Planters Planted

Most of the plants for Kevin’s planters.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I finished the planters for Kevin. You know, the guy who leases my pasture/hayfield, the guy I I feed cattle for on occasion, the guy I do his landscape maintenance for, the guy I wander through his woods and take wildflowers photos, etc. He’s a great guy I have known since high school. We were in the same class so we are the same age. I have been doing his planters for several years now, so I thought I would share what I did. Maybe you can give me some pointers. 🙂

Plants I normally like to use aren’t always available. This year it warmed up in April and a lot of people made a dash to the greenhouses. Well, we had a “you know what” that killed their plants, so they went back to the greenhouses again. Needless to say, when I am late I have to use my imagination a little more. I have never been to Muddy Creek Greenhouse when it was full of plants. Where do they all go so fast? Mast’s Greenhouse still had quite a selection of plants I didn’t want for Kevin’s planters, except for the petunias. Wagler’s has always been #1 for me because I always find great plants and they seem to re-stock. The best one was Wildwood, even though they were much smaller, but they moved out of town. They had a great selection and the plants were of great quality. Plant shoppers come from the city in droves because the prices are so much cheaper…

This is the largest round planter that has a lot of space. I put a large Coleus with no tag in the center and added three Senecio candicans ‘Angel Wings’ and three Gomphrena ‘Buddy Purple’ around the outside. The Coleus could be one of the Kong series. I know the Gomphrena will bush out, but this is the first year I have tried the Senecio ‘Angel Wings’ so we’ll have to see what it does. This is a large planter, so I think it needs to be a focal point. The Coleus came from Mast’s, the Senecio from Skaggs in Clinton, and the Gomphrena from Wagler’s.

Normally, there is a mass of Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) that has been in this planter for several years. Most of it seems to have died out, but there are still a few clumps I left in the pot. Maybe three years ago I put a Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ in the center. It came up and spread again but I kind of got bored of it being in the planter so I removed most of it. Hmmm… Now that I think about it, I think I should remove what I left. Normally, all but one other year, I put a few Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Starblast White’ in this planter but I couldn’t find any to suit me this year.

The above photo is what the planter looked like on August 1 in 2021. You can see how the Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Starblast White’ filled the planter. You can see the Lysimachia ‘Goldilocks’ is flowing out around the bottom. The Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ is in the center…

There are two tall urns like this, so I put a Geranium (Cranesbill) ‘Johnson Blue’ in one of them. I was hoping to find something else for it so I could keep it for myself… It looks a little lonely so I may take some Lysimachia ‘Goldilocks’ from home to stick in the pot. I have plenty. Wagler’s had several of these, so I will probably go back there and pick up another one for myself. I have to go back there anyway to dig some Mexican Petunia and Primrose from her flower bed. 🙂 Mrs. Wagler and I trade plants often.

I put another Coleus in the other tall urn. I am sure this one is a Kong, maybe Red or Scarlet. Time will tell as the color comes in on the center of the leaves. I have grown several of the Kong series and they are AWESOME! The selection of Coleus has been very wimpy the past couple of years. This one came from Wagler’s.

I have been using these HUGE Wax Begonias in the larger hex planters for several years and they look GREAT! The first time I stuck five of them in both planters and it was a bit much. This year I put only three in one of the planters so see how that works out. The Begonias came from Wagler’s.

The above photo was taken on August 1 in 2021. As you can tell, both pots are packed and the Begonias are LOADED with flowers. If you haven’t tried these begonias, you really should. There have never been any tags in the pots, so I have no idea what the cultivar name is. They are AWESOME!

Instead of putting Begonias in both of the larger hex planters, I decided to put the Osteospermum in the other one. I had a few things in mind since I couldn’t find another Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’ (Beardtongue). First, I decided to alternate the three white Osteospermum with the three colored ones. Well, that didn’t work because I still had an empty smaller hex planter and an extra Gomphrena ‘Purple Buddy’. So I stuck the white Osteospermum in this planter and put the extra ‘Purple Buddy’ in the center. I don’t know how tall the Osteospermum will get since there are no tags and I never grew them before…

Without any other choice besides going to another greenhouse, I decided to put the colored Osteospermum in one of the smaller hex planters. GEEZ! I liked all six in the other planter better, so I may have to do some switching again. Then I will have an extra ‘Purple Buddy’ AGAIN…

I put four Petunia ‘Scarlet™ Velvet’ in the other small hex planter. There were a lot of petunias at Wagler’s but none I really liked. I wanted to mix a dark flower with a yellow or red like I did last year, but there were no yellow petunias to be found that weren’t already in hanging baskets. I found these ‘Scarlet™ Velvet’ at Mast’s a few days earlier… I really like the dark petunias, especially alternated with yellow…

Hmmm… Violas make a great early flower that sometimes fizzles out once it gets hot. Kevin always does a great job watering his planters even when it gets hot and dry, so the Violas last a while longer than they would otherwise. If not… Well, I could stick the extra Gomphrena ‘Purple Buddy’ in their place if they die. I like the smaller flowered Violas rather than the HUGE flowers of the Pansies. I do like the bigger blue bi-colored pansies, the ones that are called “Beaconsfield Blue’. They are NICE!

Now, on to the back deck… I had to wait until the next day to do the planters on the back deck because Kevin wasn’t home. His house is on a hillside, so the deck is on the second floor with a walkout basement. You know what I mean… So, I have to walk through his house to get to the deck. He wasn’t home when I started and finished the planters above, so I went back to Wagler’s to pick up a few more plants for the deck. While I was gone, he came back and left again before I returned…

On the back deck are two large round planters and a pair of boots with hats. I always remove about 1/3 of the old potting soil from the planters on the back deck and put in fresh. Well, I remove some in the other planters as well before planting. As I was removing the potting soil and “weeds” that had snuck in, something jumped out of the pot. It was a tree frog that had changed color to resemble the potting soil! I had never seen one that color before so I thought I would take its photo. It sat next to the pot the whole time I was working on the planter.

I had to go to Wagler’s to find something for the center of this planter. When I went to buy plants last week, I noticed there were a few of the Dracaena. I think these are commonly known as Spikes. I have used them before as well as Cordyline (which I couldn’t find). I also picked up three Gazania rigens (Treasure Flower) last week which I hadn’t used before in planters. Normally, I put in six other plants to go around the outside of these planters. Three accent plants and three that trail over the side… But, four Gazania will have to do.

The Gazania look a little funky, so hopefully they will perk up… After I was finished, Kevin said they didn’t look too good. I told him if they didn’t work out I would find something else.

I put the tree frog back in the pot…


There was another one in the other planter… Look how well it is hidden!

The second planter looks better with a Zantedeschia ‘Virgin Art’ (Calla Lilly) from Mast’s and three Gerbera Daisies from Wagler’s. Last year I put a Calla Lilly in both planters and they looked GREAT. I also normally put Gerbera Daisies in this pot and they always look pretty good. Still, it would be better with alternating trailing plants…

I really like Calla Lilies, but they can be a bit pricey.

Gerbera Daisy #1.


Gerbera Daisy #2


Gerbera Daisy #3.

Now on to the boots and hats…

There are two pairs of boots and hats on the back deck. They don’t have very much room for potting soil so plants with shallow root systems are needed. I have used  Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) for several years and they have done well. Sometimes they even over winter, but they didn’t survive this year.

This year I went ahead and put a Sempervivum in both hats.

Wagler’s had several succulents, so I put what appeared to be an x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ in one of the boots. The tags with the succulents just said “Succulent”, so I’m not really sure if it is an x Alworthia or not… If so, it is a hybrid between Aloe and Haworthia.

In the second boot, I put what appears to be a Sedum adolphi… Again, I’m not 100% sure. Time will tell…

There is a boot on the front porch as well that I have been planting an Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) in for a couple of years. It works well there, so I put another one there this year. I forgot to take its photo…

So, that’s it for Kevin’s planters and this post. Of course, as always, I picked up a few more plants for myself at Wagler’s on the 15th…

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, always be thankful, and GET DIRTY!


New Plants And The Garden…

2023 garden underway (photo taken on 5-10-23).

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. All is well here and I am so happy to be getting my hands in the dirt. REAL DIRT!

My sister and niece came from KC to go plant shopping on May 8 so of course I went along. I picked up a few plants and scouted around to see what I could put in a friend’s planters. We made the round to all three local greenhouses plus two garden centers in Clinton. I needed more seeds for the garden which is why I wanted to go to Clinton. I will write more about the garden in another post.

What did I bring home?

Agave (Syn. xMangave) ‘Inkblot’

Muddy Creek Greenhouse sells out quickly so they didn’t have many plants left. I spotted several Agave that I thought were quite nice. There were two cultivars I especially liked but I decided on the one named ‘Inkblot’. Of course, its tag says Mangave ‘Inkblot’ which means it is a hybrid between cultivars of Agave and Manfreda. Manfreda species have been absorbed into the Agave genus so I am just calling it an Agave… It hasn’t met the ‘Pineapple Express’ on the back porch yet.

Callisia repens (Bolivian Jew)

I really enjoyed the Callisia repens in 2019, so I brought home another one from Wagler’s Greenhouse. These make nice mounds and eventually trail over the sides of the pot. The flowers aren’t particularly interesting in my opinion, but I brought it home for the foliage. I tried overwintering the first one inside, but it didn’t like it and eventually went on the R.I.P. list.

Osteospermum (African Daisy)

There were several colors of Osteospermum (African Daisy) at Wagler’s but I liked the white ones the best so I brought one home. Yeah, I know they would have looked better in a group in the flower bed, but funds were limited and we still had two more greenhouses to go (Wagler’s is always the first stop). I went back on the 11th and bought three colors for Kevin’s planters. These plants were in their greenhouse which usually has perennials, so I am assuming this plant is a perennial. There were no tags. If they were annuals they would be Dimorphotheca… Does that mean if it doesn’t return in 2024 it is Dimorphotheca? Hmmm… Likely it is a perennial that died over the winter and I will not be crossing my fingers.

Osteospermum (African Daisy)

You have to admit the white ray petals and dark center looks great! It won’t be treated as a wildflower so I don’t have to use botanical terminology…

Penstemon digitalis ‘Blackbeard’ (Beardtongue

This neat Penstemon digitalis ‘Blackbeard’ at Wagler’s wanted to come home and practically jumped in my arms. I agreed it could come home and knew just where I wanted it. I may go back and buy another one for Kevin’s planters. I had some problems finding center plants for a few of his planters, so one of these would be a possibility.

Pulmonaria x ‘Spot On’ (Lungwort)

Hmmm… Have you ever brought home a plant you didn’t know what to do with it? Well, this Pulmonaria ‘Spot On’ from Muddy Creek Greenhouse kind of fits into that category. I had an idea in mind at the time, but then when I got home it became a “?”. I think I will have to shove in the north bed at some point. I think I will transplant it during the night so the other plants will be shocked when they wake up in the morning.

Ricinus communis (Caster Bean)

I wanted “A” Castor Bean for the garden, but was forced to buy four at Wagler’s. They are in a 4-pack so I had no choice. I had never seen these at a greenhouse or garden center before. No doubt if I had bought seeds on Ebay I would have wound up with more than 4. I remember dad always had a few of these in our garden when I was a kid. I always liked the huge plants and leaves…

Salvia farinacea SALLYFUN™ ‘Blue Lagoon’ (Mealycup Sage)

Of course, you may know how I am about Salvia. I have grown other cultivars of this species before and they always did very well. So, we’ll give this SALLYFUN™ ‘Blue Lagoon’ a shot.

Senecio candicans Angel Wings® (Sea Cabbage)

While we were at Skaggs Garden Center in Clinton, I ran across a group of Senecio candicans Angel Wings®. I had to have one then went back on the 10th to bring home 3 more for Kevin’s planters. I think they will look great in the planter with a Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’ (that I have to get).

Kalanchoe delagoensis (Mother of Thousands)

What can I say? I found this Kalanchoe delagoensis (Mother of Thousands) at Mast’s Greenhouse when I went there on the 11th. Not like I needed another Kalanchoe that gives live birth, especially another one with the common name Mother of Thousands.

Kalanchoe delagoensis (Mother of Thousands)

HOPEFULLY, her babies will be limited to the tips and not like the Kalanchoe laetivirens, the other Mother of Thousands.

Kleinia stapeliiformis (Pickle Plant)

If you were here in person, I would go ahead and ask you to slap me. Well, maybe not. So, on the 11th, Mast’s Greenhouse had A LOT of succulents. Most I have, have had or didn’t have adequate space for during the winter. Then there it was. A weird plant that screamed Senecio (the genus). I have had issues with Senecio before (now on the R.I.P. list). But, I couldn’t help myself… Knowing that several species of Senecio were moved to the Kleinia genus was my way out. 🙂 Now that I think of it, I think it is Senecio stapeliiformis that is on the R.I.P. list. I thought it looked familiar!

Kleinia stapeliiformis (Pickle Plant)

I think it was this that caught my eye. I PREVIOUSLY bought cuttings from a Facebook group member that preferred to rot rather than run (root). The snake in the above photo was likely the cutting that was stuck in the pot, which was apparently rooted and the cluster in the previous photo was the result. So, I think we may have a shot… (WE= me, myself, and I).

Peperomia graveolens (Ruby Peperomia/Ruby Glow)

While I was browsing in another section at Mast’s, I stumbled upon an area with several succulents behind a rope with a sign on it… It said NOT FOR SALE. WAIT A MINUTE before you jump to conclusions. I did NOT take a cutting. If I had been at Walmart or Lowe’s and ran across a plant that I wanted that was expensive, maybe. Not saying I have ever done that… ANYWAY, I spotted three Crassulally-looking plants with interesting red and green leaves. I went back to the succulent section to see if I had missed any there. There was none. I went inside where Mr. Mast was and asked about the plants and if perhaps I could have a cutting. He said, “OH, you mean in the corner.” I said, “Yes.” He smiled and pointed to one of his daughters. We went back to the corner and she gave me a cutting. That was AWESOME.

I thought it was some kind of Crassula, so I searched online and found nothing even close. So, I put the photo on a Facebook group for ID. In no time, someone replied. She, who is also an administrator, suggested it was a Peperomia. SO, I checked online and found out it was a Peperomia graveolens with the common name Ruby Peperomia or Ruby Glow. I replied to her with that name and she said, “THAT’S IT.” This morning, she made the comment “I will be contacting you” followed by 4-5 hearts. WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!

North bed…

I decided to move the Hosta and Heuchera (Coral Bells) from the shade bed to the bed on the north side of the house. I have been tempted to do it the past few years but just hadn’t gotten around to it. The moles are gettng crazy there (since the mole repeller shot craps) and the shade is not dependable during the summer (Chinese Elms=Japanese Beetles=no shade). The bed on the north side of the house gets sme morning sun and part of it gets afternoon sun. I planted four Colocasia esculents rhizomes here, so they will give the Hosta plenty of shade. The only issue would be slugs and snails, but most of the Hosta are supposedly slug resistant. There were 12 Hosta in the shade bed but only 7 came up this spring. A couple has fizzled out by last spring. I transplanted 5 Hosta and 3 Heuchera to the north bed, and kept what was left of H. ‘Krossa Regal’ and H. ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in pots and put them on the front porch. Now I can keep an eye on the Hosta better since they are along the house instead of being about 150′ (or so) feet away. I bought 4 more mole repellers.

Well, that’s it for this post. Spring has sprung and summer is here so now I can get my hands in the dirt and go wildflower hunting…

Until next time! Be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Be sure to GET DIRTY!

Italian Arum Back From The Dead…

The last photo of the Arum italicum (Italian Arum) was taken on 6-1-13, #151-18.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Spring is always an exciting time of the year waiting to see what comes back up and what hasn’t survived the winter. The anxiety is ridiculous especially with our mild temps this year.

I was surprised, actually quite shocked, on February 15. I was just kind of looking around to see if any wildflowers had started blooming yet. The temps were milder than average and the Crocus started blooming several weeks earlier than usual. I dug around in the leaves in the shade bed and noticed several Hosta have sprouted, but they are still very cautious. The Lamium purpureum were all still dead except in the sun along the garage and between the back deck and basement steps. Some of them were already blooming. The daffodils and Surprise Lilies were up and running as well. Now the daffodils are starting to bud. I noticed most of the Ajuga ‘Chocolate’ Chip’ next to the elm tree in the shade bed pretty much fizzled out over the winter. Like non-existent! I decided to check on the ones along the chicken house to see if they were still OK. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the bulbs that always come up in the shade bed by the hundreds that have survived since my grandparents lived here. I have not properly identified them…

What I saw stopped me dead in my tracks…

Arum italicum (Italian Arum) on 2-15-23, #929-2.

Could it be? The only Aroids I planted along the north side of the chicken house were a few Arum italicum (Italian Arum/Lords and Ladies) in 2013. I brought them with me from Mississippi when I moved back to the family farm since they were supposedly winter-hardy in this zone.

Arum italicum are a little weird in that they are summer dormant and come back up in September and grow all winter. In 2013, they did fine all spring, then did the usual dormancy deal in the summer. They came back up in September or October just fine. However, being in zone 6 in Missouri, they also go dormant in the winter and need a covering of leaves for protection. But, they didn’t come back up in 2014…

Arum italicum (Italian Arum) on 3-5-23, #934-1.

