End of October Update: After the “F”

Northeast corner bed on 10-28-18.

Hello folks! I hope you are all doing well. Our first frost came and went and as usual, it warmed up again. I think that’s what I don’t like most about the “F”. The plants get ZAPPED then it warms up again! After moving the potted plants in I can move them back out after a few days. Not all the perennials were affected, though, and some are quite enjoying the cooler temperatures. I took a lot of photos today and still wound up with 80 after editing. I usually take two of each in case one is blurry or comes out whacky. Sooo… Do I put them all on one post or spread them out? I think all at once this time. 🙂 Never know what tomorrow will bring and it may take a week or more if I spread them all out… Been there done that…

The top photo is of the northeast corner bed. The Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ is still looking very good (even without flowers). Pretty much everything else has given up. There are still a few green leaves on the Coloclinum coelestinum.

 

The Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ did awesomely well all summer but one ZAP did them in…

 

The poor Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ was looking so GREAT the day before the “F”. Darn it! The Heliotrope is always one of my favorite annuals and this one did better than others I have planted in the past. Hopefully, I can find it again next spring.

 

And what do we have here under everything? Oh yeah! I almost forgot about the Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis). When I planted it in this bed I didn’t expect for it to get covered up. Then the Conoclinum coelestinum came up late and it really did get covered up then. Every time I checked on it it was still alive, though. It was a tiny cluster of plants to start with and now there is only one stem. Maybe it will survive the winter and come back up in the spring. We shall see. I will have to put a stake by it so I will know where it is because it will either die or go likely go dormant…

On the other side of the steps…

 

The Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ is still alive and well. This is the only Monarda I have grown that hasn’t gotten mildew and died. I know there are mildew resistant cultivars but I have not seen any locally. The Monarda fistulosa growing in the pastures are all gone now, but they aren’t bothered with mildew either.

 

The Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum, etc.) in this bed are still green and lively although their flowers don’t look so hot. I hope they reseed for next year and come up a little earlier this time… Maybe I should save some seed because I would hate to completely lose these plants. Dad got his start from Aunt Inez (his mother’s sister) many, many years ago. Last winter was very hard on them…

 

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ had a very good summer and grew quite a bit. It is the worlds largest Hosta and will grow larger next year. Supposedly it will mature after five years…

 

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ did well this summer and still looks good after getting ZAPPED. I forgot to take a photo of the other one…

 

The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) had a great summer and spread even more. It spread clear up to the front of the steps! It seems to do much better in more sun even though I keep telling it to spread more in the shade. It just won’t listen!

 

Well, now that’s just pitiful! The Colocasia esculenta got ZAPPED and now it is growing new leaves. The smaller ones I planted on the north side of the chicken house and under a few trees (I have so many!) didn’t even get ZAPPED and are still alive and well. The Xanthosoma sagittifolium is doing well in the basement. It still thinks I lost my mind for putting it in a pot and putting it in the dark.

 

I know I need to just dig them up and store them for winter but I haven’t gotten around to it yet… Next thing you know, this one will be blooming like the other one… Well, I think that time has passed. This isn’t Mississippi.

Now for the south bed…

 

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is as happy as ever. It doesn’t mind the heat of the summer or the cooler temperatures. The big flower pot behind it is on standby for later. I turn the pot over and stuff the whole plant inside the pot during the winter. Trust me, when the temperature drops, it will fit one way or another. This frost wasn’t a freeze, but when the time comes and we are going to have a hard one… It will fit. Then when we have warm days, I uncover it to get some sun. Eventually, however, it will turn brown and go dormant. Seems like a lot of trouble for a plant, I know, but I think its worth it. Truthfully, it may survive without the trouble but I am not ready to take the risk yet. It isn’t supposed to be hardy here but it has survived five winters so far… Thanks to the pot. 🙂 It will fit.

 

The Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ which turned out not to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ thinks its time to grow new leaves. I sheared it a while back to give the Phlomis more sun because it was getting carried away. Maybe this coming spring it will decide to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ after all…

 

The south bed has certainly seen better days. The Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ had another successful summer. Now it can drop THOUSANDS of seeds for next spring… If you would like some seed, just ask… I have to send some to Raphael Goverts, senior content editor at Kew, so you just as well have some, too. He asked for some seed and I am happy to send them. Once they grow, I hope it encourages them to re-evaluate and change the name back to Celosia spicata instead of saying it is a Celosia argentea… At least include the infraspecific name Celosia argentea var. spicata as a legitimate name. Whether that happens or not, I am calling it that anyway. 🙂 Nuff said… (for now). Well, it is totally impossible for Celosia spicata to be a synonym of Deeringia spicata!

 

I was very surprised to see Ms. Argiope still alive and kicking… She seems to have lost some weight though.

 

The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is still flowering as are the…

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ and…

 

Salvia farinacea Cathedral ‘Blue Bicolor’.

 

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is still OK but it flowered poorly all summer. It says it was on vacation after five years… It may be secretly on strike because it wants a sunnier location. I moved the Elephant Garlic that was growing behind it because I thought it might spread a little better then it barely flowered. What’s a guy to do? It follows my 15-second rule about complaining, which I am grateful for. Complain for only 15 seconds about a subject and you will always know what I think… It complained about the Butterfly Bush in 2014 and I still know it isn’t happy about it… When I removed the Elephant Garlic, all it said was, “Ummm…”…

 

All the Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) are still alive. I am not going to mention their seeds… I will just say they are well prepared for future generations.

 

The southeast corner bed can speak for itself… There are plenty of Brocade Marigld seeds here and in the corner by the back porch. If you would like some seed, just ask and I will happily send some to you.

 

The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) I brought from Mississippi is still looking great. I know I have mentioned it is my favorite shrub several times, but it is my favorite shrub. They are evergreen in the south, but here, if the winter is very cold it will go dormant.

 

The three Angelonia angustifolia ‘Perfectly Pink’ are not dead yet but the “F” knocked their flowers off. Angelonia are perennial but maybe not here. We shall see when spring arrives… You just never know what kind of winter to expect.

 

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I out in the southeast bed is looking good still.

 

All the Elephant Garlic started coming up a while back and will remain green and growing most of the winter. It just depends on the temperature. Last January was definitely a test for their hardiness.

 

 

The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) is enjoying the cooler weather.

 

The two maple trees on the south side are looking really nice now but the two in the front yard haven’t even changed color yet.

 

The roses between the basement steps and back porch are flowering pretty good now. They can flower all they want without the Japanese Beetles eating them now…

 

 

You don’t have to say much about Roses. They speak well on their own…

 

All of the Iris are getting on with their fall growth and the Iris x violipurpurea ‘Black Gamecock’ is really spreading! There have never been this many!

 

Dad’s red Cannas… That’s all I can say…

 

The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is very hardy and will remain green pretty much all winter. I have been really surprised how well it has done in this old fill dirt along the wall. This will be its second winter.

Now, for the “other yard”.

The big old maple tree in the “other yard” (where my grandparents lived) is all glowing in its autumn colors.

