Another Wildflower Update

Allium sp. ?

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. We had a storm pass through on Monday that did some damage in town. A big tree was uprooted at the park and a smaller tree snapped off at the base. There were a lot of limbs at the park and throughout the town. The house I grew up in had damage when two trunks of the same tree fell on it. It was a tree with four trunks and I remember it as a kid. Not much damage in my own yard, though, just a big limb that fell from one of the maples in front of the house. I was surprised the old elms in the chicken yard didn’t have issues break but they went through the storm.

I went back to the woods on Sunday, May 3, to check on the progress of some of the wildflowers and there were three I couldn’t find… It was later in the afternoon so I was more selective where I looked and didn’t have time to find many new plants. Before I left I took a few photos here and a few when I returned. As usual, they are in alphabetical order and not as they were seen. 🙂 It is easier for me to upload photos and write captions and then write the post.

I took a few photos of what appeared to be a species of onion but there is no oniony scent. Wild Allium species fascinate me and there are MANY. It is very difficult to tell which species is which so I just label them Allium sp. Missouri Plants lists 7 species of Allium and Plants of the World Online a whopping 977.

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Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Dragon Root)

air-uh-SEE-nuh  dray-KON-tee-um

I went back to the woods on May 3 and found the Arisaema dracontium starting to flower. I have seen photos online, but it is AWESOME in person. Not only does the plant only produce one leaf, but it also only produces one flower… I first posted about this species on April 26 which you can check out HERE.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Whereas the other Arisaema species I have seen online have a hooded spathe, the Arisaema dracontium is much different. The base of the spathe circles the apex of the flowering stem. The stem can be anywhere from 6-12″ up to the apex. The spathe itself will be around 2″ long, glaucous and glabrous, and partially open.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

One of several good-sized colonies of Green Dragon in these woods.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

The spadix can grow from 6-12″ long or more, the lower 2″ enclosed in the spathe.

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Weird…

 

Arisaema dracontium Green Dragon)

Inside the spathe is where the male and female flowers are. In other words, the plants are monoecious with separate male and female flowers, but sometimes they are unisexual. The male flowers are above the female flowers and are both small and rather inconspicuous. Flowers last about a month and have a fungus-like scent that isn’t noticeable by humans…

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Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

HES-per-iss  mah-tro-NAH-lis

Hesperis matronalis is another plant with a mistaken identity. One evening toward the end of April I noticed what appeared to be a Phlox divaricata flowering in the area north of the chicken house where they have not been before. There is quite a large colony of them growing along the road up the street past the church which I also always assumed were Phlox. The Wild Blue Phlox (in the last post) grows abundantly in large colonies along highways and back roads in several areas. I decided to take photos of the plant and noticed right off it WAS NOT a Phlox divaricata. Hmmm…

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

Phlox divaricata has flowers with five petals and this one only has four… They have a pleasant scent which gets stronger in the evening. Hesperis matronalis is a biennial or short-lived perennial that comes up and forms a rosette of leaves its first year and flowers the second.

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

The other distinguishing feature for Hesperis matronalis is the leaves. Phlox leaves grow opposite one another on the stems and Hesperis leaves grow in an alternate fashion. The leaves have no petioles and darn near clasp the stems.

 

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket) along the road on 5-8-20.

Hesperis matronalis is a native of many Eurasian countries and was apparently brought to North America in the 17th century. The USDA Plants Database shows its presence in most of North America now. Common names include Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Sweet Rocket, and Wandering Lady. Many states have listed this species as a noxious weed and it is recommended not to move it or grow it under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination. Hmmm… Seed is available and wildflower mixes often contain its seeds which helped its spread in the first place.

You can read about the Phlox divaricata from a previous post by clicking HERE.

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Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

kee-LER-ree-uh  ma-KRAN-tha

Grass. It’s everywhere in one form or another sun or shade, wet areas or dry. Once in awhile I find a colony I hadn’t seen before which was the case on May 3 when I was exploring the woods. I spotted a colony growing in an open area between two wooded areas so I took a few photos so I could ID it using iNaturalist. It turns out to be Koeleria macrantha commonly known as Prairie Junegrass and Crested Hair-Grass. It is native to most of North America, Europe, and Eurasia.