I went out to look around again on Sunday (March 5) and saw the Italian Arum, at least that’s what I think it is, has grown a second leaf…

It is so weird it would come up after being dead for 10 years! I remember when I was in Mississippi I had several Colocasia and Alocasia I was trying. I had them in pots and several died… Completely died with the rhizomes shriveled up and dry. I stacked the pots up only to find a few had somehow come back up. This has happened to other plants as well. I always said, “Just because it is dead doesn’t mean it is dead.”

Basically, everything else is still the same. The perennials are still cautious for the most part. The Achillea millefolium has been growing new leaves basically all winter. The Creeping Jenny is working on it, and the fern called Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) never did go dormant. Weird. That’s the one that came up in the north bed from out of nowhere in 2021. I didn’t take any photos of it until 2022 because I thought it was a figment of my imagination.

Anyway, spring feels like it is here some days and feels like fall on others. The evening temps are still too cool for the most part for most plants to start popping up. I noticed on Sunday the Veronica persicaria (Bird’s Eye Speedwell) is now blooming up a storm. They are usually the first to bloom, but they are a hair late here. This time the Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) wins the prize for being the first.

Well, I better close for now. It is almost 1:30 AM!

Until next time, be safe and stay positive, and always be thankful. Spring is right around the corner.

Crazy Dreams…

Hello, everyone! Have you ever had crazy dreams you woke up laughing from? I had a strange dream before I woke up this morning. I was at this consignment auction and there was this long table with a lot of people standing around it. The stuff looked like someone cleaned off their workbench (and trash can) from their shop.

I was standing next to this guy in overalls that was the spitting image of a famous comedian (not to mention his name). 

He pointed to this round object on the table with a wire running from it to another smaller round object.

He said, “That thar goes to one of them lar detectors.”

I answered, “Oh really?”

He said, “yep.”

I asked, “Do you mean a liar detector to detect lairs, a lidar detector for taking 3D images of the ground, or what?”

His reply was, “Yep, it can do both.” He further said, “I put one on my metal detector a few weeks ago and it went down 20’. It said I found a gold ring. Yep, I had to get the backhoe to dig it up.”

I said, “Oh really?”

He said, “Yep. I dug up a skeleton with a big diamond ring on his finger.”

I said, “Your kidding! How much was it worth?”

He answered, “Don’t know. I wasn’t going to take a ring off a dead man’s finger so I covered it back up.”

I woke up laughing.

What are some of the crazy dreams you have had?

First Photos of 2023-Verbesina virginica (Frostweed/White Crownbeard)

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I was in the process of writing descriptions for the Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed, etc.) page Sunday evening and a thought came into my mind… I have been taking photos of this species since 2018 but had not ventured out in the cold to see if I could find any of its frost flowers. My higher self butted in to the thought and said, “You could try it tomorrow since it will be very cold.” Hmmm… The return thought was it is already January 30 and I should have tried before. My higher self returned with, “There’s that “should have” again.” ”

The White Crownbeard has been one of my favorite wildflowers with its odd winged stems and big clusters of flowers. I first published the page in 2018 and continued adding new photos and finally wrote descriptions.

I always thought the frost flowers were formed during the first hard freeze and that was it. BUT, as I was reading the page for the species on the Arkansas Native Plant Society, I found out it wasn’t a one-time thing.

It was 16° when I got up so I knew I would have to give the chickens fresh water. They don’t particularly like hard water, you know. I also needed to give the birds more seed because they hit the feeders pretty hard when it is cold. So, I got ready to go outside and somehow the camera snuck into my coat pocket. I took a bucket of chicken feed and a bucket for water to the hydrant then looked off in the distance to where the White Crownbeard/Frostweed were. All the way down to the south boundary fence of the farm… All the way and it was 16°.

I did have on an insulated flannel shirt, my heaviest coat, and the warmest gloves. I wasn’t cold yet so I started walking. On the way, the sock on my right foot started sliding down in the rubber boot (at least my boots are Dry Shods).

Once I was at the spot where the Verbesina virginica always grew, all I could see was dead stems. Not that I was expecting anything else since it is January 30.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-2.

Lo and behold I spotted frost weed at the base of two dead stems several feet apart.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-3.

I have seen photos online that looked like frozen waterfalls coming from the stems. Likely, I would have seen that “if” I had looked earlier when we had a first freeze.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-4.

It looks like a blob of ice, but it is actually more like a ribbon. Very thin and brittle…

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-5.

I was glad I went out in the cold and took the camera. If anything, it is an inspiration to go out next winter when we have a first freeze.

By the time I got back, my hands were freezing but the coat I had on was making me almost sweat. I got the chickens fed and gave them fresh water and the birds have more seed.

I went to get the mail, and apparently, the mail carrier got a little to close. I noticed before I went outside (looking through the window) the mailbox was leaning a little. There are two mailboxes, one for me and one for across the street. The carrier got them both! How could that happen after so many years? At least the posts are still intact and the mailboxes are OK.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Keep warm and always be thankful!


First Annual Updates Finished…

Viola striata (Cream Violet) on 4-29-22, #875-38.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I haven’t posted for a while because I haven’t had a lot to say and I have been working on updates.

I started making initial updates on November 4 and finished on January 18. Ummm… 705 pages… But there is a catch. A lot of notes have accumulated on “the wildflower list” to make improvements (I call it tweaking) on various pages. There are A LOT of pages that still don’t have descriptions of the plant’s parts not to mention several drafts that have to be published. Heck, some wildflower species don’t even have drafts! I know there were over 500 pages of plants I am growing or have grown in pots and flower beds, but I moved several of those pages to the trash. I don’t think there is much point in having a page with a single photo, a brief description, and growing information for a plant that bit the dust after a month or less. They may do well for someone else, or br great in a rainforest.

I have identified over 250 species of wildflowers because I counted the list earlier in the spring of 2022. I have no idea how many new species were identified over last summer. Species I haven’t seen before just keep popping up. Like the Viola striata (Cream Violet) in the photo. Where did it pop up? In the flower bed along the north side of the house next to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. It couldn’t have picked a better and more handy spot. Where did it come from? Who knows.

It is odd because I have been wanting to locate a white violet for a long time besides the “variant” growing in the yard at the church. I wanted ferns in the north bed so I planted an Ostrich Fern there a few years ago. It died. Then a wild fern came up in the bed from out of nowhere, survived, and spread. Then, the darn dead Ostrich Fern decided to come back to life after skipping a year or two. I am not complaining at all.

Maybe I should tell the Universe what I want more often. A new car or pickup would be nice. How about a Ventrac with several attachments or a greenhouse. A really good one would be to stop aging and wake up with no wrinkles.

So, now I have to go through the list of wildflowers and write new pages and write descriptions. Making new pages is easy. It’s writing descriptions in my own words can be a challenge. I read the technical descriptions written by botanists and explain what it means in ordinary language to go along with photos I have taken.

I still haven’t published the post about the Euphorbia species I have identified here on the farm. It all boiled down to waiting to check the seeds of the Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata to see what colonies were one or the other.

Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata seeds collected from various locations.

Using a magnifying glass, I found out the seeds were all the same. Both species have different seeds which is one sure way of telling the two species apart. So, it proved all the colonies here on the farm are the same species. According to the Missouri Plants website, they are Euphorbia dentata. Unfortunately, other websites say the opposite. It seems as though botanists know their seeds are different but can’t agree on which seeds belong to which species. GEEZ!

I compared the two species on Flora of North America species comparison guide. Apparently, I also have to “count” the staminate flowers… Euphorbia davidii has 5-8, while E. dentata has 8-10… Do you realize how small they are? What if I only come up with 8?

I know the above photo isn’t that great. The seeds are fairly small…

You would think it would be easy to just go by the seeds. But when you have only one species that botanists can’t agree on, it gets more complicated. How do I write a page or post when I don’t know what I am talking about. Even if I were a botanist, I would have to choose sides and still not know what I am talking about.

The post was finished several months ago, all but the information about the Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata. I can go ahead and work on that part and publish the post if you want to read it. I’m sure it would be entertaining…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!

Symphyotrichum Workout

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-11.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The past week has been fairly cool and it finally rained. This is a perfect time of the year to get dirty and do some fall cleanup.

One of the most baffling genera of plants on the farm has been the Symphyotrichum. Even pronouncing it can be a challenge. It’s pronounced sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum… With the help of a curator from iNaturalist, I have figured out the last three of seven species on the farm. That is until I find another species.


The above image was created by Jenn Deutscher and used here by permission. Her website is Alithographica and can be found online at Retrieved on November 1, 2022.

My thanks to Jenn Deutscher for allowing me to use her illustration above. There is a good write-up about her on her website (linked above). She has won many awards and it is an honor for her to allow me to use just a small sample of her work here.

Explaining flower parts is somewhat confusing without something to go by, so I found the above image online. Flowers of the plant family Asteraceae are very complex. They may appear to be simple flowers, but really there are no simple flowers. Some species in the family have over 1,000 flowers in a single head. I tried writing about the parts, but it became very complex… Kind of reminded me of the old game we used to play as kids called Operation… I will explain a little as we go along.

You can read more information about the flowers in the articles supplied by Britannica article and  Wikipedia. You can also click on the plant’s name under its first photograph which will take you to its own page. There are several links at the bottom of each page.

You may not remember a previous post from last fall, but I found two species I couldn’t figure out. After a few days of their discovery, we had a good ZAP and that was that. I watched them throughout this summer but that was a waste of time since Symphyotrichum species here are fairly late bloomers. When they finally did produce flowers I was surprised…

The two species in question were Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) and Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster). Last fall when I first found them was a lot different. There was a colony of S. lateriflorum along the drainage ditch behind the north pond at the back of the farm and the S. ontarionis were behind the south pond along the fence. Umm… Both ponds are next to each other and I really never got the story behind that. I seem to remember the south pond being dug when I was a kid and perhaps grandpa was going to make one big pond. The north pond is spring fed but it does dry up. The south pond never dries up, but the water is always brownish whereas the water in the north pond is always clear. It’s just weird. When I was a youngster, and even a teenager, I didn’t think to ask about it.

Anyway, back to where I was going… Last fall, the S. lateriflorum along the ditch still had quite a few flowers, and there were only a few plants behind the south pond. The plants along the ditch appeared to have been damaged, like from deer foraging, and were short with a lot of smaller leaves. The plant I photographed behind the pond with a few flowers was erect. The flowers in both areas were similar in size and one could have easily said they were the same species. I submitted separate observations of plants in both areas on iNaturalist and then contacted a curator who suggested a different curator. This guy identified them correctly as Symphyotrichum lateriflorum along the ditch and S. ontarionis behind the south pond. Another member disagreed with one observation of S. lateriflorum (but he was correct). At the time, he didn’t say why and I just took his word. I read descriptions online, but they were clear as mud since the S. lateriflorum plants had been damaged.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) behind the south pond on 10-9-22, #916-26.

So, all summer long as I watched the two species growing, they all seemed to be doing the same thing. That’s when I thought maybe they were all the same species after all, likely S. lateriflorum… Then, when they started flowering there were S. lateriflorum everywhere. I was thinking that because plants along the ditch looked like the plants behind the south pond. Then, completely by accident, I spotted a few plants whose flowers were different and they didn’t have sprawling branches… I took photos, of course. Then, as I was leaving the area, I discovered ANOTHER species with hairy leaves. I took photos of that one, too, which turned out to be S. pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) that is common around where the barn is.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on the right and S. lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on the left on 10-9-22, #916-32.

This time, when I submitted the photos on iNaturalist, I contacted the curator from before. This time, he wrote why he agreed with the submission… The above photo shows S. ontarionis on the right with larger flowers and brighter yellow disc florets. The S. lateriflorum on the left has smaller flowers, creamy discs, and fewer white ray petals…

OK, let me just say a few things… The ray “florets” (petals, etc.) are what you likely notice first. What looks like an ordinary flat petal is actually tubular. Farther down the petal, you have the corolla that surrounds the stigma and style of the female flower. The disc flowers (florets) in the center contain both female and male parts and are considered perfect flowers.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-23.

With Symphyotrichum species, you have to take a close look at the flowers. Count the ray petals (ray florets) and look at the color of the disc flowers. Then, look at the involucral bracts (phyllaries) under the flower head. With Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, there will be 8-16 rays (depending on what site you look at, and what flower you look at) that are usually white. Other species have MORE. The disc florets in the center will be a creamy yellow whereas other similar species will be brighter yellow. These will turn a reddish pink with age and later brown on both S. lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. The involucral bracts of S. lateriflorum, are usually appressed (meaning they lay flat), and in 3-4 layers. The bracts of other species are somewhat “inrolled” toward the base and then “reflexed” where the tips of the bracts curl slightly outward. In the above photo, the flowers are 1/3″ or so wide. The flowers of S. lateriflorum tend to grow on one side of the flowering stems which is another characteristic of the species.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-31.

The flowers of Symphyotrichum ontarionis have 16-28 ray florets (ray petals, etc.) with brighter yellow disc florets. It gets more confusing the more websites you read descriptions from. Some list different numbers. GEEZ! The rays are also in 2-3 series which seem to overlap. Information online says the diameter of the flowers are 1/3-1/2″ diameter, but this one was 3/4″. The flowers grow on panicles but when I took the photos, there were only a few flowers open. The curator from iNaturalist said these could be S. lanceolatum, but I am leaning toward S. ontarionis because they prefer growing in wooded areas. S. lanceolatum prefers full sun. There are other reasons as well…

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-34.

The leaves are also controversial from site to site. It is very hard to see, but there are very tiny hairs on the upper surface, giving them a hard-to-explain feel. Almost smooth, but not quite. The undersurface of the leaves are similar, but the hairs are somewhat longer on the veins. Again, that could apply for either one or both species. I couldn’t tell the difference between either species as far as the leaf hair was concerned. Longer is still barely visible. The margins of the longer leaves are toothed from the midpoint.

Well, I think I have said enough about the S. lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. You can go to their pages, look at the photos, and go to the links at the bottom of the page to check out the other links if you want. Click HERE for S. lateriflorum and HERE for S. ontarionis. Ummm… I may be still working on their pages as far as descriptions are concerned, but there are a lot of photos. Oh yeah, I am going to move them around a bit, too. A work in progress. 🙂

<<<<Symphyotrichum lanceolatum>>>>

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-8.

Walking through the pasture on my way back from taking photos behind the pond, I ran across a small colony of what I thought could be Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster). After all, they were growing in full sun instead of in a wooded area. It was very windy, so getting good close-ups was pretty much out of the question. I tried…

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Tall White Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-9.

Typically, S. lanceolatum have flower heads that are 1/2-1″ in diameter and have 16 to 50 ray florets in 1 or 2 series (you can see this where they overlap). Different websites give different numbers, and they are usually white but can be bluish to violet. The disc florets in the center number from 15-40, are brighter yellow, turning a reddish-pink with age. The involucre is cup-shaped to bell-shaped. The bracts (phyllaries) are in 3-5 (6) unequal, overlapping series. They are appressed to slightly spreading… The plants produce quite a number of flowers on long panicles arising from the upper leaf nodes. Missouri Plants says the leaves of S. lanceolatum are very smooth, almost balloon-like, except for a few hairs along the margins.

I only found two plants on the south side of the main hayfield growing among literally thousands of Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane). I looked very carefully. The involucre of the Erigeron annuus is completely different and they have MANY more very slender ray petals.

<<<<Symphyotrichum novae-angliae>>>>

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-15.

The clump of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) finally came up and bloomed again. I began to wonder since they came up so late. They are a perennial like the other Synphyotrichum species, but this species hasn’t spread. I have no idea why and it is weird. The multiple stems grow so tall they can’t stand up. Last year, I measured one of the stems at 78″ tall. The Missouri Botanical Garden says they have a “robust, upright growth habit…” Hmmm… That is until they flop over. It would be a spectacular sight if they stayed upright, but they fall over even before the flowers open.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-16.

I am not particularly into pink, which I have mentioned before, but these flowers are pretty neat. The flower I measured was 1 1/2″ wide and I didn’t bother to count the ray florets. Information online says there are 50-100! You would think with all flowers that are produced they would spread by seed.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 10-1-22, #913-17.

No use in denying their involucral bracts are reflexed! They are in 3-6 unequal, overlapping series.

<<<<Symphyotrichum pilosum>>>>

Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-35.

This Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) is the one I found growing close to the S. lateriflorum behind the south pond. Isn’t really a good example since the plants growing close to the barn growing in full sun are LOADED with small white flowers. I was going to take their photos but it was getting late and the sun was going down. After that, it was either windy or rainy, and then we had an “F” which put an end to the whole idea.

The flower heads are from 1/4-3/4″ wide and have 15-35 pistillate ray flowers (florets, petals). The discs are yellow turning reddish with age. The involucral bracts are weird in that they are kind of inrolled at the base then turn outward, then curve upward.

Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) on 10-9-22, #916-37.

The fact that their leaves (and stems) are hairy (pubescent) is a definite indicator this species is S. pilosum. These plants can grow to around 5′ tall in the right conditions.

<<<<Symphyotrichum praealtum>>>>

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-5.

