Fall 2019 Cactus & Succulent Update Part 1: A’s

Acanthocereus tetragonus (Triangle Cactus) at 4 1:2 T x 2 7:8 W, 10-11-19

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I decided to break the cactus and succulent update into several posts instead of making one long post. They are all inside now except for the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla), a few Sedum, and the Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ that always overwinter outside. Hmmm… I forgot to take their photos. In the midst of the updates, I will probably make a few posts to highlight specific plants.

On October 11 I moved all the potted plants inside as I mentioned earlier.  As always, once we get ZAPPED the temps warm back up. So, I moved the cactus and most of the succulents back outside for a few days again. I even put the Alocasia that was on the front porch back on the front porch. 🙂

Now, on with the post. In alphabetical order… Just click on the name of the plant if you want to view their pages. I may or may not have all their pages updated. If you do go to their pages and happen to click on the link to Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) at the bottom of the page, you may notice it isn’t working well… I sent an email to who I think maintains the site and at least now it does open but it is still not functioning properly. Hopefully, he will get the issue solved because it is an AWESOME website.

The above photo is the Acanthocereus tetragonus commonly known as Triangle Cactus, Fairy Castle, Barbed Wire Cactus, Sword Pear, Dildo Cactus, and Night Blooming Cereus. Some of those names are also associated with other cactus. The species is often confused with Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. Very similar in several ways, but different in many. I had a cactus in 2015 that I gave up on identifying because it was similar but different… Now I think it was probably an Acanthocereus tetragonus, too. They grow very large in the wild, but smaller monstrous forms are what is generally found in the retail market. So, while the native plants are called Triangle Cactus and so on, someone gives the miniatures smaller names like Fairy Castles. That gets very confusing for people when they buy unlabeled plants or have generic tags that say “Cactus”. Then they get confused between Fairy Castles and Fairytale Castle which are two different species.

I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in September 2018. It measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it inside last October 10 and now it is 4 1/2″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. The offsets have grown quite a bit as well. It was in full sun on the back porch all summer so it has a nice tan. Hmmm…

 

Adromischus cristatus (Crinkle Leaf Plant, Key Lime Pie) on 10-11-19, #639-3.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm……… I know the Adromischus cristatus (Crinkle Plant, Key Lime Pie) doesn’t look all that hot, but it is better than it has been for a long time. It was very small and cute when I bought it from Lowe’s in April 2017 and grew to 4″ wide by October 17 when I moved the plants inside. Over the winter it became very weird and kind of went dormant. It got down to almost nothing and I expected it to die. When I repotted it in 2018 it didn’t seem to help much. I thought surely it would die again during winter. But, guess what? It didn’t die. So, I repotted it a few months ago and it perked up. Hopefully, it will survive the winter without losing most of its leaves and do even better in 2020. The only thing different was adding pumice (50/50) instead of additional perlite and I didn’t add any chicken grit. Using pumice takes the place of amending with additional perlite and grit.

 

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) at 13″ T x 26″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-4.

WELL… This past summer the Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) has been in full sun on the back porch. I always had it in light shade during the summer pretty much since I brought it home in July of 2016. Back then it had much broader and shorter leaves and I thought perhaps they grew longer because it wasn’t getting enough sun. But, even in full sun, the new leaves this past summer grew long as well. So, maybe this is normal… Maybe that is a good thing because it would look weird with long leaves on the bottom and short, fat leaves on the top. Of course, there are a few Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) growing in the pot. Oh, the Agave now measures 13″ tall x 26″ wide.

 

Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ at 4 1/2″ T x 9″ W on 10-11-19, #639-75.

For many years I wanted to try an x Mangave so I was happy to find a few ‘Pineapple Express‘ to chose from at Muddy Creek Greenhouse on June 13. “Pineapple Express” was a 2016 introduction from Walters Gardens and is a cross between x Mangave ‘Jaguar’ and ‘Bloodspot. The x Mangave are/were created by crossing Agave species with Manfreda species. Well, that is until someone had the audacity to decide the genus Manfreda is synonymous with Agave… That is weird because there were several differences between the two genera. Hmmm… In time, this plant will grow to 18″ tall x 24″ wide but for now it is just 4 1/4″ tall x 9″ wide. I can tell it has grown since I brought it home but somehow I forgot to measure it then. If you think that is strange, I haven’t got a page for it yet!

 

Spotted leaves of the Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ on 10-11-19, #639-76.

I really like the spotted leaves which may come from Manfreda maculata, I mean Agave maculata. 🙂

 

Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) on 10-11-19, #639-5.

I have had Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) since 2009 when I rescued a broken piece from Wal-Mart in Greenville, Mississippi. I was Aloe newbie at the time and I thought it was strange it took it almost a year to root. I brought home the above Aloe juvenna from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017 and the longest stem in the clump is now 14″ long. This is one plant you want to keep in the right amount of sun. To much shade and the leaves stretch. To much sun and the leaves burn… I think the front porch has been a good spot in the summer with a south-facing window in the winter.

 

Aloe maculata at 19″ T x 42″ W on 10-11-19, #639-6.

Hmmm… This is what happens when your Aloe maculata is happy! Give it a little attention by complimenting it once in a while and put it where it can be noticed and it will be very happy. It grew its first flower this summer. It’s grandmother, not sure how many greats to add, was given to me by a good friend when I was living in Leland, Mississippi in 2009. I didn’t know the name at the time, so I called it ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ because the offset came from Kyles’s grandmother. The plant in the above photo had growing issues for a while because it wasn’t getting much attention by the shed where the plants used to be. Once I had to move the plants to the front porch last summer because of the Japanese Beetle invasion, I started paying attention to it more. I gave it a new pot and new soil and put it by the steps and it took off. This past summer it has grown like crazy to a whopping 19″ tall x 42″ wide. I need to get the pups out of the pot soon! It is quite a show stopper!

