A Walk On The Wild Side…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I had been hoping the hay could be baled before I took another trek to the south hayfield but that didn’t happen. Rain plus more in the forecast had put off baling so I thought I needed to go check on the progress of one plant in particular… One photo led to another. The mosquitos were insane as always in the early evening over there, which, along with it getting darker drove me back to the house.

You may remember past photos of the big mess along the boundary of the south hayfield. It was a wooly mess grown up in small trees, blackberries, and the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle. Last summer it was mowed off by one of Kevin’s men so he could put up a new fence. As it turned out, the old fence was in the wrong place and should have been about 20 feet or so more toward the trail. Clearing out the area allowed A LOT of other plants to grow I didn’t even know were there before. BUT, it also allowed the blackberries to run WILD! A few weeks ago, the briars were still fairly short, but that wasn’t the case this time. It was like walking through a thorny maize… Well, I was on a mission, so I didn’t let that stop me. The mosquitos were more of a problem than the thorns so I was glad I was wearing a cap to cover my bald head…

SO, you may be wondering, why would I walk through the tall grass all the way to the south hayfield?

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 7-8-21, #809-5.

Yep! To photograph this plant. The Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (arn-oh-GLOS-sum at-ry-pliss-ih-FOH-lee-um). If that is a little too much, its common name is Pale Indian Plantain. So, why have I taken an interest in this species? Well, on October 4 in 2018, I was walking along the edge of the south hayfield and noticed an odd plant with strange leaves…

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 10-4-18, #515-31.

I looked around and this one plant was all I found. I took photos but couldn’t identify it because there were no flowers. Trying to identify wildflowers without flowers is almost impossible sometimes. Notice the leaf in the upper part of the photo?

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 10-4-18, #515-32.

I have still not figured out what that critter is… It was like a stick stuck to the leaf on both ends with horns! I found this plant again in May 2019 and uploaded the photos on iNaturalist which suggested it was Arnoglossum atriplicifolium. I didn’t see any in 2020…

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 6-15-21, #800-1.

THEN, on June 15, when Nathan was with me, we were walking in the area where I first noticed the plant, and there it was… Just as pretty as you please! It was like it was asking, “Are you looking for me?” To be quite honest, I was… Well, it was getting late and I didn’t take the above photo until 8:51 P.M. To make sure this was actually a Pale Indian Plantain, I had to do one thing in particular…

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 6-15-21, #800-4.

Flip over its leaves and you will see the abaxial side is a silvery-white… You can’t miss that even in the dark!

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 7-8-21, #809-10.

Back to June 8. Yeah, I know it is now 1:05 AM on July 13, but what can I say. It seems like yesterday… The main reason I HAD to check on this plant was to see if it had flowered yet. While the flowers weren’t opened yet, we do have LOADS of buds… By the time I get this post finished maybe the flowers will be open so I will have another excuse to go back. I will not miss this plant among the blackberry vines as it grows up to 10′ tall.

The flowers need to be pollinated to produce seeds, but only a few wasps, flies, and smaller bees visit this plant for the nectar. Even though it is a member of the plant family Asteraceae, it has no ray florets (petals).

I don’t have descriptions for this species on ITS PAGE yet, but there are more photos and links for further information. I am still behind writing descriptions…

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 7-8-21, #809-11.

Oh, yeah… There are A LOT of younger plants to flower next year. Apparently, it has been at it for a while, blooming under the brush, because there are a few good-sized patches.

 

Teucrium canadense (American Germander) on 7-8-21, #809-42.

Around the same area, I noticed several American Germander (Teucrium canadense) growing. Previously, the only place I saw it growing was in the back pasture.

Teucrium canadense (American Germander) on 7-8-21, #809-45.

I think the flowers of the American Germander are pretty neat but sometimes it is really difficult to get close-ups. Right now, their leaves are riddled with holes.