 

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

The grass is suitable for livestock and wildlife and even used in fire control. Its seed can be ground and boiled and used for porridge and ground as flour for making bread.

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Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

la-POR-tee-a  ka-na-DEN-sis

There is a lot of this growing in the woods and is easily identified as a nettle because of its stinging hairs on the stems. There are many nettle species and this one happens to be Laportea canadensis also known as Wood Nettle, Canadian Wood Nettle, and Kentucky Hemp (and probably others). They weren’t flowering when I observed them on May 3 but will be soon.

 

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

Plants produce both stinging and non-stinging hairs and can leave you with an unpleasant experience of you aren’t careful. They can cause burning and stinging of the skin and sometimes can leave barbs in your skin. Skin can turn red and blister which may last for several days…

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Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

men-see-SPER-mum  ka-na-DEN-see

First off, kind of ignore what the genus name looks like because that is NOT how you pronounce it.  It has nothing to do with mini sperm. Secondly, it is NOT a grapevine. It is Menispermum canadense commonly known as Moonseed. It flowers and bears grape-like fruit about the same time as grapes BUT these are poison. Three key differences help to tell them apart. 1) the fruit kind of has a rancid flavor, 2) the seeds are crescent-shaped instead or round like grape seeds, 3) vines have no tendrils while grapevines have forked tendrils.

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

The principle toxin is dauricine and can be fatal even though the Cherokee Indians used it for a laxative. HMMM… It makes you wonder if they thought they were grapes and, well, we know what happened… Somehow, they also used the plant as a gynecological and venereal aid. I am not making this up. It is on the Wikipedia page. Did you ever wonder how many Native Americans died figuring our what plants did what? I wonder if they experimented on captives from other tribes? The roots have also been used for skin diseases and to treat sores on the skin. 

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Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

To be quite honest I have never seen the fruit of a Mayapple until now. I suppose it is because I am looking for mushroom when they are flowering then pretty much forget about them after that. I did learn that the ripe fruit is the only part of the plant that isn’t poison. If the fruit isn’t ripe, it is also poison. So, what do I do? Wait until is it soft like a peach to try it? What about mushy like a persimmon? Remember from before I mentioned flowers are only produced from female plants, plants with two leaves instead of one. Fruit may be harder to find than female plants

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Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

SMIL-aks  tam-NOY-deez

Of all the plants in the woods I try to avoid for one reason or another, this one ranks #3. I try to avoid it so much that I pretty much refused to ID it until I ran across what I supposed was Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower) from the last post. Now, I am wondering if that plant was actually a deceptive Wild Yam… ANYWAY, there is absolutely no mistaking Smilax tamnoides commonly referred to as the Bristly Greenbriar, Hag Briar, and Sarsaparilla Plant.

Yes, this plant’s rhizomes are apparently where sarsaparilla comes from… YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!?!? You know what that is, right? The drink Sarsaparilla… Similar to root beer in flavor… Hmmm. I always thought it was spelled sasparilla. 🙂 

This plant is edible and young leaves, shoots, and tendrils can be added to salad…  DOUBLE HMMM...

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

Doing plant research has brought many smiles as many plants have evolved to survive. What people have used plants for is sometimes very interesting as well. This one is no exception… The thorns of this plant have been used as a “counter-irritant” by rubbing them on the skin to relieve localized pain… A tea made from the leaves and the stems has been used to treat rheumatism and for stomach issues… Wilted leaves can be used as a poultice for boils… A decoction made from crushed leaves has been used as a wash on ulcers (such as leg ulcers)… Tea from the roots is used to help expel afterbirth… TRIPLE HMMM… I could also mention testosterone and steroids but that has not been confirmed or denied.

We went from soft drinks and salad to being a counter-irritant, removing afterbirth, and the possibility of its roots containing testosterone or steroids. GOOD HEAVENS!!!