 

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ at 6″ T x 12″ W on 10-11-19, #639-7.

OH, the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’! My second Aloe in 2009 was a ‘Lizard Lips I bought from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi. I had it until I gave up most of my plants in 2014 but I found another when I started collecting again in 2016. Luckily, I had given an offset to Wagler’s Greenhouse so this clump could actually be that offset. It has been a great miniature Aloe, but we have had to learn a few things about each other over the years. My original plant almost died every winter but barely hung on somehow. Apparently, although it was in a beautiful glazed pot, it didn’t like it. Attention is not so much of a requirement (it doesn’t like hugs like Aloe maculata) just as long as you water it when it is thirsty and give it the right amount of sun. It particularly seems to like a bigger pot AT LEAST once a year although it didn’t get one yet in 2019. The potting soil has to be VERY well-draining because it absolutely does NOT like wet feet. That is no problem because there are so many leaves barely any water gets into the soil. It is also a prolific bloomer, sometimes up to 8 stems at the same time. Currently, the clump has filled the pot and measures 6″ tall x 12″ wide.

 

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 4 1/2″ T x 8″ W on 10-11-19, #639-9.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ has been a delightful little plant for sure. It is a hybrid of Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. It has grown A LOT and is currently 4 1/2″ tall x 8″ wide. I notice it definitely needs to be repotted. It was 3 1/2” tall x 6 1/8” when I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in May. It appears this plant will be quite a clumper…

 

Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) at 4 1/2″ T x 8 1/4″ W on 10-11-19, #639-10.

The Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) is always bright and beautiful! It has always been happy and carefree since I brought it home from Wal-Mart in March 2018. It was originally named Aloe aristata, but phylogenetic studies show the Aloe genus is polyphyletic and this unusual species IS NOT an Aloe. It is closely related to the Astrolabes and to the four Robustipedunculares species of Haworthia. Because its genetics are unique, this species was put a new genus of its own. It was 2 3/4” tall x 4 1/2” wide when I brought it home and now measures 4 1/2″ tall x 8 1/4″ wide. This plant grew quite a lot over last winter inside, so I think I need to give it a larger pot…

Well, that’s it for the A’s. I hope you enjoyed this page as much as I have enjoyed these plants as companions.

Until next time, take care and be safe!

Weird WordPress Issue

Hello everyone! I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the cooler temps.

First of all, I want to say I have no major issues with WordPress. It is a very easy platform to use, make posts, add photos, plenty of good themes, and has a great family of bloggers that is excellent. You are all AWESOME!

Several months ago I noticed something weird and somewhat frustrating. After a while, I contacted support and we looked at the situation. I took several screenshots of what was going on, the guy logged into my blog, got on my reader, and so on. He was pretty thorough and paid attention to my concerns. In the end, he had no clue. He said, “This is indeed weird.” He said he would look further into it and ask other support members and see what they had to say. He said he would follow up with me in a few days by email but I never heard from him. I told him I thought about posting about the issue to see if anyone else has the problem and he said that was a good idea.

So, here it goes…

The above photo shows my blog and you can see the “follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner. I am logged in and using reader but I still had to sign in for the follow button to go away on my blog.

The photo below is a screenshot of Masha’s blog called A SWEETER LIFE. She is a very sweet lady so I am sure she won’t mind if I use her blog for this post. I used her blog as an example because it was the first one on my followed sites (using reader) that shows the issue.

 

As you can see, the follow button appears in the bottom right-hand corner… I am logged in and I follow Masha’s blog. From the “reader”, I can make comments and “like” with no problem. But, if I click to “visit site”, I get the “follow” pop-up and I cannot make comments unless I sign in “AGAIN”. If I sign in again, it means nothing… It still says “follow” and I get the same options so sign up, log in, etc. Even after signing in AGAIN, I can’t “like”. A big empty white box pops up and goes away after a second… This happens whether I log in using my username or email…

So, I clicked on follow on Masha’s blog and it asks for my email address or I have the option to log in if I already have a WordPress account. UMMM… So, I logged in for the fourth time, clicked follow and it says the same thing…

SO, then I entered my blog email address…

Now, tell me… What does this mean? I know what it means, but why does it say that? My subscription did not succeed because my email address wasn’t valid. UMMMMMM….. I successfully logged in four times in the past 10 minutes then this pops up the fifth time.

Even IF you do not follow a WordPress blog, you should still be able to make comments and “like” if you A) are signed up with WordPress, and/or B) if you have a gravatar.

Some blogs are different. I just click on follow and that’s it. But others I can’t follow unless I follow through the “reader”.

Like I said, most of the blogs I follow say I am following when I go to their site. It’s just a few that say “follow” when I am already following.

If I just read blog posts through reader I have no issues at all and I would have never noticed the issue if I hadn’t have clicked on “visit site” to someone’s blog a few months ago and I noticed the “follow” pop-up. Before then, I had no problems.

