Doing Well Even Though…

A few Alocasia doing GREAT!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. To say this summer has been ordinary would be quite misleading. I don’t have photos of well-maintained beds because there aren’t any here. I have managed to keep up with beds on the north side of the house and just so with the shade beds. The only deterrent with the shade beds has been the mosquitos because of grandmas old goldfish pool. It always has a little water in it which is a mosquito paradise so I have to work quickly and quietly.

The mole repeller has worked wonders in the shade bed and I have no complaints about it at all. The other one quit working a while back, but it did help for a while. I am supposed to write a review at some point, and the company was supposed to send their “upgraded” model to replace the one that stopped working. What I am wondering is how I write a new review on a model that has been replaced? Hmmm…

The Japanese Beetle traps have worked quite well with a few issues that I don’t think is any fault of the company. Most people don’t have as many beetles as there are here. They have slowed down now, but for a while, I was having to empty 2-3 traps about every day. I am not sure what kind of an impact the traps will have on next years population because even though I have eliminated many, there are still thousands that have probably managed to lay eggs. I even see Japanese Beetles when I am taking photos of wildflowers in the back of the farm and on Kevin’s farm. They eat flowers and leaves of quite a variety of plants.

 

Northeast front porch.

I took a lot of photos of the potted plants earlier but they didn’t make it on a post. I became involved with wildflower ID for a while which took a lot of time. The potted plants are all doing very well and are very easy to manage. The Alocasia are thriving as always and look great! The plants in the above photo were repotted last summer and are doing well on the front porch while the larger pots are next to the shade bed (in the first photo). I still haven’t figured out how offsets from Alocasia ‘Portora” and Mayan Mask’ come up in the same pot… One might think they are cross-pollinating when they flower but that is nearly impossible since they don’t flower at the same time if at all. Alocasia ‘Calidora’ flowers more but there have been no step-children showing up in their pots. Weird…

 

Billbergia nutans flower on 8-11-19.

The Queen’s Tears or Angel’s Tears (Billbergia nutans) has been flowering for a while and is always AWESOME. If you recall, I divided the HUGE POT last year and gave away many. I still have three pots to give away.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 8-11-19.

Although the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ seemed to have gotten off a little slow, it is doing very well now. I really like the smaller dark cup-shaped leaves and dark stems. They have a little water in their leaves from somewhere most of the time. You would be surprised at how many insects I have seen drinking water from the leaves. If you haven’t tried Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’, I suggest you do.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 8-11-19.

I must say Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ has been pretty impressive. I planted one of these in a planter at a friends home and it was growing better than this one. I thought maybe it was because the planter was full of Miracle Grow Potting soil so I found the bag of fertilizer Mrs. Wagler had given me last year and mixed a little in the soil in this bed. Normally, I do not use commercial fertilizer but I decided to give it a shot. Well, you can see the results. It is now bigger than the one in the planter. 🙂 The leaves have become a little more “puckered” but not near as much as photos of this plant online. The leaves are also supposed to be much darker when grown in the sun, and this plant gets plenty of that. Whether or not this plant is even a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is somewhat debatable. I have grown Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ in the past and their leaves have always been much darker even in the shade. I am not complaining because this is a really nice plant no matter what it really is.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has been AWESOME as always.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is now flowering and doing very well. The Hosta in this bed are mainly under a large maple tree and are still doing very well. Except for Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ which has been struggling all summer. I really miss its awesomeness and it may not survive this winter.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ is doing OK and has several buds. The plants in the corner shade bed are all doing OK because they still have good shade. The ones on the other side are a different because they are usually shaded by the elms whos leaves have been pretty much dissected by the Japanese Beetles.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 8-11-19.

Hmmm… While I am sure this is a Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ this year, it seems it should be much bigger. I am not sure how tall this one is, but the previous one was 54″ tall on 8-29-17. If you remember, the one I bought last spring turned out to be a Xsanthosoma robustum… The Leococasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ I had in 2017 grew HUGE but it was closer to the porch where the soil is better. Maybe a little of Mrs. Wagler’s fertilizer is on order. I was reserving the space closer to the porch for the Xanthosoma sagittifolium a friend was supposed to send me but it never arrived. The X. robustum from last year rotted. I had plans for this bed but…

 

Colocasia esculenta on 8-11-19.

The Colocasia esculenta are doing great as always even though not as large as usual. The top part of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out, which never happened before. As a result, I have many offsets with no main plant.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) on 8-11-19.

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) is strutting its stuff now but the wind and rain knocked some of the plants over. It is flowering really well now, but something is a little weird…

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) flowers on 8-11-19.

Ummm… Its flowers are PINK! Normally, they look white with just a hint of pink. Some photos make them look pinker that you can see with your eye, which is a little strange. I remember taking photos before that turned out pink and I thought, “Why do they look pink? They aren’t pink!” Well, folks, this time around they are definitely pink!

Supposedly, the Obedient Plant gets its name from the flower stems staying where you put them if you bend them a little. I tried that and it didn’t work. I began to question whether or not this was actually an Obedient Plant but research proved they are definitely Physostegia virginiana. However, mine are disobedient.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 8-11-19.

Well, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm‘ are flowering up a storm now. It was strange how they didn’t spread that much until I moved a few to the northeast corner of the old foundation. Now they have gone banananananas.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but PREVIOUSLY Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia sullivantii were two separate species. PREVIOUSLY this cultivar was simply Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 8-11-19.

The Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) is doing really well here in the north bed by the steps. There are 2-3 more stems but they seem to be laying down on the job. I need to put a little more dirt around them so they will stand up and because their roots are showing. The one in the photo has a few buds and it will have blue flowers. The plants I had in Mississippi (and brought with me in 2013) had pink flowers, so I was glad Mrs. Wagler and the blue “variety” in her flower bed. HOPEFULLY, they will survive the winter. IF they produce offsets I am going to dig them up and overwinter them inside. They actually do well inside if they are small enough. It may be possible to grow these in pots and bring them inside although I haven’t tried it.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 8-11-19.

The Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ have really been impressive. This is the first year I have had this cultivar and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

 

Zantedeschia sp.? cv. ? on 8-11-19.

There is always a lot going on here and sometimes I get caught up with this and that that I may neglect to notice something interesting. In June, the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse gave me this pot of Calla he had grown from seed. He had several pots and he couldn’t get them to grow or do much of anything. I brought this pot home, put it in fresh potting soil and it did nothing except not die. Every time I looked at it, it was the same. Then, when I was taking photos on the 11th, I noticed it had perked up! You just never know!

 

Before I close, I want to introduce to, ummm… OK, let me start from the beginning… This kitten showed up at Kevin’s, a friend I have been working for. You know, the guy I have been spraying and digging thistles on his farm, the farm I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on, the guy I have been taking care of his landscaping for him. Yeah, that guy. Anyway, this kitten showed up, obviously from being dumped. He saw it several times and one evening he saw it trying to catch bugs under a porch light so it could have something to eat. Kevin said he could tell it was doing its best to survive so he bought it some kitten food. Eventually, it began coming up to him so he put it in a bathroom so he could tame it down. Then, he attempted to get me to bring it home because his sister didn’t like cats and wouldn’t approve when she came for a visit. So, when she was going to come I told him I would take the cat home and see how it went. On the way home I stopped by the store and bought a litter box and cat litter. GEEZ!!! As soon as we got home, I filled the litter box, put the cat litter in it, then put the cat in the litter box. Even though she probably never saw a litter box, she automatically knew what it was for and she has never failed to use it.