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Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

val-er-ee-ah-NEL-uh  rad-ee-AY-tuh

I have written about this species before but now their tiny flowers are open. I find this species interesting for several reasons. Their leaves are a very distinctive feature which you can see from a previous post HERE (since I haven’t gotten its page finished yet).

Valerianella radiata (Beaked Corn Salad)

Another interesting feature is that although the plants have a single stem, the flowering stems branch out far and wide making you think there are many plants than there really are.

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Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

vy-OH-la  pew-BES-senz

Of the four species of Viola present on the farm (and in other areas), I think the Viola pubescens is the most interesting. When not in flower they pretty much look the other species. One might wonder why it has the name “pubescens” as a species name or “downy” as a common name… Well, it has nothing to do with flowers or leaves…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

I didn’t give much thought to the meaning of the names until I was in the woods on May 3 and saw this colony of Downy Yellow Violet looking a little strange. The yellow flowers had been replaced by fuzzy fruit…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet) on 5-3-20, #695-64.

Now tell me… Why in the world would the Universe decide to give Viola pubescens fuzzy fruit? Plants of the World Online lists 620 species in the Viola genus found nearly worldwide and this one has… FUZZY FRUIT! I don’t know about you but I think that is amazing.

Well, that is it for this post. I need to go back to the woods periodically to check for flowers on plants I already identified that weren’t flowering at the time. Finding some of them may be a bit of a challenge.

I moved the potted plants (cactus, succulents, etc.) to the front and back porches a while back because they were screaming at me. Tonight there is a chance frost so I may have to move them all back inside again for a few days. The Alocasia are still in the basement and I haven’t planted the Colocasia rhizomes yet.

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

 

17 comments on “Another Wildflower Update

  1. Dayphoto says:

    Another delightful post. I love the Green Dragon! What an unusual plant! I also am a huge fan of Dames’ Rocket, although, all the others are very new to me. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Oh my! You got some weird ones!
    Smilax was something I encountered in Oklahoma, although I do not remember the species. I collected seed, but am pleased that I neglected to grow them. I just got a bad feeling about that vine. It was not as thorny as most species of Smilax are, but I do remember that the few thorns were nasty. Besides, there were no real redeeming qualities about the vine, other than it was unfamiliar.
    Common stinging nettle is probably my main vegetable right now, while the vegetable garden is still unproductive. There is quite a bit of it across the road. I hope that the vegetable garden will be productive by the time the nettle dies back later in spring. It does not last long here. I dry some for mixing with tea, or for whatever I want to add it to. It dries and crumbles into a bunch of finely textured . . . stuff, like dried oregano. It is not my favorite vegetable, but I can’t beat the price or nutritional value. I believe that there is only one species of stinging nettle here, although one colony seems to have narrower leaves, and one has wider leaves, almost like your wood nettle.
    Mayapple is just weird.

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    • Hello Tony! Nature definitely has some interesting plants. Some species of Smilax look nasty so I was surprised to read they are edible and have medicinal properties. You just never know. Nettles are the same being harmful in some ways and nutritious in others. I hope your vegetable garden is a success although you may have to wait to reap the rewards. That’s part of gardening and life. You reap what you sow and rewards come with some effort. Even winning the lottery comes with some effort before and after getting the check. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        The garden was started late, when we were unable to go to work. I would not have been able to develop it at all if I continued to work. I would not have started it if I had known how much work it was going to be, all for such a small space. (I thought there was more space, but it was just junk and bad dirt on top of pavement.) Fortunately, there is a lot of other produce in the surrounding forest.
        By the way, I just realized that I still have some paw paw seedlings. I thought they were cherimoya seedlings that I grew from seed from a fruit that I purchased at a supermarket. I got the paw paw seed online a long time ago, and sowed them two winters ago. This is their second year. Is that something that is native to Missouri? I really like cherimoya, but wanted to grow paw paw too because it is North American. I know nothing about them, and have seen them here only a few times. A client in San Jose had a few dinky trees in his parkstrip because he did not want the smelly flowers close to his home. Everyone tells me that the aroma is barely noticeable, even close up. In that part of San Jose, any fruit that develops is likely to get taken.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Paw Paw is a Missouri native. Grandpa had two trees behind the garage but they either died or dad cut them down while I was away. Whatever happened to them, they aren’t here anymore and I never asked dad about them. I thought they were pretty neat and I did like the fruit. Their flowers are also very interesting. I still haven’t got the garden planted but probably this week I will get it done. Supposed to frost tonight.