Talk about spreading… The Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) has no problems with that. I have taken photos of this species since 2018 but I didn’t get them identified until last year. They grow along the south side of the farm and nowhere else here. They grow in a few areas in front of the blackberry briars in the south hayfield all the way up to the gate along the fence entering the front pasture.

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-10.

This species has 20-35 lavender rays in 1-2 series. The yellow disc florets turn reddish purple with age (and it doesn’t take long). It seems since Symphyotrichum species are in such a big hurry since they bloom so late… The flower heads are 1/2-3/4″ across (or so)…

Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 10-12-22, #918-12.

The involucral bracts are slightly reflexed…

Symphyotrichum praealtum can get very tall, much taller than me.

Well, I guess I should be relieved the Symphyotrichum species here on the farm have been properly identified. At least for the most part. I’m not saying I am quite sure about S. lanceolatum, but I am fairly confident. GEEZ! If I missed talking about something important, just let me know. I am no expert, but I may be able to answer your question.

Now, I will have to check the seeds of the Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata to see if they are dry enough for an ID. Seems silly to have it down to the seeds for a proper ID. What if their seeds were variable. too. After that, the Euphorbia post will be ready.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY! Be thankful you can GET DIRTY!

Cactus & Succulent Update 2022

Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ on 10-16-22, #919-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The dreaded time of the year has arrived and I had to move the potted plants inside on January 16. I was still working on one last new wildflower ID and still needed a few leaf and stem photos. I had already taken photos, but the leaf and stem photos were blurry. I’m not sure if I can still take any since the “F”, and since then the wind has been blowing. Of course, it warmed back up…

As always, I take photos and measure the cactus and some of the succulents as I bring them back inside. Most of the plants were on the front porch this summer because the heat and the intense sun seemed a little too much for some of them last summer. Yeah, I know they are cacti, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like intense sun. Many smaller species grow in the shade of taller plants.

Last winter was not too good… My son and his friend were still here so they used the back bedroom. I usually kept the back bedroom cooler with a plant shelf in the south-facing window for the succulents and part of the cacti. but the shelf was placed in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room. Instead of the cactus being on a table in front of the sliding door, they were on another shelf in my bedroom. I couldn’t very well keep the temp cooler in either place. They are gone now, thank goodness, so the plants are basically where they should be.

As a result of more heat, for one thing, I lost a few plants over last winter from mealybugs… GEEZ! I think the worse was losing both Mammillaria pringlei and rhodantha… I also lost the Aloe ‘Lizard Lips’. I had all three of those for MANY YEARS.

Anyway, here we go in alphabetical order… You can click on the plant’s name under the photo to go to their own pages.

<<<<Aloe ‘Cha Cha’>>>>

Aloe ‘Cha Cha’ on 10-16-22, #919-1.

Aloe ‘Cha Cha’ is the last survivor of the five plants I received from Succulent Market in 2020. Ummm… I am trying not to mention… NO, I’m not going to do it! I did mention A. ‘Lizard Lips’ contacted mealybugs, but not from A. ‘Cha Cha’. Somehow it never had them and has done weirdly well… Of course, as you may be able to tell, it is a miniature.

<<<<Aloe maculata>>>>

Aloe maculata on 10-16-22, #919-2.

Hmmm… I just discovered a problem with starting at the beginning of the alphabet. Maybe I should have started at the end. Although the Aloe maculata are all doing GREAT as always, I have been promising it I would divide their pot for a couple of years. Maybe three. I had one in another pot that “somehow” contacted mealy bugs last winter and they kept coming back. SO, I did a terrible thing and threw it out the back door. The big pot was in my bedroom and it would get an occasional bug but nothing serious. Isolating this plant would be a problem, so I decided to put it in the basement in front of a window. I remembered I kept a lot of plants in the basement during the winter before and they always did fine. Well, the bugs didn’t like the conditions and they left and the Aloe came through with flying colors like it had been in perfect conditions. These plants are descendants of the Aloe maculata I called ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ that was given to me by a good friend, Kyle, when I was living in Mississippi. The plant, actually I think there were two, were from his grandma, Brenda, in 2009.

I was just thinking maybe I should use the basement as a quarantine station. 🙂 Well, if the plants are halfway dormant…

<<<<Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle)>>>>

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 7″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-3.

Another hmmm… As I looked at this plant, it started tapping its feet. It asked, “Do you notice something?” I said, “Ummm…” Last fall I told this Austrocylindropuntia subulata I would move it back to the center of the pot in the spring. As you can see, it is still not in the center. Maybe, in the back of my mind, I was thinking it would move by itself. I know the original plant was in the center when I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2019 when it was just a single stub at only 4 1/2″ tall. Now, it has grown appendages and its offset is 7″ tall…

<<<<Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’>>>>

Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ at 10″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-5.

At least the Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ didn’t give me any dirty looks and seemed to be quite content on the front porch. It grew another 1/4″ and is now 10″ tall. The top photo is the upper portion of this plant. I brought this plant home in 2018 when it was only 5 1/2″ tall. I really like monstrous forms of cacti.

<<<<Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’>>>>

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 10 1/2 tall x 10″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-7.

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ did very well in its usual spot over the summer on the front porch. I brought this plant home in 2018 when it was 7″ tall and it is now 10 1/2″ tall. I always like the tree-like appearance of older Crassula ovata. I had a fairly large Crassula ovata and a nice C. ovata ‘Lady Fingers’ that were AWESOME!

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ on 10-16-22, #919-8.

They can attract brown scale (from somewhere) which are easily removed with your fingernail. If you don’t keep an eye on them, the scale can spread to all the leaves and become a pain… Especially when you have a bigger plant with A LOT of leaves

<<<<Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’>>>>

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 4 1/4″ tall x 7 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-9.

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts”…GEEZ! I lost my train of thought. I have thought about removing her kids, but then I think about what she would look like all naked. No doubt, her trunk would be all brown and terribly unsightly so I just keep the family together. Someday, I hope to see flowers. After all, I have had this pot since 2016 and who knows how old it was before I brought it home. The main plant was only 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I brought it home, and the offsets were growing along its ribs. Now it is 4 1/4″ tall and the whole cluster is 7 1/4″ wide. This plant was originally x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and was described as an intergeneric cross between Echinopsis and Lobivia. Lobivia is now a synonym of Echinopsis, so I guess it wasn’t an intergeneric cross after all. 🙂 It was named “Rainbow Bursts” because of their “spectacular colors” (so the label said) over the spring and summer. STILL WAITING…

I was watching a YouTube video from Morris Park in the Ozarks a couple of pots that looked similar. With all the offsets and everything.

I still have the big pot of Echinopsis huascha, but they are looking very weird…

<<<<Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana>>>>

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady)at 9″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-10.

The Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) always seems happy no matter where she is sitting. She may have been happier on the front porch out of the wind so her hair doesn’t get messed up. She has grown another 1/2″ over the summer to 9″ tall. Hard to imagine she was only 2 3/4″ tall when I brought her home in 2016.

<<<<Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’>>>>

Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ (African Milk Tree) at 19 1/2″ tall on 10-16-22, #919-11.

To say this Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ has grown would be an understatement. I brought it home from Mast’s Greenhouse in June of 2021 when it was 6 1/4″ tall. By the time I moved the plants inside in October, it had grown to 10 3/4″. Every time I looked at the plants over the summer, I noticed this plant was growing and even had an offset. Well, lately, I had been busy and hadn’t paid much attention to the plants on the front porch. So, when I started moving the plants inside I was SHOCKED! This plant had grown to 19 1/2″ tall!

Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ on 10-16-22, #919-12.

Euphorbia trigona was named and described as such by Philip Miller in the eighth edition of The Gardener’s Dictionary in 1768. I don’t know where he found it exactly, but it wasn’t in the wild… You see, there are no known plants of this species in the wild, and it is possibly of hybrid origin. Information also says this species does not produce flowers. Hmmm… As with all Euphorbia, it does produce a milky latex sap.

<<<<Ferocactus wislizeni>>>>

Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) at 3 1/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-13.

The Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) has done quite well on the front porch and has now reached 3 1/8″ tall. This guy always got a little sunburned on the back porch, but it has had no problems on the front porch. It was only 1 5/8″ tall when I brought it home in 2019, so it has done well.

<<<<x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’>>>

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 4″ tall x 4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-14.

I had to throw out my older x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ in January because of mealybugs. I had sprayed, washed them off, etc. and I finally had to give up. Repeatedly working the plant over seemed to make the plant suffer more (especially during its rest period). I was happy to find a new one at the Kuntry Store in July that was 3″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. There were some really nice larger plants in combination planters, but I only wanted ‘Flow’. GEEZ, I hate it when that happens. It has grown to 4″ tall x 4″ wide since I brought it home. The plant didn’t have any sort of label, but I am assuming it is x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’.

<<<<Gasteria ‘Little Warty’>>>>

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ at 6 7/8″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-16.

The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ continued to do well and is now 6 7/8″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide. I really like this little guy. It was only 2″ tall x 2 13/16″ wide when I brought it home in 2019. The mealy bugs tried to infect this plant but had no luck.

<<<<Gasteria sp. ?>>>>

Gasteria sp. at 5 1/4″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide on 10-19-22, #919-16.

I thought I was going to lose this Gasteria last winter because of its issues with mealybugs. It still isn’t quite back to normal but it is OK. It even grew to 5 1/4″ tall x 7 1/8″ wide. I think I may put it in the cool front bedroom with plants that aren’t bothered by critters and keep an eye on it. Maybe I should put it in the basement… I would hate to lose it after almost 5 years. I was kind of surprised it had mealy bug issues since its leaves are so hard, but they attacked way down where the leaves attach. A very hard spot to get to.

<<<<Gymnocalycium saglionis>>>>

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-17.

The Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) had never had one single issue. No rust spots, sunburn, bugs, or anything. It has grown from 1 1/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide in 2019 to 2 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It had its biggest growth spurt in the first 7 months after I brought it home, and since then it is just grown slow and steady. At least it is still alive and well.

<<<<Haworthiopsis limifolia>>>>

Haworthiopsis limifolia (File-Leaved Haworthia) at 5 1/8″ tall x 6″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-18.

Formerly Haworthia limifolia, the Haworthiopsis limifolia continues to do remarkably well without a hitch. These plants are normally sold under the name Haworthia limifolia ‘Fairy Washboard’, but that is actually a common name along with File-Leaved Haworthia, Fairies Washboard, Swaiti Haworthia, and possibly others. The last name is possibly what it is called in Southeast Africa where the species grows in the wild. There are five varieties of the species… This plant has now grown to 5 1/8″ tall x 6″ wide from 2 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide when I brought it home in May of 2019. Who wouldn’t like its dark green color with all those ridges on the leaves?

<<<<Kalanchoe daigremontiana>>>>

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) at 27 3/4″ tall x 7 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-19.

I finally found a nice Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant). You may remember the “other” Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother Of Thousands) I have… I always thought something was a little whacky with the name, and then I finally figured out it was a Kalanchoe laetivirens. Anyway, when I was plant shopping at Wagler’s Greenhouse this summer, I saw they had quite a few of real Kalanchoe daigremontiana. Of course, I had to bring one home… It was 13 1/4″ tall x 13 1/2″ wide when I brought it home in May and now it is a shocking 27 3/4″ tall. Some of the lower leaves have fallen off, so the width has shrunk to 7 1/2″ wide.

Normally, I would have repotted this plant, but since I was a bad parent in 2022 it is STILL in its 4 1/2″ pot I brought it home in. GEEZ! Luckily, it performs a balancing act quite well. It was between two bricks on the plant table, which most of the plants were (or tucked in pot-to-pot) so the wind would blow them around. Right now, it is standing next to the kitchen sink. I am trying to figure out where to put it for the winter…

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) on 10-16-22, #919-20.

Like the Kalanchoe laetivirens (or x laetivirens since it is a cross between two species), this one also gives birth to plantlets along its leaves (which aren’t really leaves). I removed them before I brought it into the house. I learned a lesson from before…

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Alligator Plant) on 10-16-22, #919-21.

This species has the purplish marking on its, umm… You know what I mean. A spider decided this plant’s “leaves” made a good home and it was COVERED in webs. I should have taken a photo, but that would have proved my neglect… I guess I could have said it was decorated for Halloween. 🙂 I don’t have a page for this plant yet.

<<<<Kalanchoe thyrsiflora>>>>

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) at 14 1/4 ” tall on 10-16-22, #919-22.

I found several awesome Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) at Mast’s Greenhouse in May and thought I needed to bring one home. I was surprised with buds when I was bringing the plants inside since they weren’t there the week before (unless I wasn’t paying attention). It was 6″ tall x 7 3/4″ wide when I brought it home, and now it is 14 1/4″ tall including the buds. Won’t this be interesting? Ummm… I have no page for this plant yet either.

The Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’, K. laetivirens, all the K. luciae, and K.orgyalis (Copper Spoons) are still alive but need some work… Sadly, the K. gastonis-bonnieri (Donky Ears) and K. beharensis didn’t survive last winter. The K. marmorata (Penwiper Plant) also finally gave it up. We had our ups and downs since 2018.

<<<<Kroenleinia grusonii>>>>

Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)… Greater (green pot) at 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide, and Lessor (orange pot) at 3 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-23.

These two comedians of the group are still alive and well. The Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) both continue growing head to head. I named them Greater and Lessor in 2016 because the one in the green pot has always been a little taller than the other. Lessor, in the orange or red pot (I can’t decide what color it is), has always been a little shorter and wider. Well, this year they are both 3 1/4″ wide, but Lessor is 1/4″ taller than Greater. Of course, they tried their best to convince me they traded pots. Crazy guys! Measuring them is tricky enough with them jiggling around and standing on their toes.

Apparently, the orange spots on these two guys was rust. Rust can be treated if you know what it is in the first place. Well, the rust issue has gone away, and the orange spots have turned white. Now that I know what it was, I will keep an eye on them.

<<<<Mammillaria hahniana>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-24.

This Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is now the oldest Mammillaria in my collection since M. pringlei and M. rhodantha died. This awesome cactus has now grown to 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide from 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide in 2016. It has been a great cactus and is a free bloomer when it gets in the mood. Old Woman Cactus is the common name iNaturalist gives this species…

<<<<Mammillaria karwinskiana>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-25.

When I was measuring Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) it told me it had an itch and asked me to give it a scratch. I was kind of speechless. It has barely ever spoken to me and now it wants a scratch. GEEZ! It just as well ask for a massage. Anyway… This cactus has done very well and has grown another 1/2″ taller and is about the same width as last year. It now stands at 4 1/2″ tall and is 3 1/2″ wide. To think it was just 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16″ when I brought it home in 2019. I really like its wool, hairiness, and those long, straight, white spines. But a scratch is out of the question.

<<<<Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 5 1/4″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-26.

The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) has been a great plant since I brought it home from Lowe’s in September in 2019. Its pot was laying on the plant shelf with the plant not even in the pot. I am sure it appreciates being brought home. I have always admired its blue-green color and all those golden spines, but the long central spines and short radial spines are also neat. It has grown to 5 1/4″ tall x 3″ wide and was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home.

<<<<Mammillaria mystax>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-27.

Very funny… The Mammillaria mystax shrunk! The measurement from last year was 3 1/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide and now it is 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide. Heck, it was 2 3/4″ tall in 2020. It has grown quite a bit, though, since it was just 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home in 2018. Sometimes that happens with cacti when they don’t have enough water. That is likely the case since they were under the roof of the front porch and most of the time just received rain as it blew in on them. I am not complaining that it shrunk especially since it is partly my fault. OK, it was likely all my fault. But, it was safe from the scorching sun on the front porch which I know it appreciated. How do I know? Well, it was smiling at me when I measured it and took its photo.

<<<<Mammillaria plumosa>>>>

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 2″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-28.

It is certainly a good thing this Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) hasn’t had any problems with mealybugs. How would you tell? I bought this cactus from a seller on Ebay in 2018 and it has been great. In fact, it is the only cactus I bought from Ebay that has survived. Even though it was very small at 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide it has done very well. The main plant has grown to 2″ tall and the whole cluster is now 4 1/2″ wide. This one you can pet if you so desire…

I lost several Mammillaria since last winter including M. decipiens (Bird’s Nest Cactus) that did very well since 2018, M. elongata (Lady Finger Cactus) that I brought home in 2018, M. pringlei and M. rhodantha I already mentioned, M. senilis (the one with the hooked spines I could never tell if it was alive or dead) since 2020, both M. vetula including ‘Arizona Snowcap’, and M. compressa from 2020. The M. spinosissima ‘Un Pico’ is still alive but looks terrible with A LOT of rust or something… One of the plants in the pot of 3 already died… I have learned that even though many species of Mammillaria are some of the best cacti to grow, when you bring home very small plants you are taking a risk. Also, there are many species on the market that haven’t been in cultivation that long and may not be good choices. Big growers plant seeds by the thousands and don’t necessarily care if they are good choices for pot culture. These days some companies aren’t even putting the names on the pots because they have no clue.

<<<<Opuntia monacantha var. variegata>>>>

Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) at 12 3/8″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-29.

You know, I really haven’t been into variegated cacti, but this Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) I saw at Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2020 caught my eye. It was only 4 3/4″ tall when I brought it home, and it has grown to 12 3/8″. It is very interesting…

Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) on 10-16-22, #919-30.