 

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) may appear to have been set back by the “F”, but it is just pretending. It has a hidden agenda…

 

Ummm…

 

Those dead flowers are LOADED… That is just a small sample.

 

The ZAP didn’t affect the Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ one bit. It wants to flower even more! This is its first year flowering and it doesn’t want to stop.

 

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)… Like I mentioned before, it looks different every time I take photos. It grew this long branch this summer and now looks lop-sided… GEEZ! With spines like this who would want to argue with it?

 

The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ loses most of its leaves during the winter but it will be fine…

 

The Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’ loses more than its leaves but it will be fine, too. If it can survive last winter, it can survive this winter. It has survived since 2012…

 

This Sedum spurium, maybe ‘Dragon’s Blood’ keeps its leaves most of the winter. It was unnamed when I brought it home but I am 99.9% sure it is a Sedum spurium but only 40% sure it is ‘Dragon’s Blood’.

 

The Sedum kamtschaticum has been weird most of the summer. I kept the Celosia from growing in this bed this summer so it could have more sun but it decided to be silly. It sprawled out and developed a hole in the center of the clump. It never did that before. I don’t know…

 

This is the rest of the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Cone Flower) I dug up from the, um… In front of the sign up the street. They did very well and I am hoping to spread them out in this bed this coming spring.

 

This is the northeast corner bed next to the old foundation in “the other yard”. The rhubarb completely went dormant after the “F” but the horseradish is looking great! I didn’t deadhead the Rudbeckia hirta (the wildflower) or Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’. The Rudbeckia hirta will spread by seed while R. fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ seems only to spread by rhizomes. They need to be spread out more this coming spring…

 

There are a lot of Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ in there. Want some? They don’t spread that much in a shadier location, but give them full sun… Yeah, they like it a lot! They are drought tolerant but do like a little extra water when it stays hot and dry for several weeks in the summer.

 

The rhubarb and horseradish need to go to the garden istead of being in the flower bed.

Now for the shade beds…

 

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ looks a little beaten up but it is still green. Most Hostas get a little weird when the temps start cooling down even before an “F”. Once they have performed well all summer they are ready for a winter’s hibernation…

 

Umm… That is, or was, the big and beautiful Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’.

 

Believe it or not, this is Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #1 still looks pretty good…

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ (right) almost looks variegated now. H. ‘Dancing Queen’ doesn’t look like a gold Hosta when the temps get cooler because its leaves turn green. I forgot to take a good photo of the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ (in the background). I am hoping it survives the winter and proves to me it really is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ should be a large plant but this clump looks more like some miniature cultivar. If it doesn’t grow like it should next spring, then it definitely is NOT a ‘Blue Angel’. It is possible Mast’s supplier used a growth retardant but I can’t imagine why they would do that with a Hosta unless they didn’t ant to put them in a larger pot…

 

Although this photo is a little blurry, the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ made a great comeback this past summer. The mole runs in the other bed may have been one of its biggest problems.

 

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ also made a great comeback after many died last winter.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is growing new leaves like it was spring. It didn’t do that well this summer. I really need to mulch the shade beds better to keep the soil damper and cooler. The Japanese Beetle invasion didn’t help either when they stripped the leaves off the Chinese Elm trees…

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ definitely wants to hibernate for the winter.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ is also enjoying the cooler temperatures. It did fairly well all summer but not as well as 2017.

Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ got off to a bad start and ultimately didn’t make it.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ wants to hibernate, too.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ says a blanket would be nice…

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #2 is also still looking pretty good. I still think I will put this one back with #1 in the spring. I don’t like the same plants in different locations…

 

The Hosta ‘Red October’ never quite recovered from its issue with the mole run in the other bed this spring. I put them in two different locations but will put them back together this spring.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ was new this spring and it has done well all summer.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was one one of the top performers this summer despite its small size.

 

The Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) went nuts as usual… Many people comment about how neat it looks but none have committed to taking any home with them/ 🙂 This has proven to be a perfect location for the Equisetum, but it thinks any location is perfect.

 

The Achillea millefolium has done fair in front of the chicken house but it trying to sneak around the corner. It says it doesn’t get enough sun but I told it that was a good thing. Somehow it doesn’t believe me… I think its funny how the Achillea will move all by itself… The clump I moved in front of the barn is doing well but I think the cows reach through the fence and nibble on it… Of course, there are still two clumps in the north bed… One is completely in the sun now and I have no idea how it got there.

Now, it’s time to get the cows from the back pasture…

 

It is strange how all the Mulberry trees on the farm have practically lost all their leaves except for the one that is leaning. It leaning over is strange in itself. It just started doing that last spring…

 

It was 6:30 PM when I took this shot. The air is getting cooler and there was hardly any breeze at all. No birds chirping, no cicada making their evening racket, no lightning bugs (fireflies)… All the bugs and butterflies have found shelter for the evening.

 

The north hayfield is full of Redtop that grows after the hay is baled.

 

Not sure why I took this photo of an old hedge post (Osage Orange) covered with dead Virginia Creeper.

 

I finally finished mowing the back pasture so the cows can go to the back and graze. A friend and I had to work on the mower before I could use it. The old mower had a wheel but no tire and dad may have bought it that way. I had been using it like that but not allowing the wheel to touch the ground. Then, this past summer when I was mowing brush, the pin came off of the gizmo the wheel is on. I bought a new one but the pipe the gizmo goes through was too small. So, we got another pipe and my friend cut the old one off and welded the new one on. Good to have a friend with a cutting torch and welder. Good to have help when you need it, too.

 

The cows really enjoy being in the back pasture.

 

When I go get them to bring them back to the front pasture all I usually have to go is say, “Come on. Let’s go.” Well, usually that works. If it doesn’t I get a stick and smack it on a tree limb or something. Then they say, “Oh, now the human has a stick.”

 

They are growing their winter fur now…

One of the best things about fall is…

 

The persimmons…

 

I always have to eat as many as I can find on the ground. They are the ultimate fall fruit. 🙂 Just don’t bite into one that isn’t ripe. :):)

My sister asked before what was inside the seed. She said that someone posted on Facebook that there was a spoon inside the seed. People used many methods in the past to predict winter weather but most are just myth. I have checked persimmon seeds in the past and they all have an image of a spoon inside no matter what the weather is like during the winter. It’s like looking at the Wooly Bear Wooly Worm. As folklore says, it depends on how many black bands are on the wooly worm. Research has shown that the color of the bands reflects the past summers weather and not the upcoming winter.

 

On the way back to the front pasture, July had to lag behind as always. She enjoys a good scratch behind the ears. I kept telling her to come on because the other cows were way ahead of her. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have a stick…” So, I left her behind and caught up with the other cows. Eventually, she started coming and a few of the other cows started mooing at her… Cows can be quite entertaining sometimes.

