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.

Then…

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!

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet): Often Missed Early Spring Wildflower

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-3.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The first early spring wildflowers are off and running and I feel like I have come back to life. Well, I am somewhat tardy since some have been blooming for a while now. I was on a walk to the back of the farm on Sunday and spotted a couple of good-sized colonies of dainty wildflowers. Hmmm… HOLY CRAP! I had not identified these before!

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-2.

It seems early spring wildflowers are the same every year. The first, whether you notice them or not, are usually Veronica persica (Bird’s-Eye Speedwell). They are the wildflowers that are so tiny you can easily miss them and start blooming when they are still tiny plants. They are followed rather abruptly by Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s Purse)Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle), and Stellaria media (Common Chickweed). The Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) start flowering at about the same time in some areas (in the sun) while the ones in the shade bloom a little later.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-6.

Back to the Tiny Bluet… I seem to remember seeing these before somewhere but it was so long ago I had forgotten when and where. Seeing them in the back pasture close to the pond kind of jogged my memory, kind of like deja vu…

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-7.

Houstonia pusilla is a member of the plant family Rubiaceae along with Cleavers (Galium aparine). You know, the silly plant that sticks to everything.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-4.

Actually, the hairy leaves reminded me more of Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed/Clammy Chickweed) which is in the family Caryophyllaceae… Hmmm… I haven’t seen those for a while.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-8.

The flowers of the Houstonia pusilla are trumpet-shaped and have 4-lobed calyces, 1-4 mm long. Just glancing from above, you wouldn’t even notice the flowers are even trumpet-shaped.

Houstonia pusilla (Tiny Bluet) on 4-3-22, #864-9.

One of the colonies had darker, more purplish flowers. Flowers of the Houstonia pusilla are usually sky blue or lavender, but can also be white or pink. All have the reddish ring around the throat that seems to radiate outward.

This species is a winter annual with a fairly weak root system. They only grow 2-4″ tall and blooms in March and April. Apparently, they prefer growing in bare spots where they don’t have much competition with grass. Who could blame them, they are so small and wouldn’t get noticed otherwise.

At last, spring seems to be here. The grass in the backyard already needs mowing. The plants inside are itching to get back on the porches for the summer but they will have to wait a little longer. The wild crocus have bloomed and soon the tulips will have their chance. The Grape Hyacinths are at it now but there don’t seem to be as many as before.

Winter has been weird with temps up and down. The Hosta… Well, it appears ‘Empress Wu’ may be the only one that survived the winter. I keep checking and hopefully, they will return. I have had some of them since 2009…

I am STILL writing descriptions for some of the wildflowers and I still have 20 or so to finish! It is a winter project but I have been kind of lazy in that respect. I get caught up watching a series or a movie instead of working on descriptions. GEEZ!!!

Since the weather is warming up nicely I will have more to write about…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. It is getting time to GET DIRTY!

I Should Have Done That and What If’s?

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Toothed Spurge, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Today started out cloudy but now it is nice and sunny at 53° F at 1:30. The forecast says it will be back down to 25 tomorrow…

I am continuing to update the wildflower pages, writing descriptions, and adding more photos I took over the summer. As I am doing this, I have noticed several occasions where I am thinking “I should have” gone back later and taken more photos. I always take a lot of photos because some don’t always turn out so great. Sometimes I miss something or need better close-ups of the stems and flowers. Then, over the winter when I am working on the pages and descriptions, I can’t go take photos because the plants are gone. Then the “what if’s” set in…

Everyone has those “I should have done” and “what if” moments. For me, it starts with “I need to do” then months later it becomes “I should have”… I know we have all been there many times because I hear it A LOT from other people. Or how about “you should or could have done” this or that. That’s when you reply, “yes, but…” Then the “what if’s” come along for a ride which can lead us to procrastinate”… How long that list can get?

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Toothed Spurge, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-20.

The perfect example is the Euphorbia dentata, commonly known as Toothed Spurge, Green Poinsettia, Toothleaf Poinsettia, and Eastern Toothed Spurge (and possibly others). This annual species grows in a variety of habitats and can be found from the central U.S. eastward to the coast, northeast Mexico, and Ontario in Canada. Information online says they grow along streambanks, ledges, tops of bluffs, forests, glades, upland prairies, fields, gardens, ditches, along railroads, and so on. The seeds of this species don’t germinate until it gets plenty warm…

So, where did I find it growing? In the basement of the foundation where my grandparents house was. There is nothing down there but old boards and brush from the yard. It is weird to me how the seeds got down there in the first place and germinated. I suppose there is enough decaying brush for the seeds to germinate and the plants grow, but it is still weird…

Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia, Tooth Spurged, Etc.) on 9-24-21, #835-21.

It was almost 8 PM when spotted this odd ball down in the basement on September 24. Instead of getting a ladder to climb down to it, I just zoomed in and took several photos the best I could. I “should have” went back and took better photos the next day. But, no, I didn’t… Now, “what if” if more seeds don’t come up in 2022?

Well, that got me to thinking… What are the odds the seeds will germinate in 2022? I would say very slim. If they don’t come up I can’t get more photos. Then again, what were the odds the seeds even wound up and germinated in the old foundation in the first place?

I got right up, grabbed the camera, then took the ladder and climbed down into the foundation…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-1.

I sat the ladder down next to where I thought I had seen the plant. A little to the left and I would have been right on top of it…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-2.

I pulled off several of the old flowers hoping there would be a few seed but I left more than I took. Now, the flowers of many Euphorbia species are weird in the first place. Euphorbia dentata flowers are quite similar to the Poinsettia we buy during Christmas (Euphorbia pulcherrima). In fact, Euphorbia dentata used to be called Poinsettia dentata. Writing descriptions of the flowers is quite difficult, especially without good close-ups. The stems terminate with 1-3 clusters of cyathia with 25-40 staminate flowers and immature fruits. Oddly, the ovaries hang on the outside… They become 3-lobed fruit which contain 3 seeds…

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge) on 1-24-22, #860-3.

Once I brought my find to the house, I crumbled up everything and started looking for seed. Sorry the photo is a little blurry, but those seeds are only 2-3 mm long… The ruler is on the metric side. Now that I have a few seeds, I will see if I can get them to come up in the spring in a better place than in the old foundation.

Plants of the World lists 2,028 species in the Euphorbia genus worldwide. There are 227 genera in the family Euphorbiaceae. The Missouri Plants website lists 11 species in Missouri and I have identified 3 on my farm. I know there is at least one more that has very tiny leaves that grows prostrate.

Members in this family have a milky sap that can be toxic…

That’s it for now. I hope you are doing well. Take care, everyone! Be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

 

October 24-25 Wildflower ID…

Solidago sp. (Goldenrod) in the main hayfield on 10-24-21, #851-8.

Hello everyone! This is not exactly a normal time of the year to be identifying wildflowers on the farm here in west-central Missouri. Normally, we have had an “F” by now and most everything is dead or dying. Trees that turn bright colors, like many maple cultivars, are still green. The old maple in “the other yard” is changing color and the leaves are falling, but they would normally be orange. The two maples in front of the house and the south side are still green… Here it is, October 25, and still no “F” in the forecast… I am certainly not complaining. 🙂

I went to the south hayfield on October 24 to look at the Ladies’ Tresses again. I was also hoping I would stumble on the Elephant’s Foot again which didn’t happen (at least not in the south hayfield). The flowers of Ladies’ Tresses were beginning to fade, so what I was looking for apparently didn’t happen.  I am still leaning toward Spiranthes magnicamporum even though their lateral sepals didn’t spread outward.  I think the flowers the way they are and the stems with the sheathing bracts are good enough to confirm identity.

Arphia xanthoptera (Autumn Yellow-Winged Grasshopper) on 10-24-21, #851-6.

I walked to the back of the south hayfield to see if there was anything interesting and I spotted this brown grasshopper. Its scientific identity is Arphia xanthoptera and the common name is Autumn Yellow-Winged Grasshopper. I had never seen a grasshopper this color, but photos of the species show they come in many shades. I was surprised it actually let m hold it for a while. Usually, grasshoppers move around to the other side of a stem or leaf so you won’t see them. If you get too close they just fly off. This fellow didn’t seem to mind sitting on my hand to get a photo. After that, it left its calling card and flew off. As he flew, I could see his wings were red and yellow.

I am in an argument with Grammarly at the moment… I know we are both right and wrong at the same time. Grammarly thinks I shouldn’t capitalize the name on both sides of the hyphen, but that is the way I always do it. If a person’s name includes a hyphen, both names are capitalized. We are both wrong because some well-paid taxonomists think common names shouldn’t be capitalized at all. Other taxonomists are in disagreement. According to “some”, even family names shouldn’t be italicized and others yes… I capitalize common names and italicize family names and so do most of the sites I use.

After I finished in the south hayfield I climbed over the fence and entered the main hayfield. Not long after I was in the main hayfield, I stumbled on a strange plant I hadn’t seen before.

Acalypha gracilens (Slender Three-Seeded Mercury) on 10-24-21, #851-2.

It was quite windy so I had to take even more photos than normal. This Acalypha gracilens (Slender Three-Seeded Mercury) was sticking out like a sore thumb adorned in its fall colors. I had never seen it before, so I knew I had identified a new species on the farm. That is always exciting. I knew it was a member of the plant family Euphorbiaceae and I was correct. I only noticed one plant on the 24th but I needed a few more photos so I went back on the 25th. I couldn’t find the exact plant, but I managed to find two more. The second plant I found was only 4 1/4″ tall but the one from the 24th seemed a little larger. They can actually grow to 36″ tall…

Acalypha gracilens (Slender Three-Seeded Mercury) on 10-25-21, #852-3.

The Acalypha gracilens is a native of the southeastern and east part of the United States. It is quite common in some states and quite rare in others. It only has a few observations in the state of Missouri and none anywhere near here.

Plants grow in a variety of soil and light conditions which makes them very adaptable. In some situations, they can become weedy and grow differently from location to location making them somewhat tricky to identify.

The plants produce both male and female flowers on the same raceme. The female flowers are on the lower part while the male flowers are on the upper part. Flowers are wind pollinated and they become more “obvious” after pollination… Hmmm… We have had plenty of wind lately so they should be happy. This species produces fruit with 3 sections with one seed per section. There is a name for that but I can’t think of it at the moment. It is believed the seeds are dispersed by explosion or by ants. Of course, there were no seeds when I took the photos so I couldn’t give it a try. I guess that gives me a reason to go back to experiment. 🙂

I am working on the page for this plant…

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Amanita bisporigera (Eastern North American Destroying Angel) on 10-24-21, #851-4.

While behind the back pond, no one could help but notice the Amanita bisporigera (Eastern North American Destroying Angel) along the creek on the other side of the fence. There were several on top of the bank, but the biggest was growing on the side.

Amanita bisporigera (Eastern North American Destroying Angel) on 10-24-21, #851-5.

This fungi is not one you would want to try in your favorite spaghetti sauce. If you eat it, you will start feeling ill in no time but then you will begin to feel better. The damage has already been done and you will die within 4-6 days…

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Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-24-21, #851-12.

By now you will know my confusion when it comes to several members of the Symphyotrichum genus. I found several of these plants growing on both sides of a drainage ditch behind the pond in the back pasture. Right off, I knew I hadn’t identified this one before. I was kind of excited but I soon realized I was going to be in a predicament… Here is a member of the aster family, likely a species of Symphyotrichum with leaves that resemble a species of Erigeron… Why in the heck are there single flowers growing on top of clusters of leaves like that?

Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-24-21, #851-10.

It made absolutely no sense to me at all… Later, I went back to the house and went through the photos for the day, and uploaded the observations on iNaturalist. When I got to these photos, INaturalist suggested Symphyotrichum drummondii… I checked out that species on Missouri Plants and a few other sites linked on Wildflower Search and couldn’t see any resemblance as far as the leaves were concerned. I checked out the other suggestions the list and had the same opinion…  The leaves on those species were fairly long and narrow and some of the flowers weren’t right either.

Then I looked at the photos I took and noticed something…

Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-24-21, #851-13.

What in the heck is that dead leaf dangling from the stem on this photo? Hmmm… By then it was too late to go to the back of the farm to check. I suppose I could have taken a flashlight.

Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-25-21, #852-18.

Would you look at that!?!? It’s a long, narrow leaf! Sometimes I just get so excited to find a new species I don’t look at all the plants in the colony. You know, the bigger picture. Not only the leaves, but the basal flowers on this plant had changed color and they looked like a “certain” species. The disc. flowers change color with the species I am debating which gives it the common name…

Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-25-21, #852-21.

What about the involucral bracts? Always check them out with members of the family Asteraceae. They can be appressed, recurved, in multiple rows (ETC.) depending on the species, subspecies, or varieties. In the particular species I am debating, they are appressed this in the above photo.

Symphyotrichum sp. ? on 10-25-21, #852-24.

There are very few of these longer leaves on any of the plants. Most of the lower leaves (basal) fall off on many species during flowering, while the upper leaves are much smaller. Missouri Plants lists 17 species of Symphyotrichum in the state of Missouri. However, they DO NOT have the species I am debating but they mention it as a “look-alike” of S. lanceolatum… I checked the map on the USDA Plants Database for Missouri and the species is supposedly found in many counties but Pettis (where my farm is) is not one of them. It shows they are present in all the counties next to Pettis, including Henry which is across the street… But, you know, they base their evidence mostly on dried, pressed specimens collected many years ago. I checked the BONAP map, which was updated in 2014, and it appears Pettis may be on the map. I say “may” because it is very hard to tell… The species has 60 synonyms and its current scientific name wasn’t accepted until 1982…

So, what species am I debating? Well, I looked at a lot of photos on iNaturalist and several other websites and I found one photo with leaves similar to the plants I had found. It was from an observation that was made by an iNaturalist member in 2013. Fortunately, it was from someone I had contacted before about another species who just happens to be one of the curators. She didn’t know what it was at the time, so she contacted another curator who was good with the genus. I sent her a message and she suggested I contact them as well. SO, I did. I told them I thought it was possibly Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) and sent links to the observations. They agreed and explained a few things in a reply.

<<<<+>>>>

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-25-21, #852-20.

Then there was this plant growing close to the fence behind the pond which I thought was likely Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Panicled Aster). It is the one the debatable species is a “look-alike’ of and they both grow in the same type of wooded environment. BUT, when I contacted the iNaturalist member, they suggested it was Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) but it could also be an aberrant S. lateriflorum. I agreed with S. ontarionis and the observation became Research Grade.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-25-21, #852-22.

The flowers are similar at this stage and the disc flowers will change color as with “the other” species. It is possible they are the same species but I can’t determine that until 2022.

Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-25-21, #852-23.

There were still quite a few long, narrow leaves on this plant but the upper leaves are completely different than those on the Symphyotrichum lateriflorum along the ditch… That doesn’t mean they still can’t be the same species.

I apologize for not writing complete descriptions of this plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers. I have a lot of photos to add I took over the summer, several species pages to write, and updates to make. It is a wintertime project but I do get behind. There are several links below with great descriptions. I will write descriptions as soon as I have time.

HMMM… I forgot to take a photo of this plant’s involucral bracts… GEEZ!

I am using the species name Symphyotrichum lanceolatum for this plant because it was the first name suggested when I uploaded each photo individually on iNaturalist. I read about the species and looked at A LOT of photos before agreeing with that name then I submitted the observation as such. Still, even though there is a name attached, it is unlikely any members will agree. I may have to seek out someone who has posted observations of the “debatable” species that have become Research Grade to get their opinion.

Sometimes a species can grow weird leaves when under stress, like when a deer eats the top off of the plant or its leaves. That could be the case with the debatable plant… So, now I am in the waiting game…

UPDATE on 10-27-21: This species has been confirmed as Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) by one of the curators of iNaturalist. The curator said it was either S. ontarionis or an aberrant S. lateriflorum. We went with S. ontarionis for the moment and the observation is now Research Grade as such. 🙂

<<<<+>>>>

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) on 10-25-21, #852-10.

Besides the species I photograph and get an ID of, there are hundreds (probably thousands) I overlook for one reason or another. I have been tromping around the area between the back pond and the fence since I was a kid. Climbing over dead trees, crawling under limbs, and pushing rose vines out of the way just to get through this area. It has always remained a natural habitat and always will be as long as I am here. There is quite a diversity of species all around this area and across the fence along the creek on the neighbor’s side (which used to be my grandparents). The Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) have been here a very long time.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) on 10-25-21, #852-11.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is a member of the plant family Caprifoliaceae along with honeysuckle with arching branches. They thrive in a wide variety of conditions in the central and eastern half of North America from Canada down into Mexico. They are an arching, suckering shrub that produces bell-shaped flowers in the summer and fruit (called drupes) in the fall. I have not seen their flowers because I likely hadn’t been to the area during that time or just ignored them. Information says a wide variety of birds and small mammals eat the fruit and “browsers” use the plant for food…

<<<<+>>>>

Geum canadense (White Avens) on 10-25-21, #852-9.

