Wildflower Walk Part 1

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Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot), 9-6-18, #503-2.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I have been working on this post since September 9 when I took the first wildflower photos. I had to re-shoot a few more than once because some of the photos were kind of blurry. It is hard to get good photos of the smaller flowers and I don’t realize they aren’t good enough until I view them on the computer. I usually take at least two photos of each “pose” but even at that I still have to re-shoot.

Different wildflower species flower different times of the year while a few are at it all summer long. Some are showing signs of age as with some of the perennials in the flower beds. Identifying wildflowers is a little more time consuming than with plants we buy with labels. There are several websites I use for ID and not all plants are on every website. Several genera have several different representatives here on the farm and some look very similar and are hard to identify… So, sometimes I have to go back to the plants and look for distinguishing features. I have to take photos of the plant, the front and back of the flowers, upper and lower leaves (if they are different) and the stems (because various species in the same genera have hairs and some don’t). That always leads to new discoveries and more photos. I am not even going to count how many wildflower photos I took from September 9 through October 6 but I have identified more than 30 species I hadn’t before.

I made positive ID on the last confusing plant today and realized why I was confused. There are at least three species that look similar and there are over 20 species of one of the genera that can be present here… Yeah. It was weird. I am doing a separate post about them. I could also do a separate post about the Smartweed. There are at least four species here and a couple have a few key features that distinguish them from other similar species.

I have also taken a few butterfly photos which can also be a challenge. They seem not to stay in one place very long and I wind up chasing them around a while. The Skippers, which are very interesting, have that habit which is apparently why they are called Skippers. They skip from one spot to another after only a few seconds. Eventually, they get tired and need to rest but sometimes by the time I catch up, they have finished.

Here we go… In alphabetical order… But there is MORE to come. 🙂

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot) on 9-6-18, #503-1

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot)

The above photo and at the top of the page is Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot). There are individual small groups here and there but several very large groups as well. They have nice “Ageratum-like” flowers. Like many wildflowers, however, it is a poisonous weed. They flower from July through October until “F” gives them a good zap.

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Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Sunflower, Bearded Beggarticks, etc.) on 9-6-18, #503-8.

Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Sunflower, Bearded Beggarticks, etc.)

The Bidens aristosa is a common sight on the farm. The photo above is part of a very large colony near the pond in the back of the farm.

 

It’s bright golden-yellow flowers are visited by MANY different insects to try to identify. Well, at least if they will sit still long enough. The plants can grow fairly tall, up to 6′, if they are allowed. Since I mow the back pasture they stay fairly short.

 

When identifying many plants whose flowers look like other species, you may have to look at many features. Flip the flowers over and look at their undersides…

Involucre – Flat, to 2.3cm broad. Bracts biseriate. Outer phyllaries +/-15, with fimbriate margins, linear, acute, often twisted, to +1cm long, 1.2-1.4mm broad, pubescent externally, often with revolute margins. Inner phyllaries yellowish, with dark purple apices, ovate-lanceolate, entire, glabrous, 6-7mm long, 2-3mm broad, erect in fruit.

Hmmm… Involucre… The definition is a whorl or rosette of bracts surrounding an inflorescence (especially capitulum) or at the base of an umbel… My baldness is not just because of heredity…

This species is one of “several” plants with Beggarticks as part of their common name. I haven’t had a problem with the seeds of this species sticking to me because they are not at all like their cousin in part 2. These have smaller dried up flower heads and tiny seeds that are easily brushed off if they do happen to stick to your clothes.

 

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Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis) on 9-6-18.

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis, Virgin’s Bower, etc.)

There are a “few” species on the farm that will get a little carried away (understatement). The Clematis terniflora is one of them. Luckily, for the moment, there are only two spots this species is growing on the farm and they are about 20′ or so apart along the south fence in the front pasture. I admit from a distance they appear to look very nice if you are into vines… There is a house on Main Street that has this growing on a short concrete wall along their sidewalk. Hmmm… No doubt it came up volunteer.

 

Their flowers are very interesting and have a pleasant scent. They are also attractive to many insects. I took a lot of photos of their flowers for some strange reason which will go on this plants page…

 

The first two photos above were taken on September 6 and the one above on October 4. GEEZ! What a change!

 

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Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed) on 9-6-18, #503-23.

Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, or Goatweed)

There aren’t many of Croton capitatus on the farm but they are pretty interesting. I have tried to get better photos of their flowers but they always come out too blurry. Their flowers are a little strange and look like they never quite blossomed. But, that appears to be a distinguishing feature.

 

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Croton willdenowii (Common Rushfoil) on 9-6-18, #503-24.

Croton willdenowii (Common Rushfoil)

Croton wiildenowii is also growing here and there in the back pasture. There are several species of Croton that look similar, but this one is distinguished by its reddish-brown stems (among other things).