Well, that is it for this post. I have been working on the pages to the right, getting them updated, adding links for further reading, etc. I still have a lot of pages to add but that will be a winter project. I am not sure what all I will blog about over the winter but I am sure I will think of something. Have any suggestions? I promise I will start reading more of your posts over the winter, too. I changed the email address to where your posts will be sent so I think that will help.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay warm (or cool depending on where you are). As always, my friends, GET DIRTY!

First “F” of 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I am a little tardy with this post but that isn’t unusual. The forecast said we would be having our first frost on Monday evening (the 15th) so I reluctantly prepared for the event. I moved the potted plants inside on the 10th but they are still not all in their proper places for the winter.

I discovered a few problems. #1, I have more plants than before, and #2, a lot of them are in bigger pots so they now take up more room.

Several of the plants on the table will overwinter in the basement. The Alocasia, for the most part, are already there. The Begonias will rest but not lose all their leaves (well, they didn’t last year anyway). The bigger Amorphophallus in the green pot in the center of the table have already done dormant but the Oxalis have remained wide awake. Last year they went dormant before I bought the plants inside. Instead of one pot with Oxalis, I have four. It is so funny how the leaves close up at night. So, I suppose I will put them on the table in the front bedroom until they go dormant. The succulents should go into the back bedroom window so they can have sun from a south facing window.

 

Ummm… The cactus that were on the back porch are temporarily in front of the sliding door. Last winter, and the winter before, I kept most of the cactus in the kitchen windowsill. BUT… They are all in larger pots than before. PLUS…

 

The new cactus are in the kitchen windowsill now. The pot on the left has the Kalanchoe delagoensis offsets in it. I am hoping they will grow even though I know what will happen when they do. 🙂 My plan is to make a shelf and put another row of cactus in this window. I may be able to make two more rows. The glass on the right… The last time my sister was here we went to Wagler’s Greenhouse because she wanted ANOTHER Popcorn Plant. Hers keeps dying but she keeps buying more. Wagler’s didn’t have any small plants but they had a HUGE hanging basket. So, Mrs. Wagler took several cuttings and told my sister she never had any luck growing them from cuttings. Then, she gave me the cuttings and told my sister, “Maybe he can get them to grow.” I put a few in a pot and the rest in water. I kept the pot damp but they died after a couple of weeks. The cuttings in the water are still not dead but they have not rooted. WAIT A MINUTE!!! I mean Candy Corn plant not POPCORN!  It is also called Firecracker Vine. Well, I don’t think it will work. It needs to be done in the spring and not in the fall… There is a moral to the story of my sister continuing to buy plants that she fails with, but I am not going to say anything. It would be like giving advice I am not using. 🙂 I usually try three times and that’s it… The keyword here is “usually”.

My problem is not with plants dying, it’s the ones that barely hang on and never die… I try this and that until they perk up and take off or they die.

 

Right now, the Tradescantia sillamontana and Callisia fragrans are in the north bedroom in a west facing window. I am trying to give most of the Callisia away because I certainly only need one. The Tradescantia sillamontana will go to the basement (as well as the other Tradescantia) so they can go dormant because they get all weird growing inside over the winter. Best to let them go dormant and regrow in the spring.  I have an experiment going on with two of the smallest Callisia offsets… I didn’t put them in pots several months ago but they are still alive. Honestly, I threw them in the backyard but when I was mowing I saw them and put them on the back porch. I guess since they are so persistent I will have to put them in pots after all. GEEZ!

Since the forecast said “you know what” was inevitable, I had to make a decision about the Xanthosoma. I messaged a new Facebook friend who is a member of the International Aroid Society Group (among other groups) to quiz him a little more about what he suggested I do about it during the winter. He is actually the one who told me what it was in the first place. The question is (or was), should I let it get ZAPPED and then dig the rhizome like I do with the Colocasia or should I put it in a pot then take it to the basement. Since I am a Xanthosoma newbie… After a very lengthy discussion with him about the Xanthosoma and many other plant related subjects, I was still somewhat confused. He didn’t recommend it get zapped, though.

Well, on Sunday afternoon I had to dig the three Alocasia I had been experimenting with over the summer. I wanted to see if they would grow larger in the ground than in a pot. After being in the ground all summer I couldn’t tell that it made that much difference if any at all. I had plants that were the same size that I left in pots and they were all the same size by the end of the summer…

Anyway… After I potted the Alocasia I went for the Xanthosoma… I am so glad the Alocasia I have now are hardier than some I used to have. They can take cooler temps pretty well as long as they don’t get zapped. Some of the species I had in Mississippi would go dormant even if they thought it was going to get cold… I had to move them inside before 45° F. The three Alocasia in the ground took temps below 40.

 

As with Alocasia and Colocasia, I am always surprised by their lack of roots. Strange how such HUGE plants can have so very few. After I dug it up I could see it had three offsets that hadn’t made it to the surface yet. The offsets are definitely MUCH larger than what Colocasia or Alocasia produce. I had been confused about the difference between bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, and corms but I think I have it figured out now. Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma grow from rhizomes (even though they don’t look the same). The Amorphophallus grow from corms.

 

Now the Xanthosoma is in a pot for the winter. The plant is 60″ tall and spreads out 80″! The Alocasia in the basement grow upwards so they don’t take up a lot of space. This plant takes up a lot of room!

One thing “the guy” said was that he was mistaken about my Xanthosoma’s identity… He initially said it was a Xanthosoma sagittifolium but he has since changed his mind. He said it may be either a Xanthosoma robustum or X. atrovirens because it hadn’t produced as many offsets as X. sagittifolium normally does, its glossy leaves, variegation, and how it has grown so wide. He said the random variegation was a characteristic of X. atrovirens but they don’t get such wide leaves and aren’t so broadly spreading. He also said they don’t have such dark green (almost teal) leaves and not so glossy. So, he thinks my plant is X. robustum. I checked with Plants of the World Online and it says Xanthosoma atrovirens is now a synonym of X. sagittifoliumX. robustum is an accepted name. SO, now I guess I have to go back and change everywhere I have the incorrect species name. That includes its page to the right, several posts, and all the photos.

I did take photos of the beds before the “F”. Even so, not all the perennials were affected. Luckily, the Phlomis is still looking as AWESOME as always. That’s good because I forgot to cover it with the big flower pot…

Well, I guess that’s it for this post because I am running out of words for now. Until next time, stay well, positive, and GET DIRTY!

Erigeron & Symphyotrichum sp.

Symphyotrichum sp. on 10-3-18, #514-4.

Hello again! I woke up this morning and the thermometer on the back porch said almost 40° F. I felt like going back to bed but I was already far too awake for that. So, I made my coffee, fed the cats, and started working on this post.

 

While I was taking photos for the Wildflower Walk posts I had come across this daisy flowered plant in many areas. They are quite common so I didn’t take any of their photos at first. I thought they were basically the same plant. But, on October 3, I decided to take photos of one in the north hayfield. It wasn’t that tall because this area had been mowed. I had remembered taking photos of this plant several years ago and also of another species that had somewhat different flowers. That was back in 2013… Back then I wasn’t so intrigued with “daisy-flowered” plants because they were pretty common and not so interesting.

