Symphyotrichum Workout

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

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

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

BEFORE I GET TOO CARRIED AWAY…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<<<<Symphyotrichum lanceolatum>>>>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<<<<Symphyotrichum pilosum>>>>

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

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

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

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

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

<<<<Symphyotrichum praealtum>>>>

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

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

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

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

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

The involucral bracts are slightly reflexed…

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

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

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

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

Wildflower Mysteries Along The South Fence…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm…

And it has fruit…

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

GEEZ! Poison Ivy!!!

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

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

Variations Of Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I walked farther out…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Two New Species South Of The Barn… Both Herbals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Revisiting The Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was glad when they started coming up this spring.

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

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

THEN… LO AND BEHOLD!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It also has VERY hairy stems…

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

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

Six on Saturday-Short Walk on the Wild Side

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

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

#1-Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

Asclepias hirtella (Tall Green Milkweed)

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

 

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

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

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

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot)

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

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

#3)-Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

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

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

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

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

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

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

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

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

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

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

#5-Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

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

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

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

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed)

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

#6-Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean)

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

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

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique Bean/Trailing Fuzzy Bean)

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

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

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

 

 

Tales From The Ditch…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They definitely have morning glory-looking leaves…

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

But their flowers tell a different story…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I seem to be missing something…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 3…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Milkweed Beetles only live for one month…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving right along…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The persimmons are coming along nicely…

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 2…

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

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

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

SO, let’s continue with June 5.

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

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

JUNE 11… 

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

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

June 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEN FINALLY!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUNE 14…

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUNE 16…

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

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

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

Some day I will get better photos of the flowers…

JUNE 22…

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

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

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

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

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

OK, here’s a zoomed-in screenshot…

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

JUNE 24…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

A Little Catching Up Part 1…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weird flowers and fruit are very small…

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

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

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

Starting with April 29…

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

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

MAY 1…

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

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

MAY 5…

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

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

MAY 12…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANYWAY…

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

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

MAY 22…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 24…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 25…

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 28…

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

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

I crossed the ditch and was surprised to see the Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard) had moved to a new location! It was in the vicinity where I found the Field Penny-Cress last year, but it was no where to be found in 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have neat leaves…

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

Plus their involucral bracts make a great photo…

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

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

MAY 29…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Return To The Secluded Woods…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I found this one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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. 🙂

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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…

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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…

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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 &