For several days she hid behind my boots in the bathroom. I would reach down and pet her, but she wouldn’t come out when I was around. I told her if she came out I would allow her to come into the bedroom. I couldn’t let her in the rest of the house because Nathans two cats are here now. The next day, she came out and didn’t go hide like she understood what I had said. So, I opened the bathroom door and she came into the bedroom. BUT, she hid under the bed. The next day I told her she couldn’t be hiding under the bed because it was too hard to get her out. Apparently, she understood that, too, because she didn’t do it again.

She has been here several weeks now and last week I let her in the rest of the house. Jade, Nathans female cat, didn’t approve at first and would run from her. Simba, his male cat, has been staying outside. When he first saw her, she was in the hallway and he was in the kitchen watching her. He started talking to her and the kitten came into the kitchen. Simba just watched her and the kitten eventually came up to him. They smelled noses and neither one of them hissed or growled. The problem is, Simba is quite interested in her and would really like to play but he is very big… Once the kitten gets bigger, that may be OK… One of them is going to have to go to the vet, though. 🙂

It has been a long time since I had a kitten to bring up and she is a certainly a fur ball of energy. Everything that moves becomes her toy. When she isn’t playing or sleeping, she wants my attention. Trying to get on the desk where I am working is very annoying. Teaching her not to get on the table or swing on the curtains has been a challenge. Now, she knows better but still does it when I’m not looking. She likes watching me when I wash my hands and shave and darn near gets in the sink. Last week she came in when I was using the restroom and jumped in the toilet… Not kidding! How she thought the lid would have been shut when I am using the toilet is beyond me. She often jumps on the seat when I am at the sink, but never when I am in front of the toilet. I think we both learned a valuable lesson that time, and from now on I make sure I close the door behind me. Of course, when I leave my computer I have to make sure my keyboard is unavailable. Even though the knows I don’t want her on my desk when I leave the room the first place she goes is on the desk. One day she sent messages on Skype. Of course, it wasn’t actual words, but it was evidence that she had been there. Yesterday, I opened the refrigerator and she had to have a peek inside. I left the door open because I was taking items out. I told her NO several times, and she would always back out. She knows what that means but she is somewhat confused about it. Next thing I know, she is IN the refrigerator. She looks at me and meows like she is saying, “See, it is safe.” HMMM… NO to her means to try when no one is looking.

My computer desk is next to my bed where she likes to lay down after she gets worn out from playing. Next thing I know, I can see her out of the corner attempting to get on the desk. I will say “NO” and she backs up. After about the tenth try, she gets on the floor and starts rubbing on my legs. I put her back on the bed and tell her to lay down. After the third try at that, she then jumps on my lap. So, then we go through that ordeal a few times. GEEZ!!!

I am not sure how much stuff she has brought into my bedroom, or even where it all came from. When all is quiet and she isn’t in the bedroom playing with something, sleeping on the bed, or trying to get my attention, I have to wonder what she is doing. Then I go check and she follows me back into the bedroom to repeat the cycle all over again! 🙂

Hmmm… Wonder what she is doing now?

Well, that’s it for this post. It is sprinkling now and that is good and relaxing. Maybe I should go to bed. It is 1:42 AM…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful always and give some a big HUG!

Homo neglectus…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. We had a nice rain during the night receiving 3 8/10 inches. There were periods of strong wind with a lot of thunder and lightning. There was lightning all around us for several hours before it finally started raining here.

The above photo is the south bed which I have been tardy attending to. I enjoy reading many posts of bloggers that show photos of your well-maintained beds and gardens. Well, that is not the case here. I have fallen a little behind since the beginning of spring this year with mower issues and this and that. I feel fine but something is just a little off with my get-up-and-go. Maybe it is because getting behind mowing, trimming, picking up brush, weeds and so on became a little overwhelming. Maybe I have to much yard (at least 3 acres) to keep up with. That may not sound like a lot, but when one mower is broke down most of the time and the old one only works so so… I finally did figure out one of the major problems with the bigger mowers cutting issue and it works much better now (for now). The older John Deere mower is probably around 20 years old, but I am not sure. Dad didn’t remember when he bought it. A couple of years ago we decided we needed a new mower. We were at the repair shop and saw a bigger John Deere for sale. We checked it out and I drove it home. It had a few issues right off the bat and soon this and that needed to be repaired. After spending over $200 within the first month, dad was ready to get rid of it. This is the third season with it and, just guessing, I would say it has cost $400 in repairs and parts, which is what we paid for it in the first place. Of course, this mower new would have cost MUCH more than $400. You know what they say… “You get what you paid for.”

This mower did not come with a manual so when something was a little weird I would get online for answers. YouTube has been great. I had questions about the front height adjustment and could never figure out why this one, um, “rod” appeared to be backward. It was the height adjustment rod that fits into the mower deck. It was rubbing on the main belt pulley which just didn’t make sense at all. Plus, adjusting the height just didn’t have any effect. So, I checked with YouTube and saw the “bracket” the rod went through was bent forward toward the deck and it was supposed to be in the other direction. Then I found out it was broke and barely hanging on. So, I removed it, which wasn’t easy either. I had it welded back together, put it back on, then put the “rod” back in the right direction. Now the mower appears to be cutting like it is supposed to after all this time. GEEZ!

You may have remembered reading in several posts back when my son and a friend of his moved in with me. Trust me, it wasn’t my idea and I tried discouraging the situation. They promised to help out on the farm and the yard, and while that notion sounded good, I almost knew that was too good to be true. My son’s friend has mowed with the “older” mower a few times but not exactly up to my standards. For the life of me, I cannot figure out his concept of mowing but I don’t say anything because I am thankful to have a little help. I guess for me, mowing is more than just going back and forth or round in circles. The last time I was mowing the area in front of the chicken house he started mowing the main yard. Off and on I would look over at what he was doing and sometimes the mower would be sitting there without him anywhere around. When I was finished mowing, the mower he was using was sitting in the back yard by the fence. He had mowed quite a bit but there was something definitely wrong. Every strip he had mowed was uneven. Very short on one side and high on the other. So, I went over to see what the issue could be. Ummm… One of the rear tires was completely flat and he had been mowing this way the whole time! When I mentioned it to him, he said he noticed something was wrong from the start. I told him when he notices something is a little off, that is when you check to see what the problem is. GEEZ! Interestingly, my son has mentioned repeatedly how good “the other guy” is with a trimmer. Neither one of them has used it since they have been here.

Part of my problem was “waiting” to see what they would do. I have given them a list of things they could do around the yard but that was pretty much useless. While they are on their cell phones or playing games, running here and there, having friends over, etc., the list is nonexistent. Staying up all night and sleeping all day doesn’t help either. Nor does it help them find a job. I guess my frustration with them is that pretty much everything they said they would do before they came has not happened, or only in part.