I have been blogging since 2009 and I have only contacted support a few times. Sometimes something changes and it freaks me out. Trust me, I don’t get freaked out easily, but when something weird happens with the blog… That is different. I use the old dashboard because I am used to it. One day when I got on the blog it was somehow the new version. I contacted support and they gave me a different URL and it went back to the old version. I don’t like the new editor either and I have tried it a few times. I prefer the classic… I learn new things all the time so it isn’t that I am an old dog that doesn’t want to learn new tricks. When I use the newer editor, sometimes the photos don’t go in the right place and I don’t like the way it acts.

Last year when I was writing pages and I added the “USEFUL INFORMATION” and “FOR FURTHER READING”  at the bottom, there were spaces between each line… That never happened before and I had no clue “WHAT THE HECK” was going on. For five years it never did that! So, I contacted support and was told to use the “Text” format when I do that. So, I did and it worked fine. I never had to switch from visual to text before. Good thing it worked…

The few times I have contacted support I have always been satisfied. The “follow/following” issue is the first time they had no idea…

I have made a FALL RESOLUTION to read your blog posts every night and catch up with the day before. I know I am following many inactive blogs… Things have changed A LOT since 2013 when I started my first Belmont Rooster blog. Many former bloggers I followed are no longer active. I don’t promote my blog as well as before either.

Starting now, I am going to visit all the blogs I am following to make sure I am following both on the reader and your actual site. So, if you notice I have just followed your blog and thought I was already following, you are right. 🙂

At the end of our conversation, I quizzed the guy about random readers of my blog pages being able to”like” or make comments. I don’t just write posts… I have all the pages right, around 450-500 (who’s counting), that get anywhere from 75-250 views per day. They are views from people doing research about certain plants and my blog is on the list. The click, they read, but they cannot “like” or comment unless they enter their email address or whatever. Seriously, I am not sure what they have to do… Once in a while, I get a comment from someone but very seldom. I am the same way, though… When I am doing research and I can’t make a comment unless I go through some kind of hoop, I don’t make a comment. If I need to contact someone, I look for a “contact” link and send an email. You would be surprised how many people never reply because the websites are not maintained… I understand the need for an email or something because of spam… I get this same spam comment from different people every day promoting prescription drugs. A while back it was some bible deal and their comments were almost a page long… Of course, they are in my spam because they have links attached. It is interesting how you hover over the links and it says “page not found”…

OK, I am going to post now… It is almost 2 AM… I am working on a cactus and succulent update which will be in several parts.

I am interested in your comments about the issue and to see if you have the same problem. Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

 

YESTERDAY & THIS MORNING

A few of the plants on the front porch on 10-11-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Earlier this week I was sad to see the forecast for Friday night. It said there was going to be widespread “F”.  While I can think of a few good “F” words, the second letter isn’t “R”.  Knowing what was about to happen didn’t make this past week any easier. I was not anxious to move all the potted plants inside nor were they ready to come. Or, maybe they were ready as the evenings started cooling off but their caretaker was in no hurry.

 

Colocasia esculenta on 10-11-19, #639-19.

The worse thing is being an aroid fan and watching them grow all summer only have them get ZAPPED in October. Just when they have grown so big and AWESOME! I have to realize that even aroids need a break and would go through their own dormant period whether or not they get ZAPPED or are moved inside. Even in the rainforests or someone’s yard in a tropical climate, they would still go dormant in one way or another.

The Colocasia esculenta in the above photo did very well despite the fact the top of their rhizomes had rotted a little. They grew to a whopping 73″ tall!

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 10-11-19, #639-55.

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (syn. Colocasia gigantea) reached 70″ tall and the largest leaf is 42″ long x 36″ wide. It produced 12 flowers just like the one did in 2017.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 10-11-12 at 52″ tall.

I was really impressed with the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’. It seemed to struggle for quite a while then it leaped to grow to a final 52″ tall.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 10-11-12, #639-18.

The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ was quite a show stopper all summer. It grew non-stop and surprisingly produced many flowers and the color is amazing. Its final height was 64″ tall.

So, putting the inevitable off to the last minute, I reluctantly spent Friday afternoon taking photos of each plant before moving them inside. Well, let me back up a minute. I didn’t take photos of the Alocasia… I was mainly concerned with taking photos and measuring the cactus and succulents, which in itself takes a very long time.

It may sound a little strange that I measure the cactus and succulents, but I have been doing that since 2009. I like to compare their size from one year to another and from when I first brought them home. Some seem to grow so slow while others surprise me. I think the cactus and succulents enjoy getting measured and have me tell them how well they have done. Kind of like us when we were kids growing up and our parents had us back up to the wall where they would put a mark on it. Well, maybe your parents didn’t do that, but mine did until they remodeled their old house.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 10-11-19, #639-83.

NICE! I was so glad to get a start Mrs. Wagler’s Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) and even more glad they have blue flowers instead of pink like the plants I had before. They have been blooming for a while even though there were none open when I took this photo. They are currently 47″ tall.

It was kind of breezy and cool during the afternoon while I was photographing and measuring. Toward the end, while on the back porch with the cactus, I had put on a light jacket. I was getting so cold I could barely remember my own name let alone the plant’s names and the ink pen seemed to be having its own issues. I began to wonder why permanent markers ink faded because the labels I put in the pots with the plants were blank! I realized Then I realized I had forgotten to take a photo of the cactus table before I started removing the plants. GEEZ!

I don’t remember the time, but during the evening while I was going through the 203 photos and writing captions, I had to go outside. I hadn’t measured the “ears” or Mexican Petunia (even though their size is written above). The temperature on the computer said it was 36° F… I went outside with the tape measure and there was already a light “F” on the leaves… The sky was clear and there was no breeze whatsoever. Luckily, the plants were still OK by that time and I was able to get a good measurement.