In the same area I saw this leaf that looked like it was from a grapevine but it had these weird seeds growing from a petiole in the axial. Then I remembered it was likely Geum canadense (White Avens). Without flowers, it is sometimes difficult to remember what you find this time of the year. This is the same area where I first identified this species in May of 2018. I have since found them growing in other areas.

Geum canadense (White Avens) on 10-25-21, #852-8.

I was glad to be able to get a good photo of the dried achenes with hooked tips…

The next observation on the 25th made me very happy…

<<<<+>>>>

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

I continued walking south toward the end of the area where I spotted a very suspicious looking plant… I looked it over very well and was almost getting goosebumps. OK, so it was a little chilly and the wind was blowing. I looked around and found a bigger patch with several plants… Could it actually be???

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-25-21, #852-5.

I checked the leaves, and sure enough, these plants are definitely Elephantopus carolinianus… WHAT A FIND! During the summer I don’t hardly ever get a chance to walk to the back of the farm because the grass in the hayfield gets so tall and thick it is hard to walk through. As a result, I missed these growing and flowering. Even when I did venture to the area I hadn’t walked through the spot I found them. Now that I know, there will be nothing to stop me next summer.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-25-21, #852-6.

And we have seed… The bracts fall off rather than just the seed falling out.

I am very happy now to find a good-sized colony on my farm. This is a very interesting species for sure.

After that, I walked back to the house.

Maybe next year, maybe even this next week, I will take the mower and mow a path around the farm to areas I want to keep an eye on. That sounds like a good idea to me. 🙂

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

Silly Spiranthes (Ladies Tresses)

Spiranthes cernua (Nodding Ladies Tresses) on 10-3-18, #514-26.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The strange fall, or autumn, weather continues. I’m not complaining because it is pleasant and the potted plants are still on the porches. The low Monday evening is supposed to be 39° (likely around 6 AM Tuesday morning) but then back up again.

This post is about my continuing dilemma with the Ladies Tresses on my farm. You can basically take a 25′ swath and go across the farm and find a few scattered here and there and nowhere else. It’s weird.

So, it all began on October 3 in 2018 when I found my first Ladies Tresses. I joined iNaturlist in March 2018 but I didn’t start using it to identify plants or upload observations until 2019. Basically, I was doing my initial searches looking at photos on Missouri Plants and Wildflower Search to figure out what species I found. Missouri Plants lists six species in Missouri and there are 19 on Wildflower Search. As of 10-25-21 when I wrote this post, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 39 accepted species worldwide. The genus is a member of the plant family Orchidaceae with 729 genera…

Spiranthes cernua (Nodding Ladies Tresses) on 10-4-18, #515-20.

A member suggested the first four photos were Spiranthes cernua commonly known as Nodding Ladies Tresses. I had just begun to identify the wildflowers on the farm, so I readily agreed and I think he was correct. When I clicked on “agree”, the observation said Spiranthes cernua Complex… Little did I know at the time, when it comes to nature “complex” means complicated…

One thing weird that threw me off was Ladies Tresses grow in a spiral. Well, none of the plants in the hayfield, and there were several, were growing like that. Information for Spiranthes cernua from Missouri Plants says, “Flowers appearing as though in 2 or more ranks or intertwined spirals along the flowering stems or sometimes no spirals discernable.”

Then in 2019…

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies’ Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-58.

I spotted a group of Ladies Tresses on September 1 in 2019 close to where I spotted them in 2018. At the time, I really didn’t notice they were somewhat different, so I uploaded four more photos from that observation and selected Spiranthes cernua Complex. This time, the same member suggested Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies’ Tresses), and another member agreed. I did some research and agreed then the observation became research grade. They were indeed different from the 2018 observation.

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies’ Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-60.

The flowers were much smaller for one thing… Sometimes when you are fairly new to wildflower hunting you don’t remember certain things from one year to the next.

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies’ Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-61.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is the leaves. They completely disappear on all but one species found in Missouri at flowering time.

I didn’t take any photos of the Ladies Tresses in 2020 but I did in 2021…

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-21-21, #848-1.

I had gone back out to the SOUTH hayfield on October 21 to see if I could find the Elephantopus again. Not only could I NOT find it, I found the critter in the above photo. Well, I knew it was a Ladies Tresses but its flowers hadn’t opened. I didn’t put the observation on iNaturalist because I figured it would be a guessing game and maybe no one would even pay much attention like that. The flowers help determine the species of any plant.

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-22-21, #849-21.

I went back the next day and took a few more photos, however, all but one were blurry. I submitted it on iNaturalist as Spiranthes cernua Complex, but no one visited that observation…

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-23-21, #850-1. Notice the “sheathing bracts” on the stem?

I went back on the 23rd to take more photos, determined to take some good close-ups of these small flowers. There weren’t very many of these plants to begin with, maybe 3-4, so I had to search for them.

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-23-21, #850-2.

I had my magnifying glass with me to use on the front of the lens of my camera. It works very well, especially when you zoom in a little and get it focused. Practice makes perfect and you still have to take A LOT of photos. Especially of very small flowers.

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-23-21, #850-3.

These plants were growing in a nice spiral which I think is caused by their flowers turning upside down during their development. I read that somewhere…

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-23-21, #850-4.

They certainly looked like Spiranthes cernua to me…

Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) on 10-23-21, #850-5.

You can see the frilly lower lip in the above photo.

SO, I submitted the fine photos from the 23rd on iNaturalist as Spiranthes cernua. Wouldn’t you know, the same two guys from before both DISAGREED! One suggested Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) and the other agreed. SO, again, I did some research and there was a problem… The two upper sepals (one on each side) “should” spread more outward and sometimes curve upward a little. I put that in a comment, and one of the guys said they don’t always curve outward… SO, I did a little more research and found out he was correct. SO, I agreed and the observation became research grade.

You can’t read information from just one or two websites. You have to read everything you can find because some of what you read isn’t exactly correct or up-to-date. For example, some sites may have information on a species that is (or was) a synonym so their descriptions may be somewhat whacky. Spiranthes is a complicated genus that has been divided several times. Some species have their own varieties that act a little different than the species.

The Missouri Plants website is great and they use descriptions from Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri. However, a lot of plant names have changed since the last three volumes were published. Spiranthes magnicamporum was a synonym of S. cernua until 1973 because they are basically indistinguishable from one another. Both have yellow throats, but maybe a little bolder with S. magnicamporum. Both have frilly lower petals that curve downward. Both have relatively larger flowers than other members of the genus. S. cernua flowers from August-November, while S. magnicamporum flowers from September-November. The leaves on both species are absent at flowering, but Missouri Plants says they are reduced to scales on S. cernua white they are reduced to sheathing bracts on the other. I did notice the bracts on the stems of the S. magnicamporum… Both species have a scent, but I could smell nothing by the 24th after their flowers had started to turn a little brown…

OH, I almost forgot… S. magnicamporum is part of the Spiranthes cernua Complex which includes five species and a hybrid. Actually, two of the species are ancient hybrids as well.

I think it is interesting to have three species on my farm when there aren’t that many of them. In 2018, I remember there were quite a lot of S. cernua in one location. I also found it odd the S. magnicamporum are only in the south hayfield, while the other two were in the north hayfield. Strangely, these plants don’t grow in colonies (at least not here) but are quite a distance from one another and there is always just one stem. Since they are perennial, you would think there would be multiple plants together. But then again, there are many species that do the same thing.

Getting back to the Elephantopus I mentioned I was trying to find when I stumbled upon the S. mag. (getting tired of writing the species name)… I just happened to find a single plant, which I posted about earlier. I went back the second day and found it quite easily. I have looked for it multiple times since where I knew it was and could not find it again. There is a small oak tree (or what appears to be an oak in its photo) growing a few inches from it. They are parallel with the second utility pole in kind of a bare spot with dead grass… Both the Elephantopus and tree are MIA… It is so funny to find a single plant somewhere and needing to find it again and it is nowhere to be found. How can I find it twice and it disappears? Maybe a deer ate it and is somewhere laughing at me while I look for it. 🙂 I have waited for plants to flower before and the deer come along and eat the tops right off but there are usually plenty.

OH, on Sunday the 25th, I identified five species. Well, actually four since one is highly debatable. One is rare for this area and it is a single plant. How it got here is a very good question… They will be on the next post, but I need more photos of two of them. Hopefully, they won’t vanish. One sticks out like a sore thumb so I think I can find it again without any problem. 🙂

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

 

 

Wildflower Catch Up With A Few Bugs…

Hello everyone! It is an interesting time of the year to go wildflower hunting since most of them have gone to seed. There are still a few flowering, especially where the hay was cut. I also noticed there weren’t as many insects as last week but there are still a few Monarch butterflies. The weather has been nice for the most part but we are supposed to have a couple of chilly nights. After that, it will warm up a little again.

Of course, the seeds of the Desmodium paniculatum (Panicledleaf Ticktrefoil) are always trying to hitch a ride. I have done pretty well avoiding them until the last three times I went out. This time was the worse. I walked through the middle of the south hayfield to avoid them which turned out to be a good idea. Unfortunately, I had to go through them to get to where I was going. I was on a mission. 🙂 Then when was finished, I walked out of the briars and looked at my boots. GEEZ! I should start wearing my old rubber boots with the hole in them. After that, I didn’t bother trying to avoid them. When I came back to the house, I removed them off my pants then sat down on an old telephone pole to pick them off my boots.  I removed them from one boot then thought how glad I was they weren’t those other stick tights (from the Torilis japonica). I pulled off the other boot and sat my foot right down on a cluster of the other stick tights I hadn’t noticed when I sat down. GEEZ!!! My sock was LOADED! One of their common names is the Tall Sock Destroyer and they live up to their name.

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seed pod…

I originally went out for the walk to check on the last of two milkweed seed pods for the experiment crew at the Augusta University Biology Department in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They are studying the Showy and Common Milkweed and the hybrid species between the two. The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) grows in the eastern half of the United States and the Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) grows in the western half. There is an area where they overlap and hybridize in the middle. They contacted members of iNaturalist that submitted observations of these milkweeds to participate in the study. I agreed to participate so they sent envelopes for the samples. I mailed the two pods on Thursday.

Their information says, “We gave been collecting genetic, metabolomic (any small-molecule chemicals found within a tissue sample), and phenotypic (physical characteristics, such as shape of the leaves, color of flowers, etc.) data by taking leaf and seed pod samples from plants in each species zone and within the hybrid zone. Once we have finished collecting this data, we will begin to analyze the differences between the two species and their hybrid species. With this information, we hope to begin to understand why these species remain geographically separated and how genes are passed between them.” 

On the way to where the milkweed was, I stumbled on something very interesting…

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

I remember seeing maroonish leaves on another plant just like this one closer to the briar patch a while back, but this one was more in the center of the hayfield. I didn’t pay much attention earlier because I thought the plant had maroonish leaves because maybe something was wrong with it. You just never know… Weird things happen in nature. Anyway, Wednesday I saw this one with flowers and I completely didn’t recognize it. Of course, I took A LOT of photos. 🙂

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

The large leafy bracts should have turned a light on because I have identified only one species like it. The flowers weren’t open which is probably why I still didn’t recognize it.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-11.

After I went through the 94 photos I had taken for the day and deleted the ones I didn’t want. I separated them by species and uploaded the observations on iNaturalist that I already knew. Then, I took the first photo for this one and uploaded it for ID. It suggested ONLY Elephantopus carolinianus. I thought it was completely whacky! I did the same to the second and it said the same thing. I took a better look at the second photo and then it hit me. HOLY CRAP! I have Elephantopus in my hayfield!

I first saw this species on September 9 in 2019 while I was herding cattle on a friend’s mother’s farm. I was in a dead run going down a wooded hillside toward the creek when I spotted them. I almost rolled the rest of the way down. Anyway, you can read about it on THIS POST.

The Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) is definitely one of the most interesting wildflowers I have ever seen. I will try and get photos of its flowers opened up, but you can click on the name above to go it its own page.

Ipomoea hederacea (Ivy-Leaved Morning Glory), 10-12-21

There were several Ipomoea hederacea (Ivy-Leaved Morning Glory) blooming in the south hayfield as well. I don’t have a page for this one because I just got a proper ID. 🙂

Then I walked to the southeast corner of the hayfield to go to the back pasture, through the blackberry briars…

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed) in the southeast corner of the back pasture on 10-12-21, #843-28.

The Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed) are still blooming up a storm. They attract A LOT of pollinators and other insects that have a hard time finding food this time of the year. Normally, they probably aren’t flowering that much now, but they regrew after the hay was cut. I do not have a page for this species yet.

Danaus plexippus (Monarch) on the Vernonia missurica on 10-12-21, #843-5.

There are still a few Monarch’s flying around the ironweed but not near as many as last week. This one let me get very close.

Euthochtha galeator (Helmeted Squash Bug) on 10-12-21, #843-22.

There are many species of insects that look similar to this Helmeted Squash Bug. This one was feeding on what looked like whiteflies when I first saw it and it didn’t really like my intrusion. I asked it to pose and give me a big smile but it kept looking at its food.

Croton capitatus (Wooly Croton) on 10-12-21, #843-3.

There is a lot of Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Wooly Croton, Goatweed Etc.) flowering in the back pasture right now… There aren’t usually that many here…

Then I walked north toward the…

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 10-12-21, #843-7.

The Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) tree in the back pasture is really LOADED this year.

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 10-12-21, #843-8.

Besides being able to cut the milkweed seed pod and seeing the Elephantopus, being able to eat a few persimmons made the whole walk worthwhile. Then I walked to the house to pick off the mess on my boots.

That’s all I have for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

Problem Areas and Wild Weeds, ETC. Part 3 PLUS A SURPRISE!

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley)…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. October is here once again and some of the wildflowers aren’t looking their best. There are a lot of insects and butterflies feeding right now. I have taken a lot of photos the last few days and I am getting behind. 🙂 I now have 655 observations posted on iNaturalist covering 343 species.

This saga of the wild weeds (and wildflowers) and problem areas on the farm continues as I walked out of the main hayfield to the front pasture…

The above photo is the dreaded Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley). There doesn’t seem to be as much of this stuff growing as there has been in the past. That is certainly fine with me…

 

Eleusine indica (Goosegrass)…

As you can imagine, there are A LOT of different species of grass growing on the farm. Heck, pretty much every yard around the world has a lot of species of grass. I don’t know about you, but the worse grass in my yard and pastures has got to be the Eleusine indica (Goosegrass). It is the grass with very tough blades you have to mow over multiple times and even then it still looks raggy. The second worse is the crabgrass which I don’t really want to talk about…

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper)…

There are still a few fairly good-sized colonies of Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) here and there but nothing like 2019 when I identified seven species. That was definitely the year for the Smartweeds.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed)…

The Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) is also scattered among the grass in the front pasture, mainly around the two old mulberry trees. The other six species are scattered about here and there.

 

Hmmm…

I walked over to what used to be a smallish Multiflora Rose. Dad and I pulled up several rose bushes with the tractor a few years ago but left this one. It wasn’t that big and is it along the drainage area where water runs from the pond. When we pulled up the others it left a HUGE hole and I didn’t that that would be a good idea in this area. Three years ago a White Mulberry grew up in it, then last year I noticed a Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) in the mix. To the left is a small colony of Solidago (Goldenrod) and the other cluster is either Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) or Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset/Late Thoroughwort). Those two species look a lot alike and I didn’t take a closer look…

Both of those species have seen better days throughout the farm. There are still quite a few Solidago in bloom along the main hayfield. I am not really sure which species of Solidago are growing here but likely Solidago altissima and maybe also S. gigantea. The galls on a few plants are generally found on both of those species.

