Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It’s approaching fall and the temps are doing their silly fall dance. I thought I would take a walk to the back of the farm on Sunday afternoon since I haven’t been back there for a while. The hay was cut a while back so walking through the grass wasn’t as hard as it was before. Ummm… Just between you and me, I took the walk and the photos on September 20. 🙂
Sometimes It is hard to decide what title to give a post, but this one because easier as I walked. By the end of the walk I had it figured out.
I walked around the back barn and noticed a Cocklebur. The plant itself wasn’t it great shape but that wasn’t what caught my eye. There was a HUGE Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) with a Praying Mantis in its web. The Praying Mantis was even longer than the spider. I haven’t seen any of these spiders around the house this summer which doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Truthfully, I have been busy and haven’t paid much attention to anything around the house.
From there I walked into the main hayfield…
Most of the wildflowers have run their course but there are still several that are still going at it. Some regrow after they are cut and start flowering again. The milkweeds, even though they won’t flower again, are some of the first to spring back into action after they are cut and they start growing like their life depends on it.
Vernonia baldwinii, commonly known as Baldwin’s Ironweed or Western Ironweed, is another wildflower that grows back quickly. There are quite few small colonies scattered throughout the pastures and hayfields and the butterflies were very busy on their flowers. They wouldn’t sit stilling enough to get a photo, though.
I uploaded the above photo on iNaturalist and it suggested it was Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). The Missouri Ironweed has appressed bracts while Baldwin’s Ironweed has curved bracts.
Of course, I had to go back to the pasture with my camera and a magnifying glass to make sure. I have been taking photos of these ironwoods for several years and they are indeed Vernonia baldwinii… But just to be safe, I checked numerous colonies…
Of course, there had to be a couple of colonies with flowers with appressed bracts. So, could they be Vernonia missurica? Hmmm…
Besides butterflies, there were numerous grasshoppers, beetles, and other small and odd looking creatures on the plants and flowers. The sun was pretty bright and the wind was blowing so I didn’t get many good bug photos. The above photo of the Slender Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus fasciatus) came out very good. This is a third common species of Katydids that I see here. It is pointing out this Ironweed has appressed bracts… Thanks for pointing that out, buddy.
I went on to the pond in the back pasture to see what else I could find…
This time of the year many pastures are aglow with the golden-yellow flowers of Bidens aristosa. It has many common names including Bearded Beggarticks, Western Tickseed, Long-Bracted Beggarticks, Tickseed Beggarticks, Swamp marigold, and Yankee Lice. Although the flowers look amazing in mass colonies, the seed is what most of the common names indicate. The seed has a couple of small stiff stickers that stick to anything crazy enough to walk through the colony. Can you imagine how many seeds you would have to pull off your clothes? Since I am aware of this I avoid getting to close when there are seeds present. The biggest colony here on the farm is around the back pond, but I have seen them in the lower end of the south hayfield as well. They prefer damp soil, especially in low areas.
A friend of mine sent a photo a few weeks ago asking if I could identify the plants in his pasture. I went to have a look in person and the entire low area along the highway and his pasture was filled with Bidens aristosa. It was quite a sight… Well, his woods are where I took most of the wildflower photos this past spring. This area was standing in water at the time.
One of several interesting wildflowers on the farm, the Ditch Stonecrop (Penthorum sedoides) likes growing along one particular area of the back pond.
As usual, there were very few of its very odd-looking white flowers left but its fruit is also quite interesting.
I wanted to get photos of the Bushy Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) flowers earlier but I could never find the plants. For a while, I thought maybe they didn’t even come up. Fortunately, I was able to locate a small colony again but the wind was blowing so I couldn’t get good close-ups. The common name comes from the fruit being square like a box. Strange but true…
I always thought it strange the Bushy Seedbox is in the same genus as the Floating Primrose Willow (Ludwigia peploides) that grows in the ponds.