I didn’t sleep well during the night. I kept wondering if I should have cut the leaves off of the ‘Thailand Giant’ and dug the rhizomes. Out of curiosity, around 5 AM or so, I opened the side door to have a peek. The Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ leaves weren’t cupped shaped anymore and the erect leaves of the ‘Thailand Giant’ were facing downward. I closed the door, the temperature on the computer said 32°. I went back to bed and went to sleep… I stayed in bed as long as I could because I wasn’t any to excited to see the results.

When I did decide to get up, I looked outside and it wasn’t a pretty sight…

 

Jade, Nathan’s cat, has been in my bedroom constantly lately. She is old enough not to be annoying and sleeps most of the time. She is more like a human in a catsuit. I keep Nathan’s other cat, Simba, outside most of the time although be is also very well mannered. Simba had pretty much buffaloed the other cats here and they were afraid of him for months. However, somehow last week that all changed. Instead of all the cats running from him when he went to eat, now Simba stands back and waits for them to finish. This seems to have started to happen when the new kitten came and Simba was the only one that allowed it to eat. Simba is the only cat here that welcomed both of the kittens when they arrived. OH, I guess I didn’t mention yet another kitten beside the one I brought home from Kevin’s… Again, Nathan showed up with another cat. This time a very small kitten was given to him by a deputy who said he found it along the highway… I have to keep it outside because it refuses to use the litter box. It does sneak in faster than greased lightning every chance it gets, though… Jade doesn’t have front claws so, according to theory, she should stay inside. Nathan was told she is a Norwegian Forest Cat, but who knows for sure without the papers.

ANYWAY…

 

I walked into the kitchen and cactus and succulents had taken over the island.

 

More cactus by the back door…

 

No room for guests at the dining room table… More plants on the table in the front bedroom, on the coffee table in the living room, and Alocasia gageana lined up at the door to the basement…

I went outside after a cup of coffee or two.

 

The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’…

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’… The Mexican Petunia was just fine along with the Astilbe ‘Fanal’ and Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. They are just looking bad because it is time for them to look bad.

 

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ looked like it had been beaten…

 

The Colocasia esculenta… Well, they told me they would be alright but their voice didn’t have the sound of confidence…

I walked to the other yard and everything seemed to be much like it was the day before… Even the Hosta looked the same because they are under trees.

 

A single Echinacea purpurea is still flowering…

 

No issues at the southwest corner of the house…The Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) is still flowering. I have no clue how the Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) got there… And what is growing in the bush? Of course, the Baptisia australis is fine.

 

The Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ is fine and flowering up a storm…

 

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is looking like nothing happened. Well, that is mainly because I covered it with the huge flower pot. I am not sure why I always do that. I cover it up every time it gets cold whether it needs it or not.

 

The Brocade Marigolds that came up volunteer in the southeast corner are still looking great. For a long time, I saved the seed of the red and had pretty much an all-red strain. So, last year I didn’t save seed because I thought plenty would come up on their own in the bed by the corner of the back porch. Well, that didn’t happen and only one plant came up there. Luckily, these two plants came up here but only one is red… I have to save the seed.

I had to go to town later in the afternoon and didn’t get back home until a little after 6. To my surprise, the Colocasia esculenta had perked up!!! Not like normal, that would be a miracle, but they did look a little better. The petioles on all the Colocasia and the Leucocasia are still standing and if we have warm days without any more “F’s” they will start growing new leaves again. That has happened before… Last year I dug the rhizomes and put them in the basement right after the first ZAP and they started growing new leaves… Well, no matter, I will dig them up in a few days regardless of whether we will have warmer temps. It is time now…

That’s about all I have to say for now. I have to start working on the posts about the plants I brought inside. 🙂

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well be happy… Get dirty if you can and maybe enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows). 🙂

 

Perplexing Persicaria

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) on the left and Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on the right. This photo was taken near the pond at the back of the farm on 9-7-19. Persicaria punctata has “dots” on the flowers and Persicaria longiseta has cilia (hairs) on their flowers.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I think it has been three months since I decided to photograph and ID the Persicaria species here and what a journey it has been. I finished just in time because it is supposed to “F” tomorrow night. I hate it when that happens.

I have rewritten the opening I don’t know how many times and this post is very long (I am laughing). I finished and now It seems I am starting back at the top again. I wrote a page for each species as I went along so I could provide links to their pages. There you will see more photos and more ID information if you are interested.

 

Persicaria species from left to right: Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper), Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed), Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed), Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed), and Persicaria sagittata (Heartleaf Tearthumb) also along the bottom. Photo taken on 9-22-19, #635-3.

Most Persicaria species on the farm have many things in common, so the terminology basically applies to all seven species here (more or less). Their leaves are basically the same except for Persicaria sagittata and Persicaria virginiana. They all have ocrea at the leaf nodes. Their flowers are on racemes which would typically be called an inflorescence on many other species. They all have pedicellate flowers which is why their inflorescence is called a raceme. The flowers all produce a single achene (indehiscent fruit=not splitting open to release the seed when ripe). The seed is fairly large in comparison to the size of the flower and they form very early and remain in the flower. It is almost as if the whole fower is part of the achene. It is different with P. virginiana whose tepals seem to dry and peel off like the skin of an onion. Persicaria flowers have no petals. They commonly self-fertilize, and some are even cleistogamous (self-fertilization that occurs inside a permanently closed flower). I tried to translate most of the botanical terminology and descriptions, but just in case you can have a look at the glossary of terms from the Missouri Plants website by clicking HERE. Wikipedia has one you can view HERE.