 

Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur)…

I am not really sure where I took this photo of the Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur). It is growing here and there and seems to be getting carried away again. I had been “working on it” for several years and seemed to pretty much have it whipped. Well, it seems to be coming back with reinforcements! I don’t have a page for the Cocklebur…

I walked across the ditch to get photos of what I saw as I started the walk. It was this mass of pink right behind the pond in the front pasture I had somehow just noticed. Probably because I hadn’t been paying attention, but that just can’t be. Just last week, or maybe the week before, I had taken photos of a few plants near the pond and I didn’t notice it then. I am saving the photos for the end of this post so I can end it well… 🙂

After I took some photos behind the pond, I walked toward the fence along the road in the front pasture to the biggest eyesore here…

Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)…

The Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac) has spread into the pasture along the fence. This is a big problem…

Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)…

I put the camera across the fence to get a photo of the mess between the fence and the street. In the first place, the fence is a little too close to the ditch, and the ditch is cut too steep to mow. Whoever did this had no concept of maintenance and it was done MANY years ago. The county used to come along several times during the summer but now we are lucky if they come once a year. At the end of the yard, there is a telephone pole between the fence and ditch making it impossible to get a mower along the fence. To mow the ditch, I would have to drive down the street to where the gate is and come up… Then, I would have to back the mower all the way back down to the gate… Since the ditch is cut like it is, and part of it has washed out a little, it is kind of unsafe. To fix this problem, the fence would have to be removed and moved back and the ditch smoothed out at a slope allowing it to be mowed safely. It is a real eyesore and I don’t like it one bit. I don’t like using chemicals, but this area needs cut and sprayed. Water from the ditch runs to the lake at the park… Perhaps I can talk to the county or the conservation department to find a solution.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because I am very thankful to be here. I have a lot to be thankful for. It seems like I have been given an opportunity and I would like to do much better but I am not quite sure how to go about it…

Getting closer to the surprise…

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)…

One of the first plants to grow after the hay is cut is the Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). Over the years, trying to tell the difference between Verononia baldwinii (Western or Baldwin’s Ironweed) and V. missurica has been somewhat difficult. I know the difference but couldn’t find enough of the latter to get a good confirmation to prove to myself that’s what it was. To make it worse, the two species hybridize… Earlier, all the ironweed were definitely Vernonia baldwinii.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)…

Now, most of the ironweed are likely most definitely (GEEZ) Vernonia missurica. The heads have more florets (30+) and the involucral bracts are appressed. With Vernonia baldwinii, they have fewer florets and the bracts are recurved. I don’t have a page for the Vernonia missurica and the page for Vernonia baldwinii is still in draft mode. They have been driving me crazy so I wanted to make sure what I was talking about. Am I sure now? Well, not really. 🙂

OH, so here we go…

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)… On 9-28-21…

Don’t laugh like I am. This is probably the first pink flowers I have gotten excited about in my life. For one, the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) is the first species in the genus I have been able to properly identify and it become research grade on iNaturalist. The flowers are 1 1/2″ wide while the others are 1/2″ (more or less) and most commonly white or a pale lavender-pink. I am sure, almost, I have identified one species as Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) but I can’t get anyone on iNaturalist to stick their neck out and agree. I have submitted a few species that are difficult with the same results… Birds are easy and every species I have submitted are research grade.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 9-30-21, 1 1/2″ diameter…

The Missouri Plants website lists 16 species of Symphyotrichum in Missouri and most are pink. The USDA Plants Database lists 154 accepted species (including infraspecific names)in North America. Plants of the World Online lists 95 species worldwide including 12 hybrids but not including possible varieties. To find that out, I would have had to click on 95 pages. For grins, I checked out The Plant List which hasn’t been maintained since 2013. It lists 143 species (including infraspecific names), a whopping 1,116 synonyms, and only 37 species unplaced at the time. I would count the list on the Wildflower Research website, but I am sort of exhausted…

the underside and upper leaves of the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)…

Getting back to the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae… Information online says their flowers are purplish and rarely pink. Well, these are pink fading to white. It also says they supposedly grow to around 40″ or so tall. Hmmm… There is a problem. The huge clusters of pink flowers are on stems in a circle 10-12′ in diameter.  One could mistakenly “think” the stems are 40″ or so tall. BUT, in the center of the circle, there is a cluster of bent over stems (at the base of the plant). I picked one of the stems up and it was about a foot taller than me and I am 5′ 8ish… The stems had gotten so heavy they fell over and curved upward (like sweet corn). I took more photos on the 30th, including the bent-over stems at the base of the plant. Unfortunately, the photos of the base of the plant were blurry so I will have to try AGAIN. Possibly take a tape measure (and photograph the measurement) to prove my point. That happened before with another species of Symphyotrichum growing along the fence in the front pasture. The stem was growing in the fence and it couldn’t fall over and was close to 8′ tall. I do have photos but I have never been able to identify the species…

Danaus plexippus (Monarch Butterfly) on the New England Aster…

There were a lot of small butterflies and insects were very busy. There was a single Monarch enjoying itself as well.

Jocelyn asked me to take a 20-30 minute video of the farm for her YouTube channel so, on Friday, October 2, I decided I would give it a shot. I took a video of the New England Asters and the butterflies then walked up the ditch toward the main hayfield. There was a large colony of Missouri Ironweed at the corner and there were more Monarch feeding than I ever saw before. There were several colonies of ironweeds scattered about halfway across the front of the hayfield so I continued recording. Then I walked to the back pasture where another pond is. There is a HUGE colony of ironweeds where I found HUNDREDS of Monarch feeding and it was quite a sight. There were even several Hummingbird Moths which are impossible to photograph but they came out quite well on the videos. Well, I took 17 videos normally 3 minutes or so each. A couple were 7 minutes because I got a little carried away and a few are around a minute because I had to stop recording to take photos. She will just have to splice the videos together to get 20 minutes or so. I have to upload the videos on Skype, and if I make them too long it takes forever and sometimes it won’t work at all. If I had a better way to do it I would…

Well, I better close for now. I took quite a few photos this past week and I need to do some catching up. 🙂 We have FINALLY gotten some rain…

Until next time, take care, be safe, and always be thankful!

 

Problem Areas and Wild Weeds, ETC. Part 2…

Hello again, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and are doing well. This is round two about the problem areas and wild weeds on the farm. I am sure many of you have all encountered similar issues one way or another. Even if you have a house and a regular-sized yard, you still have to deal with weeds and trees sprouting up around your house, fences, and so on. They are more of a problem if you have a garden and flower beds. However, they are more manageable.

I had to add “ETC.” to the title because not everything on this post is a weed or a problem

Well, I have around 3 acres of yard to mow and it isn’t laid out in such a way that I could cut back. The areas that are grown-up now were like that when I moved back here in 2013 except one… I attempted and partially succeeded, clearing off the area north of the chicken house. The problem with clearing and cutting down trees is what to do with the brush… If you keep after them when they are small it is much less of an issue. Now, you may be thinking I should leave the trees and just work around them. That, my friends, depends on the trees, where they are, and how close they are together.

So, the above photo is the jungle that has grown behind the barn. When I moved here in 2013, I cut the trees away from the barn and out of the fences around the corral. Back then I didn’t know about Tordon so they grew back. I’m not sure how many times I cut the trees out of the fence, but as you can see, they are way beyond being easy. The trees in the mess are Chinese Elm, some kind of soft maple, and mostly White Mulberry. They all grow very fast and can be hard to manage. There are also Multiflora Rose, Smilax, and who knows what else in the mix. I get busy in the spring, then it gets hot, then rains. I can come up with several excuses… I am 60, but that one isn’t good enough!

What I would really love to have is a BIG commercial chipper hooked on a trailer to put all the debris. That would be AMAZING. Then I could use the mulch in the flower beds. I would only cut down the scrub trees and leave the good ones.

From this area, I was thinking about going to the pasture. But again, I was met head-on…

Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed)

This is the other side of the Ambrosia trifida Giant Ragweed the last post was closed with. To the left is a gate, the chicken house, and part of the yard. The ragweed wasn’t near this bad last year and it won’t get like this next year. I promised that to myself. There are no cows here now to keep the weeds somewhat topped so they just grow. All but the three acres where the house and yard are leased out to a friend of mine. The guy I help feed cows when he needs me, do his planters and landscape maintenance, wildflower hunt in his woods and pasture, and whatever else he needs me to do. I still have dad’s old Allis-Chalmers 170 and the mower so I will likely get it going and get these weeds cut down. BUT, this is ragweed and mowing right now wouldn’t be a good idea. Several years ago I mowed the ragweed down along the pond bank about this time. Dad always told me he couldn’t go near the stuff but I hadn’t really had any issues… Until after I mowed it down. It didn’t bother me so much at the time, but every year it seems it gets a little worse. Dust and pollen especially if it is sort of windy. I am just going to get a few of those blue COVID masks and see if that helps. Even mowing the crabgrass in the yard right now with all the dust from it being so dry stops me up a little. The goal is to keep this area, and a few others not suitable for hay, mowed next year whether I use my old tractor or Kevin’s. My mower is like maybe 6′ wide, but Kevin’s is maybe 18′ or more with wings. His tractor is also MUCH bigger.

I wanted to walk to the pasture but I decided not to walk in the ragweed like I did before. I decided to walk all the way around the pond.

Amaranthus spinosus (Spiny Amaranth)

Before I forget, also behind the barn is a LARGE colony of Amaranthus spinosus (Spiny Amaranth). It is definitely a weed I love to dislike A LOT (hate is what I would prefer to say). They have been an issue in this area since I was a kid and I watched my grandpa work them over several times. The soil in this area is very loose because it is where dad and I fed the cows hay. Consequently, I used the composted manure in the garden and flower beds so I have this creature coming up in those areas as well. It is a real pain in more ways than one because of its very thorny stems. They produce A LOT of seeds that are edible. Well, so are its leaves but I don’t particularly want any.

The pond is very low now for several reasons. One is the lack of rain, the other is that the cows made a ditch in the bank where they walked to the pond. During periods of heavy rain, the water washed it out even more.

 

Phytolacca americana (American Pokeweed)…

I walked around to the backside of the pond and across the ditch to an area that is very difficult to maintain. When the cows were still here, the Arctium minus (Lessor Burdock) held this territory. The cows liked laying on the pond bank under an old Chinese Elm and Red Mulberry. Last spring the old elm fell over during a storm which changed the environment somewhat… Now there are several fairly large Phytolacca americana (American Pokeweed) growing here. The largest of these are growing in the south hayfield. I always thought Pokeweed was a neat plant, so I let a few grow around the fence by the chicken house and one (or two) around the garden. But like I said, even wildflowers can become weeds. Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, and Cardinals supposedly eat the berries but there aren’t enough of them anymore. Where are all the birds anyway?!?! The plants are deadly to pets, humans, and livestock… GEEZ! Well, I guess enough is enough, or too many is not a good thing. I suppose if there aren’t that many birds around here that feed on the berries there is no point in having so many Pokeweed.

 

Hmmm… Blackberries…

GEEZ! There used to be an electric fence where these jfhgssk blackberry vines are. There was just a small group that I mowed off now and then. There may also be a Multiflora Rose in the mess that I kept cut down (anyway, it was somewhere along the fence). How this mess of vines got so big I have no clue… I don’t venture out into the hayfield that much during the summer because the grass grows so thick and tall. It is very exhausting to walk through. Once the hay was cut, I went out and saw several problem areas that weren’t there before.

I turned to the left (north) and walked around the other side of the pond…

 

Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed)…

When I moved back here, and for a few years after, the Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed) and Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle) covered the pond bank on the east side. I worked several summers digging the thistles and mowing the Jimson Weed and am glad to say neither one are a problem now. There are still a few here and there but nothing like there was. Thank goodness! In 2019 there was a weed that took over that grew much taller than me. I had never seen them get that tall or in such an abundance. The funny thing is, I didn’t take any photos and I can’t even remember the name. In the few years I have been identifying wildflowers, I don’t think I have taken any of that species photos for ID. HMMM. There never was that much of it but it is very common. Dad always called it Dock or something… Well, I will just have to try to find some…

 

Chenopodium album (Lamb’s Quarters)…

OH, now I remember! Lamb’s Quarters! Chenopodium album! I don’t have a page for this species and I am not sure why. They don’t usually get as big as they were, but the pond bank was another area where hay was fed over the winter.  Lots of “the GOOD STUFF” made this area very fertile but there is a problem with the soil in this area… There are a lot of plants that refuse to grow here perhaps because of the chemicals left in the soil from the Jimson Weed. I have used it in the garden and it seemed fine. The last time I was scooping the stuff up, I noticed the surface was very fine and weird (it looked kind of like A LOT of bug poop). I put some in a flower bed and water wouldn’t even soak up.

Walking to the main hayfield, I walked to the gate…

Vitis sp. and Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose)…

This post is where the electric fence hooked up to the gate that went around the hayfield. This small Multiflora Rose and grapevine have been a part of this post for YEARS. I had to give them a good trimming many times!

I walked on up into the pasture because you have to see this…

DOUBLE HMMM!!!

So, when Kevin’s nephew was finished baling the hay and the bales were moved, he asked me if I would check for armyworm damage where the bales had been sitting. I had noticed there were several patches of dead grass but I thought it was from it being cut and lack of rain. He said there were a lot of hayfields in the area that had been affected by armyworms. I couldn’t really tell because I didn’t know what to look for. What I found online wasn’t about armyworms affecting hayfields. Always when hay isn’t moved pretty quick, the grass will die where the bales are sitting. I always tried to move the hay pretty quick, and last year it was moved as soon s it was baled. This year he had a couple of other guys move it and it took them a few weeks. All I noticed under the bales were A LOT of crickets. At the time, there didn’t seem to be that much dead grass, but after a couple of weeks more, I can see it is pretty bad. There is grass sprouting, but it is very slow. Kevin will be drilling new seed when the time is right.

 

Solanum carolinense (Horse Nettle)…

Most of what is growing in the dead zones are Solanum carolinense (Horsenettle), Veronica missurica (Missouri Ironweed), Cyperus stringosus (Strae-Colored Flatsedge), and a few other miscellaneous clumps of grass. Mostly the Horsenettle. Well, it grows all over the farm. As soon as the hayfields are cut, the first plants to grow are milkweeds, ironweed, and horsenettle. They want to grow like mad so they can bloom like their life depends on it.

As I was working on this post, I realized I needed additional photos. I needed to confirm the Vernonia missurica, which will be on the next post because the photos I took were in a different area. Then I got this idea I needed to have a look at them in the main hayfield to make sure they were the same species. As I walked up the hayfield, I noticed…

There was a couple of White-Tailed Deer grazing just over the top of the hill. Trust me, I zoomed in quite a bit because it would have been impossible to get this close. I was very surprised they didn’t know I was there. I took several photos as the doe on the right walked closer to the other one.

 

Then she spotted me. In a second, the one on the left looked at me and in a flash, they turned and ran. In the early evening, almost every day, a doe and her two fawns walk through the back yard and either go through the fence or walk through the gate by the barn. They go to the pond to have a drink then walk up to the hayfield to graze. I have been very close to them when they are in the yard but I have not had my camera. When they see me, they just stand and look at me motionless before moving on. The last time they didn’t bother to get in a hurry and just slowly walked to the gate. Maybe they are getting used to me.

When I added the observation on iNaturalist as Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), one member agreed making it research grade. Another member came along and suggested Odocoileus virginianus subsp. macrourus (Kansas White-tailed Deer). I didn’t agree yet because I’m not sure. According to Wikipedia, there are 26 subspecies, 17 in North America and 9 down into South America. Of course, there are disagreements about that and the Wikipedia article may be somewhat out-of-date. 

While I was at it and on the hill, I decided to take a few more shots… You know how one leads to another, then another. 🙂

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)…

The Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) grew very fast after the hay was cut They won’t be able to flower again before the “you know what” but they give it their best shot.

 

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)…

The Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed/Prairie Milkweed) on the other hand, grew, flowered, and already has fruit before I knew it.

I think I will close this post and make the next one about as I leave the main hayfield and go to the front pasture…

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

AH HA! Finally Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed) Flowers, ETC.

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-25.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I went back to the blackberry briar wilderness along the south hayfield on Saturday (the 17th) to check on the progress of the Pale Indian Plantain (Arnoglossum atriplicifolium) but their flowers still hadn’t opened. I took about 200 photos of 18 species, most of the plants I already photographed before. Even though I have already identified most species, I either need better photos, more photos, or I just have an itchy trigger finger. Once the mosquitos start coming, I’ll shoot just about anything. 🙂 But, amazingly, they weren’t so bad on Saturday. Walking through all the blackberry briars is bad enough and the taller they get the harder they are to walk through. I feel like hooking up the mower to the tractor and making a path, but I keep finding plants I need photos of. What if I run over something I don’t know is there? GEEZ! I could just take a machete but then I would be fighting the thorny stems I just cut… I will probably wait until after the first “F” and then mow down the whole mess from one end to the other. If I don’t, I won’t even be able to get in and walk around next year.