This time, however, something was a little strange… When I made my way from the north hay field to the back pasture there were many areas with these flowers. Again, not that interesting… Same plants different location. Then I crawled over the fence and made my way to the southeast corner of the south hayfield. Then I noticed something weird…

 

The flowers there were a little pink and had longer petals… I took a few photos of them and other wildflowers as I walked further down the side of the hayfield. The border between the hayfield and the trail (which was the former Rock Island Railroad tracks) is way overgrown and looks like a total disaster. There are many wildflower species in all this mess mainly of Japanese Honeysuckle and blackberry vines.

All along the south hayfield, all these “daisy-like” flowers were the same but not like the plants in the north hayfield. Most of them had this slight pink color.

Later on, I got online to do some investigating. The missouriplants.com website only had one plant that looked like the first photo I took. It identified the plant as Symphyotrichum pilosum (White Heath Aster). Anyway, it looked close enough to determine that’s what it was. But what about the pinkish flowers? So, I checked with the websites pink flowers plants with alternate leaves… Nothing… Then I went to the wildflowersearch.org website and typed in Symphyotrichum. There I found 20 different Symphyotrichum species in Missouri! Sure enough, some are white, pink, and lavender… That only led me back to take more photos. Not just of the flowers, but the back side of the flowers, stems, and leaves… When you don’t find a simple match, it can get quite complicated.

So, on October 4, I went back to take more photos. I decided I would take a different route to see what else I could find. As I crossed the electric fence by the lagoon I saw a plant like the one in the north pasture. Then I ventured to the southwest corner. HOLY CRAP!!!!

 

Here was another group of similar plants with darker pink flowers. Not only that…

 

They were growing much taller than me…

OK, I have to tell you a little secret… I am leading up to a discovery of another genus… Umm… One of the plants I first photographed in May. There are not very many here…

 

All of the species of Symphyotrichum look basically the same when you look underneath their flowers… missouriplants.org has this to say…

Inflorescence – Paniculate arrangement of flower heads. Heads pedunculate. Peduncles to +1cm long, each subtended by a foliaceous bract, densely pilose. Stems in the inflorescence densely pilose.

Involucre – Cylindric, 5-6mm tall, 3-4mm in diameter. Phyllaries apically acuminate to attenuate, with green spreading apices (the very tip hardened, sharp, and translucent), subulate, translucent but with a green midrib and apex, 4-5mm long, 1mm broad, mostly glabrous internally and externally but with some glands externally near the apex. Apical margins minutely glandular serrate (use a lens to see).

How many words do you understand?

Then there is this one…

Not a species of Symphyotrichum

 

It is Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) or possibly Erigeron stringosus (Prairie Fleabane). Missouriplants.org has three species of Erigeron and wildflowersearch.org has two. The third species is Erigeron pulchellus but I think I can easily rule it out. I need to investigate further to identify this plant as E. annuus or E. stringosus. I was leaning toward Erigeron annuus, but now more toward E. stringosus. E. annuus can have pinkish flowers (which I have seen none) and the undersides are somewhat different. You also have to look at the amount and size of the hairs on the stems… It is possible both species are present. But, as I said, there are not very many of these plants here.

As far as which species of Symphyotrichum there are here… I think that will require further study in 2019 because I am quite sure there are more than two. Some are tall, some are shorter. Some only have white flowers while others are variable and can have pinkish flowers. Some only have pinkish flowers.

The stems and leaves also play an important part in plant ID. When there are multiple species possible, you have to read information from the experts. You also have to start working on ID early in the season because the hairs on the stems may fall off as summer progresses. I come to that conclusion because some species I have correctly identified, that should have hairy stems, seem to be bald in October… Some species have smaller hairs than others, some only on certain parts. So, if they have all fallen off by October, I need to start looking at them earlier, from spring through midsummer. Even though I am fairly certain that I have correctly identified many species, I certainly could be wrong.

I have come to one conclusion, though, that is quite obvious. I must be a little whacky to get involved with wildflower ID when I have no idea what I am even talking about. 🙂 I am not actually doing the hard work because the horticulturalists and botanists have already done that. I am just looking at their descriptions to identify what is here. I am learning from them and I am very grateful for all their hard work. It may look simple, but it is very complicated to be able to distinguish that there are different species in some genera and not merely variable from one location to another. Which is also, if not more, complicated.

I thoroughly enjoy learning about plants and wildflowers are a fairly new interest. Then there are the butterflies I try and photograph and ID. I found out it is much better to chase them around in the back pasture, out of sight, than in public view of the neighbors and people driving by. What would they think if they saw a 57-year-old man chasing butterflies? Yeah, I am laughing. 🙂

So, until next time… Have a great day or rest of your evening wherever you may be. Be safe, stay positive, and GET DIRTY!

Wildflower Walk Part 3

Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey Locust) seed pods dangling in a tree.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well! The weather has dramatically changed here and not for the better. An “F” is in the forecast and even “S”! “S” in October?!?!?! I have never seen that happen before and hope I never do. I moved the plants inside last week and now I have to figure out what to do with all of them. They all have a place so now I have to get them there.

This is the last wildflower walk post. That’s a good thing because in a few days I will probably not be able to take any more wildflower photos until next spring.

The above photo is of the neighbors Honey Locust (by the northeast corner of the north hay field). There are a lot of pods on the ground and in the tree.

I found a couple of very long pods in the south hayfield but I couldn’t see the tree they came from (maybe from a tree along the trail). These trees grow pretty tall, so on a windy day, their pods can travel fairly far. I have heard a lot of talk from farmers about how they battle the Honey and Black Locust trees and their seedlings. I think there are only two or three Honey Locust here on the farm but I have never seen any seed pods on them. They are very old and tall trees with LOTS of HUGE thorns.

Well, I better get to the wildflowers, huh?

<<<<21>>>>

Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle)

The Japanese Honeysuckle still has a few flowers but nothing like earlier. This is definitely not a species to plant in your garden as they are quite invasive! Thankfully they are only present in the fence rows and along the boundary between the farm and the trail. I did see one coming up next to a tree in front of the chicken house, but I pulled it up as soon as I saw it. It is a good thing the Japanese Honeysuckle doesn’t produce many seeds. I thought I saw some in one spot but then I realized it was wrapped around its cousin with the seeds. The above photo is a little deceptive, I suppose, which I didn’t notice when I took the photo. The large leaves are NOT from the honeysuckle. They are possibly from a blackberry.