Actually, Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) has it listed as Opuntia monacantha f. monstruosa variegata (syn. Opuntia monacantha var. variegata cv. Maverick variegata). Which is a synonym of Opuntia monacantha… You know, someone always has to give it a cultivar name when it isn’t necessarily a cultivar. It is one of very few naturally occurring variegated cacti and it is a monstrose form. It is a dwarf, teratological variant of the larger Opuntia monacantha. Anyway, something weird is going on with its main stem… What are those protruberances? Could they be buds? I checked out photos on iNaturalist for the species and that could be very possible… Time will tell and keep your fingers crossed they don’t fall off if they are buds. You never know since I moved it into the house in a different light.

<<<<Parodia lenninghausii>>>>

Parodia lenninghausii, the orange pot on the right is 6 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide, and the green pot on the left is 7″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-31.

The two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball or Lemon Ball Cactus) are more serious than the two Kroenleinia grusonii, but they do have their moments. Sometimes these two agree with each other, and at other times they seem to have had a disagreement and won’t even look at each other. I kind of screwed up and named them Greater and Lessor as well, so I may have to change that. They have also done the switch… Lessor, in the green pot, is now taller than Greator… Lessor is now 7″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide, and Greater is 6 1/2″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide. Hmmm… I have been enjoying these two since 2-1-16. That was when I bought several cacti from Walmart and didn’t notice I bought two Parodia lenninghausii and two Kroenleinia grusonii until I was home… I am glad I brought two of each home to compare with each other as they grow.

<<<<Parodia magnifica>>>>

Parodia magnifica (Ball or Balloon Cactus) at 2 7/8″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-32.

The Parodia magnifica (Ball or Balloon Cactus) has done very well and has grown to 2 7/8″ tall but has shrunk 1/8″ to 3 1/8″ wide. It has a few brown spots that I am not sure what the cause is. I was watching a video on YouTube from Morris Park in the Ozarks where he talked about several issues with his cactus. This could be scarring from getting cold or perhaps from stretching as it grows… Apparently, it isn’t hurting it since it is growing and seems healthy otherwise. The marks are smooth without any sign of any kind of infection, past or present.

Parodia magnifica from the top on 10-16-22, #919-33.

I really like the top view with its wool along the tips of the ridges and golden spines.

<<<<Polaskia chichipe>>>>

Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe), the taller plant on the right was 3 7/8″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide, and the one on the right was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-34.

The Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe, ETC.) has done pretty well considering they don’t look that great. I’m not sure what happened to the one on the left, but the one on the right had straw flower damage. You know, those silly fake flowers they stick on with some kind of glue. Perhaps the other marks are naturally occurring as the plants grow. The big scar on the one on the right is likely from the straw flower. There were three plants in the pot, but one died last winter. The plant on the right now measures 3 7/8″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide, while the one on the left is 3 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide.

<<<<Stenocereus pruinosus>>>>

Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, ETC.) at 6 1/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-35.

The Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, Organ Pipe, ETC.) is still alive and well. This has been a great cactus. It now measures 6 1/4″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide from 2 7/8″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought it home in 2016. I always liked the V-shaped pattern on its trunk. This seems to be an easy-to-grow species, so if you find one…

<<<<Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus>>>>

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-16-22, #919-36.

The Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus is always the last on the list but is usually one of the first to be photographed. This Paper Spine Cactus caught my eye when I was plant shopping at Walmart on February 9 in 2016 because of its unusual spines. I was about to put it in my cart when I found a segment laying on the shelf. I decided to take the segment and put the pot back on the shelf. It has been very interesting to watch grow to say the least.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 919-37.

In the wild, their segments fall off and take root wherever they land. If an animal passes by, they also hitch a ride on its fur and do a little traveling. When I notice a segment has fallen off I just face it upward in the pot and it takes root. It has done well for the last couple of years and none of the segments have fallen off. The tallest has made it to 4″ tall without falling apart. The pot is getting crowded, so I should give it more space. Ummm… It has been in this pot since 2018. I did put a segment that had fallen off into another pot and it is doing well. I may give it to Mrs. Wagler of Wagler’s Greenhouse since we share plants. I haven’t seen any of these for sale at Wal-Mart or Lowe’s since 2016, so I am very glad I brought the stub home.

Overwintering “desert” cactus isn’t that hard as long as you don’t water them. If you do, just a little no more than once a month )or so) is sufficient. Tropical cacti, like Christmas Cactus and Epiphyllum, need a comfortable temperature and pretty much regular watering. I still have the three Epiphyllum that Tony Tomeo sent and they are doing well. They are quite interesting and somewhat entertaining. One was on the front porch and two on the back porch over the summer with the Stapelia gigantea. The Schlumbergera have had their ups and down over the summer because they didn’t get enough water (bad parenting). One has buds already and it was outside!

Anyway, there are many websites online pertaining to overwintering cacti inside. Reading one is sufficient because if you read several you might be confused. The care they suggest is somewhat controversial especially as far as the temperature. Once temps outside cool off and the day length decreases, they go into a dormancy mode. I always put them somewhere the temperature will be about the same when I bring them in. You don’t really want to bring them in from 40° F outside temp to 70° inside. Typically, I water them pretty well a week or so before I bring them inside so I won’t have to water them for a while. Well, I didn’t do that this time because I simply screwed up then evening temps started getting too cool. The debate right now is do I put the cactus in the south-facing window in a cool bedroom, or the west-facing window in the front bedroom, also kept cool. Cool temps do help control parasites, but the light really doesn’t matter because the cactus are sort of dormant. Then again, the cactus did fine with no parasite issues until last winter and only a few at that. Cactus don’t like to be bothered with sprays over the winter. At least that is my opinion.

Anyway, I will close for now. I have two posts in the making. One about Euphorbia (wildflowers) and the other about the Symphyotrichum species on the farm. I am waiting for the Euphorbia dentata and E. davidii seeds to dry which will determine the species. At least I hope. Both genera have been quite entertaining.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!


Wildflower Mysteries Along The South Fence…

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-14.

Hello everyone I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the cooler temperatures. I have been enjoying the cooler temps, but that means wildflower hunting for the year is coming to an end. I suppose that is OK for a while. That means I can update the plant pages and add new pages for what was discovered in 2022. I added 47 new species for 2022 to the list, 31 were wildflowers (including 4 ferns). I am still behind writing posts and it is getting a bit confusing. I try to write a page before I post about the species which isn’t working out so well…

This post is about what I found back on September 2 after 7 PM. The wind was blowing slightly, with little gusts when I would start to take a photo.

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-15.

On September 2, I set out toward the front pasture to check on the progress of the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). They were still “working on it” as far as flowers are concerned even though the plants are taller than me. They are now blooming up a storm… GEEZ!

I walked around the back side of the old pond and as I approached the fence I noticed the hops vine had climbed up the guide wire of a utility pole. The funny thing was the Japanese Honeysuckle was right behind it. It may have give one the impression the hops fruit belonged to the vine below it. I took a photo but unfortunately it didn’t come out well. The next time I went back the hops had already turned brown.

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops) on 9-2-22, #908-16.

The leaves of Humulus lupulus can be quite variable and always reminded me of a grape vine. In fact, I always thought the vines were grapes. I had checked a few websites before and they showed their leaves were more lobed. Well, this time I confirmed the grape vines were growing hops fruit! Imagine that! Maybe next year I can get to the fence and take photos of their weird flowers…

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-1.

Then I found something that left me scratching my head… The Japanese Honeysuckle covers the fence, which is an understatement but this flower growing from the honeysuckle left me very confused. Well, I figured if the grape vines could grow hops the honeysuckle may as well do something weird as well.

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-2.

I dug around a bit and found bean leaves… As you can see in the above photo there were more along the ground (which I didn’t notice until I looked at the photo). I put the flower photo on iNaturalist and it said it was Amphicarpaea bracteata, commonly known as the Hog Peanut or American Hog Peanut… Hmmm…

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut on 9-2-22, #908-3.

I never saw anything like it. Those are definitely weird flowers!

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut) on 9-2-22, #908-4.

Then I found a few clusters of seed pods… Well, that got me to wondering why a bean was called a hog peanut? I did some reading and found out the genus name, Amphicarpaea, is Greek for “two-seeded,” referring to the two types of seeds: above and below ground. What? Apparently, there are two types of flowers that both produce different fruit and seeds. The upper flowers (on the vine) are “normal” (chasmogamous) that pollinate like most other flowers. The plant also produces vines, or stems, that spread on the ground that have cleistogamous flowers, which means fertilization occurs inside a permanently closed flower. These flowers are inconspicuous and have no petals…The fruit (seed pods) of the upper flowers contain 2-3 seeds, while those of the lower flowers only have one. What is even weirder, is that they burrow into the ground. Information I read on one site (Climbers by the University of Michigan) that E.J. Trapp’s description in the American Journal of Botany (1988) says “runners (ground level stems) are produced that search out dark crevices in the soil. If these are found, the plant produces an underground flower.” How weird is that?

Pisaurina mira (American Nursery Web Spider) on 9-2-22, #908-28.

While looking around in the leaves, this Pisaurina mira (American Nursery Web Spider) ran for cover. She didn’t seem to appreciate me snooping around.

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat) on 10-2-22, #908-11.

Farther up the fence, since I am walking uphill toward the gate, I noticed another odd creature. What in the heck?!?! The wind was blowing a little, so getting a good photo was a little difficult. I had to have my trigger finger ready and must have took 20 photos!

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat), 9-2-22, #908-13.

I uploaded the good photos on iNaturalist and they came up with Fallopia scandens, the Climbing False Buckwheat. Hmmm… That makes a hop-bearing grapevine, a honeysuckle growing beans, and a fake buckwheat! What a day!

Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat), 9-2-22, #908-12.

They have neat little leaves with twining stems that turn red in the sun. But what is it growing on? Hmmm…


And it has fruit…

Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy), 9-2-22.

GEEZ! Poison Ivy!!!

Well, that’s it for this post and the Euphorbia post is getting close. Just waiting for the seeds to mature so I can confirm two of the species or one…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY. The cooler temps are making it more pleasant to work outside.

Variations Of Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) in the south hayfield on 9-17-22, #912-24.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been working on a Euphorbia post since the last one, but it is proving somewhat complicated. So, I thought I would work on an easier one for now.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-26.

There are Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susans) from one end of the farm to the other. You see them everywhere along highways, backroads, pastures, gardens, etc. Pretty much everyone knows what they are. For years, all the Black-Eyed Susans I have seen have been the basic orange-yellow flowers with dark brown discs (receptacles…) in the center. To be honest, I thought a Black-Eyed Susan was a Black-Eyed Susan. Once you see one, you have seen them all. Even so, I read in their descriptions they can have flowers with reddish markings on their petals and I have seen photos online but never in person.

On September 17, I went to the south hayfield to take photos of the Euphorbia nutans (Nodding Spurge) where I knew there were several colonies. Once I did that, I thought I would walk through the Black-Eyed Susans. I certainly didn’t have to look for them since 2/3 of the hayfield is covered with them. There are other wildflowers growing among them so it was no telling what I would find…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-25.

After I took several photos of the Euphorbia nutans, I walked about 20′ or so north and spotted something weird… Can you see the difference between the flowers on the right and left…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-30.

I have seen some weird things, and this was definitely one of the newest. Not exactly what I was hoping to find, but this was definitely interesting.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-32.

I had never seen Black-Eyed Susans with light brown receptacles… The disc “florets” are supposed to be dark purple to purplish-brown. The ray florets (petals) are also darker toward the center… I looked the plants over pretty good from top to bottom, and they are definitely Rudbeckia hirta… You never know since there are several species of Rudbeckia in Missouri. Maybe this is the Black-Eyed Susan’s idea of an albino…

I walked farther out…

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-33.

HA!!! Would you look at that! I had often wondered if larger colonies would have more variation, and perhaps this is proof of that. Hmmm… Maybe it is from inbreeding.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-34.

I was glad I finally found Black-Eyed Susans with reddish color on the petals.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-37.

Among the whole area, there were quite a few smaller colonies here and there with these two-one petals.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 9-17-22, #912-38.

The colonies with the reddish markings usually were mixed with flowers with two-tone petals.

I am glad I walked out into the Black-Eyed Susans and found the different flowers. I must admit I was surprised.

I will continue working on the Euphorbia post and others at the same time. I am a little behind, but I guess that’s OK.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful, and GET DIRTY!


Two New Species South Of The Barn… Both Herbals

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-25.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. You know, time flies when you put things off. Tomorrow seems to come so fast and the next thing you know, weeks have passed! Well, that’s what happened again. I photograph new species I find but maybe some of the photos didn’t turn out very well, so I have to wait until “tomorrow” to take more. Sometimes it is not tomorrow… Then there are “those” plants whose flowers only open in the morning. Well, I am not a morning person, which is another thing I am working on. HA! I have been working on that for a long time. Anyway, on September 1 (yeah, September 1), I needed to go to the hayfield to get photos of the ovaries of the Euphorbia corollata. You read that right, the ovaries. I will post about that later, but the first thing is first. I have to first post about what came first. 🙂

So, I walked through the gate by the barn and headed straight south then after 100′, more or less, I stumbled upon a good-sized patch of a species I hadn’t noticed before. I think the proper word is colony but I am using patch. Neither word really makes botanical sense to me, so I can use either one. I have walked through this area many times and hadn’t noticed them. In a way, I can understand that if the plants are shorter than the grass and everything is green. The only way to notice is if something unusual catches my eye. Sometimes you may find a species that looks like a different species until it does something weird… At a VERY QUICK passing glance, these plants could possibly remind you of Croton glandulosus (Sand Croton). Mind you, a VERY QUICK glance…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-29.

This is what caught my eye… The very small wilted flower was waving like a flag in the breeze! “WHAT IS THAT?!?!” I looked around to see if I could find better flower photos but they were all wilted. And there was A LOT!!!

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-1-22, #907-30.

So, are those weird pods buds or fruit? Hmmm… Well, I took enough photos to get an ID on iNaturalist. It is Sida spinosa… Of course, you already know from the captions, huh? The preferred common name on some sites is Prickly Fanpetals, but other common names include False Mallow, Indian Mallow, Prickly Mallow, Prickly Sida, Spiny Sida, Teaweed, Thistle Mallow, White Broomweed, and possibly others.

I looked up the species on the Missouri Plants website and found out Sida is an unusual genus in the plant family Malvaceae and scrolled down to look at the flowers. I could have found that out on iNaturalist, but my habit is always to check on Missouri Plants (since I am from Missouri) and old habits are hard to break.

Flower photos would have been great because they are particularly weird… Well, like I said before, time flies. Missouri Plants says they flower from June through October so I had plenty of time…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-14-22, #911-1.

I finally made it back to the “patch” a little after noon on the 14th. As you can see from the top photo (top two on the plant’s page), the flowers can be hidden lower down inside the plant. In fact, when I went out this time, the flowers on top were already beginning to close and wilt…

Sida spinosa (Prickly Fanpetals) on 9-14-22, #911-3.

THEN, I finally took this good one. I couldn’t tell if the photos I took were good or not when I was taking them because the sun was bright and the images on the screen weren’t clearly visible. The flowers are very small and I was using a magnifying glass in front of the lens. 🙂

The flowers have a spiral look and the petals are kind of sideways. One side of the petals are longer than the other. How neat is that?!?! The pistol is typical of other members of the family.

When I did my initial research on this species, there wasn’t much at all. Just photos and descriptions. Some sites tell about it as a common weed and how invasive they are in some areas. One thing that caught my eye was how many countries it is considered a native.

I decided to type in “Sida spinosa herbal” and was very surprised. Several Sida species are used by indigenous tribes in South America and other countries for a variety of ailments. Other studies have found out they are good for many other conditions because of its chemical properties. You can read more about this plant, and its contribution to society by going to its own page HERE and scrolling down to the bottom to the links. NOT JUST A WEED! I haven’t written descriptions on its page yet. That is a winter project… 🙂

Now for the other plant on September 2nd… I was headed toward the boundary fence along the front pasture. On the way, I walked through the “patch” of Sida spinosa and stopped DEAD IN MY TRACKS!!! I was shocked at what I had finally found!!!

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-20.

HOLY CRAP! I could hardly believe my eyes! Right there in the grass was a single Physalis species. I looked around for more and couldn’t find any. I hadn’t seen any since 2019 when I found a Physalis longifolia (Smooth Ground Cherry) in a friend’s pasture. The one I found and couldn’t find again. Then, in November 2019, I found a plant here east of the chicken house that I supposed was, or had been, P. longifolia. Since it was November, all that was left were a few dead leaves and dried fruit. This plant had been very tall.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-23.

The Physalis longifolia looked like a horsenettle, but this new plant didn’t look like that at all. I took photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist for ID. Lo and behold, the new plant is Physalis angulata… Now I am wondering if the dried-up plant that was north of the chicken house was actually the same species. Anyway, I have been looking for them to come up again in the same area, but they never did. The seeds had to go somewhere. I figured unless they had been eaten, they would likely just fall on the ground. I should have picked the husked fruit and planted them myself… Live and learn!

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-21.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any open flowers and it was a little after 7 PM. I would have to go back another day to see if I could take photos of its flowers.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-2-22, #908-26.