One example is what I just found on Saturday… (Yeah, I know it is Friday already). I was walking through the thorns and saw a plant I hadn’t seen before, flowers, fruit, and seed… I thoroughly photographed the plant from one end to the other so I could get a positive ID and upload the photos on iNaturalist and write a new page.

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-30.

I was like, “OH, what is this?” Flowering stems growing in all directions and fruit!

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-31.

Well, it was just downright neat and growing right in the blackberry jungle… I thought finding this plant made it worth fighting all the thorns.

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-32.

It isn’t often you find flowers, fruit, and seed at the same time all on the same stem…

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-33.

The flowers are fairly small…

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-28.

The leaves are kind of thick and leathery…

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC.) on 7-17-21, #813-29.

Stems are kind of hairy… I took a lot of photos and weeded out some. I just added a few on this post and saved the rest for the plant’s page which isn’t finished yet…

As it turned out, it was a species I found north of the chicken house in 2020 that had not flowered. You know, one of those that grow a rosette of leaves the first year and flower the next… I couldn’t properly identify it for sure until it flowered… When in flower, it looks absolutely nothing like the rosette from the previous year. Hackelia virginiana, also known as Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, Virginia Stickseed, ETC. Yeah, another sticktight with barbed bristles. 🙂 Another plant with “virginiana” as the species name…

Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice, Stickseed, ETC) on 7-19-21, #815-2.

On Monday, I was in the trees (and vines) north of the chicken house photographing leaves of the wild grapes (long story) and there the darn plants were, flowering up a storm. There were three… SO, the main species I photographed in the briar patch jungle on Saturday were flowering much closer. They weren’t flowering north of the chicken house the last time I was there, otherwise, I wouldn’t have taken 30 photos (more or less) of them on Saturday.

Honestly, finding out the species I found in the briar patch on Saturday didn’t seem as exciting after I found out what it was. Especially since they are right in the backyard… 🙂 Now, I am laughing about the whole ordeal. 🙂

Well, I do really need to go back to the briar patch jungle to check on the Pale Indian Plantain flowers. It has been a week! I am tempted to walk up the trail next to the farm, walk through the trees, and climb over the fence to get there instead of walking through the tall grass. It is quite a distance and I feel like I have walked up 500 steps by the time I get there. Then I have to fight the briars and walk back. I keep thinking the hay will be cut, but it still hasn’t happened… There is no real threat of rain in the forecast, but temps are definitely on the rise… The forecast says 95° F by next Wednesday!

Well, that’s it for this post. I did find a couple of interesting caterpillars on the walk on the 17th. I got one shot of one of them and it completely jumped off of the leaf. Nothing like it on iNaturalist and I can see why…

OK, I better close this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and be thankful. Get dirty if you can, but maybe wait until later in the afternoon…

Is It Torilis arvensis or Torilis japonica?

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) among the Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) on 7-8-21, #809-48.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been fooled many times over the years when it comes to wildflowers. I have learned a lot as a gardener, expecting one thing and getting another. Plants are not that complicated, or so we might think. Plants in our garden, flower beds, and pots depend on us for their growth and survival. If we take care of them and give them what they need, we are rewarded with flowers and a harvest of fruit and vegetables. But sometimes our perennials may not return the next spring, and our self-seeding annuals may come up God knows where. We do, however, have a lot to say about what grows where in our yard and we can thin or move things around a bit. Plus, there are always new plants to bring home. 🙂 In the wild… Well, that is a different story.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21.

Since 2013 when I returned to the family farm and have been getting more into wildflowers, I have noticed a lot of changes. Many wildflower species come up hit and miss from one end of the farm to the other and don’t necessarily grow in colonies. That being Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) for one. The large colonies of seven species of Persicaria have also changed which I thought were unstoppable… All but one species no longer have large colonies and have been consumed by others. The Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed), on the other hand, seems to definitely be unstoppable for the moment where it colonized in 2019. Of course, all the Persicaria species identified here are still present, just not in huge numbers. Switching from grazing the pastures to growing hay has made a big difference. Nature is definitely dog-eat-dog and depends on the survival of the fittest.

I started this post a few days ago but always had something better to do. Honestly, anything is better than writing about Hedge Parsley. I thought about taking more photos for this post, like all the places it is growing, but it started raining. I also need to work in the garden, but it started raining. What else? Well, since it started raining my list became very short and the Hedge Parsley draft is staring right at me. GEEZ!!! So, I guess I just as well dive in and get it out of the way and off my mind.

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica ? on 9-20-20.

Well, you know I mentioned in the last post I had added several observations of Torolis arvensis to iNaturalist. Then one member had to ask if I was sure it wasn’t Torilis japonica. Honestly, it is always annoying when someone asks me if I am sure about anything. If I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t be saying anything at all. I am not one to exaggerate… If I tell you I caught a fish that was 3 feet long it is because I measured it and have a photo to prove it. I have never caught a fish 3′ long, by the way. 🙂

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japnica ?  on 9-20-20.

But… His question festered inside of me for a long time. I figured since I have been picking those darn stick tights off my clothes since I was a kid, they had to be Torilis arvensis. After all, Torilis japonica wasn’t discovered in Missouri until 1988. Heck, the species wasn’t even named until… OK, so it was first named Caucalis japonica in 1777 and that was a long time ago. They aren’t a native species after all and Torilis arvensis wasn’t even “collected” in Missouri until 1909. Besides that, both species were misidentified by a lot of botanists, horticulturalists (and so on) because they didn’t know the difference between the two. So, which one was actually here in the first place?

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica ? on 5-11-20, #698-29.

They are basically exactly the same and some websites even say one species is a synonym of the other, including one of my favorite wildflower sites. According to Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, many authors mistakenly treated Torilis arvensis as Torilis japonica despite detailed descriptions and reversed the distributional range statements of the two species. Despite Steyermark’s lengthy description about both species, it doesn’t mention the key ingredient. Not even enough to be able to tell the two apart. Likely, by the time the first specimens were collected, both species were fairly widespread. It is just my opinion, but farmers back then didn’t really think about weed species that much, and botanists didn’t really know what was really out there.

Well, I couldn’t take it any longer. Up till now, I hadn’t done much research about the two species because I thought, or assumed, the species here was Torilis arvensis. I had made the page for Torilis arvensis in May, but like a lot of species, I haven’t written descriptions yet. I got behind and anxious to get pages for all the wildflowers so I just basically added a little information, photos, and links. I didn’t feel I needed to get into research because the two species were so much alike that even experts can’t tell the difference, so how could I possibly do it? WELL, I was mistaken. Once I started reading about Torilis japonica, I found out their fruit has hooked bristles while Torilis arvensis bristles are straight to slightly curved.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-16.

SO, I took the two magnifying glasses to have a look at the bristles on the plants growing next to a shed in the “other” backyard. Well, the area in question is the old floor of grandpas old garage. One of the sheds is on half of it and the Hedge Parsley likes the other half. All that is left of the floor is old gravel and cinders. When I first came here, dad had used this area to throw anything that wouldn’t burn in the spot. I removed all the junk like old barbed wire, paint cans, oil filters, electric fence wire, and so on so I could keep it looking halfway decent. Anyway, I looked at the bristles on seeds that had been leftover from last year and couldn’t tell…

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-17.

Then I looked at a few other clusters that still had a little green… Hmmm… It was still somewhat hard to tell but they looked VERY suspicious! Taking photos of what I see in I a magnifying glass is very difficult.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-18.

Then I looked at bristles on this year’s fruit. HA!!!

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-19.

Low and behold, the bristles have hooks! Well, I went from one spot to another around the barn by the gate, next to the barn, all the way to the twin Mulberry trees. There is no shortage of Hedge Parsley because it grows everywhere. ALL had hooked bristles… I could not believe what my eyes were seeing!!! I have Torilis japonica instead of Torilis arvensis!!! Well, at least the plants fairly close to the house are. I have not checked for hooked bristles everywhere yet. Now I will be checking everywhere I go! Well, at least when no one is looking. 🙂

I will keep experimenting with the camera and magnifying glass in front of the lens. There are just some close-ups I can’t get with just the camera. Some flowers are also very tough, but seeds are in a completely different category… It seems to have a lot to do with light, color, and even the background. It was also somewhat windy when I took the photos on June 11.

Small Marigold and Hedge Parsley seedlings look exactly alike. In the south flower bed where I have had Marigold ‘Brocade’ growing, the Hedge Parsley was also present. In the spring I had to smell the leaves to tell them apart.

Ambrosia artemisifolia (Common Ragweed) on 8-20-19, #615-2.

Ambrosia artemisifolia (Common Ragweed) also grows in the area by the shed among the Hedge Parsley. They also look A LOT alike until they start flowering. Hmmm… Well, looking at that photo again makes me wonder. I was sure at the time.

Well, I better close for now. I have a Torilis page to clean up a bit! I am not sharing the link because it is now weirder than before. 🙂

I have several posts in the making but I am waiting for an email confirmation for one. I think I need permission to use something… Well, while I was looking at the stick-tight seeds, I spotted a butterfly I had not seen before. Wait until you see it!

I also have to post about a goof. Well, I didn’t know any better at the time so I am calling it a learning curve. It really is a curve as you will see.

So, until next time… Be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and don’t forget to GET DIRTY!

 

A Walk On The Wild Side…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEDGE PARSLEY!

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

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

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

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

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

Finally Flowers of the Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass)

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass) on 6-16-21, #801-82.

Triodanis perfoliata (L.) Nieuwl.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I took the new camera wildflower hunting for the first time on May 15. I took well over 100 photos on the 15th and close to 200 on the 16th and it worked great! Nathan went with me on the 15th and we walked from the house up the north side of the farm, across the back (east side), to the “swamp” on the southeast corner. It was late in the day so I was kind of in a hurry. I had been out of town all afternoon and didn’t get back home until almost 8 but I just had to try out the new camera. 🙂 Nathan was lagging behind because he was taking photos with his cell phone and sending them to some of his friends. Of course, some of them replied and he “had” to answer. Finally, after I finished looking around in the southeast corner, where I call “the swamp”, he caught up with me. As we were crossing over into the southeast corner of the south hayfield, I looked down and spotted a SINGLE Triodanis perfoliata under some other taller plants… I had already given up finding any because I looked where I spotted one in 2020 and there was none. Now, this plant only grows 6-8″ or so tall from a single stem so they are not easy to spot. If you are looking for this plant, just remember the leaves are light green, roundish, and they clasp the stem in kind of a spiral pattern. It was about 8:30 PM when I took a few photos of the plant on the 15th, but we continued walking down the south hayfield along the fence. It was still bright enough to take a few photos. Toward the end, I found several plants of a species I had been unable to identify before… The Arnoglossum atriplicifolium, commonly known as Pale Indian Plantain. By that time, it was too dark to take good photos but I still took a few anyway.

I went back to the south hayfield on the 16th (by myself) mainly to take photos of the Pale Indian Plaintain. I took the direct route this time, walking through the tall, thick grass from the barn and up through the front pasture. The grass is very tall and thick and will be cut for hay in a few days. Talk about a workout! It is like climbing stairs all day long. I finally made it and as soon as I stepped into the area I needed to be in I looked down and HOLY CRAP! There were A LOT of Triodanis perfoliata. I had noticed them on the 15th because by the time we got to this spot it was too dark to tell. The great thing was that some of the plants still had flowers. I was very excited and I took quite a few photos. You have to take a lot, or at least I do, in case some are blurry or a bit weird.

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass) on 6-16-21, #801-83.

SO, here it is… Triodanis perfoliata, commonly known as the Venus Looking Glass. It was named and described as such by Julius (Aloysius) Nieuwland in American Midland Naturalist in 1914. It was previously named and described as Campanula perfoliata by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. It has several close cousins, five species of Triodanis are found in Missouri that can be difficult to tell apart. Missouri Plants only has information on three species, one of which is now an infraspecific taxon of T. perfoliata (T. perfoliata sub. biflora). Triodanis perfoliata can be found in every state in the continental United States, a few provinces in Canada, on down through Mexico and South America. Plants of the World Online lists six species of Triodanis and they are members of the plant family Campanulaceae with 89 genera.

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass) on 6-16-21, #801-84.

I was working in a friend’s planters and at a glance I thought I saw one of these plants. I pulled it up with the other debris and put it aside not really looking close. Kevin came and I was talking to him about the Triodanis perfoliata and I had found one in a planter. He asked what it looked like, so I found it and showed him. As I started to show him the roundish clasping leaves I realized I was mistaken… I hate it when that happens when I am trying to sound smart. Especially Kevin because he is the friend that owns the pasture and secluded woods I wildflower hunt in sometimes. He is also the one who is leasing my pasture/hayfield. He sends photos of plants for me to ID sometimes so he can sound smart (at least that’s what he always says). He is a pretty smart guy anyway and I wouldn’t want to tell him any different since he is bigger than me. He is my age and his family moved back here when we were in high school. His dad was the first vet in town and later became the state veterinarian.

Anyway, the leaves on the plant I discarded were NOT roundish or clasping. They were narrow and sessile but they did run up the stem in a spiral pattern. It did have spent flowers at the leaf axils like T. perfoliata, whereas some species just have terminal flowers (at the top of the stem). There is a cluster of kind of similar plants growing around the base of a Sycamore in my yard that I keep forgetting to photograph. Their leaves are tiny and kind of lance-shaped.

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass) on 6-16-21, #801-85.

The roundish clasping leaves are a special trait of Triodanis perfoliata. Their fruits are also different than other Triodanis species.

Missouri Plants says, “Plants in this genus usually produce numerous cleistogamous flowers in addition to the normal flowers. These do not open but instead self-fertilize, and appear visually quite distinct.”

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping Venus Looking Glass) on 6-16-21, #801-86.

Native Americans (Cherokee) used the root of the plant to treat dyspepsia from overeating. The Meskwaki used it as an emetic to make one sick all day long and smoked it at ceremonies.

It was such a relief to find flowers of the Clasping Venus Looking Glass. I thought I was going to have to wait until 2022. It was also a relief to find so many in the south hayfield. I was beginning to think it was a very rare species, but evidently not. It was just here until I found so many after the old fence row along the south hayfield was mowed off. It is incredible how many wildflowers were hiding in all the blackberry briars. Of course, they are growing back, but for now, it is making great hunting for wildflowers.

You can read this species own page by clicking HERE. There aren’t any descriptions of the plant’s parts yet, but you can look at more photos and check out the links at the bottom of the page.

After I was finished photographing a few wildflowers in the south hayfield, I didn’t want to walk in the tall grass again so I climbed over the fence, walked through the trees, and walked down the trail. The trail that used to be the Rock Island Railroad and is now part of the state park system. I took quite a few more photos along the trail and more as I walked along the street next to the front pasture. 🙂

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

Wildflower Walk: I Love You, I Hate You

Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider).

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It’s approaching fall and the temps are doing their silly fall dance. I thought I would take a walk to the back of the farm on Sunday afternoon since I haven’t been back there for a while. The hay was cut a while back so walking through the grass wasn’t as hard as it was before. Ummm… Just between you and me, I took the walk and the photos on September 20. 🙂

Sometimes It is hard to decide what title to give a post, but this one because easier as I walked. By the end of the walk I had it figured out. 

I walked around the back barn and noticed a Cocklebur. The plant itself wasn’t it great shape but that wasn’t what caught my eye. There was a HUGE Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) with a Praying Mantis in its web. The Praying Mantis was even longer than the spider. I haven’t seen any of these spiders around the house this summer which doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Truthfully, I have been busy and haven’t paid much attention to anything around the house.

From there I walked into the main hayfield…

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed).

Most of the wildflowers have run their course but there are still several that are still going at it. Some regrow after they are cut and start flowering again. The milkweeds, even though they won’t flower again, are some of the first to spring back into action after they are cut and they start growing like their life depends on it.

Vernonia baldwinii, commonly known as Baldwin’s Ironweed or Western Ironweed, is another wildflower that grows back quickly. There are quite few small colonies scattered throughout the pastures and hayfields and the butterflies were very busy on their flowers. They wouldn’t sit stilling enough to get a photo, though.

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s or Western Ironweed).

I uploaded the above photo on iNaturalist and it suggested it was Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). The Missouri Ironweed has appressed bracts while Baldwin’s Ironweed has curved bracts.