 

Distribution map of Persicaria species Worldwide from Plants of the World Online by Kew. Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/ Retrieved on September 22, 2019.

Plants of the World Online by Kew “currently” lists 129 accepted species of Persicaria worldwide. That doesn’t include subspecies, varieties, or forms (infraspecific names). Those numbers could change at any time. Version 1.1 of The Plant List (2013) named a total of only 71 accepted species (including infraspecific names), 442 synonyms, and 163 names that hadn’t been assessed at the time. The genus Persicaria was first named and described by Phillip Miller in the fourth edition of Gardener’s Dictionary in 1754 but I didn’t notice any species he reclassified (he just assigned a new genus). And so it was. Many species were first in the Polygonum genus and have been in other genera along the way. The green in the map above represents locations where species are native and the purple where they have been introduced. Ummm… That only includes the Falkland Is., Fiji, Hawaii, and Tonga.

The Missouri Plants website lists ID information for 11 species of Persicaria and Wildflowersearch.org has 14. I have identified seven species here on the farm. I previously thought there were eight. 🙂 I had taken a few photos of them in 2013 but really didn’t pay a lot of attention to them until this year. I guess the cows kept them in check so I really didn’t notice how many species there were right under my nose. Once the hay was baled and I mowed the “weeds” in the area behind the chicken house, behind the barn, and south of the barn, I noticed the Smartweeds had gone bonkers. They like growing in areas they won’t be disturbed, but even if mowed they bounce right back.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed), and Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) all in one spot along the fence next to the barn on 9-15-19.

I decided I would identify the Persicaria species and started taking LOTS of photos of each colony mainly from August 3. Heck, now it is October 11! I don’t even remember when I started this post because I kept adding to it!

 

Photo of “punctate glandular dots” on the perianth of Persicaria punctata.

Most species were fairly easy to identify because of flower color and other features revolving around their flowers. The worse was trying to figure out Persicaria hydropiper and P. punctata. They are pretty much the same but one feature sets them apart from ALL other Persicaria species. Their flowers have “punctate glandular dots” which you have to use a 10x magnifying glass to see. I thought my magnifying glass must not be a 10x because all I see are weird lumps. Well, I was looking for spots or specks. Their leaves and stems are also supposed to have these weird dots but I cannot see them. P. punctata is supposed to have longer leaves than P. hydropiper, but I found that is not always the case. The largest colony of P. punctata has small leaves with the exception of only a few plants with a few larger leaves. There were a few other characteristics that are supposed to set them apart, but I found those were not always true either. In the end, only ONE thing perfectly sets them apart. The seed. P. hydropiper has dull black to brown seeds and all other species here have shiny black seeds. Taking close-up photos of tiny seeds requires A LOT of patience. Even with a magnifying glass in front of the lens most of the photos I took were not perfect. Persicaria seeds are about the size of the head of a pin. Their seeds seem to form even while still in flower, which was weird in itself. Then again, how can you tell when most species are “flowering”. Most of them seem to be continually in bud and the flowers never seem to open except for P. pensylvanica. A few times I did get photos of others but that was very rare and difficult.

(UPDATE! I wrote the above paragraph before exploring P. virginiana… They have black or brownish seeds and can be either dull or shiny).

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed), and Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 9-15-19.

Out of seven species present, five are native to the U.S. Three of those seven are hybrids. Non-native species were likely the result of crop and seed contaminants from their native country.

 

Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri pages 726-727 showing plate #499.

I rented volumes 1, 2, and 3 of Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri by George Yatshievych. Volume 3 has information about the Persicaria genus which covers 20 pages and 18 species. Much of the information is basically the same as information online, but this is where I figured out the species I thought was Persicaria setacea was regretfully more Persicaria longiseta. There is very little information online about P. setacea, and nothing when it comes to ID. Photos online looked exactly like the “wanted to be” Persicaria setacea along the pond in the back of the farm. Then when I checked the photos submitted on iNaturalist, I thought something was really weird. I thought, “Why in the heck do some of their photos show hairs sticking out horizontally from the ocrea?” So, although I only needed volume 3 of Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, I decided to have them all sent from the main branch to the local branch. You can’t really tell that well, but P. setacea is the one in the lower left-hand corner of the page with the line drawings. This volume alone has 1,382 pages not including MANY pages in the front.

Well, I better begin the actual post now instead of just rambling on and on. I am much more talkative when I am writing than in person, and right now I have the keyboard at my fingertips.

#1-Persicaria hydropiper-Water Pepper

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-4-19, #623-24.

This small colony of Smartweed in the pasture behind the lagoon was VERY perplexing for a while. It has red stems while the other clumps near it have green stems or near-red. Also, its racemes of flowers were very pendulous while the others were more erect and only drooping at the top. Even the larger colony a few feet away in the rock pile had green stems with racemes that go every which direction. As it turned out, all those characteristics are true for Persicaria hydropiper, the Water Pepper. I checked seed in this entire area, both from plants with red stems and green stems, and their seeds were all dull (not shiny) and black to brownish. The above photo was taken on September 4 and the racemes of this colony weren’t that long yet because it had been mowed off.  I took another photo later but there is so much green you can hardly see how pendulous the racemes are.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 6-19-19, #633-9.