          Liked by 1 person

          • tonytomeo says:

            Wow! Frost!
            Are there persimmons there too? I got one here, and seed for more to pollinate it. Persimmons were still on the trees when we got to Oklahoma in October. I could not get enough of them. I really do not know what to think of pawpaw, but I hope it is something like a cherimoya.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Persimmons? There are several here and they make fall worthwhile. The Paw Paw and Cherimoya are very similar and share one common name, ‘Custard Apple’, and the Paw Paw is also called Cherimoya by some people. Dad and I never got in a hurry planting the garden because it nearly always frosts in May. If itfrosted during the night like the forecast said, I didn’t notice it this morning. I had to get up around six and I looked outside (then went back to bed). Now I am ready to plant the garden.

              Liked by 1 person

              • tonytomeo says:

                Okies looked at me oddly when I was grabbing all the persimmons I could reach. They do not get it. Yet, I remember Okies getting really jazzed about all the apricot and prune trees that used to grow here, as if they were something special.

                Liked by 1 person

                • The trees here have high limbs so I have to wait until they fall out or throw a branch at them. There used to be an apricot tree here many years ago and it was AWESOME! I that tree. Grandpa’s brother Theodore (from California) and I stood under and ate until we almost got sick. I was just a kid then. Man, I love apricots!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • tonytomeo says:

                    By the time I was a kid, the apricot orchards in our region were mostly abandoned. People who lived here took all they wanted and canned them. The kids I grew up with insist on growing one of the two main cultivars of apricot in their home gardens, but dislike the fruit. It was great to grow up with the last remnants of the orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, but saddening to remember their ultimate demise. I can not imagine orchards here now. It seems like such a foreign concept. I am only a few miles away, but apricots do not do as well here, and there is no flat space.

                    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie says:

    Hi Lonnie – I really am enjoying these wildflower posts – Thankyou. This one has loads of interesting detail.
    I was particularly excited to meet the sarsaparilla plant! When I was a kid we lived right in London and on Sunday we used to go to East Lane market and in the winter the treat would be to have hot sarsaparilla drink. I had no idea what it was till now.
    Hesperis matronalis is a nice plant in my view and I grow it in my woodland. The leaves on the MoonSeed are lovely, The little yellow viola is amazing- Is that the only viola with a fruit? So much to discover in nature.
    I always laugh when you say (often) I haven’t finished that page yet – the great thing about your blog is that it grows & evolves in its own way.. just like the plants

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! I learn so much working with wildflowers it isn’t funny. Who would have thought such a nasty plant is used to make sarsaparilla? Not to mention what else it has been used for. I try to take the time to learn about the plants as I post about them but sometimes I get in a bit of a hurry. All Viola may produce fruit but so do many other plants. I have noticed this A LOT when doing research and the site described the fruit.

      The blog is definitely growing and evolving and I have to evolve with it. Hard choices to make as I am running out of allowable space. I used a premium plan for several years but now I can’t afford it. The free plan only allows 3 GB and I am almost to the limit even after deleting about 30 pages and their photos. If I use the personal plan it still costs $48 per year but my space will double. Can’t afford that either right now so I will delete more pages that don’t get many views as needed. YIKES! I still have a lot of wildflower pages to add. I just have to figure out what is the most important and what is of interest to people doing plant searches…

      Take care always and thanks for the comment!

      Like

  4. Wow, you have Arisaema growing wild – that’s pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

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