow and soon that small tree along the foundation gets so big you have to get out the chainsaw…

So, in 2022 I vow to get more done so my small trees won’t get so large. I have some big ones I need to cut because I procrastinated when they were small. Of course, it is not just actual trees I am talking about… 2022 will be a year of accomplishment.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful! Wishing you the best for the year ahead!

 

 

My First White Schlumbergera truncata…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 12-11-21 outside for a photoshoot.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Late in November, the local Dollar General had two displays of Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus). I tried my best not to look at them but one day I finally gave in… Their buds were very small at the time but I noticed the end of their segments had A LOT of buds. Day by day, their buds were getting bigger and I wondered if there were any colors I didn’t have. The problem was, every day their numbers were decreasing. Once the buds grew larger, I spotted one that looked like it might have white flowers. I brought it home on November 30…

On December 11, the flowers had opened enough to get some good photos. For sure, it has white flowers…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 12-11-21.

The lower petals were really reflexed…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 12-11-21.

I think the flower will get longer after a few days…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 12-11-21.

Schlumbergera truncata have very interesting flowers and this time of the year they “should be” budding and blooming.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-18-21.

I had kept all the Schlumbergera truncata in the kitchen windowsill all summer except for one which was on the front porch. When I moved the plants inside for the winter, I put the one that was on the front porch on the plant shelf in front of the sliding door in the dining room… They have lost a lot of segments lately and seem to be wanting A LOT of water… How much is too much this time of the year? Most cactus and succulents don’t need water now, but these are in active growth.

Remember last year I hand-pollinated the two plants that produced fruit? Three of them fell off a few months ago and one hung on until a few days ago.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-18-21, #856-1.

Hmmm… The one on the shelf bloomed while the plants in the windowsill did nothing. The plants on the windowsill have had plenty of light which decreased as the day length decreased. The one on the shelf had more light on the front porch which decreased when I brought it inside. Then, when we had sunny days, it triggered it to bloom…

Last year, the plant with yellow (cream) flowers bloomed in November then again in February. It all has to do with light and you can force them to bloom just about any time of the year. SO, I moved the Schlumbergera truncata on the windowsill to the shelf and the one from the shelf next to the new one on the windowsill.

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 12-12-21.

Then I moved the Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) to my bedroom in lower light. Ummm… It had been on the windowsill… The Schlumbergera russelliana is doing well but it looks like it needs fertilizer because its leaves are looking pale. It is naturally a drooper.

Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 12-12-21.

I have been updating the plant pages and when I came to the Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) page I was shocked to find out its name changed AGAIN! When I brought it home last November I found out the name had changed from Hatiora gaertneri to Schlumbergera gaertneri. Now it is Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri… Back to the name it was given in 1942… This one isn’t supposed to bloom until Easter. Other than having a name issue, it is doing well. Personally, I think it knows what its real name is but it likes keeping botanists guessing. It has 10 synonyms… Well, that isn’t too bad. Schlumbergera truncata has 19 and S. russelliana has only 5.

I am still updating pages and have about 70 more to go. Then I have to go back to the top of the list and update a few things that evolved during the process. Plants of the World Online has been in the process of updating its maps and adding names from the International Plant Names Index that weren’t on POWO. Adding names from IPNI seems to be a workout for them and has changed infraspecific names and A LOT of synonyms. It has affected quite a few of my plant pages so I have to keep going back to see if updates have been made on POWO so I can update my plant pages properly. The number of species has increased for several genera and even several new genera in some families. Kew is always on the ball…

I have some ideas mulling around for a few posts, but for now, I need to get the updates finished. I am still alive and well. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and get as dirty as you can when you can. Don’t forget to always be thankful… Give someone a hug, but be careful who you hug. You may get slapped. 🙂

 

 

Fall 2021 Cactus Update Part 2… From The Back Porch

Cactus on the back porch on 9-22-21, #833-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am doing fine for the most part… I am just less motivated this time of the year but there are things I need to get done.