This very large colony of Persicaria hydropiper with mainly green stems is growing next to the rock pile behind the lagoon. Well, not really a pile of rocks so much as large pieces of the old concrete foundation from an old barn. The barn used to be where the lagoon is and was one that my grandpa (mom’s dad) and his brother-in-law (Uncle Arthur) tore down and rebuilt here around 1960 or a few years later. They rebuilt the barn here and used the original square nails to rebuild it. I have a lot of memories of that barn, and not all good. The barn was VERY OLD and not all that sturdy. You had to be very careful walking around in the loft because there were a lot of holes in the floor. One time I fell through all the way to the ground. 🙂 Even though it was very old, it was also very neat. I always loved old barns…

Getting back to the above photo… You can see how the racemes of flowers are kind of growing in every direction.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 8-30-19, #618-44.

Persicaria hydropiper can typically grow to around 36″ tall, or long. They are mainly decumbent unless they can lean on other plants. Missouri Plants says: “To 1m tall, herbaceous, glabrous or with some pubescence above, typically green or reddish, erect to spreading, multiple or single from base, simple to few-branching.”

Most Smartweeds are decumbent, which means they sprawl but turn upward toward the end. They root at their leaf nodes which allows them to spread quite readily. Even though these plants may appear to be only around 2′ tall (more or less), if you pull them will see the entire plant is much longer and has a lot of stems doing the same thing… Branching out… Some species grow more upright than others especially if they can lean on something.

 

Typical leaf of the Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 8-30-19, #618-46.

Their alternate leaves have short petioles, sort of olive green in color, lanceolate to linear, and are around 3 1/2″ long x 3/4″ wide, smooth, and normally hairless. So, if you see a colony of white-flowered Persicaria and some of the leaves are 4″ or longer, they are likely not P. hydropiper and more likely to be P. punctata.

 

Persicaria hydropiper Water Pepper) on 9-4-19, #623-26.

As with all Persicaria species, P. hydropiper stems end with a raceme of flowers. P. hydropiper racemes are very slender, are pendulous or droop sideways. Their flowers are sparsely placed along the raceme.

Oh, a raceme is an elongated inflorescence with pedicellate flowers. An inflorescence is the part of the plant that contains the flowers, usually starting from the upper leaf node in this case. Umm… A pedicel is a flower stalk with a single flower. The stem part the flowers are on has a specific name but I forgot. So, the part I forgot with the pedicles of flowers and everything that goes along with it is the raceme. Of course, the flowers themselves have many parts but that is for another time. Nevermind that!

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) flowers on 9-22-19, #635-5.

Now, about their flowers… It took me a while to get a fairly good close-up photo of the flowers of P. hydropiper. I took A LOT of photos and none were as good as the photo above. I will keep trying so I can replace this photo with a better one at some point.

Anyway, Persicaria hydropiper flowers are greenish-white have 5 sepals, 2-3 styles, 4-6 stamens, and no petals. As with P. punctata, the flowers are covered with “glandular punctate dots” which you will only notice with magnification. The “glands” turn brown when the outer sepals dry out. The outer sepals are greenish, as with P. punctata, where other species are not. The sepals of all seven species here fuse together 1/2-1/3 way toward the base.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-4-19, #623-28.

This is a very interesting photo. If you are randomly observing this plant or taking photos without knowing what you are looking at, you would say, “OH, that is pretty cool”.

The ocrea, sometimes spelled ochrea, is the “sheath” surrounding the stem at the node where a leaf emerges. After a while, a branch, or branches, may grow from this same node. Some species only branch out at the lower nodes of the plant. The ocrea on Persicaria species is nearly translucent and is formed by the fusion of two stipules. One word seems to lead to another… A stipule is formed at the base of a petiole. GEEZ! A petiole is the “stem-like” gizmo between the stem and the base of a leaf. A gizmo is what you call it when you don’t know what else to call it. Many species, maybe all, have these cilia growing from their ocrea but fall off fairly soon so they don’t become an ID issue.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-14-19, #631-2.

With Persicaria hydropiper and a few other species, there are a few flowers that develop at their leaf nodes. These are called “axillary racemes”.  Hmmm… A little spider is defending her territory.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-16-19, #633-2.

Several species have this “zig-zag” effect on their stems, but maybe not on all their stems.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-16-19, #633-2.

Another neat photo showing new stems coming from a leaf node.

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-16-19, #633-5.

This photo shows several racemes of flowers growing from lower nodes. Very common with P. hydropiper. The flowers on many Persicaria species are shy to open, so I was surprised to see a few flowers opened up on the Persicaria hydropiper on September 16.

 

Dull seeds of the Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-16-19, #633-6.

Here you can see the seeds of Persicaria hydropiper that are dull, not shiny, and are black to brownish color. The seeds are one of a few ways to really tell P. hydropiper from P. punctata.

For more photos and information, click to go to this species own page HERE.

One thing I might add is that the leaves are edible. I ran across an article on a website called FORAGER/CHEF that talks about eating its leaves. The taste of the leaves is another way to tell this species from Persicaria hydropiperoides. Persicaria hydropiper and P. punctata have a very hot, peppery taste whereas P. hydropiperoides does not. Some information, however, says not to eat it because it will make your mouth burn and swell. I could live without that experience.

Hindawi (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine) has A LOT of information…

 

#2-Persicaria longiseta-Oriental Lady’s Thumb

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 8-31-19, #619-9.