 

Its leaves are kind of blunt at the tips whereas some of the other species are more pointed. The flowers…

“Staminate flowers with 4-6 stamens. Filaments white, 1.5mm long, glabrous. Anthers white, .4mm broad. Petals 4, 1.1mm long, white. Sepals 4, .7mm long, acute, densely stellate pubescent. Pistillate flowers 5-lobed(calyx). Lobes 2mm long, attenuate, densely stellate pubescent. Ovary ovoid, 1.2mm long, densely stellate pubescent. Styles 2, bifurcate and appearing as 4 or more, 1mm long. Capsule green, lepidote, 4mm long, ovoid but slightly compressed, 1-seeded.” (From http://www.missouriplants.com).

 

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Desmodium perplexum {Perplexing Tick Trefoil) on 9-6-18, #503-28.

Desmodium perplexum (Perplexing Tick Trefoil)

Perplexing is a very good name for this Tick Trefoil. There are several different species of Desmodium on missouriplants.com and the Missouri Department of Conservation field guide was no help either. There was always something not quite right. So, I posted photos on the Facebook group called Missouri Plants Identification. One member suggested it was Desmodium perplexum and introduced me to yet another website (www.wildflowersearch.com). Then I found out she is a horticulturalist right here in Missouri. This website shows 14 different species of Desmodium. How do I know I Desmodium perplexum is the right one? I don’t remember. 🙂 I will figure it out again when I write their page. Just look up the word “perplexing” and you will have a good idea… The problem is, there may actually be more than one species here…

 

Their flowers kind of reminds one of sweet peas…

 

Look familiar? Such neat flowers with terrible seeds!

 

I hate it when that happens! Well, it wasn’t so bad that time. 🙂

Reminds me of a story from when I was a kid. When I was little I used to get stick-tights on my socks almost every day (the little tiny ones). My mother finally got tired of having to remove them when she did laundry so she started making me do it. Well, I was just a little kid and pulling stick tights off my socks wasn’t my idea of fun. So, I guess a few socks slipped in the hamper with stick-tights still on them. Anyway, mom didn’t remove them either… Trying to get them off after they have been washed and dried is much harder. From then on I tried to avoid stick-tights.

 

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Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) on 9-6-18, #503-21.

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed)

A few years ago when I went into the swamp and discovered this plant for the first time I was amazed. I thought, “What a neat plant!” The swamp was LOADED with these plants and they were nowhere else on the farm. I posted about this plant and received several comments from different parts of the world. Apparently, this plant gets around and most of the comments weren’t favorable… In August I went back into the swamp to see if there were any of these guys blooming and there were none. Then, low and behold, I found a patch in the fence row along the front pasture. As you can see by the above photo, it is not a small patch..

.

Now, I realize that the word invasive is an understatement where this plant is concerned. But, they are not alone in this regard because there are others that rudely do the same thing. To think it all begins with a tiny seed…

 

Even so, I think their flowers are very neat. The way they just hang and dangle from a thin thread. Look at the little pigs tail on the end. 🙂

 

The seed pods are also pretty neat. When I took the above photo on September 6, their seeds weren’t ready enough to show you what happens when you give them a little squeeze. When they are “ripe”, they will explode leaving behind what looks like a wadded up rubber band. The seeds fly out everywhere. I have photos from before but I don’t have their page finished yet… 🙂 Actually, I haven’t started on the wildflower pages. I was in the S’s on the main plant list and had to start over and make updates. Then spring came, then summer which leads us up to now… So, hopefully, this winter I can get a lot more finished.

 

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Kummerowia sp. on 9-6-18, #503-27.

Kummerowia stipulacea (Korean Clover) or Kummerowia striata (Japanese Clover) (Korean or Japanese Lespedeza)

This is one of the plants I was confused about. From one website to another the flowers look the same or different. It’s like some are backward and the flowers are with the wrong plant. Doing an image search was the same way. It is quite clear I am not the only one that is confused. The only true way to tell the species apart is from the hairs on their stems… They are either antrorse or retrorse which means they either point upward or downward. K. stipulacea have antrorse hairs while K. striata have striata hairs. When I realized I could have a definite way to identify these plants growing in multitude near the back pond, I was pretty excited! But, it was late at night so I had to wait until the next day. Not to say I haven’t ventured out in the wee hours of the morning to ID a plant in the recent past. 🙂

 

So, the next day I went to examine the stems for hairs… I could NOT see any hair at all. Not even with a magnifying glass! Some plants lose their hair with age like people. Isn’t that weird? So, perhaps this is one of those species and I need to check their hair in the spring… We will see when that time comes. I have a lot of photos of whatever it is. Both species may be present…

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With nature, we learn patience. No need to get frustrated and try to rush it, because it just doesn’t work that way. We also learn the old saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” If you have an opportunity today, it may be gone tomorrow. 🙂 It may rain, get eaten, fly away, dry up, rot, go to seed, run away, migrate, or just simply die… I better stop there. They do say opportunity only knocks once, but I can read the same offers with timers every day on the internet. Oh yeah, that isn’t in nature…

 

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Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead on 9-6-18, #503-31.

Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead)

Sagittaria latifolia, the Arrowhead, are water plants that grow in the swamp in the far southeast corner of the farm. They are common water plants and many people grow them in their fish pools.

 

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Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed) on 9-6-18, #503-32.

Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed)

When I was taking photos in the north end of the back pasture, along the electric fence, I noticed this plant with very interesting green flowers. I looked for more of them and found none. How in the world could there just be one? I searched and searched on many websites to identify this plant and found nothing…

You know, it’s leaves kind of reminds me of the Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons).

 

Finally, I posted it to the Facebook group and was told it was Silphium integrifolium after the petals had fallen off… Although this species does flower through the second week in October, this particular plant didn’t. When I went back to take more wildflower photos the next day, this plant was completely gone. How could there have been just one and then it completely disappear overnight?

I’m going to stop here and get ready for part 2 which were photos taken the day after the ones in this post… So, until next time… You know the drill. GET DIRTY!

14 comments on “Wildflower Walk Part 1

  1. Jim R says:

    I can relate to at least 3 of those you described.

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    I bought a Honeysuckle for the front yard several years ago. The orange blossoms attracted hummingbirds. Then I started seeing small white blossoms all over it. The next year there were more. It was that Clematis. I removed it from the Honeysuckle.

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    There is a small creek running along a trail behind our house. Jewel Weed are there in large numbers. I like them a lot.

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    There is a retention pond on city property near a trail we walk. As summer ends, the Arrowhead plants begin to show along the banks.

    As to your other examples, I can’t say I’ve seen them. But, I don’t doubt they are lurking all around me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jim! The Autumn Clematis certainly produces a lot of nice flowers, but it isn’t something I would want in the yard for sure. When I was a kid we had a red honeysuckle in the yard growing on an old steel wheel. It never spread at all and it was nice. The Jewel Weed is a very interesting wildflower but don’t bring any home. 🙂 I walked across the north hayfield yesterday and was really surprised at what all is growing in it that must flower earlier in the year. You just never know… Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Littlesundog says:

    Ah, the stick-tight plants. I will have to keep your wildflower links handy because already I see four species that are prolific on this place. I’m pretty sure the Biden you speak of in part 2 will be what we have here! ha ha! Great post! You are helping me identify many plants I have never taken the time to research!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Laura! There are several links to other wildflower websites on the right side of the blog under “Information Sources” that may be helpful. A few you can select your state which is helpful. There are several species of “stick-tights” and I am certainly glad there aren’t more. Many times I walk out of the taller weeds and look at my pant legs and have a few choice words. 🙂 Thanks for the comment! I hope I got your name right.

      Like

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I don’t think I have ever noticed the flowers of Stick tights. UGH… They have been in my garden before and I did see them bloom. How do I know they were in my garden? I came in with stick tights on me and I hadn’t been anyplace but here. A nice set of flower pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lisa! I have been the same way here. I get those darn fuzzy, velcro looking seeds on me when I go traipsing off into the taller weeds. Believe it or not, I am 57 and have been back on the farm since 2013 and this is the FIRST year I have ever noticed their flowers. After I took the photos on September 6, I noticed some right in the backyard. I don’t think we relate certain wildflowers when they are in bloom to the stick-tights when they aren’t in flower. Thanks to the comment!

      Like

  4. Pixydeb says:

    Perhaps something ate silphium integrifolium – maybe it’s tasty? Great & interesting post , your wild flowers are very lovely & make ours look boring – bidens is so pretty – we have a relative as a bedding plant I think, & the exploding plant with the pig tale is fab. I did start reading your post earlier & it saved me. I have been dying to spend time weeding my yard (as you would say!) as it’s in dire need so when I got back on Sunday I went straight out – wearing a woolly jumper. So by sundown I was covered in tickseeds. Your post gave me the ooomph to sit & pick them off so they didn’t get washed in for ever! Such a serendipitous post! Thanks 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! It is really weird what happened to that plant for sure. Hopefully, I will find it next spring again and maybe I should see how it tastes. 🙂 Glad you did some weeding and that you removed the tickseed before you did your laundry. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  5. Again Mr R.. such an amazing post. We would call the stick tights, sticky Buds… 🙂 and played games as children throwing them to make them stick on clothes.. 🙂 Be well my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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