My son had cut quite a few limbs off the trees that were hanging down. While I kind of liked the effect and would just dodge the lower limbs when I mowed, “the friend” found them particularly annoying. So, my son cut the lower branches off of the trees in the front yard and took them to the brush pile. Then, he cut them off a tree in the back yard and didn’t move them. He said he thought “we” could pick them up and put them in the back of the pickup. Then, instead of doing that, they went on a week-long road trip with friends. I reminded them before they left they needed to vacuum the floor, clean up their mess in the kitchen (basically clean up their messes) and move the branches. Hmmm… That didn’t happen. While they were away I needed to mow the yard. Instead of moving the limbs to the brush pile, I just piled them around the tree. I decided he needs to finish what he started. What would you do?

So many times we rely on others to do something before we can begin or finish what we are doing or want to do. How many times has that bit you in the butt? It is like getting involved with something that is supposed to be like a snowball effect. Several people contribute a little and the snowball gets bigger. My higher self reminded me that snow melts…

A while back I was talking to a good friend and he said my son was a lot like me. He said the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Hmmm… For the life of me, I can’t even find the resemblance except for appearance… I have mulled what he said over in my mind and realize he knows me well but knows very little about my son. Possibly because of our determination to get what we want, which has been somewhat interesting. But with my son, it seems if he can’t have what he wants, he does nothing. If I complain about how he does something, he does nothing. So, I just ignore him the best I can and give advice when he asks. I think possibly one of my issues is if I don’t have the tools (or whatever) to complete a task and do it well, I don’t even start. I don’t like half-doing anything or starting something I can’t finish. There are many things I can do well from start to finish. But then again, weeding and mowing is a season-long work in progress. Hmmm… Life, in general, is a work in progress.

So, with less than $20 to my name, no income, two months behind in utilities, and not being able to find a job… They are going to leave which is another story in itself. I spent several thousand dollars since they have been here, of which partly wasn’t mine to spend.

Oh yes… I am supposed to be thankful and be on a new spiritual journey. That is still onward and upward and has been a great experience. We all go through issues and have hills and valleys we have to face. I read somewhere if you don’t answer your calling, you will get dragged through life. Of all the positive affirmations I have listed to, the being thankful for everything, meditation, and so on, that still pops into my head. Sometimes we feel we are doing all we can to stay positive and raise our vibration but then others come into our life that brings negative situations. Maybe we feel their negativity affects our positivity. Maybe it is an excuse we use not to accomplish what we need to get done. Maybe we have to be all the way down to appreciate our blessings. Maybe we have to be all the way down in order to surrender and actually ask for help. Our ego has to be put aside to realize our great potential. After all, we are spiritual beings living a human experience not the other way around.

Personally, I think waiting for others to do what they are supposed to, when they are quite capable, has been a serious waste of my time and energy. No amount of praying, meditating, being positive and so on will accomplish anything unless you (I) take the first step in the right direction. Once you take that first step, the Universe (God and the rest of the divine beings) will be right there behind you, in front of you, and all around you to guide and direct you in whatever you are doing. Your hearts desires are also their hearts desires for you. You have to “order, thank, and believe.” You have to provide the physical part of the work and “commit to you”.

As I am writing this, I am waiting for a friend to come by with a load of feed so I can go to his house to unload it for him. He just had hernia surgery and can’t lift anything that heavy yet. Ummm… I have been waiting for him for several hours and it is almost 3:30. I have things to do that I am putting off doing. OK, so he isn’t capable right now and I go to his farm early every evening and help with his chores. This is a little different than waiting for people who are fully capable. But still, waiting interferes with what I need to do like taking a nap. Waiting is very tiring you know.

I went outside to take a few photos for this post which led to me pulling a few weeds. Then I went back inside and finished the post without taking additional photos. I took photos on Sunday but have yet to write a post to go along with them. I am waiting…

Until next time, be safe, be well, stay positive and always be thankful for your blessings and of life around you.

My First Luna Moth Sighting

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. A few weeks ago my son showed me a photo of a Luna Moth that he, and many others, spotted at a convenience store one night. It was on a brick wall and was almost as wide as the brick. Over the years several people have told me about seeing them at night, usually being attracted to porch lights, street lights, and yard lights. I had never seen one in person until a few nights ago.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

I had got up at about 3:30 AM and walked into the living room. The yard light shines through the house at night and I could see from the shadow that something fairly large was flying around the light. I looked out the back door and saw it was a Luna Moth. It flew around the light, banging itself on the light and the pole then landed on the grass. I grabbed the camera and went outside to see if I could find it. I thought something that big surely wouldn’t be that hard to find.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

It wasn’t too happy about being picked up at first and got away twice. The third time I picked it up, I assured it I meant it no harm and it completely calmed down. After that, it seemed perfectly happy to be resting on my hand.

They are quite easily identified. It is large, light green, normally with four “eyes” on their wings, have a pinkish-purple bumper along the front of their wings, have feathery antennae, and normally have a long tail…

The Wikipedia says, “There are some sex-determined and regional differences in appearance. Females will have a larger abdomen compared to males because it contains 200–400 eggs. Both sexes have antennae, but on the male, much longer and wider. Wing color is blue-green in the north and for the over-wintering generation in the central and southern states; second and third generation wing color has more of a yellow-green tint.”

“Based on the climate in which they live, Luna moths produce different numbers of generations per year. In Canada and northern regions of the United States, they are univoltine, meaning one generation per year. Life stages are approximately two weeks as eggs, 6–7 weeks as larvae, nine months as pupae, finishing with one week as winged adults appearing in late May or early June. In the mid-Atlantic states the species is bivoltine, and farther south trivoltine, meaning respectively two and three generations per year. In the central states, the first generation appears in April, second in July. Even farther south, the first generation appears as early as March, with second and third spaced eight to ten weeks later.”

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

This Luna Moth looks a bit ragged and even its long “tail” is missing. The average Luna Moth wingspan is 4 1/2″ wide, but can be up to 7″. The long tails of their hindwings are thought to confuse the echolocation detection used by predatory bats.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

InsectIdentification.org says the Luna Moth is only found in North America and their population is on the decline. They are very sensitive to light pollution (such as yard and street lights that are constantly on), pesticides and parasitic flies (a parasitic fly that was introduced to the U.S. to control the Gypsy Moth…).

It was interesting to read the Luna Moth is being bred in captivity and is used in classrooms to teach about the lifecycle of butterflies and their role in the environment.

Many years ago I was told the Tomato Hornworm was the caterpillar for the Luna Moth but that is untrue. The Tomato Hornworm is the caterpillar for the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth. Luna Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of certain trees. Strangely, the adults do not feed.

You can read more about the Luna Moth on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

I am thankful I finally got to see a Luna Moth in person for the first time and hope to see more.

Thanks for reading this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful!

The Quest For Truth Part 2: Wildflower ID-The Swamp Revisited

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) flowers on 7-28-19.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Sunday and Monday I revisited the swamp in the back southeast corner of of the farm then walked the south side. It was very enjoyable and I found a few new wildflowers. I have been here since 2013 taking photos of wildflowers throughout the growing season and it seems there is always something new. The butterflies, bees, grasshoppers, and other insects were very busy. I returned twice on Monday because I found a few new plants and had to go back to take more photos for more positive ID.

The Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) in the above photo is doing well and its flowers are now opening. NICE! A better description is in the previous post.