After taking several photos I looked toward the back of the hayfield and decided I wouldn’t venture any farther…

 

Sambucus canadensis (American Black Elderberry) and Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) on 7-8-21, #809-26.

Two more interesting plants grow in abundance in this area, the Sambucus canadensis (American Black Elderberry) and Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed). While the Pokeweed grows everywhere, the Elderberry is certainly isolated to the south side of the farm where they like a little shade. Until the wilderness was cut back, I thought they were only growing in the swampy area in the southeast corner. They are actually growing from one end to the other.

Sambucus canadensis (American Black Elderberry) on 7-8-21, #809-27).

I really like the huge clusters of flowers on the Elderberry.

After I finished taking photos in the south hayfield, I looked toward the new gate (cattle panel) that was put up last summer and spotted a Smilax growing on it… Yeah, Smilax tamnoides grows in several places here, but this one was A LOT different…

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar) on 7-8-21, #809-33.

It has HUGE leaves! I thought for sure I had actually found a Smilax rotundifolia (Roundleaf Greenbriar). There are several areas here that the Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar) is growing in the trees but finding new species is always exciting. I was fighting the mosquitos even more at 8:20 PM, but GEEZ! I took photos of the leaf underside, thorns, and tendrils hoping to have found a new species. I uploaded them on iNaturalist and messaged a member who I had discussed Smilax with before. Well, she said,

“This is certainly a prizewinner for size, but it is still Smilax tamnoides. I agree it would be hard to ID just from the leaves, but the prickles are needle-thin and all one color. By contrast, Smilax rotundifolia prickles are much stouter and typically 3 colors from base to tip. I’ll try to get a chance to review the iNaturalist observations of Smilax near you in the next few days. I never say never, but the official records don’t show Smilax rotundifolia in Pettis County.”

HMMM… She sent a link to one of her observations PLUS a link to the BONAP map… Well, GEEZ! The USDA Plants Database map doesn’t even show S. tamnoides in Pettis County and mine is the only observation on iNaturalist anywhere near here. They grow EVERYWHERE! The USDA map DOES say S. rotundifolia is present in Johnson County which is only a few miles away. The problem with USDA maps is that they are WAY out of date and most are from old herbarium samples taken YEARS ago. A lot has changed since then and many species were misidentified in the first place. So, why am I even looking at the USDA map? I think it is time for an update with actual new observations nationwide. Many species are now extinct or endangered while other species have traveled.

I started walking back to the house but kept finding more I thought I should give attention to.

Geum canadense (White Avens) on 7-8-21, #809-19.

I spotted this solitary Geum canadense (White Avens) and it was just begging me to take its photo. Maybe it thinks I should put it on a Geum dating site to attract a companion. 🙂

Geum canadense (White Avens) on 7-8-21, #809-20.

You have to admit its small flowers are kind of neat. The most interesting thing about Geum species is how their leaves transform and change as the plant grows. In the spring, the Geum canadense has a rosette of long lobed leaves that die off as long, spindly stems grow with completely different leaves. You wouldn’t even know it was the same plant…

 

Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) on 7-8-21, #809-22.

Of course, the Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) is quite common here now and new colonies pop up here and there every year. Now there is even a cluster in the ditch next to the house. Of course, I let it grow which may look a little strange where it is. Once it gets done blooming will cut it down. Well, I even let the Hemp Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) grow in the ditch in front of the garden. I am sure it makes some people driving by wonder why I am letting weeds grow along the street like that… Going wild, I guess. 🙂

When I lived here before, in the 1980’s, I don’t even remember Monarda fistulosa. Now there isn’t a road anywhere you don’t see them.

I went to bed now it is 1:20 PM on Tuesday. Let’s see if I can get this post finished. 🙂 Where was I?

After leaving the Monarda, I walked back toward the two Mulberry trees along the ditch where the pond drains. I noticed something a bit off…

Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) on 7-8-21, #809-18.