There are plenty of the Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) on the farm mainly closer to fence rows and areas that aren’t mowed. To me, its flowers look like Ageratum which is now Conoclinum… When I uploaded this photo on iNaturalist, a member disagreed and said it was Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset, Late Thoroughwort). He said to check the petioles… Hmmm… If I had have taken more photos like usual with I am identifying plants he wouldn’t have said that. The E. altissimum has narrower, lance-shaped leaves while E. serotinum has leaves that are broader at the petiole and taper toward the tip. I took photos of that species last fall growing along the fence behind the back yard.
Walking away from the pond, about halfway to the swamp…
Hmmm… There are multiple species in the Symphyotrichum genus that look so much ake I gave up on trying to tell them apart. Missouri Plants lists 14 species. Some have longer petals and some have shorter petals and some species are “variable”. They can have purplish or blueish flowers as well… They flower pretty much all summer right up until a hard “F”. There a lot of these on the farm and sometimes even the hayfields and pastures are full of them. Not just the hay fields here but other hayfields and pastures as well. This Aster species loves roadsides, fence rows, edges of pastures, and just about anywhere that can’t be mowed. They aren’t very showy because of their small flowers and to me, they just look like a weed. It is very bad to have a nice hayfield or pasture then all a sudden it gets covered with these.
I continued walking along the fence toward the southeast corner of the farm toward the swampy area. I had hoped to figure out what species of Panic Grass is growing in an area close to the electric fence that runs across the south end of the back pasture. But, no luck with that. It’s somewhat hard to explain this area and I suppose I should have taken a photo… The southeast corner is a grown-up mess that would like to get worse. Dad put up an electric fence between the boundary fence along the east side and hooked it up to the electric fence that runs along the trees between the back pasture and south hayfield… DEEP BREATH! Anyway, tree seedlings and blackberries just started taking over, and the deer continually ran through the fence. The largest Mullberry tree is also in this area with low limbs so moved the electric fence up past the tree. Limbs continually fall out of this tree and it was kind of a pain to always have to be repairing the fence.
A few years ago, Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) covered the swampy area but no more. The Canary Grass has taken over the swamp but the Jewelweed, being an invasive survivor, has escaped and is growing mainly along the edge now. It is also trying its luck along the south edge of the front pasture. Many low wooded areas along creeks are a great environment for the Jewelweed. They have neat flowers, but they become quite invasive and can displace native species after a few years.
One of the neatest wildflowers on the farm is the Prunella vulgaris commonly known as All-Heal or Common Selfheal. It doesn’t get very tall but it manages to grow among taller plants and grassy areas along the edge of the pasture, fence rows. I even noticed a small colony close to the back pond last year. They have neat flowers that seem to pop out anywhere on the inflorescence with no particular plan in mind. I found these for the first time last year and what a find they are.
I wanted to walk along the edge of the south hayfield but I had to find a place to cross the fence when I am not met with poison ivy or some kind of stick tights or beggarticks…
Hmmm… Don’t see many of these here especially where I found it. Normally the Wholeleaf Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) is growing along the edge of the hayfield where it hasn’t been mowed but this one is right out in the grass. I found the first one after it had flowered a few years ago along the edge of the back pasture (where I just left). The plant looked like it had neat green flowers but come to find out the petals had already fallen off.
The Silphium integrifolium is quite a majestic plant that can get quite tall and can be found growing along back roads along fences.
Their flowers resemble small sunflowers… Well, once they become flowers.
The Lonicera maackii (Amur or Bush Honeysuckle) flowers are all gone but their red fruits dot their stems now. This honeysuckle is not invasive and has stayed put in the same spot along the trees in the south hayfield since I have been here.
Walking west along the edge of the south hayfield where it becomes a mess of blackberry briars, Japanese Honeysuckle, and whatever has managed to overwhelm or survive the border between the old railroad right-of-way. In some areas, the blackberries are growing out into the hayfield.
I contacted a man from the Missouri Department of Conservation about the area to see what could be done. The old Rock Island Railroad is now a trail that is part of the state park system. There is at least 30 feet between the boundary and trail that is overgrown mainly with blackberry briars, vines, and small trees. It is quite a mess and would make a great native wildflower habitat. The man I emailed replied and said he would love to visit but because of the virus he wasn’t able to come until restrictions had been lifted. That was back in April so I think another email to him is in order.
