Hello everyone! I hope this introduction to the next post finds you well. I have been working on the next post for about two months because it has taken that long to take lots of photos, make proper ID’s, write descriptions, etc. Some plants change a lot in a month as nature takes its course, so I just kept taking photos. GEEZ! All the photos on this post were taken on Sunday, September 22.
I found out there are seven species of Persicaria and the next post will take you on a very interesting journey with each one. Don’t worry, I am not including all the 188 saved photos of Persicaria in the post. Most of the photos will go to each species own page (whenever I get those finished). I have identified 129 wildflowers now, mostly from this small farm. There are A LOT more I haven’t identified or even looked at because I consider them weeds rather than wildflowers. While walking around taking photos of plants, I have also taken a lot of photos of butterflies, spiders, and other critters that are busy working to survive.
The Persicaria hydropiper, commonly known as Water Pepper, own the territory between the lagoon and the pond south of the barn, and approximately 60′ or so southwest of the pond. Persicaria is a friendly and sociable genus, so in the mix are other species as well. Persicaria hydropiper is also one of the most “variable” species here so they had me going for a while until I discovered their secret. I had to wait until plants matured enough to find out, though, which took some time. I will tell you their secret in the next post.
While the largest colony of Persicaria doesn’t belong to the Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), they are in the running for second place. Not only do they occupy this good-sized area between the ditch and the twin Mulberry trees, they are also growing among ALL other species on the entire farm (even along two sheds, the garage, and the north flower bed). From the front of the farm to behind the back pond and even in the swampy area in the southeast corner. The pink cast you see in the above photo is the Persicaria longiseta. They have two key identifiers, one which almost disappears with age.
Sad to say, the Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) is almost extinct here. They are only growing in an area maybe 12″ x 36″ with only a few plants in front of the Mulberry trees and nowhere else on the farm. Their flowers have pretty much run their course and are now setting seed.
There are only a few small colonies of Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) here. The one in the above photo is growing east of the largest colony of P. punctata behind the chicken house. There is a small colony by the gate in front of the barn and another small colony on the north side of the twin Mulberry trees. They are growing here and there among other species in several areas as well, but not many.
The good thing about Persicaria pensylvanica is that their flowers open freely. The other species are very shy to open if at all. Persicaria species are self-pollinating and even pollinate without opening.
The most prolific and largest colony of Smartweeds belong to Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed). They occupy the territory behind the chicken house en mass and what a mess! There are a few P. hydropiper and P. longiseta among them and one P. pensylvanica colony are growing among them. The interesting thing about P. punctata is that they are allotetraploid… Its parents are P. hydropiper as the pollen parent and P. hirsuta or P. setacea as the seed parent, all of which are diploid. They just haven’t figured out which of the last two are seed parents. Actually, could be either one or both depending on location. Neither P. hirsuta or P. setacea is growing here or even close, so the hybridization was done elsewhere such as the southeast part of the country. P. punctata shares the characteristic “punctate glandular dots” on their tepals as P. hydropiper with long racemes of flowers with the other two parents. Well, the inflorescence of P. hydropiper are fairly long as well. A PL2int analysis suggested 15 cases of allotetraploid speciation, including 2 hexaploids and an octaploid. It is believed P. punctata has become so widespread through seed contamination. The fact that they are hybrids has given them a distinct edge over diploid species. In some cases, P. punctata has flourished where its parents have failed to spread.
Persicaria punctata isn’t the only species to begin its life as a hybrid. The tetraploid Persicaria maculosa has been traced to the diploid P. foliosa and the parental lineage “seems to be” P. lapathifolia (both native of Eurasia). Testing shows Persicaria pensylvanica is an octaploid whose parent could be P. glabra or P. hispida.
The Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) is one of the neatest of the Persicaria species. The stems appear to just go up through the base of their leaves. The common name comes from the short, stiff bristles on the stems. These are only growing in the swampy area in the southeast corner of the farm. I made their positive ID in 2013 when I first ventured into the swamp. There was a good-sized colony back then, but I have no idea what its condition is now. From a distance, it appears the Panic Grass (Dichanthelium latifolium) has taken over. I started to go into the swamp this afternoon but backed off. My DRYSHOD boots (we had rain) were already covered with every kind of stick tights imaginable just to take the above photo and get a sample for the first photo.
GEEZ! I screwed up! While I was behind the pond at the back of the farm, I found a lonely Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed). It is strange how a single plant can be growing anywhere here. How did it get here in the first place for there only to be one? The plan was to take a better photo of this species by the back gate (involved with Poison Ivy) or behind the house. I took a few photos anyway, mainly because I didn’t want to get too friendly with the plants by the gate. After I took the photos behind the pond, I ventured to the swampy area to take photos of the P. sagittata. Hmmm… These photos are in alphabetical order, not the way they were taken. 🙂 After I left the swamp I decided to pass on the plants by the gate and wait until I went to the house.
On the way to the house, I snatched a few racemes to take the group photo (the photo at the top). When I got to the house I snapped a photo of the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and Colocasia esculenta and that was that. The battery was dead… I put the battery in the charger and waited about 30 minutes then took the group photo. I forgot about P. virginiana behind the house.
I met a lady behind the pond and she was a beauty. I asked her name but she was way to busy to stop and talk…
I checked with iNaturalist and found out she is Araneus marmoreus (Marbled Orb Weaver). She didn’t run off like her cousin, the Neoscona crucifera (Spotted Orb Weaver), did a few days ago. Strange how they have the same shape and are a different genus. OK, I’ll show her to you even though the photo was taken on the 18th.
She was working on her web fairly close to where I spotted the Marbled Orb Weaver today. She thought I was being a little too nosy, so she hurried up her web. I tried to get a photo but she was moving around so much I couldn’t get a good shot. She finally moved back down to where she had been working on an insect caught in her web.
Well, that’s all I wanted to say for now. Hopefully, I can finish the next post, Perplexing Persicaria, tonight or tomorrow. OH, heck! It is already tomorrow… 1:14 AM on Monday.
Until next time, take care, be safe and stay positive!