 

Vernonia baldwinii (Western Ironweed).

Of course, I had to go back to the pasture with my camera and a magnifying glass to make sure. I have been taking photos of these ironwoods for several years and they are indeed Vernonia baldwinii… But just to be safe, I checked numerous colonies…

 

Vernonia with appressed bracts.

Of course, there had to be a couple of colonies with flowers with appressed bracts. So, could they be Vernonia missurica? Hmmm…

 

Conocephalus fasciatus (Slender Meadow Katydid).

Besides butterflies, there were numerous grasshoppers, beetles, and other small and odd looking creatures on the plants and flowers. The sun was pretty bright and the wind was blowing so I didn’t get many good bug photos. The above photo of the Slender Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus fasciatus) came out very good. This is a third common species of Katydids that I see here. It is pointing out this Ironweed has appressed bracts… Thanks for pointing that out, buddy.

I went on to the pond in the back pasture to see what else I could find…

 

Bidens aristosa (Bearded Beggarticks, etc.).

This time of the year many pastures are aglow with the golden-yellow flowers of Bidens aristosa. It has many common names including Bearded Beggarticks, Western Tickseed, Long-Bracted Beggarticks, Tickseed Beggarticks, Swamp marigold, and Yankee Lice. Although the flowers look amazing in mass colonies, the seed is what most of the common names indicate. The seed has a couple of small stiff stickers that stick to anything crazy enough to walk through the colony. Can you imagine how many seeds you would have to pull off your clothes? Since I am aware of this I avoid getting to close when there are seeds present. The biggest colony here on the farm is around the back pond, but I have seen them in the lower end of the south hayfield as well. They prefer damp soil, especially in low areas.

A friend of mine sent a photo a few weeks ago asking if I could identify the plants in his pasture. I went to have a look in person and the entire low area along the highway and his pasture was filled with Bidens aristosa. It was quite a sight… Well, his woods are where I took most of the wildflower photos this past spring. This area was standing in water at the time.

 

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop).

One of several interesting wildflowers on the farm, the Ditch Stonecrop (Penthorum sedoides) likes growing along one particular area of the back pond.

 

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop).

As usual, there were very few of its very odd-looking white flowers left but its fruit is also quite interesting.

 

Ludwigia alternifolia (Bushy Seedbox).

I wanted to get photos of the Bushy Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) flowers earlier but I could never find the plants. For a while, I thought maybe they didn’t even come up. Fortunately, I was able to locate a small colony again but the wind was blowing so I couldn’t get good close-ups. The common name comes from the fruit being square like a box. Strange but true…

I always thought it strange the Bushy Seedbox is in the same genus as the Floating Primrose Willow (Ludwigia peploides) that grows in the ponds.

 

Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset).

There are plenty of the Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset) on the farm mainly closer to fence rows and areas that aren’t mowed. To me, its flowers look like Ageratum which is now Conoclinum… When I uploaded this photo on iNaturalist, a member disagreed and said it was Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset, Late Thoroughwort). He said to check the petioles… Hmmm… If I had have taken more photos like usual with I am identifying plants he wouldn’t have said that. The E. altissimum has narrower, lance-shaped leaves while E. serotinum has leaves that are broader at the petiole and taper toward the tip. I took photos of that species last fall growing along the fence behind the back yard.

Walking away from the pond, about halfway to the swamp…

Symphyotrichum sp.

Hmmm… There are multiple species in the Symphyotrichum genus that look so much ake I gave up on trying to tell them apart. Missouri Plants lists 14 species. Some have longer petals and some have shorter petals and some species are “variable”. They can have purplish or blueish flowers as well… They flower pretty much all summer right up until a hard “F”. There a lot of these on the farm and sometimes even the hayfields and pastures are full of them. Not just the hay fields here but other hayfields and pastures as well. This Aster species loves roadsides, fence rows, edges of pastures, and just about anywhere that can’t be mowed. They aren’t very showy because of their small flowers and to me, they just look like a weed. It is very bad to have a nice hayfield or pasture then all a sudden it gets covered with these.

I continued walking along the fence toward the southeast corner of the farm toward the swampy area. I had hoped to figure out what species of Panic Grass is growing in an area close to the electric fence that runs across the south end of the back pasture. But, no luck with that. It’s somewhat hard to explain this area and I suppose I should have taken a photo… The southeast corner is a grown-up mess that would like to get worse. Dad put up an electric fence between the boundary fence along the east side and hooked it up to the electric fence that runs along the trees between the back pasture and south hayfield… DEEP BREATH! Anyway, tree seedlings and blackberries just started taking over, and the deer continually ran through the fence. The largest Mullberry tree is also in this area with low limbs so moved the electric fence up past the tree. Limbs continually fall out of this tree and it was kind of a pain to always have to be repairing the fence.

 

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed).

A few years ago, Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) covered the swampy area but no more. The Canary Grass has taken over the swamp but the Jewelweed, being an invasive survivor, has escaped and is growing mainly along the edge now. It is also trying its luck along the south edge of the front pasture. Many low wooded areas along creeks are a great environment for the Jewelweed. They have neat flowers, but they become quite invasive and can displace native species after a few years.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal).

One of the neatest wildflowers on the farm is the Prunella vulgaris commonly known as All-Heal or Common Selfheal. It doesn’t get very tall but it manages to grow among taller plants and grassy areas along the edge of the pasture, fence rows. I even noticed a small colony close to the back pond last year. They have neat flowers that seem to pop out anywhere on the inflorescence with no particular plan in mind. I found these for the first time last year and what a find they are.

I wanted to walk along the edge of the south hayfield but I had to find a place to cross the fence when I am not met with poison ivy or some kind of stick tights or beggarticks…

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

Hmmm… Don’t see many of these here especially where I found it. Normally the Wholeleaf Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) is growing along the edge of the hayfield where it hasn’t been mowed but this one is right out in the grass. I found the first one after it had flowered a few years ago along the edge of the back pasture (where I just left). The plant looked like it had neat green flowers but come to find out the petals had already fallen off.

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

The Silphium integrifolium is quite a majestic plant that can get quite tall and can be found growing along back roads along fences.

 

Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed).

Their flowers resemble small sunflowers… Well, once they become flowers.

 

Lonicera maackii (Amur or Bush Honeysuckle).

The Lonicera maackii (Amur or Bush Honeysuckle) flowers are all gone but their red fruits dot their stems now. This honeysuckle is not invasive and has stayed put in the same spot along the trees in the south hayfield since I have been here.

Walking west along the edge of the south hayfield where it becomes a mess of blackberry briars, Japanese Honeysuckle, and whatever has managed to overwhelm or survive the border between the old railroad right-of-way. In some areas, the blackberries are growing out into the hayfield.

I contacted a man from the Missouri Department of Conservation about the area to see what could be done. The old Rock Island Railroad is now a trail that is part of the state park system. There is at least 30 feet between the boundary and trail that is overgrown mainly with blackberry briars, vines, and small trees. It is quite a mess and would make a great native wildflower habitat. The man I emailed replied and said he would love to visit but because of the virus he wasn’t able to come until restrictions had been lifted. That was back in April so I think another email to him is in order.

 

Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider).

Lady in waiting. There were two more Black and Yellow Garden Spiders fairly close to one another hanging around in the vegetation along the hayfield. They were HUGE! I really love seeing these spiders and they bring back memories of when I was a kid. I never will forget the one that was in a web under the eve of our old chicken house where we lived when I was a kid. I would catch big grasshoppers and throw them in the web and watch the spider pounce on them and twirl them up like a mummy.

 

Solidago sp. (Goldenrod).

There are still quite a few Goldenrods (Solidago sp.) flowering but many are also starting to go to seed. There are numerous species of Solidago in Missouri that are very similar so I haven’t ventured to figure out which one(s) are growing here. The Missouri Pants website list 13 species. I have noticed some differences between some of the colonies here but they may also be variable. Last year there was a HUGE colony next to one of the Mulberry trees in the front pasture where they hadn’t been before. This year they didn’t even come up… Weird.

 

Symphyotrichum sp.

This is another of the complex Symphyotrichum genus. This colony has purplish-pink flowers. Kind f hard to explain the color. They have kind of a bluish, purplish, pinkish color. GEEZ! Now, while most of these plants grow between 24-36″ tall, some can get much taller. Along the fence in the front pasture, I have seen them grow well over 6 feet tall. I would say 8 feet but you would think I am exaggerating… There is another genus with similar flowers, also beginning with an “S”, but I cannot think of it at the moment…

 

What a variety…

This photo is where I came up with the title “I Love You, I Hate You” and maybe should have been the first photo on the post. Probably my favorite wildflower in this photo is the white flowers of the Eupatorium altissimum. They really do look like white Ageratums. The worse is of course the seed of the Desmodium species or Beggarticks… Of course, the blackberry briars by themselves would keep anyone from diving in… It is just incredible how many species of plants you can name in some photos… I see at least five in this one. 🙂

 

Darn it!

I looked down at my pant legs and no matter how much I try to avoid it, I always manage to wind up with beggarticks… It’s not the ones you notice and not walk in that get you. It’s the ones you don’t see that wind up on your clothes.

I reached the end of the south hayfield journey and decided to walk along the fence in the front pasture. So, I went through the gate and around the fence to the south side of the front pasture that borders the trail. Again, the area between the fence and trail is a jungle of briars, vines, and small trees. There are big trees along the trail, of course, but it is the area between that you don’t want to walk in…

I walked along the fence then crossed the ditch that runs from the big pond and behind the smaller one. The ditch goes to a culvert that runs under the trail that goes to a ditch that drains into the park lake. When I crossed the ditch I saw them… I had seen them last year but I didn’t take their photos.

 

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops).

It is pretty funny to think I had contemplated buying hops seed to grow on a trellis a few years ago only to discover a vine growing in the trees over the fence. This is Humulus lupulus also known as Common Hops. It is pretty unmistakable when you come to think of it, but I couldn’t think of what it was because it never entered my mind that there were hops growing in the wild along the fence.

 

Humulus lupulus (Common Hops).

I uploaded the photos on iNaturalist and it gave me two choices for Humulus. One was this one and the other was the thorny species Humulus japonicus… The two also have different leaves.

Up a little bit from the hops is probably the most interesting plant on the farm and I was glad to see them again. I first identified this species in this same location in October 2018…

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

This is the awesomely amazing Verbesina virginica commonly known as White Crownbeard AND Frostweed. The name Frostweed comes from its peculiar frozen “flowers” that emerge from the stems during the first hard “F” (OK, freeze). I have only seen photos so I must remember to go and have a look when that dreaded time comes. It may very well be the highlight of the winter. It is actually caused as the water inside the stem freezes causing the stem to bust creating an icicle.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

This species grows very tall and produces large clusters of white flowers. Its cousin, Verbesina alternifolia known as the Wingstem, produces very interesting yellow flowers. I photographed that species for the first time at a friend’s farm in September 2019. I found another colony along the Tebo Creek when on the wildflower hunt this past spring. I really need to go to Jay’s farm where I photographed their flowers last September or to Kevin’s woods along the creek (s) to see if I can get new photos of their flowers.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

There were quite a few interesting critters on the White Crownbeard’s flowers.

 

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard).

One of the interesting features both Verbesina virginica and Verbesina alternifolia have in common is their unique winged stems. For some reason, I am amazed by weird stems…

 

Ancistrocerus campestris (species of Potter Wasp).

Several wasps were busy snacking on nearby asters. This particular wasp is Ancistrocerus campestris which is one of several species of Potter Wasps.

 

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis).

The Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) has not gotten too out of hand which has surprised me. Please don’t quote me, but I think it is a neat vine. It has been in this same spot for several years without spreading that much…

 

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis).

Well, it did spread a little… Now it is growing on the fence along the street where it gets more sun which apparently made the flowers fade sooner. The flowers are nice, but the fruiting phase is plain weird.

 

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean).

Walking on up the fence in the front pasture I realized I missed the Strophostyles helvola flowering AGAIN. Its common name is Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean. I first noticed it last September when there were a few flowers and beans on dead stems just like now. I looked for it earlier in the summer but couldn’t find it. I need to tie a piece of material on the fence to mark its location…

 

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean or Trailing Fuzzy Bean).

Maybe I should take some of the seeds and scatter them along the fence here and there. 🙂

 

Torillis arvensis/Torillis japonica (Japanese Hedge-Parsley).

While I don’t like the velcro-like seeds of Beggarticks, I really dread the seeds of the Hedge Parsley. There is somewhat a controversy of whether Torillis arvensis and Torillis japonica are the same species or distinct species and which one is the Upright Hedge Parsley or the Japanese Hedge-Parsley. Even whether or not to use a “-” between Hedge and Parsley. Plants of the World Online list both species as accepted for the moment… It doesn’t matter to me which is which I just try to avoid them this time of the year. I have hated getting the stick tights on my clothes ever since I was a little kid. I would come inside with the stick tights on my socks and throw them in the hamper like that. Mom complained about it because she had to remove the stick tights. Then she decided to teach me a lesson and she left them on my socks… GEEZ!!! After that, I picked them off myself but soon learned not to get them on my socks in the first place…

 

For crying out loud! Now I have stick tights on one leg and beggarticks on the other… Believe me, I have had them much worse. I am still learning to wait until I am finished walking before removing them.

 

Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur).

NORMALLY in the spring and during the summer when I see a Cocklebur I get rid of. However, with the pasture being leased for the past couple of years I have neglected to do that. When I had cows they kept the grass short and I could easily walk through the pasture and cut the thistles and pull up certain weeds. Some are easier to spray. BUT, with the pastures being used for hay now, walking through the tall grass isn’t so easy. I guess that is a pretty good reason for being neglectful. Reason or excuse, I still don’t like unwanted weeds. The difference between a weed and a wildflower, in my opinion, is that a wildflower has more than a few benefits to the environment, insects, not too invasive, doesn’t have seeds that stick to your pants, etc. A weed, although it may be a wildflower of sorts, produces massive amounts of seed and becomes invasive and hard to control, has awful fruit or seed that sick to everything, and a plant that I just don’t much benefit from it. What is a cocklebur good for? I have no idea and I don’t really care to do research to find out…

 

Eleusine indica (Goose Grass, Crowsfoot).

As I as getting ready to end my walk, I stumbled upon a patch of the DREADED Crowsfoot. Of the multitude of grass species growing on the farm and in the yard, Eleusine indica is the worse. It’s blades are very tough and its roots are firmly anchored into the soil. You can’t pull it up and when you mow it with a lawnmower you have to mow over it several times.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHANGE WHEN WE DON’T WANT TO?

Well, this post started out well even though it took a while to get it finished. When I started to finish up this afternoon I only had two more photos add. BUT I was greeted with something I had managed to escape from for quite a while… There it was happy to greet me and help with my post… The new block editor. I figured sooner or later I would have to accept things not looking like they always do when I am writing a post. I don’t want to figure it out… I don’t want Facebook to change the way it always looked worked for me either. Why don’t we have a choice? You would think with all the negative reviews and feedback they would get the hint and make the new look optional. Or at least make the old way optional.

You can tell where I added the photos with the new editor because the captions are different. GEEZ!!!! NOT FUNNY even though I had to laugh. 🙂

Well, I was at the end of this post anyway… Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you can.

 

 

 

Into The Wooly Woods

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Saturday afternoon I finished the planters at a friend’s house so I decided to go ahead and check the progress of some of the wildflowers in the woods. The above photo is where close to where I enter. To the left is kind of a small creek that starts from nowhere and goes toward the ditch along the highway. I enter the woods and head for the second creek which is to the right of the above photo. It is in the area between the two creeks where I spotted my first sighting of Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) and Arisaema tryphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) (which some are still flowering). There are a lot more Green Dragon’s here while there are more Jack-In-The-Pulpit on the other side of the creek. There are also LOADS of Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) throughout the woods.

 

The above photo is the creek I walk in but usually much farther down where there is still plenty of water. I wear my rubber boots and actually walk in the water. The creek is like a path but in some areas I have to crawl under or over fallen trees or vines. Further down from this spot is another creek than merges with it that goes around the hill. It is kind of hard to describe and I should have taken more photos. This creek also runs into the ditch that runs along the highway which then flows into the East Fork Tebo Creek. Close to the end there is a steep hill which I climb and crawl under the fence… Once on top of the hill, the woods become much more open with HUGE trees.

 

At the bottom of the hill is a fence with a pasture on the other side. I was standing next to the fence looking up the hill when I took this photo. When I first visited these woods on April 23, the underbrush hadn’t leafed out and what grass is in there was still very short. This gave the early spring wildflowers a chance to grow and bloom. It was much easier to navigate and see where I was going.