I do not go into the swampy area that often because it is completely overgrown and getting worse every year.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

While poking around near the swamp at the edge of where the grass had been mowed for hay, I noticed several wildflowers I hadn’t seen before. One group was this Hypericum punctatum which is commonly known as Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

I took many photos of these plants flowers, leaves, and stems so I could get an ID. Umm… Missouriplants.com give detailed descriptions for NINE species of Hypericum to choose from. Sooooo… I had to go back later, at 7 PM, for further observation which led to another discovery.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

Its flowers were closed up for the night. Hmmm… Anyway, there are several differences between the species one being their flowers. Hypericum punctatum have spots and streaks on the surface of their petals. Other species just have dots near their petals margins, but most do not have any. So, I had returned to look at these plants petals with a magnifying glass. Even though the flowers were closed, I can safely say this species is Hypericum punctatum, the Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) buds on 7-29-19.

Hypericum punctatum was named and described by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck in Encyclopedie Methodique in 1797. I would hate to have that many names. Plants of the World Online lists 504 accepted species of Hypericum so I am fortunate to only have nine species to choose from.

Bees are attracted to their flowers because of the pollen but their flowers do not produce nectar. Mammals seldom eat these plants foliage because the leaves contain hypericin which can blister the skin and irritate the digestive tract.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

In the mix and nearly covered by other weeds was this wildflower I finally identified as Lobelia inflata. I made the positive ID after the second trip and looking into its throat with a magnifying glass. OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. Its main common name is Indian Tobacco, but other names include Asthma Weed, Bladderpod, Gagroot, and Pukeweed.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

Lobelia is not the only genus that has species with two upper and three lower lips but their flowers are MUCH larger. The petals and throat of the Lobelia inflata are white, usually, with no dots or streaks.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) flowers on 7-29-19.

Although these plants flowers are very small, it packs an interesting medicinal history. The Wikipedia says it was used by several Native American tribes to treat muscle and respiratory disorders, as a purgative, and as a ceremonial medicine. The leaves were burned by the Cherokee to smoke out gnats. It is still used in medicine today but it can have adverse side effects such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and possibly death. Possibly? The plant contains 52 different alkaloid compounds, most importantly lobeline.

 

Phyla lanceolata (Lanceleaf Fogfruit) on 7-29-19.

I first noticed this interesting wildflower on Sunday but all the photos of the flowers were blurry. I found several more of these plants growing under and among the weeds on Monday and took more photos. The magnifying glass works wonders once you get the hang of using it with the camera. I finally found out this wildflower is the Phyla lanceolata, commonly known as Lanceleaf Fogfruit and Lanceleaf Frogfruit. Hmmm… This plant was first named Lippia lanceolata by André Michaux in 1803 but was changed to Phyla lanceolata by Edward Lee Greene in 1899. Missouriplants.com uses the first name even though it was changed 120 years ago! Maybe they didn’t get the memo… There isn’t much online about this plant besides technical ID stuff which I will be adding to its own plant page once I have it finished.

I was hoping to find a connection with fog or frogs…

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, etc.) on 7-28-19.

While visiting the back of the farm on Sunday, I noticed this neat plant called Prunella vulgaris. It has many common names including Heal-All, Common Self-Heal, Woundwort, Heart-Of-The-Earth, Carpenter’s Herb, Brownwort, and Blue Curls. I revisited this plant on Monday to take more photos because many of what I took before were blurry but not because the flowers are very small. Some plants just seem somewhat difficult to photo especially in full sun.

Prunella vulgaris is native in almost all of the Northern Hemisphere and introduced in much of South America. Plants of the World Online lists eight species in the genus and only two that are native to the United States and Missouri. Missouriplants.com and Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers only describe one. Most species in the genus are only found in small areas. Although listed as a US native, it was apparently brought here by settlers from Europe.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All) on 7-29-19.

The description of the inflorescence on Missouriplants.com says:

Inflorescence – Terminal dense 4-angled spike of verticillasters to +/-7cm tall(long), 1.5-2cm thick. Verticillasters each with 6 flowers(3 flowers per cymule). Cymules subtended by broad ciliate-margined bracts. Bracts decussate, abruptly acuminate, 1.6cm broad. Flowers sessile.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I haven’t experienced this plant that long, but I think the dark areas are buds. While most plants flower from the bottom up, this one seems to have no particular order. About the flowers, Missouriplants.com says:

Flowers – Corolla bilabiate whitish-purple. Corolla tube to 8mm long, glabrous. Upper lip galeate, purple, 6-7mm long, 5mm broad, with a few villous hairs externally on midvein. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lateral lobes 2-3mm long, 1.5mm broad. Central lobe 4mm long, deflexed, fimbriate-erose at apex, light purple. Stamens 4, didynamous, included under the galea, upper pair adnate near base of galea, lower pair adnate near base of corolla tube. Filaments purple, glabrous, the longest to 1.2cm. Anthers purplish-brown. Style inserted between upper pair of stamens, glabrous, lilac, 1.6cm long. Stigma 2-lobed. Ovary 4-parted. Calyx bilabiate, accrescent, 10-nerved. Tube to 5mm long in flower. Upper lip with three mucronate lobes, reddish-purple at apex.  Lower lip 2-lobed. Lobes acuminate, 3mm long in flower, reddish-purple. Calyx villous on margins and on nerves. Nutlets to 2mm long, brownish-yellow, glabrous.

Hmmm… That was an interesting copy and paste.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I originally saw this plant on Sunday and thought it was only growing in the area by the swamp. After my first visit to the area Monday afternoon I walked the fence along the back pasture and saw it growing in MANY areas. Although it isn’t favored by cows, they will eat it along with the grass which is probably I hadn’t noticed it before. This plant is definitely not new to the area or it wouldn’t be so widespread.

The Wikipedia says this plant is edible and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and as a pot herb. It can also be used as a tea. The plant is considered by the Chinese to ‘change the course of a chronic disease”. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids, rutin, and many other chemical constituents. The VeryWell website has a good article about the benefits of this plant.

This plant was a neat find and almost overlooked because it was growing among taller plants. You just never know unless you have a closer look…

My thanks to Missouriplants.com, the Missouri State University website Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, Wildflowersearch.org and their many links that helped to make a positive ID. My thanks to Plants of the World Online by Kew for plant name research and to Dave’s Garden for pronunciation. I am also thankful to the many contributors of the Wikipedia pages who work hard to give so much information about plants. I am thankful for having an interest in plants and being part of the abundance and beauty of nature and being able to experience it first hand. I give thanks to God (Mother Father God, the Universe, etc., whichever you prefer) for its creation. OK, I will stop now even though I have more…

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed finding the plants, taking their photos, and doing the research. In time they will have their own pages.

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

 

Pink Queen’s Ann’s Lace, Swamp Agrimony, & Tall Thistle

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you well and that you are having a great week ahead. Last week the hay was cut and baled here on the farm so now I can resume taking wildflower photos here.

I found something very unusual on Thursday while working at Kevin’s farm north of town…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

There are A LOT of Daucus carota or Queen Anne’s Lace growing everywhere now, but there is something definitely strange about this particular plant…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

It has pink flowers! Just like with the Achillea millefolium a while back with pink flowers, one plant out of hundreds with pink flowers! I think that is so neat and I feel very blessed to witness plants in nature doing something different than most in their species.