<<<<22>>>>

Lonicera maackii (Bush Honeysuckle)

Strange, but I just noticed the Lonicera maackii (Bush Honeysuckle) when I was taking these photos. I had no idea what it was but I had to ID what was growing these berries… As it turns out, they are another invasive Honeysuckle. This one doesn’t vine like its Japanese cousin but it is invasive nonetheless. I saw this one close to the southeast corner of the south hayfield and there are a few more growing farther down the side. There were, of course, Japanese Honeysuckle wrapped around its branches trying to confuse me. The Bush Honeysuckle produce flowers similar to the Japanese so that is why I didn’t notice they were a different species during the summer

<<<<Doesn’t count as a wildflower>>>>

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange)

The Osage Orange have been really prolific this year and the fruit is HUGE. I guess you can call them fruit… Around here, we call them Hedge Trees for some reason. At least that is what was brought up calling them. Most of the old fences with old fence posts are from these trees. They never rot and are very, very hard. I still have a lot of hedge posts that have been in the ground at least since the 1960’s when grandpa built the original fences. They are STILL very solid in the ground because I think grandpa put concrete around them. The old posts have a lot of cracks in them which is where I drive in the fence staples. If it weren’t for the cracks I would never get a staple in the post.

 

I was on a forum a while back and someone posted a photo of an Osage Orange and asked if it was a walnut… Oh, I think I posted about that before. Well, I guess if you have never been around them you wouldn’t know what they are.

<<<<23>>>>

Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm, Bergamot, Etc.)

Even though the Monarda fistulosa haven’t been flowering for a while, their old heads are still very interesting.

<<<<24>>>>

Persicaria hydropiperoides (Wild Water Pepper, Swamp Smartweed)

There are several species of Persicaria growing on the farm and it took several trips to get them properly identified. The Persicaria hydropiperoides is very similar to Persicaria punctata (Dotted Knotweed). The main difference I saw was at the joins on the stems. All Persicaria, and many other plants, have a sheath (ocrea or ochrea) that forms around the joints where a stipule also grows. A stipule is like a stem part of a leaf. Anyway, the ocrea on Persicaria species all have hairs growing from the top. The joints on Persicaria hydropiperoides are reddish brown. That coloration is farther above the joint on Persicaria punctata instead of at the joint. There may be other features that separate the two and there may be indeed Persicaria punctata growing somewhere on the farm. All the white-flowered Persicaria I checked, though, have the same features.

Persicaria really like damp areas but are also drought tolerant. The biggest colony of Persicaria (three species) is behind the chicken house under a couple of Chinese Elms. The biggest colony of Persicaria hydropiperoides is next to the pond in the back pasture. Wildflowersearch.org lists 11 species that grow in our area. I have identifies three here. Typically, most people call any of them Smartweed.

<<<<25>>>>

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb)

The Persicaria maculosa is by far the most colorful of the Persicaria crew. They not only grow in the pasture, but also in the flower bed on the north side of the house. You would be surprised how many people comment on them before the other plabnts in the bed. A friend came by a few days ago, and even though the Heliotrope had a nice, big beautiful purple flower, he commented on the Smartweed! Well, truthfully, the only reason they are still in the bed is because I have taken a liking to them as well.

 

One of the common names for the Persicaria maculosa is Lady’s Thumb. Not all them have this coloration on their leaves, but many other Persicaria species also have this pattern. I had previously identified this plant as Polygonum persicaria which is now a synonym of Persicaria maculosa.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 100 accepted species of Persicaria from nearly EVERY country in the world.

<<<<26>>>>

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed)

There aren’t as many of the Pinkweed as the other two species in this post. They have pale pink flowers and their flowers are clustered close together as with the P. maculosa. The flowers of the Pinkweed are larger than the other Persicaria species.

There is actually a fourth species but I didn’t take any photos of it this year… It is the Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Knotweed or Jumpseed). I don’t know if you remember, but I posted about the one growing under the steps to the back porch last year. There is more than one now and I also noticed them in a few other places.

I also took photos of a Persicaria species at the park in 2013 which I identified as Persicaria attenuata. That is possibly not correct and that species is not on any wildflower plant ID websites for Missouri. Ummm… Plants of the World Online doesn’t even have it listed although version 1.1 of The Plant List says it is an accepted name. The Wikipedia also has a page for the species and says it is native to Asia and Australia… It has been five years so I don’t remember how I ID’d it as Persicaria attenuata.

<<<<27>>>>

Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose)

This is, of course, rose hips from a Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose). Let me see, now… How many Multiflora Rose bushes are growing on the farm? I really don’t know and probably don’t want to know anyway. I have cut down several, pulled out a few with the tractor, mowed over them with the rotary mower, and yes, even sprayed with Roundup or something similar. No matter what, they always come back. Now, I will admit, they only are a pain in the neck where the electric fences are growing and only then when I need to replace the wire or clean out the fence row. The worse is when I need to remove the old wire and posts to mow and a post is smack in the middle of a bush. As far as I am concerned the Multiflora Rose is here to stay because it wins pretty much every argument and fight we have had.

Rose hips are very valuable and have many uses. I read where you can even eat them like a berry but the seeds have hairs inside that you need to watch out for. (I will take their word for it.) For sure, Multiflora Roses make a great hiding place for rabbits and quail. But then again, I haven’t seen any quail on the farm for many years and I don’t remember seeing any rabbits this entire summer.

<<<<28>>>>

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)

There are only a few colonies of Rudbeckia hirta left blooming on the farm. That is, I am 95% they are Rudbeckia hirta. I have several of them growing in flower beds, besides the domesticated cultivars, but they fizzled out quite a while back. So, that makes me wonder a little.

<<<<29>>>>

Solanum americanum (Black Nightshade)

Yep… This is the Black Nightshade. The name itself reminds me of the grim reaper. I saw several of these growing in the pasture behind the chicken house and really hadn’t noticed them before. So, since the flowers were very small and interesting, I just had to take a lot of photos to make sure I had a few good ones for ID. Then I found out they were Solanum americanum, the Black Nightshade. I went out a few days after that and they were completely gone… I guess the cows must have found them tasty. These plants are very poison and have many bad chemical compounds and are even poison to livestock. It is just weird how these plants disappeared… The species is very variable and has been confused with other species in some areas. The three websites I use the most all agreed from the several photos I took that this plant is indeed the Black Nightshade, Solanum americanum

<<<<30>>>>

Solidago sp. (Goldenrod)

Of course, this is a Solidago species, but which one. While there are several species of Solidago that can easily be ruled out, there are many that look so much alike. Even botanists and horticulturalists have trouble telling some of the species apart. According to the Missouri Conservation Department Field Guide, there are at least 20 species of Solidago in Missouri but their website doesn’t have separate listings. The wildflowersearch.org website does list all 20 but that website doesn’t show distinguishing features. There are links to other websites so maybe a few of them can further help to identify the species… The photo of the above plant was as tall as I am and all the flowers on the plants in this group had already turned brown or getting there.

 

There were shorter plants growing in a few other areas but that is because they had been mowed when the hay was baled. Wildflowersearch.org is a good site because it tells you how likely various species are to grow in a given area… I stopped looking after five candidates said they were 100% likely to grow here…

 

Solidago species have very complex flowers. I took several close-ups but this one was the only one that wasn’t blurry.