Now, you may ask why I am tromping around in the woods with all the underbrush now. Well, it is very simple… There are several plants in there I was hoping to keep an eye on BUT I am having some difficulty. Just like two plants that have vanished along the creek. After a big storm, the Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) and Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) completely vanished. On the third or fourth trip, I finally found ONE leaf of the Dicentra. It was involved in a mudslide, which I suspected, and was covered with mud and debris that ran down the hill during the storm. A few days later I decided to go back with my trowel and see if I could dig it up. It was no use because I couldn’t find the roots or bulbs. The Cardamine is next to a big tree but I have yet to find it the second time… I know it is in there somewhere because I have the photos. It is possible it was eaten by deer. You would think in all these woods there would be more than one Dutchman’s Breeches and Toothwort!!!

OK, I got kind of off-track… The reason I wanted to go into the woods in the above photo was to find two particular plants. Somehow, I managed not to post about them when I first saw them on May 10. One was flowering and one was not but both are worth searching for…

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20, #697-51.

Now you may wonder what is so special about this plant I identified as Triosteum perfoliatum, commonly known as Perfoliate Tinker’s WeedFever Root, Wild Coffee, Feverwort, Common Horse Gentian,  and Late Horse Gentian. For those of you who are versed in botanical language, the species name “perfoliatum” or the common name “Perfoliate” should give you a hint… This species is a member of the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) Family.

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20, #697-56.

The lower leaves on the plant kind of somehow merge together much in the way they do with Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common Boneset).

The genus name, Triosteum, is derived from Greek words tri, meaning ‘three’ and osteon, meaning ‘bone’, which together means “three bones” and refers to the 3 hard nutlets in the fruit which have bony ridges. The species name, perfoliatum, is derived from the Latin meaning ‘through the leaf’. The fruit can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute.

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

While the upper leaves haven’t quite merged they do have neat buds…

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

Sessile clusters of 1-5 flowers emerge from the leaf axils. You can also see in the above photo that the stems are pubescent (hairy).

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

The large leaves grow opposite one another and at a 90° angle from the previous set of leaves.

What is so weird is that I only found ONE of these. What is weirder, even though I know where I saw it, I could NOT find it again on May 23… This is NOT a small plant and you would think I could have found it. At least that is what I thought. I spent quite a while walking through the underbrush, up and down the hill, back and forth, starting over several times. Nothing…

Right next to this plant was a member of the Caryophyllaceae Family…

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-10-20.

While there are MANY wildflowers with long lance-shaped leaves, the Silene stellata, also known as Starry Campion and Widow’s Frill, is a little different. So, of course I had to take photos so I could make a proper ID.

 

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-10-20.

It has four sessile leaves per swollen node… Hmmm… That sounds awkward.

 

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-23-20.

I did find this plant again on the 23rd but not necessarily where I spotted it next to the Triosteum… There is A LOT of this species and they seemed to multiply before my eyes. Silene stellata is a perennial that populates by seed and also spreads at the base where it can send up multiple stems. I wanted to check on this species because it supposed to start flowering in May and continue through September. It will have really NEAT flowers. Unfortunately, no flowers yet… Did I mention the flowers will be really NEAT?

There are 883 species in the Silene genus found pretty much worldwide! Missouri Plants describes eight but I have only found one…

So, there I was tromping around in the woods, trying to remain upright, talking to myself or whoever would listen. No doubt there were a few gnomes and fairies watching over the woods. They are probably having some fun with me by moving plants so I can’t find them again. Maybe next time I will have to sit and meditate and ask for their help… Hmmm…

One other species I completely can’t find that are here by the hundreds is the Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily). They are members of the same family as tulips and their leaves only grow to 6″ or so long. To find anything in the underbrush now it would have to be very tall, make a weird noise, slap me, or have flashing lights…

A group of such plants lit up to be noticed…

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

It never ceases to amaze me how many species are in some photos. There at least five in this photo but the flowers belong to Sisyrinchium angustifolium. Otherwise known as Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass or Stout Blue-Eyed Grass. The pronunciation of the scientific name is sis-ee-RINK-ee-um an-gus-tee-FOH-lee-um but I have opted to call it sissy-wrench-um. Kind of reminds me of Happy on the CBS series Scorpion. She doesn’t have blue eyes but she is the mechanical genus on the series. ANYWAY… There are many species with grass-like leaves on the planet that turn out to have some pretty interesting flowers.

 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium is actually a member of the Iridaceae (Iris) Family with 204 species. This species readily self-seeds and you can see a fruit in the above photo. Missouri Plants lists three species which are quite similar. You have to pay attention to detail like how many inflorescences are on the ariel stems and whether they are stalked or unstalked, whether they are branched or unbranched, and whether they are subtended by two or more spathelike bracts. Hmmm… These are things you don’t know when you make your first encounter which is why you need to go back and check sometimes.

 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

I am fairly certain this species is Sissywrenchum agustafolium… WHOOPS! I mean Sisyrinchium angustifolium.

 

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-23-20.

After walking up the hill and through the woods and getting closer to the third creek that kind of goes around the west side (or maybe the north side). There are areas with mostly vegetation and not so much underbrush. I had to get a photo of this HUGE Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) growing among a vast colony of Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed). To say there is a lot of Virginia Jumpseed in these woods would be a complete understatement…

I have to laugh a little every time I see a Jumpseed because I am reminded of my first encounter of a single plant growing under the steps by the back porch. I thought that plant was so neat at the time now there are probably 20 or so. Then last year when I was doing the post trying to find a good Jumpseed photo… I wound up finding a HUGE colony in the trees north of the chicken house that I didn’t even know were there.

 

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 5-23-20.

After deciding to leave the woods, I crossed the fence kind of where the second and third creek merge. ANYWAY, this tree is next to the creek where it curves. I love moss so I had to take a photo. If you have ever tried to identify moss you will find it very complicated because there are so many species in multiple genera and several families that look so much alike. I noticed this moss was quite a bit different…

 

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 5-23-20.

The close-up came out pretty good and it looks more like a shrub than moss. I uploaded the photo on iNaturalist and it said it was pretty sure it is Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss). It gave a few other suggestions but thank goodness they were not a match.

Before I end this post I did make another discovery…

Nothoscordum bivalve (False Garlic, Crowpoison) on 5-23-20, #703-14.

I first saw this species growing in the wooded area across the highway from this set of woods on May 3. I don’t know that much about Allium species, but what I do know about any species of wild onion and garlic is that they have an odor. I have several in my yard I let grow for the heck of it. These plants have NO smell whatsoever. FINALLY, I decided to Google “false Allium with no odor” and came up with Nothoscordum bivalve commonly known as Crowpoison or False Garlic. Some websites say these plants are poison others say there is no proof this plant is toxic. Legend has it that the Cherokee Indians used this plant to make a poison to kill crows feeding on their corn. I don’t think I will be eating it…

For the record, I deleted a HUGE paragraph then wrote another then another and deleted them as well. I was venting…  After writing and rewriting, let me just say onions, garlic, and their relatives, including Nothoscordum are currently in the Amaryllidaceae Family and not Liliaceae or Alliaceae.

While walking through the woods I see a lot of familiar plants and many species I have never bothered to identify. Some are quite common weeds. There are LOADS of a species of Ranunculus which I think are probably R. sceleratus (Cursed Crowfoot) and they are in many photos I have taken of other plants. I will not start writing about the Ranunculus species or this post will be much longer and I need to finish it.

So, I will close for now and will not say I will do a post exclusively for the many Ranunculus species on the farm or a few in the woods. I did that with the Persicaria last year and it took several months to get the post finished…

I am not sure how often I can revisit the woods during the summer as the underbrush will continue to get worse. The mosquitos will be very bad and I already noticed several HUGE swarms along the creek.

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

Another Wildflower Update

Allium sp. ?

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

I went back to the woods on Sunday, May 3, to check on the progress of some of the wildflowers and there were three I couldn’t find… It was later in the afternoon so I was more selective where I looked and didn’t have time to find many new plants. Before I left I took a few photos here and a few when I returned. As usual, they are in alphabetical order and not as they were seen. 🙂 It is easier for me to upload photos and write captions and then write the post. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own page (unless I haven’t written one for that species).

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

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Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Dragon Root)

air-uh-SEE-nuh  dray-KON-tee-um

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

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

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

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

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

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

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

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

Weird…

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon)

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

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Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

HES-per-iss  mah-tro-NAH-lis

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

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

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

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket)

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

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

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

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

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Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

kee-LER-ree-uh  ma-KRAN-tha

Grass. It’s everywhere in one form or another sun or shade, wet areas or dry. Once in a while I find a colony I hadn’t seen before which was the case on May 3 when I was exploring the woods. I spotted a colony growing in an open area between two wooded areas so I took a few photos so I could ID it using iNaturalist. It turns out to be Koeleria macrantha commonly known as Prairie Junegrass and Crested Hair-Grass. It is native to most of North America, Europe, and Eurasia. No page for this species yet…

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie Junegrass)

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

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Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

la-POR-tee-a  ka-na-DEN-sis

There is a lot of this growing in the woods and is easily identified as a nettle because of its stinging hairs on the stems. There are many nettle species and this one happens to be Laportea canadensis also known as Wood Nettle, Canadian Wood Nettle, and Kentucky Hemp (and probably others). They weren’t flowering when I observed them on May 3 but will be soon. No page for this species…

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

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

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Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

men-see-SPER-mum  ka-na-DEN-see

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

Menispermum canadense (Moonseed)

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

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Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

po-do-FIL-um  pel-TAY-tum

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

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Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

SMIL-aks  tam-NOY-deez

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

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

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

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly Greenbriar)

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

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

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Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad).

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad)

I have written about this species before but now their tiny flowers are open. I find this species interesting for several reasons. Their leaves are a very distinctive feature which you can see from a previous post HERE.

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad).

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

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Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

vy-OH-la  pew-BES-senz

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

Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Few More Wildflower Identified From A New Location

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The photos on this post were taken on May 27th when I visited another set of woods the same friend’s farm. This section is across the highway and East Fork Tebo Creek runs through it. The day I was there it was more like a small river. There are a lot of creeks that only have water in them during the rainy season, but Tebo Creek is well known around here and I have seen it get out of hand in the past. The photo above is along the north boundary and the creek also runs along the east boundary. I walked along the creek in several areas and the photo above is narrower and calmer than most. As I approached the creek in this area I scared the crap out of a pair of ducks. Besides birds and a moth, I saw no other wildlife but there were signs.

Upon entering the property from the highway I had to walk in water. This is a fairly low area, lower than the highway. Some of the first plants I noticed was Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny) which I was surprised to see. I didn’t take any photos even though I thought about it several times. I thought it quite odd it was even there and didn’t expect to see it in the wild. Cultivars of this species are popular as groundcovers in flower beds and they make great plants for containers and hang over the sides. It has naturalized in these woods somehow and I saw it just about everywhere.

There area is a mixture pasture with two large wooded areas. I walked through the first set of woods along a boundary fence and was greeted by a very large colony of wildflowers I hadn’t seen before.

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary)

(kol-IN-see-uh VER-nuh)

This delightful species is known as Blue-Eyed Mary, Early Blue-Eyed Mary, and Chinese Houses (a name it shares with other members of the genus). It was named and described by Thomas Nuttall in 1817 and is found throughout the eastern portion of North America. The flowers are two-lipped with two white upper lobes, two blue lower lobes and a fifth lobe that is folded and concealed.

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Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The leaves in the center of the plant are clasping, broadly lanceolate, fairly pointed, have irregular margins to slightly toothed. Many plants had secondary flowers emerging from long petioles above the leaves (axils).

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The lower leaves seem to be sessile but not clasping with rounded tips and lack the “teeth” seen on the upper leaves. The leaves and stems are slightly pubescent (fuzzy).

 

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary).

The lower petals of the flowers can either be blue or purplish and rarely white (I didn’t see any all-white flowers). Collinsia verna is one of those rare wildflowers that produces “true-blue” flowers. I read somewhere the flowers persist after it produces seed. I have a photo of what appears to be a seed or a bug in its throat… You can check out its own page but it isn’t finished yet. I went ahead and published the draft so you can see more photos if you want. CLICK HERE. There are other weird things this plant has done to adapt but I really need to sit down and read about it thoroughly.

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Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone).

Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone)

As I was walking in the woods I spotted a few very small white flowers emerging from very small plants. There were very few of these but they seem to be hanging on as other plants could easily overtake them. Perhaps they come up and flower early then go dormant to avoid competition… Hmmm… Anyway, this plant also has a mistaken identity and also is also called Isopyrum biternatum (eye-so-PYE-rum by-TER-nat-um) on several websites and databases. One or the other is the listed synonym of the other and visa versa. Not that it matters, but at one time there were two Isoppyrum genera and one became a synonym of Hepatica.

Where was I. Oh, yeah! Enemion biternatum… It seems most wildflowers have some oddities and this one is no exception. Those little white petals aren’t petals. They are “petal-like” sepals. This species has NO petals or pedals so it isn’t going anywhere either.

 

Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone).

This dainty looking member of the Ranunculaceaeeeaaeea (Buttercup) Family has fibrous roots that sometimes produce small tubers. Its leaves grow in an alternate fashion, are ternately divided or trifoliate, and glabrous (hairless). The basal leaves have longer petioles (stems) than the upper leaves. Leaflets are broadly lanceolate to ovate, 2-3 lobed or parted, and sometimes have shallow notches at the tips. 

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Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy).

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy)

gle-KOH-muh  hed-er-AYE-see-uh

It seems a little odd for me to include this species in this post since I have written about it more than once. The reason I even took photos of it growing in the woods was that it seemed quite different than the overwhelming colony in the front yard. I first spotted it in the woods growing under a Multiflora Rose bush and even got under it to take these photos. Believe me, it was a perilous task. 🙂 After I took a multitude of photos and got out of the predicament I found myself in, I saw a lot more growing in the open than I hadn’t stumbled upon yet. The plants in the yard are very short while the plants in the woods were very tall and were flowering along the stem. I thought I had found another species of Glechoma BUT, apparently not.

 

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy).

The other strange thing was the placement of the fowers. This photo shows, well kind of, the petioles of the flowers growing from the, um, axil of the leaves in the center of the plant. The flowers were all facing the same direction on all of the plants under the bush. It was just strange and interesting. In my yard, the flowers are growing from the top of the plants.

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Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star of Bethlehem).

Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star of Bethlehem)

or-ni-THOG-al-um um-bell-AY-tum

This species is not new to me as there is a HUGE colony somewhere on the farm. Anyway, I have photos of them from May 1 of last year but no page for them yet. I haven’t made it that far down on the list. This is the Ornithogalum umbellatum also known as Star of Bethlehem, Common Star of Bethlehem, Eleven O-Clock Lady, Nap At Noon, Grass Lady, and Snowdrop… Ummm, the last one it shares with species of the Galanthus genus (of various clades) of the family Amaryllidaceae. Ornithogalum umbellatum happens to be in the Asparagaceae Family… It has very neat flowers with six red petals. OK, so they are white. I thought about saying a different color to see if you were paying attention then I thought how disappointed I would be if you didn’t notice.

 

Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star or Bethlehem).

In my opinion, the neatest thing is the underside of the petals… This plant is NOT native to America but they have naturalized quite well…

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Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower).

Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower)

SMIL-aks  eh-sir-RAT-uh ?

I was walking in the woods minding my own business when this strange creature popped up and asked what I was doing there. I said, “What am I doing here? What are you doing here? Who are you anyway?” It stood up tall, spread its leaves and arrogantly said, “I have you to know I am Smilax ecirrhata and I am the only one in these woods and I am an Upright Carrion Flower! I am one of 262 species in the genus Smilax with is the ONLY genera in the Smilacaceae Family” “Well”, I said, “I am not so sure you are the only one in these woods, but you are the only one I have ran across. If you were the only one, how did you get here in the first place?” The plant looked at me with a big “?” on his face and couldn’t answer that question. Then I asked, ‘What a “Smilax ecirrhata anyway?” OH, I shouldn’t have asked that question because I thought the conversation would never end. He said he has a lot of dirty cousins that I may have met that are very territorial. He said I should be very careful around them because they aren’t as polite as he is.