I took a few other photos of plants I am watching for positive ID… I think I am confusing myself by taking photos of plants I can’t ID because all I have is leaves.

I have been trying to get a photo of a certain plant here on the farm since 2013. I always see the leaves in the swampy area but never any flowers. This year, I FINALLY did it!

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

I went to the back of the farm to remove the electric fence in the middle of the back pasture so it would be easier to cut the hay. LOW AND BEHOLD there was one of these plants right next to the electric fence about 12-14′ away from the HUGE OLD Multiflora Rose. It was very tall and getting ready to flower. I removed the fence and put the five electric fence posts around this plant. I put the yellow insulators on top of the posts to sort of act as flags. I told BJ about the plant and where it was and I had put the posts around it so he couldn’t miss it. I told him I wanted a photo of it so not to mow over it. I didn’t have the camera with me at the time or I would have taken photos right then. The next day I went back with the camera to take photos. Well, my thoughts about him not being able to miss it were true… He didn’t miss it! He ran smack over the plant and the five steel posts! Always in the past, there were several of these plants growing down by the swamp so I went to have a look. Sure enough, they were also getting ready to flower so I got my photos after all and made a positive ID. I didn’t complain to BJ about mowing the HUGE specimen because it was already done. He was there to mow and bale the hay and undoubtedly was looking forward and behind and didn’t even think about the plant. I am sure he remembered when he hit the posts, though.

 

Lower leaves of the Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

There are a few species of Agrimonia in Missouri, but the leaves easily distinguish Agrimonia parviflora from the others. The common name is Swamp Agrimony, Small-Flowered Agrimony, Harvestlice Agrimony, and Harvestlice. Plants of the World Online lists 21 accepted species in the genus but the Wikipedia says about 15. There are seven or so species in the US with three being described on the Missouriplants.com website. This species is found in 32 states in the United States. Out of all the species, Agrimonia parviflora is considered to be the most noxious.

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

Although bees and other insects feed on the nectar of the flowers, most mammals avoid this plant due to its bitter taste. Certain birds use Agrimony in their nests to keep away parasites such as lice and mites because of its foul aroma and taste. Flowers give way to bur-like seed capsules that cling to the fur of animals.

Even though considered a noxious plant, its burs were used by Native Americans for diarrhea and to reduce fever. The roots can be pulverized and have been used to increase red blood cell count, a gastrointestinal aid, a topical treatment for skin issues, and as a dietary aid. 

Probably the most interesting thing about the Agrimonia parviflora is that it is a member of the Rosaceae Family along with Roses…

Now then… After I took photos of the Agrimony, I walked to the corner to the tree line that borders the south hayfield. It’s a little hard to explain, but trust me, I know where I am going. 🙂 Here again, are plants I had not seen flower because they didn’t have the opportunity before.

 

Arilus cristatus (Wheel Bug) on the Cirsium altissimum.

Hmmm… I better move to the next plant. This one has a hungry stalker and I wouldn’t want this Wheel Bug to invite me to dinner or think I was interested in his.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

In the corner of this area were three of these plants and there are a few more farther north. I was unsure what these plants were so I took lots of photos to help ID. Doing research on several websites, I thought at first they could be a Sonchus species usually referred to as Sow Thistles. There are three Sonchus species mentioned by Missouriplants.com, Wildflowerresearch.org, and Midwest Weeds and Plants but the lower leaves and top of the plant do not match. It is definitely not Sonchus asper because this plant is friendly and S. asper is definitely not. Ummm… I also found one of those in another area. The tallest plant in the corner appears to be well over 8′ tall. Maybe I should take a tape measure and check for sure. It would also be a good idea to measure the leaves. That might sound a little overboard but you will see why in a minute.

 

Lower leaves of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

These plants could be Sonchus oleraceus, the Common Sowthistle but the lower leaves absolutely do not match. Sonchus oleraceus is not a spiny plant either. After looking at many photos on several websites, I came to the conclusion these plants are Cirsium altissimum, comonly known as the Tall Thistle.

 

Central leaves of the Cirsium altissimim (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The leaves change shape and become very long, broad, and lance-shaped with toothed margins. Again, they are not spiny. Very similar to Sonchus oleraceus.

 

Bud of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The buds are globe-shaped. A small spider had made a home on this bud.

 

Top view of a bud on the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

You have to admit this is a neat bud… All the photos of buds I have looked at are farther along than these. So, Sonchus bud search was unfruitful. After determining it was probably a Cirsium species, I saw buds that were similar which helped to ID this plant.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) is somewhat variable in the way they grow and what they look like from one location to another. I think light plays a big factor. The plant growing in full sun is shorter, has no lobed lower leaves, and the inflorence is more open. The plant  in this photo is growing in a mostly shaded area.

 

Top part of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

As with the Tall Thistle, Sowthistle flowers are normally well above the leaves. The lower leaves and flower buds were the determining factor before the buds open. After that, the Cirsium flowers will be a pinkinsh color while Sonchus species have yellow flowers. Probably, if I had ever seen a Sonchus species in the first place, I wouldn’t have been confused initially. I am sure they are much different in several other ways as well. Hopefully someday I will meet a Sonchus.

UPDATE: THE “could be” Sonchus oleraceus is Cirisium altissimum, a Tall Thistle.

Well, that’s all for this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

The Quest For Truth: Wildflower ID Part 1

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I guess the title of this post could get some attention for many reasons. Many of us are on a quest for the truth about something because, after all, the truth will set you free. We wonder about the truth of who we are when traditional religious teaching leaves us asking questions we are told have no answers. Some of us accept there are no answers and we go about life la-de-da. Well, I am not one of those people. While I may live in my own little la la land sometimes, it is far from a life of not knowing who I am, where I came from or where I am going. I have concluded it doesn’t really matter where or how we originated. What matters is who we are now and how we embrace life day by day. Growing spiritually, being thankful, and remaining positive are a few keys to living a happy and abundant life. We continue learning and making new discoveries which makes life truly amazing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working outside this summer. The past several months spraying and digging thistles on Kevin’s farm have allowed me to watch many wildflower species grow and flower. I have identified many species not growing on the 38 (or so) acres where I live which has been pretty exciting. There are many plants I haven’t identified fully because I am waiting for flowers which can get a bit entertaining. Partly because sometimes I can’t find a plant I was watching and partly because the cows eat them before they flower. So many species in different genera look alike while they are growing then they change when they are about to bud and flower. Some plants of the same species look different growing in different areas of the pasture.

Taking a lot of photos of many different plants can be somewhat confusing if you let it be. Going from one plant to the next then finding better specimins later. Maybe a feature you didn’t shoot before to help clarify a species… I usually photograph a finger (or fingers) between plants. I have learned from experience to take as many photos as possible when you have a chance. You may think there will be other plants of the species somewhere else but maybe not. Then later, when you didn’t find any others, you may not be able to find the plant you photographed earlier. Been there, done that more than once.

 

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

One of the many plants I haven’t encountered before is the Convolvulus arvensis commonly known as the Field Bindweed. There were several flowering in the front area of Kevin’s pasture all white flowers with five pale pink stripes. I saw one on the west side with all white flowers and information on Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers says they are commonly all white or mostly pink. There are five pink bracts on the underside of the flowers which may be why the flowers appeared to have pink stripes. The bracts distinguish it from the Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium). Their roots can grow from 8 to 30 feet deep with stems up to 9 feet long. Their roots can send up many shoots and a group of these can spread up to 20′ per year. They produce LOTS of seeds which are viable for up to 30 years!