Lady in waiting. There were two more Black and Yellow Garden Spiders fairly close to one another hanging around in the vegetation along the hayfield. They were HUGE! I really love seeing these spiders and they bring back memories of when I was a kid. I never will forget the one that was in a web under the eve of our old chicken house where we lived when I was a kid. I would catch big grasshoppers and throw them in the web and watch the spider pounce on them and twirl them up like a mummy.
There are still quite a few Goldenrods (Solidago sp.) flowering but many are also starting to go to seed. There are numerous species of Solidago in Missouri that are very similar so I haven’t ventured to figure out which one(s) are growing here. The Missouri Pants website list 13 species. I have noticed some differences between some of the colonies here but they may also be variable. Last year there was a HUGE colony next to one of the Mulberry trees in the front pasture where they hadn’t been before. This year they didn’t even come up… Weird.
This is another of the complex Symphyotrichum genus. This colony has purplish-pink flowers. Kind f hard to explain the color. They have kind of a bluish, purplish, pinkish color. GEEZ! Now, while most of these plants grow between 24-36″ tall, some can get much taller. Along the fence in the front pasture, I have seen them grow well over 6 feet tall. I would say 8 feet but you would think I am exaggerating… There is another genus with similar flowers, also beginning with an “S”, but I cannot think of it at the moment…
This photo is where I came up with the title “I Love You, I Hate You” and maybe should have been the first photo on the post. Probably my favorite wildflower in this photo is the white flowers of the Eupatorium altissimum. They really do look like white Ageratums. The worse is of course the seed of the Desmodium species or Beggarticks… Of course, the blackberry briars by themselves would keep anyone from diving in… It is just incredible how many species of plants you can name in some photos… I see at least five in this one. 🙂
I looked down at my pant legs and no matter how much I try to avoid it, I always manage to wind up with beggarticks… It’s not the ones you notice and not walk in that get you. It’s the ones you don’t see that wind up on your clothes.
I reached the end of the south hayfield journey and decided to walk along the fence in the front pasture. So, I went through the gate and around the fence to the south side of the front pasture that borders the trail. Again, the area between the fence and trail is a jungle of briars, vines, and small trees. There are big trees along the trail, of course, but it is the area between that you don’t want to walk in…
I walked along the fence then crossed the ditch that runs from the big pond and behind the smaller one. The ditch goes to a culvert that runs under the trail that goes to a ditch that drains into the park lake. When I crossed the ditch I saw them… I had seen them last year but I didn’t take their photos.
It is pretty funny to think I had contemplated buying hops seed to grow on a trellis a few years ago only to discover a vine growing in the trees over the fence. This is Humulus lupulus also known as Common Hops. It is pretty unmistakable when you come to think of it, but I couldn’t think of what it was because it never entered my mind that there were hops growing in the wild along the fence.
I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist and it gave me two choices for Humulus. One was this one and the other was the thorny species Humulus japonicus… The two also have different leaves.
Up a little bit from the hops is probably the most interesting plant on the farm and I was glad to see them again. I first identified this species in this same location in October 2018…
This is the awesomely amazing Verbesina virginica commonly known as White Crownbeard AND Frostweed. The name Frostweed comes from its peculiar frozen “flowers” that emerge from the stems during the first hard “F” (OK, freeze). I have only seen photos so I must remember to go and have a look when that dreaded time comes. It may very well be the highlight of the winter. It is actually caused as the water inside the stem freezes causing the stem to bust creating an icicle.
This species grows very tall and produces large clusters of white flowers. Its cousin, Verbesina alternifolia known as the Wingstem, produces very interesting yellow flowers. I photographed that species for the first time at a friend’s farm in September 2019. I found another colony along the Tebo Creek when on the wildflower hunt this past spring. I really need to go to Jay’s farm where I photographed their flowers last September or to Kevin’s woods along the creek (s) to see if I can get new photos of their flowers.