Persicaria longiseta, commonly known as Oriental Lady’s Thumb or Creeping Smartweed, is probably the second most abundant of the Smartweeds here on the farm. Ummm… It seems I find more every day, so they could be #1 by now. There didn’t appear to be that many Persicaria longiseta when I first started taking Persicaria photos and writing this post. Within a couple of weeks, I noticed them EVERYWHERE that other Persicaria species are growing. They are either very sociable or a bit nosy.

This species has many common names including Oriental Lady’s Thumb, Bristly Lady’s Thumb, Asiatic Smartweed, Creeping Smartweed, Long-Bristled Smartweed, Asiatic Waterpepper, Bristled Knotweed, Bunchy Knotweed, and Tufted Knotweed. With all those names to choose from, iNaturalist.org has chosen to call it Low Smartweed.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 8-31-19, #619-12.

At first, I noticed them growing along the shed in the back yard where my grandparent’s house had been then I realized this was the same species that grow in the flower bed on the north side of the house (and under the porch).

Most Persicaria species have the same basic characteristics but Persicaria longiseta has TWO KEY identifiers that set them apart from all other species here.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) showing the ocrea with cilia on 8-31-19, #619-14.

First, Persicaria longiseta has cilia (hairs, bristles…) sticking out around the top of the ocrea. While these cilia fall off of other species with age, they seem to stay on this species.

Persicaria longiseta are decumbent, of course, with light green to reddish-brown stems. They branch out near the base and send stems in every direction. Stems laying on the ground root at the nodes.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) flowers showing cilia on 9-14-19, #631-5.

The second key identifier for Persicaria longiseta is the cilia on the flowers. Now, with age, a lot of the cilia on the flowers may fall off, but there will still be a few on the flowers on the lower part of the raceme. This was a problem with the plants by the shed because most of the cilia had fallen off their flowers by the time I knew they were there. In the above photo taken on September 19 by the twin Mulberry trees in the front pasture, you can not only see the cilia but an open flower… NICE!

Persicaria longiseta racemes are typically 1 1/2″ long. The racemes seem to stay erect instead of drooping, although they may be growing vertically or horizontally.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 9-14-19, #631-10.

On September 14 I noticed some of the racemes of flowers on the P. longiseta in front of the Mulberry trees looked a little weird. This is the only species I have noticed with this weird feature.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 9-18-19, #634-40.

The above photo is of a small colony of Persicaria longiseta behind the pond at the back of the farm.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 9-18-19, #634-42.

This is an interesting photo…

 

Typical Persicaria longiseta leaf on 9-16-19, #633-14.

The longest leaves I have found on the Persicaria longiseta have been 4″ and may have a faint dark “smudge”. The dark spot is typical of many Persicaria species. They actually do look like a thumbprint.

 

Shiny seeds of Persicaria longiseta on 9-16-19, #633-15.

Kind of hard to tell, but the seeds of Persicaria longiseta are black and shiny.

An interesting thing, Wildflowersearcg.org says there is only a 20% chance this species is growing at this location. I haven’t figured out how to “pin” its location on that site, but I can with iNaturalist. I contacted “the guy” and we will be working together to update the location of wildflowers growing here.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) in front of the twin Mulberry trees in the front pasture on 9-22-19, #635-9.

For there to be only a 20% chance of Persicaria longiseta growing at this location there are sure a lot of them. They are everywhere Persicaria grow here in the front pasture, along the sheds and garage, in the yard, in the north flower bed under the porch, the back pasture, along the back pond and behind the pond. The rosy glow in the above photo are from their flowers.

 

Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) with Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 9-30-19, #636-7.

The above photo shows how the Persicaria longiseta is growing among the Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ in the northeast corner bed on September 30.

As with most Persicaria species, P. longiseta is not a U.S. native. To view this species own page, click HERE… There are A LOT MORE photos.

 

#3) Persicaria maculosa-Lady’s Thumb

Persicaria maculosa on 10-4-18.

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb, Redshank, Heart’s Ease, etc.) is very similar to Persicaria longiseta except there are no cilia on their flowers and the bristles around the ocrea on their stems fall off. I am not sure where the above photo was taken here in 2018, but currently, the only colony I have noticed is in front of the twin Mulberry trees in the front pasture. I am sure there are more somewhere.

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) flowers on 9-4-19.

As you can see from the above photo, the flowers of Persicaria maculosa are not hairy… Flowers of this species are densely clustered and not all the same color. Although pink is the usual color, flowers can be red, greenish-white, or purple, even on the same raceme. Illinois Wildflowers uses the word “oblongoid” to describe the shape of the raceme of Persicaria maculosa because they are kind of rounded at the tip. Each stem can end in 1-2 racemes that grow to around 1 1/2″ long and are tightly packed. Flowers have 5 sepals and usually six stamens and no petals.

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) leaves on 9-4-19.

The spot on their leaves may be oval or triangular in shape and can be fairly dark to faintly visible. Leaves can grow to around 6″ long and are smooth along the margins and sometimes slightly ciliate. Each leaf has a short petiole or can be nearly sessile (no petiole, or a very short one in this case).

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb’) on 9-4-19.

Some of the leaves of P. maculosa don’t have the “spot” either so it isn’t really a good way to make a positive ID all the time. You may even find colonies with no spot at all. Hmmm…

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) on 9-4-19.

I thought this was interesting. New stems emerging at a node with near translucent ocrea and a few cilia that will fall off eventually.

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) on 9-4-19.

Persicaria maculosa is a bit of a rambler…

To view the Persicaria maculosa page with more photos and information, click HERE.