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

The biggest issue I have been dealing with is the cows eating the plants I have been watching. I am certainly not complaining about the cows or anything. It is just the way it is and part of the cycle of life and nature. The milkweeds are a good example. The cluster of milkweed I posted about before that I couldn’t ID was likely because it had been snacked on at an earlier age. I took the above photo on July 17, which you can tell from the caption. 🙂

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

This probably caused the leaves to be smaller and is perhaps what caused the stems to a different color than it would have had if it had been allowed to grow to maturity naturally. While the growth habit, even though nipped earlier, sort of remained the same. So, the Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) would still remain a bit of a sprawler. Even though several Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) stems were eaten earlier, the growth that remained would still grow upright. Both the Common Milkweed and Green Milkweed have similar leaf veins but their growth habit, leaf shape and other characteristics remain true for the species.

 

On Monday, July 22, I went to Kevin’s farm to locate the Milkweed I previously questioned to get more photos. I wanted more in-depth photos of its leaves and stems on the upper and lower parts of the plant. I didn’t work on Monday so I wasn’t taking time away from my duties. Hmmm… I went to where I thought it was and it was not there. I thought maybe I wasn’t in the right spot so I walked around a bit and still couldn’t find it. So, I went back to where I originally thought it was and found a clump that was probably it. I remembered the clover and other weeds growing with the clump which was the determining factor but the whole spot had been eaten. What remained left me somewhat confused. What remained looked like Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed). The upper part of the stems that left me questioning what species it was earlier was now missing. At least I am fairly certain this is the same cluster… Hmmm… With the cows grazing and eating all the time, the surroundings change. Plants and parts of plants they like get eaten while weeds they don’t care for continue to grow.

 

Asclepias sullivantii on 6-22-19.

There are a few milkweeds that look similar but have distinguishing features that separate them from the rest. The Asclepias sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed) grow more upright with up facing leaves. The veins on the leaves are also more refined than the Common Milkweed but the midrib is pretty similar. When there are no flowers it can be somewhat difficult so you have to look for other features. Am I 100% certain? Not going to tell you…

There is a fairly large colony of Asclepias sullivantii in one area but the plants are spread out quite a distance from each other. They are supposed to flower in June and July but none of the plants had flowers during the time I have been there. There are no seed pods…

 

Arctium minus (Burdock) on 6-22-19.

Then there are the plants that completely change in appearance as they mature. The Arctium minus, commonly known as Burdock, is one of these species. The HUGE lower leaves that look like rhubarb are all but completely gone and have been replaced by smaller leaves and flowers (or buds).

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 6-22-19.

Rarely have I seen Ruellia humilis, the Wild Petunia (etc.) with this many leaves. Without the flowers, it may be a little difficult to identify because we look at their flowers first. If I saw this plant without flowers, not having seen one this large and with so many leaves, I may not have even recognized it. The only plants I have been around are those that have been in the pastures and the ditch where they are constantly eaten or mowed. The one in the above photo somehow escaped being eaten. When I mowed on Saturday I also noticed a large specimen in an area of the ditch here that hadn’t been mowed. The Wild Petunia is a true survivor.

We depend a lot on flowers for proper identification but sometimes that isn’t enough when there are many species in a genus that all have similar flowers. We have to look to their leaves and stems and sometimes their calyces on the underside of the flower may be the only difference.

Sometimes we get a little surprise and have to rethink what we think we know. Notice I am saying “we” (trying to avoid “I”).

 

Unidentified species on 6-22-19.

Several clumps I have been watching have done this… It is in an area where there are several Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s Ironweed) that are now beginning to flower. This plant is definitely not an Ironweed. The teeth on the upper leaves look like little nubs…

 

Hmmm…

The upper leaves are growing upright…

 

Double HMMM…

The teeth on the lower leaves look similar to many species, including Ironweed… Well, some of them… As these plants grew the teeth on their leaves changed somewhat.

Over the years I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on the farm but not always in every stage. So, it could be I will recognize it once it flowers.

 

Vernonia sp. (Ironweed) on 7-24-19.

As I mentioned, the Vernonia baldwinii are now beginning to flower. Actually, some had started earlier in another area and I included them in an earlier post. This plant is Baldwin’s Ironweed which most people just call Ironweed. At my place, an Ironweed is an Ironweed but I noticed something a little weird.

 

Dark stems on this cluster of Ironweed on 7-24-19.

This particular cluster of Ironweed has very dark stems. Some colonies stems are darker than others but have the same general characteristics otherwise. Stems partially dark but not necessarily the entire stem.

Have you ever thought something was right then started feeling maybe not?

 

Again with the Hmmm…

Notice the stems, or whatever you call them, on the entire inflorescence are a maroonish color… Well, I think it looks pretty neat!

 

GEEZ!

And then there is this one… No dark stems…

 

DOUBLE GEEZ!

Its inflorescence looks like this! No maroonish color at all!

 

TRIPLE GEEZ!

WHAT IS THIS? Its leaves look like the plant in question from before with the little nubs! Hmmm…

 

Ummm…

Here is a blooming inflorescence of the same, umm, Ironweed in a different spot.

 

Here is the whole group of Ironweed without dark stems. What you don’t notice in the photo is that these plants have a reddish glow which is quite fascinating in person.

Missouriplants.com gives descriptions of four species of Ironweed. The Missouri State University website, Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, has five. Looking at their descriptions of Vernonia baldwinii AND photos I took of plants here last year… Ummm… They all are plants with green stems and not dark. Vernonia gigantea (or Vernonia gigantea var. gigantea), the Tall Ironweed, has dark stems. Information says Vernonia baldwinii is “variable” and sometimes difficult to ID. Species in the genus cross to form hybrids as well. The different species can be identified by looking at the bracts surrounding the flower head. The phyllaries are somewhat different, but GEEZ!!!

So, I sent Pamela of Missouri State University some photos to get her input. The photos in the folder are not all labeled because they are not all ID’d. Actually, the photos in the last three folders are not all labeled. Each day of photos is in separate folders… Ummm… 606 folders so far since 2009.

Well, I think I will conclude this post and start on part 2. There may even be a part 3 and 4. I kind of like the name of this post. The Quest For Truth…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Past Week Wildflowers

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19. #602-1.

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. The past week has been fairly hot with no rain. I went back to check on the status of the thistles at Kevin’s farm north of town on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I have them pretty well whipped but there are always a few I missed from before. The Bull Thistles are always a one-time shot and not that big of a problem. The Musk Thistles have been a different story. The bigger plants are all gone but small ones continue to sprout a flowering stem here and there. It is almost like they do this overnight. Supposedly they grow a rosette the first year and flower their second. Well, I can argue that point after spending two months with them. The plants that continue to shoot up flowers are less than a foot tall while earlier the bigger plants were up to around 4′ tall. It has really been an experience.

I have continued to take photos of wildflowers while I worked. There is a combination of two days of photographs in this post but I wanted them in alphabetical order. The Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) in the above photo is getting with it now.

 

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19, #602-2.