In a future post, I have two daisy-flowered species I want to show you. At first, I thought they were the same species but were different because some of them had been mowed off earlier. BUT, that was not the case. Two different genera and possibly more than three species…

I am still amazed at how many different species of wildflowers are present on this 38 acres. I took a few photos of plants that weren’t flowering to keep an eye on next spring and summer. I saw quite a few just walking across the south hayfield. Just think how many wildflowers are now growing along the trail in all the trees that have grown up… A few years ago I walked around in one area looking for morels and saw quite a few interesting plants including some ferns.

OK. I better stop writing so I can publish this post. Until next time… Take care, stay warm (or cool depending on where you are), stay positive, and be safe! As always… GET DIRTY!

Wildflower Walk Part 2

<<<<11>>>>

Amaranthus spinosus (Spiny Amaranth, Spiny Pigweed, Etc.)

Hello again! Here is part 2 of the Wildflower Walk. Starting out with one of the most dreaded weeds in the pasture is the Amaranthus spinosus also known as the Spiny Amaranth. I remember my grandpa battling these as a kid, digging and hacking away. Well, they are still here in great numbers, mainly in the area behind the barn, around the pond, and… Come to think of it, they are just about everywhere in the front pasture.

All the photos on this post were taken on September 8…

They have these darn little thorns on their stems that make them such a pain. When I put “the good stuff” in the garden from where I feed hay, these crazy guys come in the garden. You either have to use gloves to pull them up or grab the lowest part of their stem.

 

This weed is native of the tropical Americas but has been introduced to almost every continent. Hard to imagine, but it is a food crop and used in many dishes in Africa and several Asian countries. In India, they use the ashes of the fruit to treat jaundice. Water extracts from its roots and leaves have been used as a diuretic in Vietnam.

<<<<12>>>>

Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed)

Many people know this plant all too well when it comes to allergies. Luckily, I haven’t been bothered with allergies but I know several people who have the problem. Many have never even seen a Ragweed.

 

Even though the flowers are tiny, they are LOADED with very potent pollen.

 

Even when not in flower, the plants can be recognized by their tri-lobed leaves. Some of their leaves aren’t trilobed, and of course, there are other plants with tri-lobed leaves that aren’t Ragweeds.

<<<<13>>>>

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles)

Bidens bipinnata is the naughty cousin of the Bidens aristosa known as Spanish Needles (and a few other choice names I can’t write down).

These are my second least favorite of the stick-tight crew.

 

Quite often when I need to walk into an area where these are growing I change my mind and go somewhere else.

<<<<14>>>>

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle)

I didn’t realize this plant was a thistle until I took these photos and did the research to find its name. Yeah, the flowers look like thistles alright, but the leaves are nothing like the other two or three species on the farm. My favorite didn’t come up this year which means my eradication program worked for it. 🙂 Getting rid of thistles is fairly easy without spray and you make a big dent in the population within three years (the same as with spraying). Just stick your shovel into the stem, about 3″ below the surface, and that’s it.

 

The bad thing about thistles is that their flowers are so neat!

 

While their leaves do have a few small needles, they are nothing like the other species. These don’t seem to be as plentiful, either.

<<<<15>>>>

Commelina communis (Dayflower)

This cute little flower is the Commelina communis which is the Dayflower. It is in the Commelinaceae family with the Spiderworts, Purple Hearts, White Gossamer, Wandering Jews, and so on.

 

There are several species of Commelina with similar flowers. The flowers emerge between a folded up leaf at the top of the stem, just as with Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart and Pale Puma) and the Tradescantia sillamontana (White Gossamer) on the front porch.

<<<<16>>>>

Eupatorium altissimum (Fall Thoroughwort)

From a distance, you might think this plant is the Ageratina altissimum (White Snakeroot) which is in part 1. This plant is Eupatorium altissima, the Fall Thoroughwort. Apparently, some botanists were confused as well, even Carl von Linnaeus himself. Carl Linnaeus named and described the Eupatorium altissima in AND the Ageratum altissima in Species Plantarum in 1753. Then, in 1754, he changed Ageratum altissima to Eupatorium altissima in his description in Systema Vegetabilium. Did he forget he already gave a plant that name? The error was eventually found out, but it took until 1970! For over 200 years there were two species being called Eupatorium altissima. Hmmm…

 

OK, I know this group of plants in the above photo is not White Snakeroot. 🙂 GEEZ! Now I have to figure out how I came to that conclusion again. I need leaves and stems for its page.

<<<<17>>>>

Euphorbia corollata (Flowering Spurge)

Well, I don’t think there is any mistaking this species. There don’t seem to me that many of these on the farm and I only notice them in one area. They are easily overlooked, though, because their flowers are very small and can be easily be lost in a patch of taller vegetation.

 

Their little flowers attract quite a number of insects of many types… As with most plants in this genus, their stems and leaves contain toxic latex.

<<<<18>>>>

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia)

I have seen this Petunia looking plants growing in the ditch along the road in front of the house for several years. I hadn’t taken any photos of them and then I found several growing in the pasture. Low and behold, they really are Petunias! Well, not like the one we grow in planters and hanging baskets. Different family… The Petunias we grow as an annual are in the Solanaceae family and Ruellia species are in the Acanthaceae family.

 

They are in the same family as the Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) I had in Mississippi and what Mrs. Wagler gave me a while back. They certainly have the classic Ruellia throat. Common names for this species include Wild Petunia, Fringeleaf Wild Petunia, Hairy Petunia, and Low Wild Petunia. The Missouri Botanical Garden Plantfinder says they from to 2′ tall, but the ones on the farm never have the opportunity to grow that tall. I am either mowing them off in the ditch and maybe the cows eat them in the pasture. Hmmm… Wonder what they taste like?

 

Interesting how many species are in some genera and where they can be found growing in the wild from various parts of the world. Although the Wikipedia says the Ruellia humilis are native to the Eastern United States, the USDA Plants Database says they are in many states from the east coast to the midwest.

<<<<19>>>>

Verbena hastata (Blue Vervain)

The Blue Vervain is found flowering in a few of the lower areas in the back pasture from June through October. They like to grow in damp meadows and river beds.  The Missouri Botanical Garden says they can grow up to 6′ tall. Hmmm… Maybe I should mark their spot and avoid mowing them off to see how tall they can grow here. Butterflies seem to really love their flowers. I always like their tall spikes of purple flowers. They are native throughout the United States and most of Canada.

<<<<20>>>>

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s Ironweed)

In my opinion, Baldwin’s Ironweed has some of the most beautiful flowers of all the wildflowers on the farm and they grow just about everywhere. They start flowering sometime in June or July and are pretty much finished in September. I know this is October but these photos were taken on September 8. 🙂

 

I realize to many it is just a darned old Ironweed, but if you take a closer look, you will see very interesting and complex flowers. As you can imagine, they are a butterfly magnet. Although they can grow up to 5′ tall, they normally reach only 3-4′. There are many species of Ironweed that prefer damper soil, but the Vernonia baldwinii does well in dry areas as well.