There is an average size Multiflora Rose growing along the ditch in front of the two Mulberry Trees. Last year, a White Mulberry tree came up in it, and now this weird vine has joined in. I took photos to ID it and it turns out to be Celastrus scandens whose common name is American Bittersweet. Well, there you go… A new species for the day.

There are several Red Mullberry trees here on the farm but only a couple of good-sized White Mullberry. The Red Mulberry behave themselves, but the White Mullberry do not. Their leaves are different, so I always know when one has come up. They grow so fast, so if you think you will cut it down later… You better do it soon or you will have a tree where you don’t want it. I have a nightmare around the corral behind the barn I “should have” taken care of a few years ago. Now I have a big problem and the corral will need to be rebuilt.

Arctium minus (Lesser Burdock) on 7-8-21, #809-1.

There are quite a few Arctium minus (Lesser Burdock) around the two Red Mullberry trees and on the south side of the pond. They can get a bit carried away as far as their population is concerned. I do like their HUGE lower leaves in the spring, but they kind of get old and fall off. Then they grow this tall central stem which terminates in a multi-branched inflorescence.

Arctium minus (Lesser Burdock) on 7-8-21, #809-3.

Burdock has an edible taproot and some eat the heads like artichoke hearts. Young stems can be steamed or boiled. Taproots have been ground and dried and used as a coffee extender similar to chicory… The roots are also used as an herbal remedy.

This is one plant I don’t bother waking through late in the summer because its fruit/seed pods will stick to your clothing. The involucral bracts (phyllaries) are hooked

The last thing I wanted to talk about because I try to avoid it in every way possible is the…

Torilis…. (? Hedge Parsley) on 7-8-21, #809-48.

HEDGE PARSLEY!

If I were to use the word hate, these plants would be in the description… I have mentioned before we have history since I was a little kid, so no need to talk about it again. Until recently, I thought the species here on the farm was likely Torilis arvensis which is the Common Hedge Parsley. It was first observed and documented in Jasper County, Missouri in 1909 but rampantly spread throughout the state. The other similar species, Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge parsley), wasn’t discovered in Missouri until 1988. I always figured the species growing here was Torilis arvensis and really didn’t pay that much attention. I figured the species had been here for a very long time, even dealing with them in my socks since I was a kid, so at that time they certainly weren’t T. japonica…

I posted the species as Torilis arvensis last year on iNaturalist and a member just had to ask if I was sure it wasn’t T. japonica… GEEZ! SO, I decided I would investigate further a few days ago but I can’t give you the results on this post… This post is for July 8 and I didn’t start checking the bristles until July 11. 🙂 Talk about tough to photograph!!!

I have also been arguing with the Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s/Western Ironweed), Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort), and Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset). They aren’t blooming yet, but I discovered that wouldn’t really make that much difference…

SO, I will close this post and start working on the next… I will reveal the identity of the Hedge Parsley…

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay well, and always be thankful. I am going to get dirty and mow the grass… The garden is too wet because we had rain AGAIN.

15 comments on “A Walk On The Wild Side…

  1. Jim R says:

    We have some tall pokeberry growing. Is the bergamot easily confused with beebalm?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jim! Bergamot and Beebalm are actually kind of the same thing. Different people, websites, databases, etc. use different and the same common names for all the species. It is also called Oswego Tea, Horsemint, and so on. Sometimes I call it one or the other depending on what falls off my tongue at the time. 🙂 I hope you are well. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Like

  2. shoreacres says:

    So much to enjoy here! We have a couple of species of Indian plantain, but yours seems to be taller. Just last weekend I took some photos of American Germander. We have another species that’s very common — Coast Germander, or Teucrium cubense — that’s quite short, with similarly shaped but pure white flowers. It was fun to see you mention the ironweed, too. I found some Vernonia lindheimeri recently — great fun.