The bumblebees really like them.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seed pod on 7-16-19, #602-4.

I had to take a photo of the seed pod of the Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). Its unique seed pods are one of the identifying features of this species of milkweed.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19.

While taking photos, a cow walked by and ate the tops right off this Common Milkweed. You can see the sap oozing out of the stems… Hmmm…

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19, # 602-6.

The Common Milkweed is a very robust plant that can grow to over 6′ tall. In pastures, they don’t get that chance and this group is only around 3′ tall, possibly multi-stemmed perhaps from an earlier pruning.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-7.

The Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) are among the first of the milkweeds to flower at the farm then are among the first to go to seed.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-8.

By contrast to many other plants, the large seed pods are mainly filled with fluff which helps the seeds float through the air. The distance they travel depends on a few things including wind speed and the height of neighboring plants. Rain can also spoil their trip by making the fluff heavy and wet and then the seeds just fall to the ground close to the parent plant.

 

Asclepias viridis on 7-17-19, #603-3.

While there are still a few Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) flowering, most have gone to seed.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-1.

While most of the milkweeds are pretty easy to identify, especially when flowering, I have found one that has me stumped… When I first saw this plant and took a couple of photos, I didn’t realize what a difficult time I would have identifying it. If I had have known, I would have taken more photos and looked around for other plants like it while I was working.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-2.

If I have a plant I cannot figure out, I contact Pamela Trewatha from the Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). I am not sure if she is a botanist, horticulturalist or what but she maintains their Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers website and I think she took most of the photographs. She was stumped on this one as well which was very surprising. She thought it could be Asclepias sullivantii although she said she has never seen one in person. I looked at hundreds of photos online and I haven’t figured it out. This plant does not have the growth habit like Asclepias sullivantii nor are their leaves similar. There are many other differences as well that ruled out A. sullivantii. There were a few possibilities but not close enough. The one species that came close does not grow here and where it does grow it is very rare. There were no flowers on this plant and I didn’t notice any old flowers or seed pods. When I go back I will scout the area and see if there are other plants like this clump and possibly find flowers or seed pods. The spent flower in the above photo is a Red Clover…

There are several wildflower websites I use for ID. While there are milkweeds with similar leaves, some species leaves are “variable” and can be “oval” or have a slight point at the tip. However, the veining on this species leaves are not that “refined”, the tips are round, the midribs are light green (some species can have either maroonish or green midribs), and the central stems on this milkweed are brownish and not green like most… The leaves are also fairly small.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-9.

I found a good-sized group of Bull Thistle I had somehow overlooked right in the middle of a large area. When I was getting ready to spray, the plants came to life as these HUGE beetles started flying out. It was very hot, so apparently, the beetles were farther down inside the thistles. I couldn’t get any photos at first because the beetles were moving pretty fast. Then, several feet away, I noticed this beetle along with a Japanese Beetle on a stem of an old Musk Thistle.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-10.

The Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) is a pretty good-sized bug. They feed on flowers in pastures but also eat fruit. I attempted to pick up this guy (or gal) but it wanted no part of a new friendship. Beetles are not the most graceful flyers and sometimes you wonder if they even have a clue as to where they are going. These beetles sound like a small plane (very small) when they fly. When there are hundreds flying at once you might want to take cover because you will get run into.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-11.

This interesting species is the Croton capitatus, commonly known as Hogwort, Wooly Croton, and Goatweed. Croton is a very large genus consisting of 1,173 species (as of this post date) and this species is found through much of the United States. The Missouri Department of Conservation says there are three species of Croton in Missouri. I have two species growing on the farm.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) flowers on 7-16-19, #602-13.

Their flowers aren’t that particularly interesting unless you take a closer look… The cluster of flowers consists of male flowers toward the tip and female flowers below. Male flowers have 5 tiny white petals and 10-14 anthers. The female flowers don’t have petals but have 6-9 calyx lobes which are split 2-3 times making a total of 12-24 lobes. The fruits are about 1/4” wide and contain only three seeds each. Apparently doves and quail like their seeds.

While many wildflower species have many medicinal benefits, this plant produces Croton Oil which is a powerful laxative.

 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) on 7-17-19, #603-5.

The Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) grow throughout the farm here as well as at Kevin’s. The flowers are so small it is very hard to get good photos of, especially close-ups. The plants are very short and have narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Although not an original US native, they can be found growing throughout most of the US and Canada.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-16-19, #602-14.

While I was walking around the area where the Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) were I noticed more flowers. I guess the photos I had taken for a previous post were their buds and now they are flowering.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) flower on 7-16-19, #602-15.

There were a lot of bumblebees on the flowers as well as a few Japanese Beetles. It was funny watching for a few seconds. It was like the bumblebees were on a mission and no Japanese Beetles were going to get in their way.

 

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) on 7-17-19, #603-6.

I needed to go visit a friend Wednesday afternoon so I decided to drive by the large colony of Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower). This is where I was going to dig some plants up this spring but… Well, it didn’t happen. Maybe I can collect some seeds later. I love the way the native coneflowers petals droop.

Ummm… While I was taking photos of the Yellow Coneflower, I noticed some really neat leaves but there were no flowers… Then later I spotted them again with flowers… The name begins with an “S” so it is farther down in the post. 🙂

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-7.

I have seen this plant growing along highways for MANY years and have always wondered with it was. Usually, I don’t have time or I don’t have the camera, but mainly because I didn’t want to stop along the highway. Well, when I went to visit my friend on Wednesday I noticed them growing along a different road. Not only them but the plants that begin with the “S”.

The plants in the above photo are Lotus corniculatus commonly known as the Bird’s Foot Trefoil. Hmmm… OK, I know how common the Bird’s Foot Trefoil is but I had never seen any up close and personal until now.

The Lotus corniculatus isn’t a US native. The Wikipedia says the plant is native to parts of North Africa and Eurasia. Hmmm… I learned something. I had to click on Eurasia to find out where it was. I don’t think they taught it was Eurasia when I was in school… It is the largest continent on Earth consisting of all of Europe and Asia with 70% of the world’s population. Hmmm… I didn’t even realize Africa was considered an Asian country. Well, I got stuck reading about Eurasia so I better get back to…

Where was I anyway? Oh yeah! Lotus corniculatus!

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-8.

I lost my train of thought while reading about Eurasia and kind of went blank because I didn’t know… Anyway, it was interesting.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil is grown as a high-quality forage plant for pastures, hay, and silage that does not cause bloat.

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-9.

The flowers are particularly interesting. What is even more interesting is that a plant guy didn’t even realize these yellow flowers growing along the road were Bird’s Foot Trefoil! Several people have asked me what they were over the years but I never knew until now. Now I know and I am thankful. I am also thankful for learning where Eurasia is. 🙂

Ummm… The Lotus genus is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea Family) and contains 124 accepted species.

What we usually think of as a Lotus is the Nelumbo nucifera, also known as the Sacred Lotus Flower, Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, Egyptian Bean or simply lotus. It is the only genus in the family Nelumbonaceae with two accepted species. Strange the Water Lily isn’t in the same family, but they are in the Nymphaeaceae family. Hmmm…

I had to check on that because I was wondering why Bird’s Foot Trefoil was a Lotus. Then I find out the Lotus isn’t a Lotus. Double hmmm…

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-16.