 

It gets its common name from being a very stiff and tough-stemmed plant and by the rusty color of the dried up flowers. When you run over this plant with a mower or try to pull it up, you will see that they are very tough.

Well, I think I am finished for this post and ready to start on Wildflower Walk Part 3.

Until next time… Stay well, positive, and be safe. As always GET DIRTY! I need to do some mowing and other things around the yard today.

Wildflower Walk Part 1

<<<<1>>>>

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot), 9-6-18, #503-2.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I have been working on this post since September 9 when I took the first wildflower photos. I had to re-shoot a few more than once because some of the photos were kind of blurry. It is hard to get good photos of the smaller flowers and I don’t realize they aren’t good enough until I view them on the computer. I usually take at least two photos of each “pose” but even at that I still have to re-shoot.

Different wildflower species flower different times of the year while a few are at it all summer long. Some are showing signs of age as with some of the perennials in the flower beds. Identifying wildflowers is a little more time consuming than with plants we buy with labels. There are several websites I use for ID and not all plants are on every website. Several genera have several different representatives here on the farm and some look very similar and are hard to identify… So, sometimes I have to go back to the plants and look for distinguishing features. I have to take photos of the plant, the front and back of the flowers, upper and lower leaves (if they are different) and the stems (because various species in the same genera have hairs and some don’t). That always leads to new discoveries and more photos. I am not even going to count how many wildflower photos I took from September 9 through October 6 but I have identified more than 30 species I hadn’t before.

I made positive ID on the last confusing plant today and realized why I was confused. There are at least three species that look similar and there are over 20 species of one of the genera that can be present here… Yeah. It was weird. I am doing a separate post about them. I could also do a separate post about the Smartweed. There are at least four species here and a couple have a few key features that distinguish them from other similar species.

I have also taken a few butterfly photos which can also be a challenge. They seem not to stay in one place very long and I wind up chasing them around a while. The Skippers, which are very interesting, have that habit which is apparently why they are called Skippers. They skip from one spot to another after only a few seconds. Eventually, they get tired and need to rest but sometimes by the time I catch up, they have finished.

Here we go… In alphabetical order… But there is MORE to come. 🙂

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot) on 9-6-18, #503-1

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot)

The above photo and at the top of the page is Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot). There are individual small groups here and there but several very large groups as well. They have nice “Ageratum-like” flowers. Like many wildflowers, however, it is a poisonous weed. They flower from July through October until “F” gives them a good zap.

<<<<2>>>>

Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Sunflower, Bearded Beggarticks, etc.) on 9-6-18, #503-8.

Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Sunflower, Bearded Beggarticks, etc.)

The Bidens aristosa is a common sight on the farm. The photo above is part of a very large colony near the pond in the back of the farm.

 

It’s bright golden-yellow flowers are visited by MANY different insects to try to identify. Well, at least if they will sit still long enough. The plants can grow fairly tall, up to 6′, if they are allowed. Since I mow the back pasture they stay fairly short.

 

When identifying many plants whose flowers look like other species, you may have to look at many features. Flip the flowers over and look at their undersides…

Involucre – Flat, to 2.3cm broad. Bracts biseriate. Outer phyllaries +/-15, with fimbriate margins, linear, acute, often twisted, to +1cm long, 1.2-1.4mm broad, pubescent externally, often with revolute margins. Inner phyllaries yellowish, with dark purple apices, ovate-lanceolate, entire, glabrous, 6-7mm long, 2-3mm broad, erect in fruit.

Hmmm… Involucre… The definition is a whorl or rosette of bracts surrounding an inflorescence (especially capitulum) or at the base of an umbel… My baldness is not just because of heredity…

This species is one of “several” plants with Beggarticks as part of their common name. I haven’t had a problem with the seeds of this species sticking to me because they are not at all like their cousin in part 2. These have smaller dried up flower heads and tiny seeds that are easily brushed off if they do happen to stick to your clothes.

 

<<<<3>>>>

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis) on 9-6-18.

Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis, Virgin’s Bower, etc.)

There are a “few” species on the farm that will get a little carried away (understatement). The Clematis terniflora is one of them. Luckily, for the moment, there are only two spots this species is growing on the farm and they are about 20′ or so apart along the south fence in the front pasture. I admit from a distance they appear to look very nice if you are into vines… There is a house on Main Street that has this growing on a short concrete wall along their sidewalk. Hmmm… No doubt it came up volunteer.

 

Their flowers are very interesting and have a pleasant scent. They are also attractive to many insects. I took a lot of photos of their flowers for some strange reason which will go on this plants page…

 

The first two photos above were taken on September 6 and the one above on October 4. GEEZ! What a change!

 

<<<<4>>>>

Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed) on 9-6-18, #503-23.

Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, or Goatweed)

There aren’t many of Croton capitatus on the farm but they are pretty interesting. I have tried to get better photos of their flowers but they always come out too blurry. Their flowers are a little strange and look like they never quite blossomed. But, that appears to be a distinguishing feature.

 

<<<<5>>>>

Croton willdenowii (Common Rushfoil) on 9-6-18, #503-24.

Croton willdenowii (Common Rushfoil)

Croton wiildenowii is also growing here and there in the back pasture. There are several species of Croton that look similar, but this one is distinguished by its reddish-brown stems (among other things).

 

Its leaves are kind of blunt at the tips whereas some of the other species are more pointed. The flowers…

“Staminate flowers with 4-6 stamens. Filaments white, 1.5mm long, glabrous. Anthers white, .4mm broad. Petals 4, 1.1mm long, white. Sepals 4, .7mm long, acute, densely stellate pubescent. Pistillate flowers 5-lobed(calyx). Lobes 2mm long, attenuate, densely stellate pubescent. Ovary ovoid, 1.2mm long, densely stellate pubescent. Styles 2, bifurcate and appearing as 4 or more, 1mm long. Capsule green, lepidote, 4mm long, ovoid but slightly compressed, 1-seeded.” (From http://www.missouriplants.com).

 

<<<<6>>>>

Desmodium perplexum {Perplexing Tick Trefoil) on 9-6-18, #503-28.

Desmodium perplexum (Perplexing Tick Trefoil)

Perplexing is a very good name for this Tick Trefoil. There are several different species of Desmodium on missouriplants.com and the Missouri Department of Conservation field guide was no help either. There was always something not quite right. So, I posted photos on the Facebook group called Missouri Plants Identification. One member suggested it was Desmodium perplexum and introduced me to yet another website (www.wildflowersearch.com). Then I found out she is a horticulturalist right here in Missouri. This website shows 14 different species of Desmodium. How do I know I Desmodium perplexum is the right one? I don’t remember. 🙂 I will figure it out again when I write their page. Just look up the word “perplexing” and you will have a good idea… The problem is, there may actually be more than one species here…

 

Their flowers kind of reminds one of sweet peas…

 

Look familiar? Such neat flowers with terrible seeds!