Common names for the Physalis angulata include Angular Winter Cherry, Balloon Cherry, Country Gooseberry, Cutleaf Groundcherry, Gooseberry, Hogweed, Mullaca, Sunberry, Wild Tomato, Winter Cherry, and probably others. This species fruit IS EDIBLE! You know, like those husk tomatoes you sometimes see in the grocery store.

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-3-22, #909-1.

I went back to this plant on September 3 at about 1 PM and was able to find one of the flowers open. As you can see in the photo, the flowers are small…

Physalis angulata (Cutleaf Groundcherry) on 9-3-22, #909-2.

The flowers of this particular Physalis angulata have no purple marking around the center, but apparently, they can have.

Interestingly, the Physalis angulata and Sida spinosa have a similar native range in North and South America. Both were used by indigenous tribes in South America.

You can visit the page for the Physalis angulata by clicking HERE and going to the links at the bottom of the page as well.

It is amazing how many wildflowers are used as herbals and even in pharmaceutical medicine. We have definitely learned a lot about rainforest plants from the tribes in South America and the Native Americans in the U.S.

I suppose the next post will have to be about the ovaries of the Euphorbia corollata and what else I found on September 1. Then it’s on to the fence along the front pasture. I need to stop watching episode after episode of Game of Thrones and get to work. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. The temps are cooling off nicely, so it is a great time to GET DIRTY. The only problem is the day length is getting shorter. No putting off until tomorrow. 🙂 Take my advice, I am not using it. 🙂



Revisiting The Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been watching the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree in the back of the farm all summer. Waiting for flowers can be a pain…

I found my first Leafy Elephant’s Foot on a friend’s mother’s farm while herding cattle in 2019.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-9.

Then, last October 12, I found a single plant in the south hayfield. I wasn’t quite sure what it was at first because the leaves were a maroonish color since it was in full sun. The flowers were wilted but the leaves did have a suspicious shape. The three leafy bracts surrounding the flowers were also a clue. I found it twice, but the day I went to mark the spot I couldn’t find it!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) at 37″ tall on 10-25-21, #852-4.

Then, on October 25 (after an “F”), I found a small colony behind pond #2 in the back of the farm. They still had a few leaves but the flowers had run their course. I measured the plants at 37″ tall. Ummm… I did mark the spot with an electric fence post.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 4-27-22, #874-1.

I was glad when they started coming up this spring.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 6-26-22, #896-18.

They had grown quite a bit by the time I took the above photo on June 26. But, so were the weeds and brush around them…


Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree on 7-9-22, #898-1.

On July 9 while looking at the persimmon tree, I found another small colony. I was happy about that! This one is maybe 100′ or so from the patch behind the pond and is very easy to get to.

By July 28 the flowering stems were getting taller but it was still a ways to go before the flowers emerge… GEEZ!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-8-22, #903-8.

I went back to check on them a little after 7 PM on August 8 and there were a few flowers but they were closed. It was a “what the heck” moment!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-19-22, #905-1.

I was busy for a while and didn’t get to go back and check on their progress until 6 PM on August 19. WOW! There were A LOT of flowers, but they were all kind of closed and wilted… GEEZ! I did some reading and found out their flowers only last a day. I think it is more like half a day!

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-1.

I decided I would go check earlier in the day, so on August 20, I went back at around 12:30. BINGO! Well, perhaps a little earlier would have even been better…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-2.

So, you may wonder what is so special about the flowers of the Leafy Elephant’s Foot… Well, let’s have a closer look…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-3.

The above photo is two flowers, but I need to try to find one I can separate it a little without dissecting it…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-5.

I tried a few, but they didn’t cooperate very well without holding them. With the camera in one hand and the magnifying glass in the other, I couldn’t very well hold the flower at the same time. Finally, one paid attention somewhat.

The complicated part is explaining what is going on… First, you have three leafy bracts that surround a cluster of involucral bracts. Each involucral bract produces 2 sets of 2 phyllaries from which (typically) 4 flowers emerge. The flowers produce 5-lobed corollas (petals) that are positioned to one side of the flower. The flowers grow close together giving the appearance of a single four-petaled flower with 20 lobes. Luckily, all four flowers bloom the same day… Since there are quite a few bracts, blooming will continue through sometime in October.

The Missouri Plants website gives a very good technical description, but it can leave you wondering what you read. I found the write-up by Sid Vogelpohl from the Arkansas Native Plant Society to be very helpful.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-7.

Of course, I have to talk about the leaves because the flowers only help partially identify the species. If you run across a plant with large spatulate leaves before it flowers, you may have found an Elephantopus carolinianus

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 8-20-22, #906-8.

It also has VERY hairy stems…

The next few posts will be about a couple of species I found south of the barn and my confusing adventure along the fence in the south pasture. Four new species right under my nose in one day!

Until then, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Temps are cooling off and it is a great time to GET DIRTY!

Six on Saturday-Short Walk on the Wild Side

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. We had a nice week with temperatures not too unbearable at all. I took a walk through the hayfield a couple of days ago to check on the progress of the Elephantopus carolinianus in the back of the farm. It always amazes me how some wildflowers start growing like mad after the hay is cut.

#1-Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

There were several Asclepias hirtella, the Tall Green Milkweed, blooming again. Normally, they don’t flower the second time but they are this year. I can’t quite figure out why they call this species Tall Green Milkweed when there are other species that grow much taller…


#2)-Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) under the persimmon tree.

I have walked to the back of the farm several times over the summer to check on the progress of the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot). These are really neat wildflowers that I only noticed growing on the farm last fall after they had already dried up. I found the dried up flowers and leaves in an area that grows up in poison ivy and other brush but I marked the spot…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

I was very happy when I found a colony under the persimmon tree so I won’t have to walk to the spot I found them earlier. Well, I usually go there anyway… The plants have mostly buds with a few flowers beginning to open up. Until the flowers are fully open, I can’t show you why I think they are so neat.

I walked through the brush behind the ponds to check on the Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) and S. ontarionis (Ontario Aster) but so far no flowers. At this point, they still look the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are both the same species but only time will tell…

#3)-Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

This area in front of the two back ponds is LOADED with Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). The wind was blowing so there wasn’t as much activity on the flowers as usual.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

The above photo isn’t that great because, as I mentioned, the wind was blowing… Many species of butterflies and other insects love ironweeds. Later on, they will be swarming with Monarch Butterflies and the always interesting hummingbird moths.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

The Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed) grow in another area. Baldwin’s Ironweed have recurved involucral bracts where Missouri Ironweed’s bracts are appressed. To be honest, some of the flowers in this colony have recurved bracts and some don’t… The two species do hybridize which can drive a person batty…

#4-Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

I walked to the pond in the front pasture to check on the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) which is also a late bloomer. They are also kind of late to come up in the spring which had me wondering if they survived the winter. The New England Aster grows to over 6′ tall. I put a water bottle at the base of the plant for size comparison…

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

I only found this species last fall because we had a late “F” and the flowers are pink. Their clusters of flowers caught my attention from quite a distance. I am hoping the same will be true this fall. They are working on it.

#5-Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

One of my favorite wildflowers on the farm is the Verbesina virginica also known as White Crownbeard and Frostweed. These are also very tall plants that grow much taller than me… They are always in the same location every year.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

They aren’t exactly early bloomers either, but they are getting there.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

They do have neat white flowers in time, but the neatest thing is their winged stems and very long leaves.

#6-Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean)

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

Even though seeing the Elephantopus carolinianus beginning to flower was exciting, I believe the find of the day was the Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean). The first time I found this species there were only a few flowers and the leaves had all dried up. Since then, I have kept an eye on them. This year I found a few growing closer to the gate and was able to get some good photos.

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

From a distance, they resemble an off-color sweet pea. I kind of like this color much better than pink. 🙂

That completes my Six on Saturday kindly hosted by The Propagator. Be sure to check out the other Six on Saturday posts.

Well, I better get going for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Be sure to get dirty if you can!



Tales From The Ditch…

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. We had more rain, up to 3 3/4″ through Thursday with more in the forecast. A few days ago I was trimming the ditch in front of what I always call the “other yard.” It is where my grandparent’s house was and where the garden is. Well, I didn’t plant the garden this year but that is beside the point. The part of the ditch in front of where the garden normally is can get a little wild. I can’t mow it with the riding mower because the ditch was cut too deep. I have mowed the front part with the riding mower in the past but it keeps getting hung up. Then I have to turn it off and pick it up and move it over. I can mow with the push mower, but my son finally moved out and he needed it for his yard. He hasn’t brought it back yet so I have to use the trimmer… Anyway, when I got to the mailbox I stopped dead in my tracks because of what showed up… Then I found more behind the mailbox. I continued trimming until the battery ran out of power then I went to the house to get the camera…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-17.

I was pretty excited I found what I “thought” was Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsetta) right in the ditch!

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-18.

Then I saw more behind the mailbox! Look how tall they are! It had been a while since I trimmed this part of the ditch, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been that surprised.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-19.

There was fruit and what was left of the flowers. NICE!!!  I took quite a few photos and noticed something weird…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-20.

A lot of the leaves are SPOTTED! Hmmm… It is normal for there to be some maroon tinting on the leaves, but SPOTS?!?!?! I thought only Euphorbia davidii has spots plus the leaves are shaped more like E. dentata… After uploading the photos on the computer and giving them a good look, I realized some of the leaves looked a little iffy… Then I did the drag and drop thing on iNaturalist and the top suggestion, actually the only suggestion, was Euphorbia davidii. GEEZ! That made me scratch my bald head! I wondered how in the heck could it figure that out from the first photo or even the second one? You can’t see spots. Honestly, I was wanting them to be Euphorbia dentata so I was trying to argue to prove my point. I have learned not to label the photos before I use iNaturalist because I think the algorithm can read… But, the more I wanted them to be E. dentata, the more I was beginning to see I was “possibly” mistaken. The leaves are somewhat more pointed than E. dentata, which are more bluntly pointed. Plus, the leaves of E. davidii are somewhat variable, more so than E. dentata.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 7-26-22, #901-21.

Look at this photo… I know I am new when it comes to Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata, but this is weird among plants… What was a cluster of flowers and fruit with a short pedicel separated into three and grew longer peduncles (flower stems). The flowers and fruit are on one side and the leaves are on the other. That is weird…

Apparently, Euphorbia dentata is a native of Argentina, northern Mexico, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. The species has moved all the way up to Idaho and all the way to the east coast and up into Canada. It normally is found hit and miss in a few counties, but it seems once it gets started… I have been trimming the ditch since 2013 (when I moved back here) and never saw it until now. Well, if I disregard the plant I found in the basement of the old foundation last year I identified as E. dentata. Now there is the huge colony along the park which I wrote about a couple of posts ago…

It was found in a couple of places in Europe 15 or so years ago and is considered an invasive weed in several countries there.

For now, Euphorbia davidii and E. dentata are neat plants to photograph and write about. Time will tell what happens in the future. Sometimes plants show up and then all of a sudden disappear. You just never know…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) in the ditch on 7-26-22, #901-7.

Here we go again! Of all the species on the farm, the Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) has definitely spread the quickest since I found the first plant in the hayfield in 2020. Oh, there are plenty of other plants with much larger numbers but they have been here forever. When the conditions are just right for several years in a row, they spread. Remember the Persicaria a few years ago when I identified seven species? They are still here but the colonies aren’t near as large. You never know what will come and go…

Honestly, I think I need to stop mentioning this species and taking their photos. I think it thinks I like it but too much of a good thing…

Ampelamus laevis (right) and Convolvulus arvensis (left) on 7-26-22

I remember many years ago when I was a kid morning glories would come up in the garden. They would twine up the sweet corn and anything else if allowed. I always liked their flowers. Here in the garden, they are always the first plants to come up within a day or so of tilling. One came up and climbed on the asparagus a few years ago, so I left it so I could get photos. Then I noticed a few climbing on the sweet corn, which I left as well. But, then they started blooming they were NOT morning glories… They turned out to be Cynanchum laeve commonly known as the Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed. I could never get good photos of the flowers until now. I can now write a page for this species since I have more photos. 🙂

Ampelamus laevis (Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed) on 7-26-22, #901-1.

They definitely have morning glory-looking leaves…

Ampelamus laevis (Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed) on 7-26-22, #901-6.

But their flowers tell a different story…

Many websites are using the scientific name Cynanchum laeve, including iNaturalist with Ampelamus laevis as a synonym. I am sticking with what Plants of the World Online says for now.

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-9.

The other morning glory-looking vine is Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed). I first identified this species on a friend’s pasture in 2019. It has been growing in the ditch for a few years but I didn’t give it much thought. The flowers are either white to mostly pink…

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-13.

The underside of the flowers is somewhat strange. When I first saw their flowers on Kevin’s farm, they appeared to have pink stripes on the petals. I haven’t found a website that mentions this feature, but from the underside, the center of the petals seems to have a “thicker” stripe that are sometimes pink. In bright light, the pink color shines through to the upper surface. With this species, mostly single flowers appear on long peduncles produced from the leaf bracts. Another look-alike produces mostly doubles…

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 7-26-22, #901-14.

From the above photo, you can see the calyx with five short sepals, the outer 3 being slightly shorter and narrower. Farther down the peduncle (flower stem) are a couple of bracts… These bracts fall off during the fruiting stage. In most species of plants, the bracts are part of the calyx…

I seem to be missing something…

Lathyrus latifolius (Bread-Leaved Pea/Everlasting Pea) on 7-26-22, #901-26.

Oh yeah! The sweet peas! Well, that’s what we always called them when I was a kid. The Lathyrus latifolius has been growing here since I was a kid, and even on the fence where I grew up. There is quite a patch of them growing in the area north of the chicken house in varying shaded or pink and white. This species is actually a European native that was imported as an ornamental. Other common names include Broad-Leaved Sweet Pea, Everlasting Pea, Wild Sweet Pea, Perennial Pea, Perennial Peavine, Everlasting Vetchling, and probably more.

The ditch is where a few of the daylilies also grow. They don’t normally produce many flowers, but like I mentioned in an earlier post, this has been a day lily year… Another patch in the shade and they rarely flower. There are A LOT of other species of “weeds” and grass in the ditch like the trumpet vine, Horse Nettle, etc. The ditch in front of the house has its own species, including Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia).

I am not going to talk about the ditch in front of the pasture. It is a complete disaster. Well, there are some interesting plants there, too. For the most part, the sumac has gone mad with threats of a complete takeover. I guess it is doing that because of my threats…

Well, that’s it for now. I am still waiting for the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) and the two asters to flower in the back of the farm to flower… It’s almost August, for crying out loud, and they haven’t a single bud yet! I think possibly the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) I found by the front pond last year may have come back. It is another late bloomer. I have been looking for it all summer, but it appeared they didn’t come up. Last week, I think I finally spotted it. I didn’t notice it until the end of September last summer when it was blooming… Keep your fingers crossed!

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







A Little Catching Up Part 3…

Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) at 2:22 PM on 6-26-22, #896-9.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. It has been hot this past week. It is 99° F as I am starting to write this post. There is rain in the forecast for next week so hopefully, the temps will cool off a bit.

I had an interesting walk in the hayfield on June 26, just a couple of days before the hay was cut. It was kind of difficult to walk in the tall grass, but I was on a mission and needed to get to the back of the farm.

Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) on 6-26-22, #896-10.

I made my way through the trees in an area north of the chicken house to get to the pasture. I ran across a couple of Auricularia americana (Jelly Tree Ear) on a limb that had fallen. I have seen these before and they are very weird and kind of slimy.

I did a little reading on the MushroomExpert.Com and found out a few things… There are several species of jelly fungi (even in other genera) that differ somewhat in characteristics. The issue is “this species is NOT actually Auricularia americana… Auricularia americana grows on conifers, NOT deciduous trees… You can click on the link above to get the whole story.

Interestingly, it was recently discovered there are several genetically distinct species of Auricularia in the United States but there was a snag in naming them. As with other plants, there are strict rules that apply when naming new species. New species of fungi have to be registered online and given an identifier number. When submitting their publication about the new species, they didn’t include the identifier number, so their publication was invalid…

Hmmm… That was in 2015, seven years ago. Did they resubmit the publication again with the correct numbers? It’s like watching a series on TV and being left hanging in the end!!!

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 6-26-22, #896-5.

By 2:32, I had made my way to a nice group of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). There are plenty of them here on the farm, as I have probably mentioned before, and are hard to miss because of their height.

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 6-26-22, #896-7.

There is always A LOT of activity on milkweed. Not only on their flowers but sometimes on their leaves as well. Milkweed plants serve our ecosystem quite well. More about those little black bugs farther down…

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-28.

Ummm… I was taking photos of the flowers, minding my own business, when a pair of Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) appeared. She started to blush and he said, “Do you mind?” I’m not sure if he was talking to me or the other bug…

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-29.

I moved to a different plant and found another one. I was trying to get good photos of its back, but these guys move rather quickly. I did some reading on several websites about this critter and found out it is very interesting. Interesting facts include:

The genus and species names mean “four-eyes” because their antennas actually separate their eyes, giving them four eyes instead of two.

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus prefers Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) over other milkweed species. Other members of the genus are also generally host-specific and prefer other milkweed species.