Before I begin with this post, let me just say I don’t think I have a green thumb. I like a wide variety of plants that have different but similar requirements. Hmmm… I just confused myself. For the most part, the potted plants on the front porch need a shadier area, and the plants on the back porch prefer full sun. This year a few plants were under the roof on the back porch so they wouldn’t be in full sun and only received morning sun. Some of the plants on the front porch would probably like the back porch better. Maybe next year… We have to get through the winter first. 🙂

Linda, from The Task at Hand, commented on the last post concerning cactus getting wet in direct sunlight. I mentioned in the post what LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) said, but I will quote here what the website says about the cultivation and propagation on the Ferocactus wislizeni page: “Use very draining soil, water during the aestival growth cycle (this plant need plenty of water) But needs to be avoided wetting the bodies of these plants while they are in sunlight. A wet cactus in the sunlight can cause sun burning which can lead to scars or even fungal infections and death. Needs full sun. Keep dry at 10”… Normally, much more is written about cultivation and propagation so I think he didn’t get finished or something went wrong which is why the information stops “at 10”. 10 what? LLIFLE is a very reliable source of information but experience is always the best teacher.

Many cactus have specific requirements in nature which is why they grow in certain areas. I am sure in nature cactus get wet followed by sun which possibly leads to scarring, infection, and death for some species. Other species may not be affected by getting wet in full sun. Personally, I don’t water any of my plants when the sun is on them or if the night temperatures will be cool (especially for cactus and succulents). This can be tricky when it comes time to bring the plants inside for the winter. Last year it was fairly dry when I brought the plants inside, but it was the opposite this year. We had cool temps and it rained. I wasn’t worried about the plants on the front porch because they were under a roof. The cactus on the back porch were in the elements getting wet when temps were around 40° F… Many cactus have no issues with temps even below freezing when they are in the ground in their native habitat because they go dormant. Some species go dormant in the heat of the summer. Some grow way up in the mountains… But, my cactus are in pots and their ancestors grow in many different areas from forests to deserts from high to low elevations. It is a lot different in pots in west-central Missouri than in their native habitat…

Jim, from How I See It, in his comment asked a very good question… “Are plants like these abundant from their places of origin? Do you ever encounter plants that should not be traded on the plant market because they are endangered, etc?’ My reply was that I normally check the IUCN Red List about their status in nature. Many of the species in my collection are not endangered but some are for a variety of reasons. While some species have been collected to near extinction in the past, those species are illegal to collect in the wild now. Some species become endangered due to growing agricultural needs and their environment changes. Many species have been collected and relocated to save them. The plants in my collection come from commercial growers and are likely grown from seed. Even so, it bothers me when I have a species that are endangered in the wild due to overcollection. Upon further research, I found out the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre says trade is controlled to avoid use incompatible with species survival with every species of cactus in my collection…

There are many species that shouldn’t be available on the market for several reasons. One is because they have requirements the average person can’t fill and eventually die. I have noticed in the last few years commercial growers sell seed-grown plants to Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, etc. that are very small that really struggle to survive. Most of the very small plants I have bought in the past few years, like in 2” pots, from Wal-Mart and from Ebay have died.

If you missed the previous post, Fall 2021 Cactus Update Part 1, is about the cactus on the back porch up to the Mammillaria. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages for more information about the species and see all their photos.

Mammillaria decipiens (syn. subsp. camptotricha) (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-12.

The Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha) (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) did GREAT over the summer. The tallest plant in the cluster measured 2″ tall and the group expanded to 4 1/2″ wide. To think it was only 1 1/2″tall x 3″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on March 19 in 2018… It is really hard to tell, but I believe we have a few new offsets. There were five plants in the cluster when I brought it home and I think there are 12 now. I really like this species… This species has 19 synonyms and has been in 8 genera. Ummm… The subspecies name is a synonym…

The IUCN Red Lists says this species is stable in its natural habitat. Mammillaria decipiens are native to San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and Queretaro in Mexico where they grow at an altitude between around 5,085 to almost 8,000 feet above sea level (1550-2150 meters).

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-28-21, #853-13.

The Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) continues to go bananas. The longest stem in the center of the pot broke in half over the winter then died. Now the longer stems measure from 3 to 3 3/4″ long. I counted 39 stems and offsets and some are very tiny. There are even offsets growing along some of the taller stems. Hmmm… I should have taken a photo from a different angle but I was in a hurry. There was one stem with 11 offsets when I brought this plant home from Wal-Mart in 2018.

The IUCN Red List indicates this species in declining in its native habitat due to agriculture, aquaculture, industry, and mining.

LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says this may be the most common Mammillaria to be found. It occurs in more variations than any other Mammillaria species. It commonly comes in many color and spine variations. Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 52 synonyms and has been in six genera.

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-14.

As always, the Mammillaria hahniana did very well over the summer and grew to about 3 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It looks a little strange because it had rained so its wool was wet. This plant was only 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. I have really enjoyed this plant.

The two unlabeled cactus I brought home from Wal-Mart last December 2, that turned out to be different looking Mammillaria hahniana, died over the summer. In fact, all four cactus I brought home that day died… They were all very small…

The IUCN Red List says Mammillaria hahniana is of least concern in its native habitat.

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) at 4″ tall x 35/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-15.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) did really well over the summer and grew to 4″ tall x 3 5/8″ wide. It didn’t especially like being photographed with wet wool since it had been sprinkling. I explained it was very important and I would take another photo of it when it starts blooming. It normally starts flowering up a storm shortly after I bring the plants inside. This plant has grown quite a bit from 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16 when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21 in 2018.

It is one of a few Mammillaria species in my collection that are dichotomous branching. That means it will split to form two plants.

Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) from the top on 10-28-21, #853-16.

I really like this plant and the way its wool weaves through its tubercles.

The IUCN Red List says this species is stable in its native habitat in Central and Southwest Mexico and Guatemala.

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 4 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-17.

The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) did very well over the summer and grew to 4 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide. It was 3 3/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21 in 2019. This one is also dichotomous branching. I really like this cactus with its blue-green color and long golden spines. Its shape reminds me of a light bulb…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) from the top on 10-28-21, #853-18.

It has a few more buds to become flowers I will miss AGAIN. This plant was LOADED with buds that were ready to open on June 24. I checked every day to get a photo of its flowers and the next thing I knew the buds had turned to faded flowers. It has had buds multiple times but I have never seen them open…

The IUCN Red List says this species is stable in its native habitat in Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luis Potosí in Mexico. It lists no threats.

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 3 1/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-19.

The Mammillaria mystax is a very well-behaved cactus that has no issues. It grew to 3 1/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide over the summer and was 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ when I brought it home from Lowes on September 21 in 2018. It has very sharp reddish-brown tipped spines.

The Mammillaria mystax is a pretty straightforward plant with very prominent 4-6 angled tubercles. In the wild, it produces very long, entangled spines on its crown but that seldom happens in cultivation. This species divides dichotomously as well as possibly producing offsets. It will produce a ring of rose flowers with brown mid-veins in up to 3 rows which hasn’t happened yet…

The IUCN Red List says this species population is stable in its native habitat in South Central Mexico.

<<<<+>>>>

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 3/4″ tall x 4 3/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-20.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) may look a little strange in the above photo because its “plumage” was kind of wet from the rain. It did very well over the summer and the largest plant in the cluster grew to 1 3/4″ tall. The entire cluster measured 4 3/8″ wide. It was 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I received it from a seller on Ebay on September 22 in 2019. I still have to smile when I look at the photo when it arrived all wrapped up in toilet paper. I must say, it has done great and was one of my better buys on Ebay. You would be amazed at how many cactus and succulents are listed.

The IUCN Red List states the population is declining and near threatened in its native habitat in Coahuila and Nuevo León in Mexico where it grows on limestone cliffs in sparse xerophytic shrubland. This species is illegally collected for the ornamental trade. The local community in the area also collects plants from the wild and sells them at local markets at Christmas time, as they are used to decorate nativity scenes.

<<<<+>>>>