OK, I realize the Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) isn’t a wildflower and maybe most wouldn’t find them that interesting. For me, though, I think they are a magnificent tree especially when they get very old.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange), 7-16-19, #602-17.

Just look at that massive trunk… This tree isn’t quite as large as the old one at my place, but it is still pretty good sized.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-21.

This tree, like most very old Osage Orange, have stood the test of time. Just think of how many high winds, thunderstorms, heavy snows, and ice they have been through. If you ever have a chance to visit a very old and large Osage Orange, look up into the tree and you can see how they have twisted and turned over the years. They tell a tale of a long life in the elements of nature and have endured them all. This tree was really talking and I enjoyed our brief visit and feeling the energy surrounding it. It is more than alive, it is A LIFE! 🙂

 

Nepeta cataria (Catnip) on 7-17-19, #603-10.

While I was spraying in a little area I had rarely gone, I noticed a plant I completely didn’t expect to see in the wild. I said, “It’s a mint! What in the world are you doing here?” Of all places next to a Gooseberry bush and Osage Orange tree where an old fence row had been. Just goes to show you just never know what you might find… Oh! It is a Nepeta catariaCatnip! They have different leaves and flowers than Spearmint.

I suppose the Catnip has to grow in the wild somewhere and there are several mints that are native to Missouri. I have just never seen any in the wild. Of course, they are members of the Lamiaceae family along with 234 other genera of aromatic and tasty culinary herbs.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower on 7-16-19, #602-22.

Had I not noticed something weird about this plant, I could have easily passed it off as a Horsenettle. All I saw at first was a nearly hidden yellow flower drooping downward so I thought I would have a peek because Horsenettle does not have yellow flowers. Then I saw what else was hidden beneath the leaves. As it turns out this plant is a Physalis longifolia, commonly known as the Common or Smooth Ground Cherry.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower, on 7-16-19, #602-23.

AH HA, you say! 🙂 Well, at least I thought it looks like the plant called Chinese Lantern, which is actually Physalis peruviana. Perhaps you were thinking about the Tomatillo or Mexican Husk Tomato which is the Physalis philadelphica and/or Physalis ixocarpa. Well, inside of these small lanterns is a fruit which is also edible…

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 7-16-19, #602-24.

The Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia, etc.) are growing here and there on Kevin’s farm as where I live. They seem to be growing as solitary plants rather than in colonies except for in my ditch where there are several. I think there are more in the ditch in front of the house than on the entire pasture and hayfield. While they flower over a long period, they seem to only produce one flower at a time. While one bud is beginning to open, the one before it is fading. Some information online says the flowers open in the morning and fall off in the evening. Hmmm… These plants are very easy to recognize in the wild because, after all, they are a petunia. Not saying all Ruellia species are the same, but all do have similar characteristics. Plants of the World Online currently list 357 accepted species in the genus.

Now that I am down to the mystery plant… Well, maybe I should save it for a post of its own. Just kidding. 🙂 But I do feel a nap coming on…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-13.

OK… The above photo, although taken out of numerical order, is the leaves of the plant with no flowers I saw when photographing the Echinacea paradoxa. They were by the road so apparently, their flower stems had been mowed off. I took the photo because I thought they were quite strange and unusual.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) on 7-17-19. #603-20.

Hmmm… I realize you are laughing at me AGAIN because anyone who has driven on most highways and backroads has seen this plant. Of course, like me, maybe you just passed them off as some kind of sunflower. I had no idea this plant had so much interest whatsoever.

Found throughout Missouri except for the southeast corner, the Silphium laciniatum is easily identified by its pinnatifid leaves, hairy stems, and big yellow flower heads. Its common name is the Compass Plant because their flowerheads follow the sun across the sky (heliotropism) like many species in the Asteraceae family such as sunflowers.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-14.

Silphium laciniatum has been used as a worm expelling, coughs, lung problems, asthma, and as an emetic. The resin produced on the upper part of the stems was chewed by Native Americans. The mouth cleansing gum is said to be fragrant but bitter.

Contrary to what you might think, the common name comes from their leaves and not their flowers. Pioneers believed that the leaves of the Compass Plant pointed in a north-south direction. The basal leaves do usually grow on a north-south axis thought to minimize intense overhead sun exposure. Of course, their flowers follow an east to west movement following the sun…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) flower on 7-17-19, #603-23.

The Compass Plant grow from 6-12 feet tall and their flowers can be up to 5″ across. It can take several years for these plants to develop into a full-sized plant but they can live up to 100 YEARS! Their taproots can grow 15′ deep! The basal leaves can grow to 18″ long while the upper leaves are much smaller.

So now we know these plants are Compass Plants and not just another sunflower. 🙂

 

Solanum carolinense (Horsenettle) on 7-17-19, #603-25.

Of course, this is the common ‘ol run of the mill Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) we may all love to hate. One of its common names, Tread Softly, says a lot! While it is a member of the Nightshade family (along with tomatoes) and its fruit may look like cherry tomatoes, DO NOT EAT! The Wikipedia says:

“All parts of the plant, including its tomato-like fruit, are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine glycoalkaloids which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant’s natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death. “

I may have not taken a photo of the Horsenettle if it weren’t for the flower below which I noticed the day before…

 

Solanum dimidiatum (Robust Horsenettle) on 7-16-19, #602-25.

Ummm… As I was working I noticed something a little unusual… While I do have a lot of Horsenettle in my pastures and hayfield, some of the colonies in Kevin’s pasture have these blue flowers. While it is true that some in my pasture do have a slight tint, they are mainly all white. So, I took photos and found that these are Solanun dimidiatum commonly known as the Robust Horsenettle. While I did find it particularly interesting this was a different species, I won’t be collecting any of their seeds. One Horsenettle plant is plenty. The Housenettles are not really nettles in the sense of what nettles are. Ummm… What I mean is, they are not true nettles they are just called nettles. Kind of like the Sacred Lotus not being a Lotus. GEEZ!

I have seen a few plants that looked like the Black Nightshade which I sprayed because they looked pretty shady to me. I had one growing at the farm last year in an area behind the chicken house. I took a lot of photos of it one day and the next day it was completely gone (no trace whatsoever). I thought that was very strange that the plant grew so large, flowered and even set fruit and then the cows must have eaten it. What else could have happened to it? Maybe the Wood Chuck or a bunch of squirrels?

 

Verbena stricta (Hoary Vervain) on 7-16-19, #602-29.

One of my favorite wildflowers is Verbena. The interesting thing is that the species growing on Kevin’s farm are different than the ones growing where I live. This one is Verbena stricta commonly known as the Hoary Vervain. The species growing in my pastures and hayfield is the Verbena hastata commonly known as the Blue Vervain. I mainly noticed the difference by the Verbena stricta‘s broader leaves and larger flowers. The one thing that makes them very similar is getting photos that aren’t blurry… While Plants of the World Online list 147 species in the Verbena genus native to most parts of the world, Verbena hastata and Verbena stricta are native to most of the US and Canada.

I am finished for now because I ran out of photos. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed this post because I learned A LOT. I am thankful I found out about Eurasia, too!

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always, always, be thankful! After a week of heat and no rain, I am thankful we finally had rain this morning and as I am finishing this post.