Adult Red Milkweed Beetles feed on the plant’s leaves, buds, and flowers. When feeding on the leaves, they cut a slit in the veins and feed on the sap as it runs out of the cut. They have to wipe their mouths on the leaves so their mouth won’t get gummed up… The toxins from the sap is absorbed into the beetles, which also makes them toxic to predators. I read where the toxins give the beetles their color, which is a warning to predators that they are distasteful and toxic.

Females lay clutches of reddish eggs toward the base of the plants and the larvae burrow into the soil and feed on the roots. Perhaps depending on when the eggs are laid, some information says they hibernate in the cells they make around the roots.

If they are startled, they make a shrill noise but they purr when interacting with other beetles… Hmmm…

Red Milkweed Beetles only live for one month…

Chauliognathus marginatus (Margined Leatherwing Beetle) on 6-26-22, #896-11.

Then I ran into a very busy Chauliognathus marginatus (Margined Leatherwing Beetle) which didn’t want to stand still either. Another common name is Margined Soldier Beetle. To its right, hiding, is another one of those small black bugs… These insects are beneficial pollinators and they feed on nectar, pollen, and small insects such as aphids. Their larvae are also vicious predators. The coloration of the adults is quite variable. These are a farmer’s and gardener’s friends, so if you see them in large numbers on your flowers, don’t worry. They have their own mission and they will not damage your plants.

Oebalus pugnax (Rice Stink Bug) on 6-26-22, #896-19.

Then, I ran this Oebalus pugnax (Rice Stink Bug)… I have identified several species of stink bugs here on the farm that look similar, but this one was different. This bug IS NOT a friend, especially for farmers who grow rice, sorghum, wheat, etc. They feed on wild grasses and then migrate to fields to do their damage. They feed on the endosperm of the seed leaving an empty shell or shriveled kernels.

Adults overwinter near the ground in grass then lay their eggs in clusters of 10-30 in double rows on the leaves or seed heads of grasses. The nymphs molt 5 times to become adults in 18-50 days, depending on temperature. They can produce 2 to 5 generations per year…

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-30.

I moved on a little northeast from the milkweed and stumbled across another plant I hadn’t seen before. I took quite a few photos and uploaded the one above on iNaturalist to get an idea. Its top suggestion was Tragia urticifolia (Nettleleaf Noseburn), the second was Tragia ramosa (Desert Noseburn), the third was Rhynchosida physocalyx (Beaked Sida), then they went downhill after that. The first was a possibility but not the other two.

I checked on the Missouri Plants website and it wasn’t on the list but three other species were. The only one I saw that looked close (from the photos) was Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn). At the bottom of the page it says T. urticifolia closely resembles the species but isn’t found in Missouri. I checked the maps on Plants of the World Online, Flora of North America, USDA Plants Database, and BONAP and all agreed T. urticifolia isn’t in Missouri. Well, one would have been enough but I had to try. 🙂 The maps do show Tragia betonicifolia is in Missouri but not in Pettis County where I live. However, the species has been found in Henry County which is across the street, and Johnson County which is only a few miles away. How many times has that happened? Too many to count… Even the tree frogs that like my house are a species not found in Pettis County but they are in Henry, like 100′ away. 🙂

Even though I had my doubts the species was Tragia urticifolia, I went ahead and submitted the observation as such with seven photos. The more detailed photos you have the better especially when you are in doubt… Oddly, no one agreed or suggested a different ID even after a month (when I am writing this). I decided I would go back and do more exploring… There were only two observations of Tragia urticifolia posted in Missouri and one was mine. However, there were seven for T. betonicifolia and three were from botanists. SO, I sent them a message along with a link to my observation. One replied the next day and said “…I hate basing IDs on geography alone, so I keyed it out to confirm the ID. Your plant is T. betonicifolia. They are difficult to distinguish from photos (keying requires an angle of the flowers that shows the right character), so it doesn’t surprise me that iNat’s algorithm had trouble with it.” I can certainly understand that… Out of 909 observations (402 different species) I have submitted to iNaturalist, they have only been a little off a few times. I think that is pretty darn good!

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-34.

Tragia species are monoecious and produce separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers on the same plant but in an odd sort of way. Unlike members of the Asteraceae, for example, which produce male and female flowers on the same flower. They produce a single pistillate flower at the base of the inflorescence (floral stem), then a raceme of up to 30 staminate flowers. Compared to other photos I have seen online, the inflorescence in the above photo is, ummm, somewhat short and apparently, the pistillate flower has already been fertilized…

Tragia betonicifolia (Betony-Leaf Noseburn) on 6-26-22, #896-36.

The above photo was taken of a different inflorescence where you can see the fuzzy fruit that has started to develop from the ovary of the pistillate flower. Above the fruit, you can see the remains of a few staminate flowers. There were more staminate flowers at the top of the inflorescence but those photos were all blurry… By the time I went through the photos, the hayfield was cut along with this plant… GEEZ! You know what they say? “He who hesitates…” The ovaries have three large carpels…

OH, I better not forget to mention that Tragia species are members of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. They are covered with STINGING hairs that are said to cause intense pain. One website said as much pain as you could ever have. When I read that, I was reminded of my kidney stones…

if you want to read more about this species, the Missouri Plants website has some good photos with technical descriptions. The Arkansas Native Plant Society also has great photos and a lot of very good information.

Moving right along…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) on 6-26-22, #896-1.

I ran across a good-sized colony of Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane), which is beginning to be an old story. I first identified this species from a single plant I found in the south side of the main hayfield in 2020. Since then, they have spread like you wouldn’t believe! In 2021, I found one along the road in front of the garden so I let it grow… After the hay was cut in the south hayfield in 2021, a HUGE patch came up toward the front. This year, the single plant along the road in front of the garden turned into a HUGE colony… GEEZ!!! I think this species could be somewhat invasive…

Apocynum cannabinum (Hemp Dogbane) flowers on 6-26-22, #896-4.

They produce LOTS of flowers. Ummm… There are those darn black bugs AGAIN… Maybe we should have a closer look…

Corimelaena pulicaria (Black Bug) on 6-26-22, #896-13.

Well, I took several photos to get a good one… I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist and they listed several suggestions of species seen nearby. At first, I thought they were possibly Sehirus cinctus (White-Margined Burrower Bug), so I selected that name on the list and went with it hoping someone would have an idea. The color looked similar, but so did the other suggestions. Within no time, a member suggested the genus Corimelaena, a member of the family Thyreocoridae (Ebony Bugs)… So I checked the genus out and found a website that listed several species and what plants they preferred. Low and behold, it said Corimelaena pulicaria feeds on Apocynum cannabinum (among other plants). So, I went with that species and changed the name on the observation. Even though iNaturalist gives the common name Black Bug, many websites don’t even give a common name. There are many species of “Black”, “Ebony”, and “Negro” bugs in several genera that look exactly alike to me… I didn’t feel like catching one looking at this and that part with a magnifying glass… Looking again, they could be Corimelaena obscura… I think I will stop thinking about it for now and just stick with Corimelaena pulicaria or maybe just some kind of a Thyreocoridae. Well, since I can’t pronounce that either, how about just a black bug… 

I went on the back of the pond AGAIN to check on the Calico and Ontario Asters which basically looked the same as they did a month earlier only a little taller… Nothing exciting to report.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 6-26-22, #896-18.

I walked over to where the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) are growing and they were looking GREAT! I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but there are two small colonies. One behind the pond and one under the persimmon tree. The plants under the persimmon tree are much easier to get to.

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 6-26-22, #896-17.

The persimmons are coming along nicely…

Time has sure flown by The next post will be more or less up to date.

Until then, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and try to GET DIRTY.











A Little Catching Up Part 2…

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on Brandon Road along the south side of Farrington Park on 6-12-22, #890-36.

Hello everyone! I am back again with part two. It has been very hot but we had a little more rain which cooled things down a bit for a couple of days. It will be in the upper 90’s again this week. It’s OK as long as I can keep working in the shade and there is a little breeze.

Nothing exciting to report before I begin on the update for June… The hay has been cut which makes it easier to walk around in the hayfields although all the wildflowers there have also been cut down. There are still wildflowers in the wooded areas, along the fence rows, and around the pond to watch. Oh, yeah, and the trail.

SO, let’s continue with June 5.

Tragopogon dubius (Yellow Salsify) on 6-5-22, #887-2.

There are two groups of these darn plants that keep evading getting photos of their flowers taken. They are growing in the jungle along the road in front of the southwest pasture/hayfield. I took photos of the plants and submitted them on iNaturalist for an ID and found out they are “likely” Tragopogon dubius (Yellow Salsify). Supposedly, the large yellow flowers are quite a sight and face the sun (like sunflowers). Unfortunately, on sunny days, the flowers usually close by noon. Even though I drive by them sometimes between 9-10 in the morning, I STILL haven’t managed to see them. They flower from April-August so maybe I still have a shot for a shot. The seed heads are around 5″ across and are a good 3′ in the air. This is the first year I have noticed them and I haven’t run across any on back roads or along the highways. It is also related to Tragopogon porrifolius which is used as an ornamental and their roots which taste similar to oysters. The USDA Plants Database lists 7 species and a few hybrids in North America… Tragopogon dubious (Yellow Salsify), T. porrifolius (Salsify), and T. pratensis (Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon) are found throughout most of North America. All species are introduced species (not native), mainly from Europe and Africa and have several common names…

JUNE 11… 

Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite Quail), 6-11-22, #889-1.

You know, I have often wondered what happened to all the Bobwhite Quail. They were everywhere when I was a kid. When I moved to the farm in 1981 after grandpa died, there was always a pair that nested in the fence row around the yard and several elsewhere on the farm. When I moved back here in 2013, there were none. Dad said between the hawks and cats, they just disappeared. So, on my way back from a friend’s farm (Jay), a pair was walking down the road in front of me. I slowed down and they didn’t seem to be in any hurry. I stopped to take a few photos. I was very happy to see them and even happier I had my camera. 🙂

June 12

On the way back home from Jay’s on the 11th, I took the road along the south side of the park. I noticed the Winecup Mallow was blooming up a storm. I had my camera so I’m not sure why I didn’t go ahead and take photos. Heck, it was almost a month ago. SO, I went back on the 12th… Ummm… I got a little carried away because I found A LOT of plants to photograph including a new species (new to me)…

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) along the south side of the park on 6-12-22, #890-7.

I drove down Brandon Road which runs along the south side of the park. I passed what I went for and had to turn around in a driveway on the other side of the road just past the park. On the way back, I had to stop to take a few photos of a good-sized colony of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). There seem to be an abundance of these along the back roads and highways (at least the few I travel on).

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) on 6-12-22, #890-11.

Then I drove back up to where the Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) was. The colony seems to get bigger every year. It is a spectacular sight that brightens up the whole area.

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup Mallow) on 6-12-22, #890-18.

The flowers are so bright they can be difficult to get photos in bright light.

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-24.

There were several other species of plants growing in and around the Winecup Mallow I had previously identified. But what caught my eye was one I hadn’t seen before but I knew what it was.  Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge)

I read about it before while working on the page for Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia/Tooth Spurge) I found growing inside the old foundation last year. I “think” I found several plants growing along the front of the foundation this year, but they haven’t flowered yet…  Ummm, they may have gotten trimmed off earlier… Well, I was looking inside the foundation for them. I did get some seeds from them but I neglected to plant them. GEEZ!

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-27.

The Euphorbia davidii has longer, narrower leaves with maroon spots…

Euphorbia davidii (David’s Spurge) on 6-12-22, #890-30.

Like the Euphorbia dentata, it has these interesting fruits… As with other members of the family, they exude a milky latex sap that is not good for you.

Euphorbia davidii is native to mainly the southwest United States and Argentina, but has spread eastward and can also be found in southeast Canada.

After I was finished taking photos along the road next to the park, I went to the trail. I am still in search of the allusive Cutleaf Grapefern… It was about 6:15 PM.

Sanicula canadensis (Black Snakeroot) on 6-12-22. #890-41.

One of the first plants I ran across was a nice Sanicula canadensis (Black Snakeroot). I first identified this species around the same area n 2021. This year I have found it in several areas on the farm. Despite its name, it is a neat plant that can grow around 4 1/2′ tall. It has odd flowers and neat leaves and has been used as a heart remedy…

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus’s Looking Glass) on 6-12-22, #890-49.

I then ran across an old friend, the Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus’s Looking Glass). What a neat little plant! I first identified this species from a single plant in the back of the farm in 2020, then found A LOT of them in the south hayfield in 2021.

Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed) on 6-12-22, #890-1).

Then I ran across the stately Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed). I first identified this species along the trail a year ago and there aren’t that many. These plants can also grow to around 4′ tall and have neat, good-sized leaves. They grow from a single stem and branch out at the top.

Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed) on 6-12-22, #890-5.

The flowers emerge at the top of long petioles, while the involucral bracts are 5-15″ below the flowers…

I was finally able to get into the trees in several spots… I looked here and there and there was no sign of the fern…


Sceptridium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern) on 6-12-22, #890-46.

There it was!!! The Sceptidium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern). I found several in April here and there but they seemed to have disappeared and the one I did find was small and weird… Well, at least I managed to find this one!

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-12-22, #890-31.

I continued looking to see if I could find more of the Grapefern. I walked into this one spot and turned around and saw this plant that resembled Silene stellata (Starry Campion) but something was a bit off… Silene Stellata isn’t supposed to have flowers like that! I took several photos to upload on iNaturalist and found out it was yet another Galium species called Galium circaezans, commonly known as Forest or Licorice Bedstraw.

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 6-12-22, #890-47.

There are A LOT of Silene stellata (Starry Campion) along the trail but finding them in flower is a different story! Missouri Plants say they bloom from June-September, so I thought I could keep an eye on them since they are right next door! Well, I went back to the trail on July 17 and all I found were dried up flowers. GEEZ!!!

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-37.

I found several clumps of Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) which are always neat with their long fern-like leaves.

Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-22.

Then, I ran across a new moss called Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss).  Hmmm…

Entodon seductrix (Seductive Entodon Moss) on 6-12-22, #890-23.

Mosses are interesting and some species look A LOT alike. I did get some close-ups but they weren’t good enough to save. They did prove the species name, however, with a little imagination and help with iNaturalist and a few other websites.

JUNE 14…

Erigeron divaricatus (Dwarf Conyza or Dwarf Fleabane) on 6-14-22, #891-2.

I decided it was high time I identified these weird fuzzy-looking plants that like growing in the cracks in the driveway. They turned out to be Erigeron divaricatus commonly called Dwarf Conyza or Dwarf Fleabane. Hmmm… It’s an Erigeron species? Related to Erigeron canadensis (Syn. Conyza canadensis) (Horsetail) and Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) Weird! You would never imagine they are related…

Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory) on 6-14-22, #891-8.

Then this other plant said, “WHAT ABOUT ME? I have been here forever and you always pass me by”. So, I said, “OK, OK. I’ll take your photo.” It turned out to be Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory). Considered a common weed found in almost every state in the United States, in Canada, and even down into Mexico.

Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory) on 6-14-22, #891-9.

Their flowers have no petals and appear along the stems at leaf nodes. This species is a non-stinging member of the nettle family Urticaceae… The genus name means “walls” and the common name “Pellitory” also refers to it growing along walls… Hmmm…

JUNE 16…

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-16-22, #892-6.

Then when I was working on Kevin’s landscaping on June 16, I found another Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw)! It was growing through the ivy in front of a blue spruce! You just never know what you will find or where when you least expect it…

Galium circaezans (Forest or Licorice Bedstraw) on 6-12-22, #890-34.

Some day I will get better photos of the flowers…

JUNE 22…

When I was driving along the back roads on June 22, I noticed a few clumps of these yellow flowers I hadn’t noticed before. Some of the colonies kind of had a raggy appearance and wasn’t sure if I could get good photos…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-22-22, #894-3.

Then, along a curve, I found a patch that looked a little better. I didn’t recognize the species, so I took A LOT of photos. The wind was blowing and the sun was fairly bright in this location, so I knew some of the photos wouldn’t that great. When I got home, I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist. The first suggestion was Hypericum perforatum also known as the Common St. John’s Wort. Hmmm…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-22-22, #894-7.

It’s a good thing I was able to get a good close-up or I would have had to go back and take more photos. Even so, you can’t hardly see the spots along the margins of the petals. You may have to use your imagination…

OK, here’s a zoomed-in screenshot…

In 2019, I found a few Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) in the southeast corner of the farm. The petals and buds were covered with spots. I have searched for it every year since but never saw the little “wort” again…

JUNE 24…

Hypericum perforatum (Common St. John’s Wort) on 6-24-22, #895-2.

After a couple of days, I went back to the same curve and got a shot of the colony of the Hypericum perforatum

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-3.

Right in the same area, I noticed these weird fluffy pink flowers. I went over to examine them and realized it was a plant I had been wondering about for several years. I actually never saw them in bloom, but I could tell from their leaves. When I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist, it conformed Mimosa nuttallii whose common names are Catclaw Briar, Sensitive Briar (or Brier), and probably others. If you get stuck my their thorns you would likely call them something else…

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-5.

The small leaves resemble those from mimosa or locust trees, or a few other plants with similar ferny leaves… I remember as a kid I would find them and tough their leaves to see what happens. I am now 61 and I still do it!

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-7.

It was kind of an exciting nostalgic moment when I touched the leaves and they closed up!

Mimosa nuttallii (Catclaw Briar) on 6-24-22, #894-6.