There were quite a few interesting critters on the White Crownbeard’s flowers.
One of the interesting features both Verbesina virginica and Verbesina alternifolia have in common is their unique winged stems. For some reason, I am amazed by weird stems…
Several wasps were busy snacking on nearby asters. This particular wasp is Ancistrocerus campestris which is one of several species of Potter Wasps.
The Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) has not gotten too out of hand which has surprised me. Please don’t quote me, but I think it is a neat vine. It has been in this same spot for several years without spreading that much…
Well, it did spread a little… Now it is growing on the fence along the street where it gets more sun which apparently made the flowers fade sooner. The flowers are nice, but the fruiting phase is plain weird.
Walking on up the fence in the front pasture I realized I missed the Strophostyles helvola flowering AGAIN. Its common name is Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean. I first noticed it last September when there were a few flowers and beans on dead stems just like now. I looked for it earlier in the summer but couldn’t find it. I need to tie a piece of material on the fence to mark its location…
Maybe I should take some of the seeds and scatter them along the fence here and there. 🙂
While I don’t like the velcro-like seeds of Beggarticks, I really dread the seeds of the Hedge Parsley. There is somewhat a controversy of whether Torillis arvensis and Torillis japonica are the same species or distinct species and which one is the Upright Hedge Parsley or the Japanese Hedge-Parsley. Even whether or not to use a “-” between Hedge and Parsley. Plants of the World Online list both species as accepted for the moment… It doesn’t matter to me which is which I just try to avoid them this time of the year. I have hated getting the stick tights on my clothes ever since I was a little kid. I would come inside with the stick tights on my socks and throw them in the hamper like that. Mom complained about it because she had to remove the stick tights. Then she decided to teach me a lesson and she left them on my socks… GEEZ!!! After that, I picked them off myself but soon learned not to get them on my socks in the first place…
For crying out loud! Now I have stick tights on one leg and beggarticks on the other… Believe me, I have had them much worse. I am still learning to wait until I am finished walking before removing them.
NORMALLY in the spring and during the summer when I see a Cocklebur I get rid of. However, with the pasture being leased for the past couple of years I have neglected to do that. When I had cows they kept the grass short and I could easily walk through the pasture and cut the thistles and pull up certain weeds. Some are easier to spray. BUT, with the pastures being used for hay now, walking through the tall grass isn’t so easy. I guess that is a pretty good reason for being neglectful. Reason or excuse, I still don’t like unwanted weeds. The difference between a weed and a wildflower, in my opinion, is that a wildflower has more than a few benefits to the environment, insects, not too invasive, doesn’t have seeds that stick to your pants, etc. A weed, although it may be a wildflower of sorts, produces massive amounts of seed and becomes invasive and hard to control, has awful fruit or seed that sick to everything, and a plant that I just don’t much benefit from it. What is a cocklebur good for? I have no idea and I don’t really care to do research to find out…
As I as getting ready to end my walk, I stumbled upon a patch of the DREADED Crowsfoot. Of the multitude of grass species growing on the farm and in the yard, Eleusine indica is the worse. It’s blades are very tough and its roots are firmly anchored into the soil. You can’t pull it up and when you mow it with a lawnmower you have to mow over it several times.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHANGE WHEN WE DON’T WANT TO?
Well, this post started out well even though it took a while to get it finished. When I started to finish up this afternoon I only had two more photos add. BUT I was greeted with something I had managed to escape from for quite a while… There it was happy to greet me and help with my post… The new block editor. I figured sooner or later I would have to accept things not looking like they always do when I am writing a post. I don’t want to figure it out… I don’t want Facebook to change the way it always looked worked for me either. Why don’t we have a choice? You would think with all the negative reviews and feedback they would get the hint and make the new look optional. Or at least make the old way optional.
You can tell where I added the photos with the new editor because the captions are different. GEEZ!!!! NOT FUNNY even though I had to laugh. 🙂
Well, I was at the end of this post anyway… Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you can.