 

I hate it when that happens! Well, it wasn’t so bad that time. 🙂

Reminds me of a story from when I was a kid. When I was little I used to get stick-tights on my socks almost every day (the little tiny ones). My mother finally got tired of having to remove them when she did laundry so she started making me do it. Well, I was just a little kid and pulling stick tights off my socks wasn’t my idea of fun. So, I guess a few socks slipped in the hamper with stick-tights still on them. Anyway, mom didn’t remove them either… Trying to get them off after they have been washed and dried is much harder. From then on I tried to avoid stick-tights.

 

<<<<7>>>>

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) on 9-6-18, #503-21.

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed)

A few years ago when I went into the swamp and discovered this plant for the first time I was amazed. I thought, “What a neat plant!” The swamp was LOADED with these plants and they were nowhere else on the farm. I posted about this plant and received several comments from different parts of the world. Apparently, this plant gets around and most of the comments weren’t favorable… In August I went back into the swamp to see if there were any of these guys blooming and there were none. Then, low and behold, I found a patch in the fence row along the front pasture. As you can see by the above photo, it is not a small patch..

.

Now, I realize that the word invasive is an understatement where this plant is concerned. But, they are not alone in this regard because there are others that rudely do the same thing. To think it all begins with a tiny seed…

 

Even so, I think their flowers are very neat. The way they just hang and dangle from a thin thread. Look at the little pigs tail on the end. 🙂

 

The seed pods are also pretty neat. When I took the above photo on September 6, their seeds weren’t ready enough to show you what happens when you give them a little squeeze. When they are “ripe”, they will explode leaving behind what looks like a wadded up rubber band. The seeds fly out everywhere. I have photos from before but I don’t have their page finished yet… 🙂 Actually, I haven’t started on the wildflower pages. I was in the S’s on the main plant list and had to start over and make updates. Then spring came, then summer which leads us up to now… So, hopefully, this winter I can get a lot more finished.

 

<<<<8>>>>

Kummerowia sp. on 9-6-18, #503-27.

Kummerowia stipulacea (Korean Clover) or Kummerowia striata (Japanese Clover) (Korean or Japanese Lespedeza)

This is one of the plants I was confused about. From one website to another the flowers look the same or different. It’s like some are backward and the flowers are with the wrong plant. Doing an image search was the same way. It is quite clear I am not the only one that is confused. The only true way to tell the species apart is from the hairs on their stems… They are either antrorse or retrorse which means they either point upward or downward. K. stipulacea have antrorse hairs while K. striata have striata hairs. When I realized I could have a definite way to identify these plants growing in multitude near the back pond, I was pretty excited! But, it was late at night so I had to wait until the next day. Not to say I haven’t ventured out in the wee hours of the morning to ID a plant in the recent past. 🙂

 

So, the next day I went to examine the stems for hairs… I could NOT see any hair at all. Not even with a magnifying glass! Some plants lose their hair with age like people. Isn’t that weird? So, perhaps this is one of those species and I need to check their hair in the spring… We will see when that time comes. I have a lot of photos of whatever it is. Both species may be present…

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With nature, we learn patience. No need to get frustrated and try to rush it, because it just doesn’t work that way. We also learn the old saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” If you have an opportunity today, it may be gone tomorrow. 🙂 It may rain, get eaten, fly away, dry up, rot, go to seed, run away, migrate, or just simply die… I better stop there. They do say opportunity only knocks once, but I can read the same offers with timers every day on the internet. Oh yeah, that isn’t in nature…

 

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Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead on 9-6-18, #503-31.

Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead)

Sagittaria latifolia, the Arrowhead, are water plants that grow in the swamp in the far southeast corner of the farm. They are common water plants and many people grow them in their fish pools.

 

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Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed) on 9-6-18, #503-32.

Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed)

When I was taking photos in the north end of the back pasture, along the electric fence, I noticed this plant with very interesting green flowers. I looked for more of them and found none. How in the world could there just be one? I searched and searched on many websites to identify this plant and found nothing…

You know, it’s leaves kind of reminds me of the Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons).

 

Finally, I posted it to the Facebook group and was told it was Silphium integrifolium after the petals had fallen off… Although this species does flower through the second week in October, this particular plant didn’t. When I went back to take more wildflower photos the next day, this plant was completely gone. How could there have been just one and then it completely disappear overnight?

I’m going to stop here and get ready for part 2 which were photos taken the day after the ones in this post… So, until next time… You know the drill. GET DIRTY!

What Just Came In The Mail?

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. We have had some cooler temperatures in my neck of the woods the past few days. While the cooler temps are a nice break from the heat, it means “you know what” is on the way. I know many people like fall, and for some, it is their favorite time of the year. For me, it means I will soon have to bring plants inside then the big ZAP will come. It actually got down to 44° Wednesday night (Thursday AM)! It also said it would be warmer the following days and evenings. While many plants are still OK, it will trigger dormacy in others. My bigger Amorphophallus already went dormant last week but the smaller plants are still alive and well. That’s weird. Why did the older plants go dormant and the smaller ones didn’t? Just another learning experience, huh?

A few days ago I went to get the mail and was surprised to find this little box. Hmmm… What could it be?

 

When I came back inside I opened it to have a look. Hmmm… What is that?

 

Ummm… Someone sent me a wad of toilet paper… It feels like something is inside.

 

I unwrapped it and found a surprise!

 

Looks like a ball of cotton with roots!

 

OK… Just kidding around a little. I had been browsing around a little on Ebay looking at the cactus and succulents and found this gem. I know, I know that isn’t a good thing sometimes. There are a lot of nice plants on Ebay and so many you don’t find locally.

 

I ran across a listing for this Mammillaria plumosa also known as Feather Cactus. It was definitely something I have not seen at Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, or the local greenhouses. It reminds me of a very hairy Thimble Cactus (Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis).

 

Well, the seller did say he was sending a pot. This is just a teaser pot that attaches to other pots for form a stack of pots he has available. I am sure many people go ahead and buy more pots, but I think I will pass. I suppose it is a good idea and it would save space.

 

There are several plants in this cluster but it is impossible to tell how many with all the wool. VERY NEAT for sure. Who could pass up such an AWESOME find? A single specimen could take a couple of years to offset.

The name Feather Cactus comes from 40 or so interlacing radial spines that are kind of arranges like fathers. This furnishes protection against the hot desert sun. It has no central spines.

 

I can only imagine finding a plant like this in the desert in Mexico. It would look like a pile of snow, Maybe this species lives where it cooler and grew its own blanket.

Its status in its natural habit is listed as “near threatened” by the IUCN Red List. Llifle said it grows on limestone cliffs in sparse xerophytic shrubland and there is a continuing decline due to ongoing plant collecting. Apparently, the species is illegally collected for the ornamental trade. Locals collect the plant from the wild and sell them at local markets at Christmas time as they are used to decorate nativity scenes.

Well, it is getting late so I better warp up this post. Until next time, stay well, be safe. eat your vegetables, drink plenty of fluids and give your “other half” a big hug if you have one… Don’t forget to get dirty if you have a chance.