One thing I don’t remember as a kid is the thorns. YIKES! I guess they protect the sensitive leaves…

It is weird how many species of plants are on this same corner. I have stopped there several times in the past to take photos.

Hemerocallis fulva (Orange Day-Lily), 6-24-22, #895-1.

Across the road was a small colony of Hemerocallis fulva (Orange Day-Lily). This has been a great year for them because I have seen them growing here and there on just about every road I have been on (some very large colonies). They are native to several Asian countries but now grow wild in other countries and a good part of the United States. According to the Wikipedia article, they were planted and naturalized in Europe as early as the 16th century. They are listed as wildflowers on several websites, including Missouri Plants. As you know, there are HUNDREDS of cultivars these days, but the plants on my farm (planted by my grandparents) and on many old homesteads have the same old orange flowers. Common names include Orange Day-Lily, Tawny Daylily, Corn Lily, Tiger Daylily, Fulvous Daylily, Ditch Lily, Fourth of July Lily, Railroad Daylily, Roadside Daylily, Outhouse Lily, Wash-House Lily, and probably others…

I think I will close this post and get ready for part 3… It will be about the photos I took on June 26. There are too many to include in this post.

Until then… Be safe, stay positive, keep cool, always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you get a chance!



A Little Catching Up Part 1…

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) in a friends pasture on 5-22-22, #882-30.

Hello everyone! I hope this post find you all very well. It has been a while since my last post, but I am alive and well. I get busy doing this and that during the day then in the evening I watch something on the TV, sometimes longer than I want. Heck, I haven’t posted since April 24! I have been photographing wildflowers like before and am still finding a few new species on the farm. It seems odd how they just pop up. How did they get here and where did they come from?

I will start the post with the Ranunculus (Buttercup) then begin the update with April 29.

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-22-22, #882-31.

I did have a breakthrough with the Ranunculus (Buttercup) species here. I am pretty sure I have them figured out, but how sure is a secret. It sometimes seems “we” make things harder than they really are. I don’t want to point the finger at myself so I am saying “we”. My higher self is reminding me that “we” in this case means me, myself, and I… I then remind my higher self I don’t even know what my higher self really is. It just sounds good and makes me sound spiritual. I started writing a post about the Ranunculus, but it was saved to the drafts. You know how it is… I start writing a post about particular wildflowers and once they fade the post is out of date.

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-22-22, #882-36.

I had been feeding the cows at Kevin’s and noticed his main pasture was LOADED with what I assumed was probably Ranunculus hispidus (Bristly Buttercup) even though I didn’t think they grew like that. Fortunately I was mistaken because I learned something. When I was taking photos, I took some close-ups of the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit. I had just been working on the pages of Ranunculus and was writing descriptions, so the descriptions of R. hispidus was fresh in my mind. SO, as I was taking photos of the leaves, I noticed something a bit off… The first two leaflets of R. hispidus leaves “usually” have small petiolules but these didn’t have any. Hmmm…. Also, the fruit, which I had disregarded before, were supposed to be different. SO, I took photos of the fruit to compare them with what was on the Missouri Plants website. USUALLY, flowers and leaves are enough to get a positive ID with most species. But since there are many Ranunculus species that look alike, you have to go further. Unfortunately, the close-ups of the fruit were blurry…

Ranunculus sardous (Hairy Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-21.

Later in the evening, I went to check the plants around the pond on my farm but I stopped at the gate by the barn to take photos of a colony of Ranunculus parviflorus. Then I took a few other photos on the way to the pond of this and that… I checked the leaves on the Ranunculus there and was SHOCKED to see the same as the plants at Kevin’s. The darn HUGE colony I had been stumped over for several years were the same!!! By then, it was getting to dark to take good photos. On the 24th I was able to take some good photos, even of the fruit, which confirmed Ranunculus sardous, commonly known as Hairy Buttercup. The fruit of Ranunculus hispidus have long tips (beaks), while R. sardous are more stubby with short tips… Then I realized most of the photos of what I thought were R. hispidus were actually R. sardous. The only R. hispidus were taken in 2020 in another area on Kevin’s farm across the highway along a creek in a shady area. Ranunculus hispidus prefers a damper and less sunny habitat than R. sardous. That’s why I thought it was odd for them to ge growing in mass right out in the sun in the pasture. Ranunculus species are toxic to cattle but usually won’t eat them when they have other vegetation to graze on. Ranunculus sardous can take over when pastures are over-grazed…

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot or Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-10.

There are some good-sized clumps of Ranunculus parviflorus, known by the common names Stickseed Crowfoot and Smallflower Buttercup (and probably others) growing behind the barn and around the pond.

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot/Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-11.

Ranunculus parviflorus grow in thick mats and their long stems get tangled up. No mistaking this species here for sure.

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot/Smallflower Buttercup) on 5-24-22, #883-12.

The weird flowers and fruit are very small…

Ranunculus species can be somewhat difficult if you are in an area where you have several species that are very similar. The Missouri Plants website lists 13 species of Ranunculus in Missouri and I thought I had identified six here on my farm and R. sardous wasn’t even in the running. After several years of deliberation, I think there are only three which includes the earlier flowering R. abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup/Crowfoot), Ranunculus parviflorus, and now R. sardous… The others I thought were here are likely R. sardous.

There will be more photos and descriptions on the page once I get it finished. I worked on writing descriptions during the winter for plants, but when May came I started taking more photos and pretty much skipped R. parviflorus. I will get back to writing descriptions and making updates once we get an “F” in October…

This post is catch up on new species I found since the last post until now but I have thrown in a few previously identified species as well.  Previously identified species, if they have a page,  are highlighted in green which you can click on to go to their own pages if you want to read more and see more photos. Some of those pages don’t have descriptions… It is a work in progress… 🙂

Starting with April 29…

Viola striata (Cream Violet) on 4-29-22, #875-38.

I really enjoy finding new species of Violets and this Viola striata (Cream Violet) just happened to come up in the north bed close to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. The Missouri Plants website says it is the only “stemmed” violet in Missouri with white flowers.

MAY 1…

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet) on 5-1-22, #877-16).

Then, on May 1, I found the first Viola pubescens (Yellow Downy Violet) on my side of the fence in the back of the farm. The first one I found was along the creek on the other side of the fence and on a friend’s farm in 2020. I went back several times to see if I could find it again to photograph its fuzzy fruit. Unfortunately, I have yet to find it the second time… I am going to start taking old electric fence posts to mark locations… You can go to the plants page to see the fruit, but I haven’t written descriptions.

MAY 5…

Chelydra serpentina (Common Snapping Turtle) on 5-5-22, #578-9.

On May 5, I was walking around the back pond and this snapping turtle was being really weird. It was putting its head in the water and then back up, kind of like it forgot how to swim. The water was pretty shallow and just a few days earlier it was almost dry. After a few minutes, another turtle shot out from under it. Hmmm… Like I have said before, it would have made a great video…

MAY 12…

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-6.

Almost as exciting as finding a new species, is one that returns in the same area the second year. Well, it is highly likely that the Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) has been coming up along the fence in the southeast part of the farm for several years. I just found it last year…  Unlike its cousin, Potentilla recta (Sulfur Cinquefoil), this one has much smaller and brighter yellow flowers, and it has trailing stems. The southeast corner of the back pasture/hayfield is the only area I have found it. The Potentilla recta grow everywhere else.

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-9.

The flowers are rather flat. Some websites say the green calyx has 5 triangular tips that are a little shorter than the petals. The Missouri Plant’s website show flowers with multiple sepals, but they are shorter than the petals.

Potentilla simplex (Common Cinquefoil) on 5-12-22, #881-10.

I think its way of fruiting to be quite strange since the flowers were so flat looking. I have not seen any species except this one whose “receptacle” comes out of the flower. OK, technically, with this species (or genus) it is the hypanthia (hypanthium) which is a tubular or cup-like receptacle on which the stamens, petals, and sepals are borne (Missouri Plants glossary). Hmmm… Looking at the above photo, you try to make sense of that description. It looks like the petals and “cup” the sepals grow from slid down or it grew a longer peduncle… Anyway, I am glad I got a good shot as confusing as it is. 🙂

Valerianella radiata/Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) on 5-12-22, #881-16.

I also ran across a few nice-sized colonies of Valerianella radiata/Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) in the pasture. I first identified this species in the area north of the chicken house in 2020. This is certainly a neat plant with small clusters of white flowers and weird leaves (especially the upper leaves.

Although Plants of the World Online says the species is Valeriana woodsiana, basically all other websites and databases say Valerianella radiata. I contacted the editor of Kew and he said Valerianella species have been moved to Valeriana. Sometimes I ask him if he is sure… Some botanists disagree and the curators of some databases don’t either.


Tyrannus tyrannus (Eastern Kingbird) on 5-12-22, #881-13.

I continued my walk along the edge of the south hayfield when this bird came along for a visit. At first, it resembled a male Purple Martin, but as I looked at it close-up with the camera I realized it wasn’t. I found out it was an Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) which I had never seen before. Rather than flying high in the air, this bird flies just over the grass searching for low-flying insects.

MAY 22…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-22-22, #882-44.

SOOOO, on May 22 when I was talking to myself about the Ranunculus, I saw this oddity sticking up in the Ranunculus parviflorus next to a gate by the barn. Previously in the day, I had photographed Lepidium virginicum (Poor Man’s Pepper) which had MUCH smaller fruit. Heck, it is so common along my driveway I hadn’t even bothered to identify it until now… Well, the plants along the driveway get mowed off so I photographed a much larger one on a friend’s farm. It was the same day I photographed the Ranunculus that turned out to be R. sardous on Kevin’s farm, which is why I was talking to myself. I was walking through the gate next to the barn and there it was, sticking up through a clump (understatement) of Ranunculus parviflorus… There were NO leaves on this stem so I took a couple of shots of the fruit then went on to the pond to check out the Ranunculus there… Later in the evening, I drug and dropped the photo on iNaturalist and it suggested a species by the name of Thlaspi arvense, also known as Field Penny-Cress

Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock) on 5-22-22, #882-2.

A friend of mine (Kevin) sent a photo of a HUGE colony of Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock) in 2021 from one of his pastures. I see them all along the highway and backroads but had never seen any up close and personal. Then in April, I saw one growing along the edge of the yard of the church next door that had been mowed off. On May 1, I spotted one right behind my own yard! It had no flowers, so I thought I would let it grow and then cut it down after it bloomed. Then on May 22, I noticed it had flowered so I went to take a few more photos. The plant was HUGE, taller than me. This is a plant you should be careful with as it is what killed Socrates… I also noticed a few more close to the same area. Time went by and the next thing I knew the hay was cut and they got baled up…

Cruciata pedemontana (Piedmont Bedstraw) on 5-22-21, #882-4.

Previously, on May 1, I photographed this plant when it was much smaller and submitted it to iNaturalist. I thought I had identified it before but apparently not. It turned out to be a large cluster of Cruciata pedemontana, commonly known as Piedmont Bedstraw… It is growing here and there in a few somewhat bare spots.

I am almost certain I identified a similar plant growing at the base of a sycamore tree in my yard last year. Hmmm… I have to do some checking.

Cruciata pedemontana (Piedmont Bedstraw) on 5-22-21, #882-5.

Now, if you look at the above close-up photo it may remind you of the dreaded Galium aparine, also known as Cleavers or Catchweed Bedstraw. Of course, it is a plant we love to hate because of those darn stick-tight seeds that stick on our clothing (the entire plant will stick to you even when green). In fact, the species name of this one used to be Galium pedmontanum… and it doesn’t appear to be sticky…

Cruciata pedemontana is an introduced species that Missouri Plants says was unknown in Missouri when Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri was published in the mid-1970’s. Since then, it has spread like wildfire and was reported in 43% of the counties in Missouri in 2020. The map on the USDA Plants Database is completely whacky for this species…

MAY 24…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-23.

Then, on May 24 after taking more photos of the Ranunculus, I started walking in an area north of the pond. LOW AND BEHOLD I found a good-sized colony of Thlaspi arvense!  Usually when I am walking in this area I am 20′ or so north and headed to the main hayfield which is why I hadn’t noticed them earlier.

Thanks to Dave’s Garden, I learned the scientific name is pronounced THLAS-pee ar-VEN-see. Hmmm…

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-26.

These plants still had leaves but they can be absent at flowering. I always like clasping leaves. Just look at the ribbed stems!

Thlaspi arvense (Field Penny-Cress) on 5-24-22, #883-30.

A few feet away was several smaller plants that were still in flowering mode. As you can see the flowers are very tiny. It was windy, so I had to take A LOT of photos!

MAY 25…

Packera glabella (Butterweed) on 5-25-22, #884-4.

On May 25 I was walking in an area behind the chicken house that had been covered in chickweed. I had never seen it so insane! Anyway, I spotted this yellow flower sticking up through the chickweed so I decided to check it out. Hmmm… It was definitely a new species I hadn’t seen before! Sticking up through the chickweed was a single plant of Packera glabella also known as the Butterweed, Cressleaf Groundsel, and Yellowtop. Missouri Plants lists four species of Packera in Missouri and says they can be very hard to tell apart and there is A LOT of controversy which is which. According to the maps on the USDA Plants Database, of the four found in Missouri, three are found in Pettis County where I live but none in Henry County (which is across the street). Not that the USDA maps are up-to-date, but you can still get a good idea. You can zoom in on your state and see the counties the species was found in. According to BONAP (Botia of North America Program), they provided maps for the USDA and all I have seen were updated in 2014… A LOT has changed since 2014!

Packera glabella (Butterweed) on 5-25-22, #884-5.

There weren’t many leaves and what there were had been chewed on. Fortunately, judging my the leaves and stem, I believe this plant is definitely Packera glabella. The other two possibilities, Packera obovata (Groundleaf Ragwort) and Packera plattensis (Prairie Groundsel) have different leaves and one is very hairy…

The USDA Plants Database lists 73 species of Packera in the United States and Canada. The species in the genus were formerly species of Senecio

MAY 28…

I decided I needed to go to the back of the farm again to check the progress of the Elephantopus and the asters behind the back pond. I didn’t want to write the “S” word. OK, I’ll do it anyway… The Symphyotrichum lateriflorum and S. ontarionis. I can’t spell those names without looking them up let alone pronounce them! Anyway, I went the same route as on May 25 behind the chicken house.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-38.

I crossed the ditch and was surprised to see the Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) had moved to a new location! It was in the vicinity where I found the Field Penny-Cress last year, but it was nowhere to be found in 2022.

In May 2021 I was having difficulties with my camera and it completely went bonkers for good at the end of a wildflower walk with my son. I had already taken quite a few photos with much difficulty and on the way back to the house I ran across a patch of Sisymbrium officinale which was a new species. I tried AGAIN to get the camera to work and it wouldn’t. The viewfinder was completely shot! I had watched a video on YouTube about replacing it, but just watching all that had to be done was exhausting in itself. BUT, Nathan is always eager to take photos, so he showed me how to take photos with his cell phone. He sent them to me once we got in the house but they were HHHHUUUUGGGGEEEE! It took a long time to download all of them and the photos filled my computer screen! At least I did get the species identified… SO, I was very glad to find them again on May 28th, just around 30′ or so west from where they were in 2021 and maybe 20 feet north of where the Field Penny-Cress is located.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-40.

While the plants are young and not flowering, the leaves could easily be mistaken for a species of Lactuca of even a non-spiny Cirsium. The lower leaves are fairly broad with several lateral lobes.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) on 5-28-22, #885-44.

This species is a member of the plant family Brassicaceae and has very small yellow flowers. The odd thing about this species is that the fruit (seed pods) lay parallel to the stems…

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) on 5-28-22, #885-1.

Toward the end of the main hayfield, I ran across an Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed). I have several milkweed species on the farm but this was the first time I had seen the Green Milkweed here.

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) on 5-28-22, #886-2.

These are one of my milkweeds I suppose because of the color. I just went back to this plant’s page and realized I need to work on descriptions. GEEZ! The flowers are quite complex…

I made my way to the back of the pond along the drainage ditch to check out the, ummm…

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 5-28-22, #885-45.

The anticipation is terrible since the Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) won’t flower until August or later! There is another species, S. ontarionis (Ontario Aster), that is also behind the pond but farther south. Both are so similar they are hard to tell apart. The arrangement of the flowers and hairs on the leaves are somewhat different. I hadn’t noticed them until last fall and one of the curators on iNaturalist filled me in on how they were different and both species became research grade. You remember we had a late “F” last fall, otherwise, I wouldn’t have even noticed them. There are quite a few of both species growing behind the pond, or should I say “ponds” since there are two side by side. The Calico Aster is growing along the drainage ditch behind the old pond, while the Ontario Aster is growing along the fence behind the other. I think probably grandpa had a new pond made with the intention to make one big pond. Likely, the new pond filled with water before it could be finished because of a spring…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 5-28-22, #885-13.

I walked on past the area where the Ontario Asters are to the location I found the Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) last fall. I didn’t know they were there until they had gone to seed and the leaves had dried up. The plant’s looked suspicious, even dead, and I realized what they were. Made me scratch my head for a few minutes because, until 2021, the only Elephant’s Foot I had seen was on a friend’s mother’s farm in 2019. Then last year, in October, I ran across a single plant in the south hayfield. Well, after a couple of days, I went to mark its location and couldn’t find it again. SO, I was surprised I found it behind the pond and I did mark the location. I was glad they had come up again in 2022. Then came another surprise, but that is for another day…

Then, I walked toward the southeast part of the farm. You never know what you will run across…

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-22.