    Do you use the Bonap maps? I started using them in conjunction with the USDA site when someone told me that BONAP tends to be more up to date. The only thing I don’t like about BONAP is the absence of county names when you enlarge the map — that’s why I use both.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Linda! There is always plenty to see here, depending on what tickles your fancy. I always like hearing what similar species grow in other parts of the country and around the world.

      I have looked at the BONAP maps for a while as well as others. There are A LOT of maps that get their information from USDA, and several other sources. I like asking where they get their resources, the answers of those who reply are always interesting. It is like a big circle. There are legit and up-to-date sources but their maps are incomplete and a work in progress. Which is great! I really appreciate their work along with sites like iNaturalist. Take care and thanks for the comment!

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  3. Littlesundog says:

    I really enjoyed this post! You have many of the same plants we do, and we both share a dislike (I’m being kind) for hedge parsley. That horrible weed has really taken over our property in the last years. The bristly greenbrier has huge leaves! It’s curious here with the variety of greenbrier that I find – so many different species – that the deer are selective about which ones they eat, and at different times of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lori! I think Hedge Parsley are communists. LOL! Just kidding. 🙂 The only other Smilax species I have seen is the Upright Carrion Flower (Smilax ecirrhata) I photographed in a friend’s woods. I only saw it once and I couldn’t find it after that. Deer seem to be especially selective. I have, or should I say had, a nice colony of Prickly Lettuce I was watching in the corral. I thought they would make a neat photograph when they all flowered at once. I left the gate open so I could get hay for mulch and the next day the tops of them were all eaten off. There is a doe that has been feeding in the pasture behind the house and I suspect it was her. Deer have also been ravaging the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’and ‘Dancing Queen’ this year. GEEZ! I have a post coming up about that at some point. I hope you are doing well. Take care and thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Wow, you got some fascinating species there! Black elderberry can be baffling. Heck, all the elderberries are baffling. I am satisfied with the native blue elderberry here, but even at that, I do not know if it is one or two separate species! I have never seen the red elderberry that lives up closer to the summit. I intend to get the North American black elderberry now that they are no longer quarantined, but still do not know what spies it is. Sambucus racemosa is sometimes described as one of a few species of red elderberry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Tony! I don’t know much about Elderberry. The iNaturalist website says the species here is Sambucus canadensis, which was a synonym of Sambucus nigra var. and subsp. canadensis. The Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, is also a native species in Missouri but I haven’t seen any. I really like Elderberry Jelly but I just buy it at the store. I also use Elderberry capsules for my sinuses sometimes. I hope you are well. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        I am not certain that anyone knows much about elderberries. That is why they are so baffling. The blue elderberry here had always been ignored, until I started using it like black elderberry, and wining awards for the jelly at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival. Now, I can not get the berries fast enough before someone else finds them. Fortunately, there are some at work.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. pixydeb says:

    Hi Lonnie – i hope you are doing well. Thankyou for a lovely wild flower walk – the plantain flowers look like they will be amazing – i feel like i have seen a hedge with a similar flower – i must find it & photograph it. So I’m really interested in that strange little creature .. did it fly, creep scramble ? It’s a real weird one. The monarda are lovely – i have a red cultivated one in my garden but seeing that in the wild, that is a beautiful delicate colour. The white avens is so lovely close up – its so easy to miss that perfect little flower amongst all the bigger types. Looking forward to seeing that plantain in flower!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! I have been wondering about you. 🙂 I think I will go back to the Plantain this afternoon and see how the flowers have progressed. Can’t wait too long or I will miss them. They are definitely neat plants! The weird critter didn’t move. It was like it was stuck to the leaf on both ends. I turned the leaf over to see if it was sticking out of the underside, but it wasn’t. Completely a mystery so far. I would love to have red Monarda but I can’t seem to get any to stick around. You never know what wildflowers are growing even under the canopy of taller plants. Glad to hear from you. I hope you are well. Take care and thanks for the comment!

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