Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you doing well. I took a few wildflower photos as I was working on Wednesday. It only takes a couple of seconds to whip the camera out of my pocket and take a few photos.
The thistle battle continues at a friends farm but I think I have made great progress. On Thursday I was at one small area along the boundary fence and almost fell over. I looked across the fence and saw a patch of hundreds of Musk Thistle flowers laughing at me. I had very few thistles here this year but that doesn’t mean there won’t be A LOT more next year. The seed is good in the soil for many years. You have to have a plan and understand you have to stick with it. Not that you can’t amend it, but you have to have a goal in mind. Even though the seeds will come up every year no matter what you do, the goal is to get rid of the flowers before they go to seed. They come up from seed and remain in a flattish rosette the first year and flower their second year. I am not a fan of spraying, believe me, but sometimes you have to do it. For the most part, digging them up here has worked fine because I never did have that many and just in the front pasture and a few on the pond bank. My friend has a MUCH BIGGER pasture and digging them all would have driven me nuttier than I already am. 🙂
OK, here we go… In alphabetical order…
I first posted about the Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) a few weeks ago. I have none of this species here but there are quite a few of them in Kevin’s pasture.
This Milkweed is also known as the Green Milkweed, Green Antelopehorn, and Spider Milkweed. Many Milkweeds are favored by the Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Tussock Moths, but apparently, this species sheds its leaves before they arrive. The latex sap is toxic to humans and animals so I guess that is one reason the cows avoid them.
There are quite a few Cichorium intybus, commonly known as Chicory or Road Aster growing in the pasture, and along the highways and back roads. You can’t miss them as they are one of the very few blue wildflowers blooming now. It is one of the many members of the Asteraceae Family along with Dandelions. The roots of the Cichorium intybus var. sativum is ground, baked, and used as a coffee substitute. Although the leaves are a bit strange, they can be eaten in salads. It is also closely related to Cichorium endivia which is also called Chickory and Curly Endive which is popular in salads. An extract from the root of Cichorium intybus, inulin, is used as a sweetener and a source of dietary fiber. Other common names include Blue Daisy, Blue Dandelion, Blue Sailors, Blue Weed, Bunk, Coffeeweed, Cornflower, Hendibeh, Horseweed, Ragged Sailors, Succory, Wild Bachelor’s Buttons, and Wild Endive. I found all that information on Wikipedia… There’s more but I am exhausted… OH, one more thing… I found a cluster of these plants with near-white flowers, kind of bi-colored, but the photos were blurry. So, I will have to locate them again and take better photos.
This delightful Dianthus armeria commonly known as Deptford Pink or Pink Grass grows just about everywhere in Kevin’s pasture and a few areas here on the farm. Although it is considered a native Missouri plant, it is not originally from North America. Although they are plentiful in “poorer” soils, they don’t compete well with other plants where the ground is more fertile. In other words, they are not pushy. The leaves are high in saponins which makes it fairly unattractive to livestock. Most photos online show plants with white spots on the petals, but as you can see in the above photo, these seem to have maroon spots. Hmmm…
There are LOTS of this Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) growing just about everywhere. I haven’t correctly identified the species because there are likely to be several that look so much alike it is hard to tell. The same is true for Symphytotrichum species. 🙂 The two genera mainly differ in petal length and type of catalysts, but there may be up to three species of each growing here on the farm I am sure. When I got more into wildflower ID here on the farm, I became somewhat frustrated with my many trips back and forth from the computer to the plants. Then there was group growing along the fence in the front pasture that is 3x taller than normal. Not to mention some of the colonies had pinkish flowers. When I realized they were quite amused with my bewilderment, they said, “We are quite variable.” Quite…
The Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) are growing in a few isolated areas on Kevin’s farm but I have not seen any here. They are also not originally native to the United States.
They have larger flowers than the above mentioned Fleabane. They have many common names including Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, Poor-Land Penny, Poverty Daisy, and White Daisy.
I have seen a lot of Dragonflies over the years, but this was the first time I have seen a Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). It flew down right next to where I was working and I got this photo first shot. That was good because it quickly flew to another spot. I chased it down and took a few other photos but they turned out blurry. I didn’t spend much time because I was on the clock… 🙂
The Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweet Clover) is a native of Eurasia. They can grow 4-6 feet tall but rarely have that opportunity in a pasture. Hay containing this clover must be properly dried because the plants contain coumarin that converts to dicoumarol when the plants become moldy. Dicoumarol is a powerful anticoagulant toxin which can lead to bleeding diseases (internal hemorrhaging) and death in cattle. Although a sweet clover, it has somewhat of a bitter taste because of the coumarin which cows have to get used to. As with all sweet clovers, they provide nectar for honeybees.
There are a few trees with Climbing Roses (Rosa setigera) growing in them along a creek. I have several Multiflora Roses (Rosa multiflora) on the farm but none of these (Although I have seen them along the trail next to the farm).
I almost stepped on this Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis). I love turtles and wish I would see more of them. I am not sure how many turtle photos I have taken over the years but there are A LOT in the folder.
This one was very shy and may have not ever encountered a human before. It would not show its face and I didn’t have time to encourage it. I always like to take photos of their faces because they come in many colors. Turtles are very long-lived, up to 50 years or longer.
Last week I photographed the Moth Mullein Verbascum blattaria f. albaflora in the front part of the pasture, and this week I found Verbascum blattaria. The same species just different color of flowers. Although they are beautiful flowers, several states have declared them a noxious weed… Verbascum blattaria are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa but are flourishing in the United States (even Hawaii) and southern Canada. The Wikipedia article says “a study conducted in 1974 reported that when a number of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae were exposed to a methanol extract of moth mullein, at least 53% of the larvae were killed. V. blattaria has also long been known to be an effective cockroach repellent, and the name blattaria is actually derived from the Latin word for cockroach, blatta.” Hmmm…
It further says: “In a famous long-term experiment, Dr. William James Beal, then a professor of botany at Michigan Agriculture College, selected seeds of 21 different plant species (including V. blattaria) and placed seeds of each in 20 separate bottles filled with sand. The bottles, left uncorked, were buried mouth down (so as not to allow moisture to reach the seeds) in a sandy knoll in 1879. The purpose of this experiment was to determine how long the seeds could be buried dormant in the soil, and yet germinate in the future when planted. In 2000, one of these bottles was dug up, and 23 seeds of V. blattaria were planted in favorable conditions, yielding a 50% germination rate.” That’s after 121 YEARS!
Of all the hours I have spent digging and spraying thistles, I have only taken photos a couple of days while I was working. Most days I haven’t had my camera with me. Most of the wildflowers on Kevin’s farm are the same as here, but there have been exceptions. Once you have a good camera and some experience, it only takes a few seconds to get good photos. I am using a Canon SX610 HS which I carry in my back pocket. I have used more expensive cameras in the past, but this one takes even better photos and is so handy. Even so, some flowers are hard to take photos of.
I didn’t work today because we had a storm come in. It was nice! (I laughed at that one…) Maybe I am a little strange, but I am not the only one. Dad and I both used to sit on the back porch together in many storms. We were under the roof of course.
Until next time, be safe, stay positive and continue giving thanks. As always, a little dirt is good for you.