From what I gleaned, Smilax ecirrhata is also known as the Upright Greenbrier that can grow to around 3 feet tall. The leaves grow in an alternate pattern from 1/2-2/3 from the base of the stem. It can grow up to 20 leaves that are broadly ovate, have prominent parallel veins, and have smooth margins. The largest leaves can reach 3-5″ long and up to 4″ wide. As the plants grow taller, the lower leaves fall off and become scale-like bracts. Sometimes tendrils are produced near the upper leaves.

 

Smilax ecirrhata (Carrion Plant).

From what I understand, umbels of flowers are produced from the lower bracts where the leaves have fallen off and sometimes from the middle leaves. The problem is these plants don’t flower every year and the plants are dioecious… Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. SOOOOO… I need to scour the area I found this plant in to see if I can find more. They flower in late spring to early summer for only about 2 weeks… Ummmm… The flowers have an odor of decaying meat. It will be interesting to watch this plant since it grows upright and not as a vine… I feel it is a rare find.

As far as its dirty cousins? Have you have ever been in a wooded area and ran across vines with MASSIVE amounts of thorns, thin and larger thorns on the same vine, with ovate-lanceolate leaves? Well, they are a species of Smilax. I have them growing here on the farm in several areas and once in a while one will pop up in the yard or next to a tree. I have never bothered to identify them so I didn’t know what they were until I met Smilax ecirrhata… You just never know what you will learn.

 

There are several trees that had damage from Beavers although I didn’t notice any new activity.

It was great getting out in nature once again and meeting new wildflowers. This was supposed to be a Six on Saturday post but I didn’t get it finished in time. So, I removed the numbers and now I can add more photos. 🙂 Well, maybe I need to take new photos that are current for the next post.

This has been a busy week with many things wanting top priority. The grass is growing like crazy in the yard and I haven’t been able to work on several projects. I did get the garden tilled again and I am ready to start planting. 🙂

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

 

15 New ID’s While Mushroom Hunting

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) on 4-23-20, #690-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Thursday… What an afternoon! It had rained earlier and I was itching to go mushroom hunting for Morels. It had been cloudy but it started clearing off in the afternoon so I decided to go to try out the woods on a friend’s farm. Now, I would mention his name and the location but you know I have to be secretive in case I find the motherload. 🙂 ANYWAY, this section of the wooded area has been untouched. I started out walking along the creek and for a while, I was even walking in it (with rubber boots). I walked around for at least 2 hours and didn’t find a single Morel until I was ready to come home and then I only found one… Next to a tree along the road. I took my camera with me and it was a matter of minutes before I spotted the first colony of plants that stopped me dead in my tracks. It just so happens it is also the first of 14 new ID’s for the day in alphabetical order…

You can click on the species name to go to their own pages (unless they don’t have a page)…

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) on 4-23-20, #690-3.

Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Dragon Root)

air-uh-SEE-nuh  dray-KON-tee-um

When I first laid eyes on this small group of plants I knew right away they were a species of Arum. It is unmistakable! A single leaf with a series of leaflets on top of a single petiole. I had never seen any of these in the wild, or hardly ever any type of Arum in the wild for that matter so I was very excited. As I walked around I saw several other small colonies on this one particular hillside. They haven’t started flowering yet so you can bet I will be keeping an eye on them. When I came home, I went to the iNaturalist website and identified this species as Arisaema dracontium also known as Green Dragon and Dragon Root. Information says they flower May through June…

Not far from where I found the Green Dragon, I was once again spellbound! The whole area was teeming with so many species of plants I was familiar with but then it happened… Right in front of my face was a sight I have longed to see…

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Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-7.

Arisaema triphyllum (JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT)!!!!

air-uh-SEE-muh  try-FIL-um

I knew what it was from photos I have seen before, but I had never met it before in person. I was walking along looking here and there searching for Morels and there it was… There were several plants but only one with a flower. It was so incredible to finally see a Jack-In-The-Pulpit in person. Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-9.

Ahhh. There’s Jack… The first two plants I photographed were the beginning of a very eventful afternoon. Later I found more Jack-In-The-Pulpits higher up on the hillside. Other common names include Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, and Indian Turnip.

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Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort) on 4-23-20, #690-18.

Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort)

kar-DAM-ih-nee  kon-kan-teh-NAH-tuh

In the same area as the first two photos, I found this neat plant identified as Cardamine concatenata commonly known as Cut Leaved Toothwort and Crow’s Toes. At first glance, I thought it would be a species of Geranium because some of them have deeply lobed leaves. However, iNaturalist suggested differently and it was confirmed. No page for this species yet…

Cardamine concatenata (Cut Leaved Toothwort) on 4-23-20, #690-19.

Believe it or not, it is a member of the Brassicaceae Family and will flower soon (Mo. Plants says April-May). There are no buds yet but you have to admit the foliage is neat.

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Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup) on 4-23-20, #690-32.

Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup)

This cute little fungus with no pronunciation on Dave’s Garden is called Coprinellus micaceus. This species prefers growing on or near rotted wood and even grows underground. Common names include Mica Cap, Shiny Cap, and Glistening Inky Cap. Wikipedia says:

“A few hours after collection, the gills will begin to slowly dissolve into a black, inky, spore-laden liquid—an enzymatic process called autodigestion or deliquescence. The fruit bodies are edible before the gills blacken and dissolve, and cooking will stop the autodigestion process.”

AND…

“It is considered ideal for omelettes, and as a flavor for sauces, although it is “a very delicate species easily spoiled by overcooking”. The flavor is so delicate that it is easy to overpower and hide with almost anything. The fungus also appeals to fruit flies of the genus Drosophila, who frequently use the fruit bodies as hosts for larvae production.”

Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cup) on 4-23-20, #690-31.

The cluster in the above photo was next the first group. Ummm, actually I attached them backward.

One other thing…

“A study of the mineral contents of various edible mushrooms found that C. micaceus contained the highest concentration of potassium in the 34 species tested, close to half a gram of potassium per kilogram of mushroom. Because the species can bioaccumulate detrimental heavy metals like lead and cadmium, it has been advised to restrict consumption of specimens collected from roadsides or other collection sites that may be exposed to or contain pollutants.”

Personally, I think I will stick to Morels…

No page for this species…

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Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) on 4-23-20, #690-33.

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches)

dy-SEN-truh  kuk-yoo-LAIR-ee-uh

You know, there are MANY wildflowers with similar leaves or a portion of their leaves look like the leaves of other species. Huh? If you were an ordinary person walking in the woods for some reason in the spring, you may completely overlook this wildflower and think it was the same as a weed growing in a fence row or along the house. BUT, since you are reading this you are an extraordinary person and not ordinary at all. So, if YOU were walking in the woods in the spring you wouldn’t just be there for exercise. You would be looking for Morels and wildflowers. 🙂 If you spotted this clump of leaves you would notice right off it was somewhat different and perhaps you would think they resemble the leaves of your Bleeding Heart. I knew this plant was not an ordinary weed so I took a bunch of photos to get a proper ID. There are no flowers so I used the drag-and-drop upload gizmo on iNaturalist. Sure enough, it turns out to be Dicentra cucullaria also known as Dutchman’s Breeches, Butterfly Banners, Kitten Breeches and White Hearts. Missouri Plants says they flower from March through May so I have to keep an eye on this colony. I think this species goes dormant after flowering but I will have to refresh my memory… Bleeding Heart species have been moved around a bit depending on dormancy issues…

Dicentra cucullaria depends on bumblebees for cross-pollination. In fact, its flowers have adapted specifically for bumblebees. Its seeds are kidney-shaped with a fleshy organ called an elaiosome which is a food for ants. Of course the ants gather the seed and take them home where they germinate. Pretty smart of nature, huh?

I found this interesting article on Dave’s Garden from Sharon Brown (2010) titled “Dutchman’s Breeches, A Comedy Of Errors”. It’s pretty good and will leave you smiling.

No page for this species because I couldn’t find it when I went back…

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Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily) on 4-23-20, #690-39.

Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily)

er-ih-THROH-nee-um  AL-bi-dum

Hmmm… As I was walking through the woods there were LOTS of Claytonia virginica (Virginia Spring Beauty) with various shades of flowers. There were also these other leaves among them and even where there were no Claytonia. There are literally hundreds! At first, I thought they were the same only some didn’t have flowers. Then I got to thinking that couldn’t be right because Claytonia virginica leaves are narrower and they normally don’t grow like this. PLUS, these leaves had dark markings. SO, I took a few photos and used iNaturalist to figure out what they were. Sure enough, these leaves are from Erythronium albidum commonly known as the White Fawnlily. Other common names include Small White Fawnlily, Dogtooth Violet, White Dogtooth Violet, Trout Lily and White Trout Lily. It shares some of those names with MANY other Erythronium species. There were no flowers and Missouri Plants says they flower from March to May. HMMM… Again with March-May. This is the end of April already!

Oh yeah… They are closely related to tulips.

No page for this one because I didn’t get to go back and get photos of its flowers…

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Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox) on 4-23-20, #690-53.

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox)

floks  dy-vair-ih-KAY-tuh

Hmmm… There are A LOT of Phlox divaricata growing in MASSIVE colonies along several highways in the area. I had been wanting to stop and get some photos but usually hadn’t thought to bring the camera (even though I drive by them almost every day). I was happy to see quite a few of them on the hillside where I was exploring. Common names of this particular species include Wild Blue Phlox, Lousiana Blue, Woodland Phlox, and Wild Sweet William.

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox) on 4-23-20, #690-55.

Phlox requires cross-pollination to produce seed. Because of their long, narrow corolla tubes only butterflies, moths, skippers, and long-tongued bees can pollinate their flowers.

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Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) on 4-23-20, #690-72.

Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal)

po-lig-oh-NAY-tum  by-FLOR-um

OH YES! I knew what this was even though I hadn’t seen any for MANY years. The Polygonatum biflorum is growing in several nice-sized colonies on the hillside. Of course, there were no flowers but the Missouri Plants website assures me they will in May through June. At least it doesn’t say April through May. This species is commonly referred to as Smooth Solomon’s Seal, Small Soloman’s Seal, or just plain Soloman’s Seal… No page for this one yet. It is a work in progress.

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Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Common Blue Wood Aster) on 4-23-20, #690-97.

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster)

sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum  kor-di-FOH-lee-um

Hmmm… I stumbled across this plant in a different area than the rest on this post. It was after I spotted the Morel that I decided to walk to another area. I took several photos of this small clump for ID then continued looking around a bit. Then, at the edge of the woods I found a larger specimen so I took a few more photos. I had not seen anything like this in my neck of the woods so I was very curious… Once back at home, with the help of iNaturalist, I found out is it was Symphyotrichum cordifolium commonly known as Common Blue Aster, Blue Wood Aster, and Heartleaf Aster.

Hmmm… I have one or more species of Symphyotrichum at home but this one was easily identifiable. There are so many species of this genus that look so much alike they are difficult. I have no page for this species because I was unable to go back and get photos of its flowers…

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Common Blue Wood Aster) on 4-23-20, #690-98.

The long, serrated, heart-shaped leaves aren’t found in many species of this genus and there is only one similar on the Missouri Plants website. The website lists 14 species native to Missouri but there could be more. This one flowers from August through November so I will have to be patient for flowers.

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Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s Butter) on 4-23-20, #690-100.

Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s Butter)

I have seen this jelly fungus identified as Tremella mesenterica in the woods before but I hadn’t done a proper ID until now. Its common names include Witch’s Butter, Yellow Brain, Golden Jelly Fungus, and Yellow Trembler. It is actually a parasite that grows on the mycelia of crust fungus. It appears after a rain as a slimy glob but that turns into a thin film after it dries (which revives after another rain). Information says it is edible but bland and flavorless. It grows in many countries and is said to add “texture” to soups. I think I can live without it… I don’t have a page for this species because I haven’t written any pages for fungi yet.

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Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn) on 4-23-20, #690-101.

Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn)

Now, this is one I haven’t seen before… There were several colonies of this fungus identified as Urnula craterium growing on a south-facing hillside that wasn’t quite so shady. The Devil’s Urn actually grows on decaying Oak and other hardwood species. It is parasitic and produces a compound that inhibits the growth of other fungi. No page for this species because I haven’t written any pages for fungi yet.

Urnula craterium (Devil’s Urn) on 4-23-20, #690-103.

It had recently rained so I got this show of water inside the urn. Ummm, this species is also edible but has a tough texture. I will pass on this one, too…

I had a great adventure in these woods and I will revisit to see if I can take photos of “flowers” instead of just leaves and stems. No telling what I will find in the weeks and months ahead. One great thing about this set of woods was there was no trash anywhere. It was almost as if no one had even been there before. Some of you may have experienced some of these plants in your area, but they were the first for me and I am grateful for the experience

Hmmm… I don’t know if you have noticed, but there are Impatiens capensis (Jewel Weed) seedlings in several of the photos. They are coming up everywhere on this hillside and along the creek. It is a non-native invasive species that will threaten this amazing natural habitat within a few years.

After I returned home I went to the area north of the chicken house where I had found my first Morel of the season on April 15. There are a few wildflower species in the open area and among the trees I am keeping an eye on for future ID’s.

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Geranium carolinianum (Carolina Crane’s Bill) on 4-23-20, #690-40.

Geranium carolinianum (Carolina Crane’s Bill)

jer-AY-nee-um  kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-um

A while back I found a single plant in the midst of a colony of yet to be identified species of Ranunculus south of the pond in the front pasture. While taking photos of Ranunculus abortivus behind the chicken house a few days ago I spotted this cluster to photograph. I have finally identified it as Geranium carolinianum also known as Carolina Crane’s Bill. Soon there will be flowers…

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Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot) on 4-23-20, #690-89.

Ranunculus parviflorus (Stickseed Crowfoot)

ra-NUN-ku-lus  par-VEE-flor-us

AH HA! Finally, I took some good photos of the Ranunculus parviflorus for a positive ID.  There are several Ranunculus species on the farm that can be tricky to ID. This one has distinctively different leaves. Its common names are Stickseed Crowfoot or Stickseed Buttercup. Sometimes it is referred to as Small-Flowered Buttercup but that name is more commonly used for Ranunculus abortivus. This species forms dense colonies or clumps while most species here don’t. No page for this one because it is a work in progress.

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Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-104.

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad)

I found this neat wildflower growing in a wide area north of the chicken house. It has some very interesting features and there was no mistaking it as Valerianella radiata commonly known as Beaked Corn Salad. The only problem was that Plants of the World Online said that name is a synonym of Valeriana woodsiana… No other database or website changed the name as of when I wrote this post.

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-108.

This species is considered a winter annual as it grows a rosette at that time of the year. In the spring it grows a tall stem up to 16″ tall Its interesting leaves grow in an opposite fashion and clasp the stems. The leaves are kind of oblong and fairly smooth with a few coarse teeth toward the base. Its stems are four-sided and have fine hairs.

Valeriana woodsiana (Beaked Corn Salad) on 4-23-20, #690-109.

The plants are dichotomously branched toward the upper part and terminate in small clusters of flowers.

April 23 was sure an eventful day.

I have now identified 217 species of wildflowers, fungi, birds, butterflies, etc. and that number is increasing. Basically, anything that will hold still for a good shot. All are uploaded on iNaturalist. This is a great site and there are members worldwide that contribute through observations they have made. Give it a shot.

OH, I saw a hummingbird for the first time on Friday so I filled the feeder on the front porch.

I guess I am finished with this post now. Until next time, be safe, stay well, stay positive, be thankful, and GET DIRTY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster In The Yard-Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel)

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-5.

Sheep Sorrel, Sour Weed, Red Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

ROO-meks  a-kee-TOE-sell-uh

Synonyms of Rumex acetosellaAcetosa acetosella (L.) Mill., Acetosa hastata Moench, Acetosa repens Gray, Acetosa sterilis Mill., Acetosella multifida subsp. tenuifolia (Wallr.) Kubát, Acetosella multifida subsp. vulgaris (Fourr.) Kubát, Acetosella vulgaris (W.D.J.Koch) Fourr., Acetosella vulgaris subsp. tenuifolia (Wallr.) P.D.Sell, Lapathum acetosella (L.) Scop., Lapathum arvense Lam., Pauladolfia acetosella (L.) Börner, Rumex acetosella var. tenuifolius Wallr., Rumex arvensis Dulac, Rumex falcarius Willd. ex Ledeb., Rumex fascilobus Klokov, Rumex tenuifolius (Wallr.) Á.Löve

Rumex acetosella L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Rumex. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Accepted infraspecific names include Rumex acetosella subsp. acetoselloides (Balansa) Den Nijs, Rumex acetosella subsp. arenicola Y.Mäkinen ex Elven, and Rumex acetosella subsp. pyrenaicus (Pourr. ex Lapeyr.) Akeroyd. I think only the last one is found in the United States (in New York).