I was walking along the fence and spotted a nice colony of Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy)… Hmmm… They were on the other side of the fence behind a Multiflora Rose bush. I first identified this species on Kevin’s farm north of town in 2019, then I found them in the hayfield here in 2021. They are pretty neat plants, so I crawled through the fence to get a few more photos.

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-25.

They have neat leaves…

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-28-22, #885-27.

Plus their involucral bracts make a great photo…

Coccinella septempuncata (Seven-spotted Lady Beetle) on 5-28-22, #885-12.

I ran across a Rumex crispus (Curled Dock) with aphids being fed on by several Seven-Spotted Lady Beetles (Coccinella septempuncata). I had to take a lot of photos to get one good one. Thank goodness for Lady Bugs always at work…

MAY 29…

I decided to go to the Katy Trail next to the farm to walk around in the trees again to check on the ferns. Yeah, most people walk the trail so I have to be quiet if someone is coming. I may scare the crap out of someone. GEEZ!

Botrypus virginianus (Rattlesnake Fern) on 5-29-22, #886-1.

I did find several Botrypus virginianus (Rattlesnake Fern) but I didn’t find any Sceptridium dissectum (Cutleaf Grapefern). I wanted to photograph the Rattlesnake Fern in flower, so I was glad that mission was accomplished. I have been wondering if I should dig some up in the spring and bring them home with me. Walking through the trees along the trail is not easy when the underbrush starts taking off.

Ilex opaca (American Holly) on 5-29-22, #886-3.

Hmmm… I ran across a couple of  Ilex opaca (American Holly) trees which I thought was quite odd. What was a holly tree doing in the brush along the trail. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there are four species of Holly that grow in the wild in Missouri. The other three species lack spiny leaves. When I lived at the mansion in Mississippi, the shrubs in front of the house were holly. I kept them trimmed back and always looked like I had been in a cat fight when I was finished. There was also a tall holly tree in the back yard. They can grow to around 50′.

Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) on 5-29-22, #886-6.

Then I ran across a Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) that was actually blooming. The plants along the road in front of the pasture are always in bud or the flowers are closed.

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-29-22, #886-14.

There are quite a few Silene stellata (Starry Campion) in the woods along the trail. I first identified this species from Kevin’s secured woods in 2020 but I have yet to see their flowers. According to Missouri Plants, they flower from June through September. I better get back to the trail…

I walked back home after I left the trail. It was about 8 PM and still light enough to get a few photos I needed.

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard)on 5-29-22, #886-16.

I wanted to get a photo of the fruit (seed pods) of the Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) to show how they lay parallel to the stems. The other species in the family kind of hang outward.

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 5-29-22, #866-7.

I then walked to the back of the farm again where I found a good-sized colony of Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel). I first identified this species from a patch growing in the yard in 2020. A while back, I ran across  HUGE colony along a back road north of town. This species can become very invasive!

I will end this post and start working on part 2 which is for plants I photographed in June.

Until then, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!


Return To The Secluded Woods…

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-27.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I haven’t been to the secluded woods on a friend’s farm since 2020. This is where in 2020 I found the Green Dragon, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, and several other wildflowers I hadn’t seen before. It is always very interesting going into the woods but it can become hard to walk in as the summer progresses. The mosquitos are also terrible after mid-May.

On April 19, after I fed the cows there, I decided to check out the area along the creek where I found a single White Morel in 2020. This area wasn’t far from the driveway. Well, I found five Yellow Morels… Then I decided to walk down the creek (in the water) just to have a quick look. Time flies and I made it home at 3… I didn’t have my camera and it was going to rain so I didn’t go back.

I took my camera with me the next day so I could take photos after I was finished feeding the cows. First I checked to see if there were any more morels where I found them on the 19th. There weren’t anymore, so I stepped into the creek. The hillside on the west side of the creek is very steep, so it is best to just walk in the water.

The first photo I took (top of the post) is the (Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) growing at the bottom of a huge tree. I identified it in 2020 from photos I submitted on iNaturalist. This moss is really neat, but it is just getting started. Hopefully, I can make it back into the woods when it is in bloom.

Interestingly, north of this tree is just a regular forest, an open woodland with mostly brush all the way to the driveway. As soon as you go beyond the tree, you step into what seems like a magical world. All along the hillside to the fence. Past the fence is once again an open woodland with a lot of brush. There are open areas where the Jack-In-The-Pulpit and other hit-and-miss wildflowers grow, but mostly it is just low-growing brush that is hard to walk in.

Then I found this one…

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-35.

How neat is that? The Woodsy Thyme-Moss was really putting on a show. I hadn’t photographed it until now and it was a great find.

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-36.

When moss is blooming you literally have to get down on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass to have a closer look. Well, I was standing in water so I didn’t get on my knees this time. Different species of moss have different leaves and flowers. A lot of them have similar leaves but their flowers are so weird… Like the Bladder Moss on my farm.

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Woodsy Thyme-Moss) on 4-20-22, #870-37.

It took quite a few photos using a magnifying glass in front of my lens to get two close-ups that weren’t blurry. It had also been raining off and on for two days and was sprinkling a little when I took the photos. This was the first time I saw this moss in bloom, so I wasn’t going to let a few sprinkles stop me.

There is a lot of moss growing along the creek. On rocks, at the bases of trees, and on the ground.

There are also a lot of decaying branches and trees that have fallen over which is a perfect habitat for many species of fungi.

Now for the highlight of the day, as if flowering moss wasn’t good enough…

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-17.

On April 23 in 2020, I found a single Dicentra cucullaria next to the creek on a steep hillside. It was pretty close to the end of the creek and I could see the highway. All that way, I only found one plant like it and there were no flowers. I was able to identify it as Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) by its leaves using the “drag and drop” feature on iNaturalist. Anyway, a few days after I saw it, we had a huge storm and the plant was either washed away or covered with mud from water rushing down the hillside. It was gone… If it wasn’t for iNaturalist, I wouldn’t have known what it was.

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-18.

SO, on the 19th, I was SHOCKED to see hundreds of Dutchman’s breeches all along the hillside next to the creek. It was AWESOME!

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-17.

The flowers are really neat for sure but somewhat difficult to explain…

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-20-22, #870-26.

Hmmm… The spreading petal spurs distinguish this species from Dicentra canadensis (Squirrel Corn) whose spurs are more rounded and parallel.

Dutchman’s Breeches are rhizomatous, but there are bulblets at the base of the long leaf petioles where they emerge from the ground… Hmmm… Perhaps I should dig some up and bring them home. I know just the spot to but them.


Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-1.

Another plant I only found one of, and not blooming either, was the Cardamine concatenata also known as the Cut-leaved Toothwort. I looked for it every time I went back into the woods in 2020 but I couldn’t find it again. It just vanished.

This time, like the Dutchman’s Breeches, there were hundreds all along the top of the hillside.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-2.

The area in the above photo was one of a couple that has quite a few Cut-leaved Toothwort growing. They are in danger of being washed away or covered with mud if we get heavy rain. The fallen leaves have already partially washed off the hillside.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-7.

The leaves are a dead giveaway to what these plants are. The only thing I had to go by in 2020 which I uploaded on iNaturalist to identify the species.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-9.

The drooping flowers have 4 bright white petals surrounded by 5 sepals. The flowers will open up but perhaps were closed because of it being cloudy and rainy…

Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) on 4-20-22, #870-10.

Somewhere in there are the stamens, filaments, anthers, and the ovary…

There were also AAAALLLLOOOOTTTT of Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) whose flowers were closed. The White Fawn Lily (or Dogtooth Violet) (Erythronium albidum) were all over the place but haven’t started blooming yet. They are very close, though.

In all, it was a great day! Now I can finish the pages for the Dutchman’s Breeches and Cut-leaved Toothwort so I can get them published.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Spring is definitely a great time of the year. Time to GET DIRTY!


Short Wildflower Walk on 4-10-22…

Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) behind the barn on 4-10-22..

Hello everyone! We had a thunderstorm move in a little after 1 AM on Tuesday night. With all the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning we still received less than 1/2″ of rain. The Weather Channel said the rain was supposed to stop at 1, so I waited until then to feed Kevin’s cows. It all but stopped when I left but started again at 1:30. Then at 1:45, I noticed a few tiny snowflakes that didn’t last long. I arrived at the other farm, where he lives, at about 2:15 with no rain or anything. Then, when I pulled up to the feed troughs, it started sleeting like mad! It lasted until I was finished then suddenly stopped. By the time I was back at the gate, the sun started shining. That was weird! The wind that had been blowing for DAYS calmed down.

This post is continued from the previous one where I had been looking for plants in the shade bed on Sunday, April 10. When I was finished, I started my walk to the back of the pasture. Actually, finding the morels among the Hosta triggered the desire to take the walk. Of course, I took my camera so I could call it a wildflower walk rather than a mushroom hunt. Just in case I didn’t find any. 🙂

Anyway, without further blabbing…

I walked around the barn and had to get a photo of a good-sized colony of Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) (top photo). It seems like this spot changes from year to year as far as what species is growing here. Just so happens, that it is the Dead Nettle’s turn. I am sure you have seen fields that have turned purple in the spring. It is either Lamium purpureum, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), or a combination of the two. They like each other and normally where you have one, there are a few of the other. Dead Nettle normally grows taller and the Henbit just seems to fill in the gaps. Of course, chickweed is usually there as well. I have been tempted to walk out into a field just to check.

Barbarea vulgaris (Yellow Rocket/Bitter Wintercress).

Not far from the Lamium purpureum were a few Barbara vulgaris. One was just itching for me to take a photo. There are a few in the south hayfield whose flowers are already open. There are 10,473 Barbarea vulgaris on the farm (just guessing) all in a rush to produce seed. In the spring, the yellow flowers you see first out in the countryside are likely this species.

I ventured on to an area in front of the pond in the back pasture. Ummm, along a ditch that drains into the pond. I rarely go into this spot during the summer because of low branches and a few annoying Multiflora Roses and/or blackberry briars. I never really paid much attention to which. Closer to the pond is much easier access. Anyway, I went right in because it always seemed to be a good spot for “you know what” to be growing. I always look for activity from deer or wild turkeys because they like them, too. There was a lot of evidence of recent activity, so I started looking through the leaves. I found four…

Physcomitrium pyriforme (Common Bladder Moss) on 4-10-22, #866-22.

Closer to the pond were several clumps of Physcomitrium pyriforme (Common Bladder Moss). Moss has always intrigued me and if I lived in the woods I would have it everywhere. There are several clumps in the north flower bed and along the north side of the garage. I submitted this photo to iNaturalist and the suggested species was Physcomitrium pyriforme (Commo Bladder Moss) and a couple of others. Other members had posted VERY detailed close-ups, so the next day I was in another area and I took a few close-up shots. I agree it is the Common Bladder Moss.

The plants growing among this clump of moss is a Solidago sp. (Goldenrod).

Solidago sp.

There is a HUGE colony of Solidago in this area and LOTS of it growing along the edge of the south hayfield, and several other areas. I like it, but it is kind of frustrating I haven’t figured out the species. S. altissima and S. gigantea are the two species I think they are. One or the other or both. They have similar symptoms (I mean, characteristics).

I crossed the fence behind the pond and walked along the creek for a while. The woods back there are becoming a briar jungle, just wasted space where an abundance of native plants could be growing that like dappled shade or open woods. When I was a kid, I used to hunt “you know what’ with my grandpa in this area. I haven’t found hardly any since and most years I find none. I think it was 2013 when I found this HUGE False Morel but I haven’t seen any of those since either. I need a photo!

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple).

I ran across one of several colonies of Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) that apparently hadn’t been up long. I had never seen any this small, which is kind of odd. Another thing I have heard is that when the Mapapples start to bloom then you will find “you know what.” Well, they are a long way from blooming…

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple).

A little farther down was another colony that had leaved out more but they look a little off. Like that had been “F” bit. You know what I mean. 🙂 The word I don’t use in the fall applies in the spring as well.

So, I walked back toward the house to take a few wildflower photos.

Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle).

The white-flowered Lamium purpureum first showed up in the spring of 2020 in the area northeast of the chicken house. There were only a few the first year but they have multiplied quite a bit. I am not sure how common Dead Nettle with white flowers are, but this is the only spot I have ever seen them. It is quite a treat but rather odd. How about you? Have you ran across any with white flowers? Information online says they can be pale pink, lavender, pinkish-purple, or white…

Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) on 4-10-22, #866-25.

I stumbled on this Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) along the fence in the same area as the white-flowered Dead Nettle a few days ago. Well, heck, it is a few days ago when I took the photo. Anyway, it was last week when I first saw it. I needed to get better flower close-ups for this species so I thought I would give it a shot.

Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) on 4-10-22, #866-27.

This one is pretty good despite it bobbing around in the wind. I could pass for a living manikin waiting for the wind to stop for a few seconds, kind of like a dog on point… I had to keep pressing the trigger to keep it in focus. There are several of this species on the farm, and I even found one in the backyard when I was mowing today (April 14). Of course, I mowed around it. Well, it takes a lot of effort to grow like that.

Identifying Ranunculus species drives me a little crazy. There are two species, I think, that look like this but I am pretty sure I have it correct because of their flowering time. This one is pretty easy. The others… Well, there are three more here that I am maybe 60-75% sure of. If there were more than 3-4, I would check myself in.

Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy).

The Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy) has the best-looking flowers of the four species of Viola I have identified. The above photo was taken on April 4 at the entrance of the south hayfield but I didn’t get good photos of the leaves and stems. There is a good-sized colony north of the chicken house, so I stopped there to get more photos. This spring I have noticed more of this species than ever before, almost as many as Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet).

Viola rafinesquei (American Field Pansy).

These don’t have the typical “Violet-looking” leaves as the others I have identified.

If you think the flower looks similar to a Johnny-Jump-Up, you would be correct. Johnny-Jump-Up is the common name for Viola bicolor Pursh which was named by Frederick Traugott Pursh in 1813. That name became a synonym of Viola rafinesquei which was named by ‘ol what’s his name… Umm… Edward Lee Greene in 1899. It’s kind of a confusing story, but there was another Viola bicolor named by a guy named Hoffman that became a synonym of Linnaeus’s Viola tricolor. I think Hoffman was confused and could have been looking at Viola tricolor with bicolor flowers. Well, sometimes V. tricolor produces bicolor flowers. GEEZ! Anyway, somehow, even though Pursh’s V. bicolor was named before Hoffman’s V. rafinesquei, the latter name is listed as accepted by Kew Science. I suppose common names of the synonyms get transferred to the accepted species as “other” common names. There are still quite a few websites and databases that use the name Viola bicolor which is perfectly fine. They don’t have to agree. Possibly, both species were accepted for over 100 years before botanists or testing decided they were the same species.

The Missouri Plants website lists 12 species of Viola in Missouri.

OK, I am finished with this post now.

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. I think it is about time to GET DIRTY!

The Shade Bed on 4-10-22

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Sunday afternoon I was writing a post and then I decided I wanted to check the progress of the Hosta and Heuchera in the shade bed. Honestly, I was writing a post that was pointing the finger at myself for procrastinating… Who wants to do that? At 61, I think I am allowed to procrastinate a little, then go take a nap.

On March 20, I walked around the house to check on the perennials, which didn’t take long… A few plants had started coming up and the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ was already in full swing. Even the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ that I didn’t cover up for the winter has a few new leaves. I went to the shade bed to check on the Hosta and they hadn’t started sprouting yet. I was hoping they didn’t fizzle out over the weird winter temps. Previously, I thought I had noticed the Baptisia sprouting, but on the 20th they weren’t there. Either I was hallucinating or “something” ate them. They are up now for sure and so is the Spearmint I planted in 2021… Which spread. Well, other plants have come up now so I will have to take more photos for another post. I can delay the other post I was working on… 🙂

The photos are as I took them instead of in alphabetical order. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages even though I haven’t added these photos.

The top photo is the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. I was glad to see it has started coming up. I was wondering about it since the deer (one particular doe in general) completely destroyed it early and kept eating it all summer. But, as you can see, there is hole in the center where the main plant used to be. GEEZ! It had gotten so big before!

Morchella esculenta.

While I was digging around and pulling up chickweed (GEEZ!!!) around the H. ‘Potomac Pride’, I found this Morchella esculenta (White Morel)! Well, I went blank for a few seconds. Of course, that triggered a desire to completely forget about the Hosta and go hunting. But, I left it alone and continued looking for Hosta. Well, kind of. I dug around in the chickweed on the way to the next one… I have never found Morels in this area.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’.

Surprise, surprise! Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is alive and well, too! What a relief! Two down and 9 to go. It seems like it has only been a couple of years since I brought this Hosta home, but it is working on its fifth summer already!

Morchella esculenta #2.

Then, I found morel #2…

Hosta ‘Guacamole’.

NICE! The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is up. What would life be without guacamole? Well, I guess that depends… This one had mole issues a few years ago. They like burrowing under their roots over the winter which pushes them up. That’s not good! The mole repeller has helped A LOT…