Plants of the World Online lists 195 species in the Rumex genus (as of 4-18-20 when I am updating this page. Rumex is a member of the Polygonaceae Family with a total of 55 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.

Distribution map of Rumex acetosella from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved on April 18, 2020.

The above distribution map for Rumex acetosella is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map for North America on the USDA Plants Database is similar.

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This post is similar, with some editing, to the pages I write. I am not sure how many pages there are now, over 500 maybe.  I found this good-sized colony of Rumex acetosella, or Sheep Sorrel, in the yard while I was mowing. I am sure it has been here for years but somehow I just now noticed them. A colony that big couldn’t just magically appear in one spring. 🙂 I didn’t know what it was at first and probably before I just thought it was smartweed because at a glance that’s what it looked like. But, since I have been doing a lot more wildflower ID, especially with the several Persicaria species in 2019, I knew this wasn’t any Persicaria. Besides, in April they are just beginning to come up. I went around most of the colony of whatever it was so I could take photos later and properly make an ID.

Rumex acetosella is a perennial plant that spreads by seed and long creeping rhizomes. It is a native of Eurasia and the British Isles.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-7.

So, after taking a lot of photos I uploaded the first one on iNaturalist, entered my location, and within seconds I had the ID of this colony. It is just weird this plant is not growing anywhere else on the farm except this one location in the yard.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-8.

Stems are upright or ascending and grow up to 18” tall and often branch out at the base. Each branch terminates with an inflorescence. Stems are ridged and hairless (glabrous) with a papery sheath (ocrea) at the nodes. Stems seem to be green at the bottom but reddish at the top and kind of streaked in the middle.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-9.

The interesting leaves can be thin to slightly succulent, narrowly ovate, lanceolate-elliptic, lanceolate (lance-shaped), or oblong-obovate, usually with a pair of triangular spreading basal lobes.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-10.

The basal leaves are somewhat larger and form a rosette but I need to take a closer look or maybe find plants somewhere I haven’t mowed. I didn’t notice any rosettes of larger leaves on my first observation of this colony BUT after looking at photos on Missouri Plants I think I have noticed them in other places. So many plants look a lot alike in the spring before they start flowering. Since I mowed this colony a few times I could have damaged the basal leaves.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-11.

Flowers are born on long inflorescences with several racemes. It is like the entire upper half or more of the plant is an inflorescence. Flowers are staminate (having stamens but no pistols). None of the flowers were open when I took photos. Flowers are dioecious meaning plants produce all male or all female flowers and they are wind-pollinated. You can see in the above photo the leaves have cut by the mower.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-12.

The above photo shows the papery sheaths on the stems where leaves and branches emerge. They become nearly translucent and raggy with age. Stems have ridges that seem to be red-tinged in the middle of the plant and more reddish at the top.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-13.

The flowers are hairless I think, or mainly so. What appears to be hair in this photo are likely grass clippings.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-14.

The above photo is a good example of an “obovate-lanceolate” type of a leaf. Even though the upper leaves are pretty small, you can see they are lance-shaped, broader in the center, taper to a point, and have interesting spreading basal lobed. Information says the basal lobes are triangular. Hmmm… Interesting how you can see a raised vein on each side of the midrib from the upper surface of the leaf otherwise it is very smooth. Even the leaf margins are smooth. This leaf was fairly thick and fleshy for its size.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-15.

The underside of the leaf I was photographing shows a very prominent midrib and a few veins going toward the margins. The undersurface appears kind of powdery but I can’t remember the scientific name. Perhaps finely pubescent…

OH, the leaves have long petioles…

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-16.

Plants produce oxalic acid which gives it a sour flavor and tannins which contribute to its bitterness. It is used in cooking and in salads but should be used in moderation. The species name acetosella means “acid salts”. Handling the plant can also cause dermatitis in some people.

 

Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-17.

Rumex acetosella is a problem species that grows in a variety of conditions but prefers acidic soil. It can become quite invasive. Information suggests the species contributes to hay fever due to its windborne pollen.

Normally, I allow plants to naturalize in certain areas, but perhaps this one I should think about eradicating. Information suggests it could be a problem and may be hard to get rid of.

I am going to keep my eye out for some larger rosettes and maybe I can find this plant elsewhere on the farm (ALTHOUGH, I am not sure I want to).

I visited the area along the creek at the back of the farm and FINALLY found the wild strawberries with the yellow flowers. I think Tony Tomeo and I discussed them earlier. They are Potentilla indica whose one common name is Indian Strawberry. There are no fruits yet which is OK because they aren’t really a strawberry and have a very blank taste. I lived in Springfield, MO one time and part of the yard was LOADED so I had a sample. It was a very disappointing experience. I also photographed Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens, which was VERY exciting and will be posting photos later. I also got some good flower shots of Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple). I also found a good-sized Morel next to the chickenhouse a few days ago. Hopefully, there will be more. There is something about Morels that just gives you a kick-start for spring. Highly motivational. 🙂

I hope you are all well as spring is well underway in my neck of the woods. It is almost time to move the potted plants outside and there WILL be a vegetable garden. 🙂 I put a new motor on the tiller and bought a couple of new tires so it is ready to go. The new gator blades on the bigger riding mower work great and the yard looks very good… What a relief!

That’s not all I have to say, but I think I better close for now. Until next time, be safe, stay well, stay positive and be thankful!

 

Wildflower Wednesday (Identified on 4-11-20)…

Chaerophyllum procumbens (Spreading Chervil) observed on 4-11-20, #686-8.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and virus free. As I mentioned in the last Six On Saturday post, I went on a walk in the late afternoon and took another 138 photos. I always take multiple photos and it was windy so a lot of photos were kind of blurry. Plus, some of the flowers, as usual, were very tiny and didn’t cooperate well.

This post will be for newly identified plants only on April 11 except for one… It was a WOW moment and I am sure you will agree when you see it! It is not a newly identified plant but it definitely got my attention.

To date, I have identified 197 species of wildflowers mainly on this 38 acres. 🙂 T thought there were only around 130 but iNaturalist says I have listed 197 different species. I think I have Identified 10 or so already this spring but I am waiting for a few to flower before they count.

Chaerophyllum procumbens (Spreading Chervil) on 4-11-20, #686-11.

First off is Chaerophyllum procumbens (L.) Crantz (kee-roh-FIL-um pro-KUM-benz) commonly known as Spreading Chervil or Wild Chervil. It shares the latter name with Chaerophyllum tainturieri which is its twin. One of the only ways to tell the difference is by their seeds. Hmmm… Both species are Missouri natives are only found in North America. Plants of the World Online lists 70 species in the genus which are spread throughout much of the world. The species was named by Heinrich Johann Nepomuk von Crantz in 1767.

No doubt, most of you have encountered this Chervil in your yard, gardens, flower beds, on walks in the woods, or somewhere. Of course, it has been here for YEARS but I just now properly identified it… 🙂 Some species are edible and even used as a root crop. Chervil rings a bell for some reason. Oh yeah. CHERVIL! It is not the same plant you use in recipes. That is apparently Anthriscus cerefolium commonly known as Garden Chervil or French Parsley. They look very similar but are not native to the U.S. and not found in Missouri in the wild. Both are members of the Apiaceae Family with a total of 444 genera… Just in case you were wondering. I feel like a plant nerd. 🙂

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Claytonia virginica (Virginia Spring Beauty) on 4-11-20, #686-15.

I found this cutie close to the fence near the swampy area in the back southeast section of the farm. It was a single solitary plant and the flower wasn’t open. I took several photos of it then walked about 12 feet away and found A LOT more… With open flowers.

Claytonia virginica (Virginia Spring Beauty) on 4-11-20, #686-25.

I identified this species as Claytonia virginica L. (klay-TOH-nee-uh vir-JIN-ih-kuh) also known as Virginia Spring Beauty. Both the genus and species were named by Carl von Linnaeus in 1753. This is the only plant I have identified in the Montiaceae Family which is known as the Miner’s Lettuce Family.

According to Wikipedia, the Iroquois used Claytonia virginica as a cold infusion or a decoction made of the powdered roots for children to treat convulsions. They also ate the roots because they believed they permanently prevented conception. The Iroquois and Algonquin people cooked their roots like potatoes. The leaves and stem are also edible… 

Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty) on 4-11-20, #686-15.

Even though the leaves are edible you would starve because there are very few leaves, usually only one pair about halfway up the stem. Some stems didn’t even have basal leaves.

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Viola bicolor/V. rafinesquei (American Field Pansy) on 4-11-20, #686-73.

There are a lot of Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet) here and there on the farm but this IS NOT that plant. I found THIS PLANT close to where I previously stored hay at the edge of some trees close to the ditch that drains into the pond. GEEZ! I feel like I need to draw a good map and letter the locations. This Viola bicolor, and a few others, was happy swaying in the wind making it somewhat difficult to get a good shot. Its common name is American Field Pansy or Johnny Jump-Up. It doesn’t look like the Johnny Jump-Ups I have seen before. Hmmm… That would be Viola tricolor. Anyway, the species was named by Frederick Traugott Pursh in Flora Americae Septentrionalis in 1813. Plants of the World Online lists this species as Viola rafinesquei with Viola bicolor as a synonym.

Viola bicolor/V. rafinesquei (American Field Pansy) on 4-11-20, #686-76.

Their leaves are a lot different but while looking at the Missouri Plants website there are several different species of Viola found in Missouri with many different leaf types.

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Viola missouriensis (Missouri Violet) on 4-13-20, #687-3.

Then, after I found the highlight of this post, I found a clump of another species of Viola in an area behind the chicken house. This is Viola missouriensis, commonly known as the Missouri Violet. You may also notice the date is different because I had re-take photos of this clump. The 11th was kind of windy and its photos didn’t come out the very best. Even so, it was still first identified on the 11th.

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet) on 4-13-20, #687-4.

This species was named and described by Edward Lee Green in 1900. While various species of Viola can come in multiple shades of blues and violets, this one was different because…

Viola missouriensis (Missouri Violet) on 4-13-20, #687-5.

It has longer leaves. The normal violets around here have leaves that are approximately 3″ wide x 3″ long. The Viola missouriensis has leaves that are longer than they are wide otherwise it would be a different shade of Viola sororia. Several species are very similar, and like I said, all of them can have various shades of flowers. It is a breakthrough when you do find one that has something to distinguish them from the others besides the flowers.

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Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle) on 4-11-20, #686-33.

IT’S AN ALBINO!

Tony, I realize you are excited about the Mulberry cuttings but in my neck of the woods finding a white Lamium purpureum tops Mulberrys any day. 🙂 Seeing the first one stopped me dead in my tracks!

Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle) on 4-11-20, #686-34.

There are THOUSANDS of Lamium purpureum here and countless hundreds of millions throughout the countryside. It was quite a moment finding several clumps with white flowers in this one area.

Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle) on 4-11-20, #686-35.

Even the leaves are a paler shade of green.

Observing and identifying new wildflower species has been very enjoyable. When I say “new”, they aren’t “NEW”, just new to me. They have been here all along I am just now noticing them. Without cows grazing in the pastures, there is no telling how many I will find. Finding plants that have weird flowers is also exciting, like the pink Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow) and Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) last year on Kevin’s farm.

I think that is all for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

 

 

Early April Wildflower Update

Barbarea vulgaris (Yellow Rocket, Etc.)

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Even though COVID-19 is keeping us more at home the early wildflowers are keeping the early pollinators busy. I didn’t start getting more into wildflower ID until last summer, so I am getting an early start this year.

The Barbarea vulgaris in the above photo isn’t a new one in more ways than one. They grow in abundance and provide a great bright yellow color. It goes by many common names including Yellow Rocket, St. Barbara’s Herb, Herb Barbara, Wintercress, Bittercress, Rocketcress, Yellow Rocketcress, Wound Rocket, Creasy, Creecy, Creesy, Cressy Greens, Upland Cress and probably others. With that many you know there have to be more. It was named and described by William Townsend Aiton in the second edition of Hortus Kewensis in 1812. Plants of the World Online lists 27 accepted species in the Barbara genus and is a member of the Brassicaceae Family (Mustard Family) which includes 345 genera.

Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s Purse)

I often wondered what those plants are that are growing in ABUNDANCE along the edge of the driveway in the gravel. Even though they keep getting mowed off and only grow a few inches tall they flower up a storm for several months. Well, I found a larger plant growing next to a parked car that didn’t get mowed off so I took photos and was able to identify these wildflowers as Capsella bursa-pastoris. Its common name is Shepherd’s Purse… The above photo was taken of a larger colony behind the barn…

 

Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s Purse) on 4-4-20, #683-5.

It gets its name from the triangle-shaped fruits that resembled a shepherd’s purse…

Analysis has concluded that Capsella bursa-pastoris had a hybrid origin within the past 100,000-300,000 years. It has evolved from being a diploid, self-incompatible species to being a polypoid, self-compatible species. This has allowed into become one of the most widely distributed species on the planet. Scientists refer to this plant as a “protocarnivore” because it has been found that its seeds attract and kill nematodes. Seeds contain mucilage that traps nematodes.

The species was named and described as such by Friedrich Kasimir Medikus in Pflanzen-Gattungen in 1792.

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Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed)

I stumbled across this interesting species while I was taking photos of one of the Buttercups (that isn’t flowering yet). That will be a story for another time. Anyway… There are several small colonies of this plant growing in an area next to the pond intermingling with other species. The stems grow from a cluster of small basal leaves that grow very close to the ground that you wouldn’t notice unless you take a look. After taking a multitude of photos (GEEZ) I identified this species as Cerastium glomeratum commonly known as Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed, Clammy Chickweed, Mouse-Ear Chickweed, Sticky Chickweed, Glomerate Mouse-Eared Chickweed… One thing for sure it is some kind of chickweed.  🙂

The species was named and described as such by Jean Louis Thuillier in Flora des Environs de Paris in 1799. It is a member of the same family as Stellaria media (Common Chickweed), Caryophyllaceae.

 

Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed)

The leaves and stems are VERY hairy which is probably why it is called “sticky”. Hmmm… I didn’t notice and “stickiness” when I was handling this plant.

I do not have a page for this plant yet…

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Galium aparine (Cleavers)

You may be thinking I slipped a cog to even take a photo of this plant let alone wanting to get an ID. What is even weirder is I was wondering what happened to it because I didn’t remember seeing it since I was a kid. I think that is because I must have blotted it from my memory. So, when I saw a small clump growing behind the house I was kind of excited… Now I see growing in a multitude of places where it has always been. Of course, this is Gallium aparine commonly known as… Cleavers, Catchweed, Bedstraw, Catchweed Bedstraw, Goose Grass, Sticky Willy, Sticky Weed, Sticky Bob, Stickybud, Stickyback, Robin-Run-The-Hedge, Sticky Willow, Stickyjack, Stickeljack, Grip Grass, Sticky Grass, Bobby Buttons, Velcro Plant. Yeah, that one…

Joking aside, this plant has found several uses in the past. Shepherds used to kind of wad it up and use it to strain milk… Dried plants were used to stuff mattresses… It is also edible but you have to cook it first to get rid of the tiny sticky hairs. It also has medicinal value.

This is one of many species we just deal with when we have gardens and flower beds to clean out and maintain. What do you call this plant? I am sure you have a preferred name for it.

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Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy, ETC.) from a colony growing around a maple tree.

AH HA! Isn’t it strange how we miss some of the coolest things because they are so small? I had posted photos from 2018 of this plant on iNaturalist along with Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) because I hadn’t paid attention to it being another species. Well, I was a wildflower newbie at the time. A member pointed out the photo was of Glechoma hederacea so I took another look. Sure enough, he was right.

 

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy, ETC.)

So, this spring I looked for it to flower but I couldn’t find it. The early leaves of Lamium amplexicaule and Lamium purpureum and this species are very similar until they start flowering. Then, on April 4 when I was mowing “the other front yard” in front of the old foundation I saw the colony growing around a maple tree were flowering. There is a HUGE patch between the trees but I had never seen them flower before. The above photo was taken of a smaller colony growing among the Lamium purpureum in a sunnier spot. Common names include Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie, Gill-Over-The-Ground, Alehoof, Turnhoof, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Run-Away-Robin… The species was named and described as such by our old friend Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

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Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit)

The Lamium amplexicaule is among the first wildflowers to start blooming in the spring along with Veronica persica (or V. polita). It seems the size of the colonies of the Henbit are getting smaller.