 

#4) Persicaria pensylvanica-Pinkweed

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 8-30-19.

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) is plentiful and did rank #2 for a while (until P. longiseta completely went overboard). The above photo is from a large colony behind the barn rambling in a brush pile that didn’t want to burn earlier. Now I can’t find the brush pile. 🙂

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) flowers on 8-30-19.

As you can see, their tiny flowers are various shades of light pink and almost white. Some are even two-toned. I noticed several small colonies of this species with pure white flowers while mowing the pasture at a friend’s farm (Kevin’s farm).

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) ocrea on 8-30-19.

The translucent ocrea around the leaf (and stem) nodes appear to be cilialess because they have fallen off. It is strange how the top part of the ocrea is so straight, almost like they have been cut perfectly with a pair of scissors.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 8-30-19.

There is a smaller colony by the gate at the front of the barn. You can see, in the next photo…

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) leaf on 8-30-19.

Some of the leaves have a dark spot that looks kind of v-shaped. A few of the stems on top of the plants were very hairy. I took photos but they were blurry. In technical terms, the stems are mostly glabrous but glandular-pubescent near the inflorescence. 🙂

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) flowers on 9-1-19.

On September 1, I was pleasantly surprised with open flowers on the P. pensylvanica. Many Persicaria species are very shy and refuse to open their flowers. The magnifying glass did very good with this photo. 🙂 It takes practice and I am not going to mention how many photos I actually took.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 9-14-19, #631-15.

I finally got a pretty good shot of the hairy stems on September 14. Not quite as hairy as the one I saw previously.

To view the Persicaria pensylvanica page, click HERE.

 

#5) Persicaria punctata-Dotted Smartweed

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) on 8-30-19.

Without a doubt, Persicaria punctata, the Dotted Smartweed is the most plentiful of the Smartweeds on the farm. Actually, P. longiseta has become very close to becoming #1 now. A lot of photos I have taken of other Persicaria species have Persicaria punctata and/or P. longiseta in the photo as well. In fact, a lot of photos of other wildflowers, in general, have one or the other in their photos.

 

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) flowers on 8-30-19.

The flowers of Persicaria punctata look pretty much like P. hydropiper in that they are sparsely placed along the raceme. Both species have “punctate glandular dots” on their flowers (and other parts) you can’t see without magnification. BUT, the P. punctata racemes are basically erect or leaning not pendulous like P. hydropiper.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (longer leaves) with Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) leaves on 8-30-19.

The leaves of P. punctata can grow up to 6″ long x 3/4″ wide while those of P. hydropiper are usually only up to 3 1/2″ long x 3/4″ wide.

 

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) ocrea on 8-30-19.

The stems of P. punctata are green and glabrous and have reddish tinted nodes which are somewhat swelled. MOST of the ocrea I observed were “bristleless” because they had fallen off already. It took until September 18 before I photographed ocrea with cilia which you can see on this species own page.

 

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) seeds on 9-16-19, #633-21.

Persicaria punctata seeds are black and shiny while P. hydropiper seeds are black to brownish and dull (not shiny). The seeds are one of the best ways to tell the two species apart.

To read more about the Persicaria punctata and see MORE photos, go to its own page by clicking HERE.

 

#6) Persicaria sagittata (L.) H.Gross-Arrowleaf Tearthumb

per-sih-KAR-ee-uh  saj-ih-TAY-tuh

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) on 9-25-13, #190-26.

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb, American Tearthumb, Arrowvine, Scratchgrass) was one of the first wildflower species I identified back in 2013. I found them growing in the swamp along with a MASSIVE colony of Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) and some other neat wildflowers not found anywhere else on the farm. I haven’t been in the swampy area for a couple of years, but last time I checked the Broad-Leaved Panic Grass (Dichanthelium latifolium) had pretty much taken over.

 

Persicaria sagittata (Heartleaf Tearthumb) on 9-25-13.

Persicaria sagittata is native to the middle to eastern half of North America and Eastern Asia.

 

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) on 9-1-19, #620-46.

I think the Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) is the most interesting of the group here on the farm. It is a very easy species to identify with their arrow-shaped leaves. The largest leaves typically grow to 4″ long x 1″ wide that feels slightly rough because of the tiny hairs.

 

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) on 9-1-19, #620-45.

Terminal and axillary flowers are produced on short racemes with 1-10 flowers. Sometimes there are two racemes produced per leaf node on long peduncles up to 6″ long. A peduncle is a stem the flowers grow on. A raceme is an inflorescence with pedicellate flowers that grow at the end of the peduncle. One word leads to another… I can get more technical if you like.

As with all the Persicaria species here, the flowers consist of 5 sepals and no petals. I have only noticed white flowers, but they can also be pink.

 

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) stem on 9-1-09, #620-47.

The stems of Persicaria sagittata are actually square instead of being round like the other species here. The stems are covered with short retrorse prickles that point downward. Their stems can grow from 3-6 feet long and can climb on other plants. Stems laying on the ground can root at the leaf nodes. I only saw plants with green stems, but they can also be red or yellowish-green. Using the magnifying glass to get a close-up photo worked pretty good in the above photo.

To view the Persicaria sagittata page click HERE

 

7) Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed)

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 9-8-19, #626-12.

Persicaria virginiana is unique among the other Persicaria species on the farm. They are native to North America from the middle part eastward. Their common names include Jumpseed, Virginia Jumpseed, American Jumpseed, Virginia Knotweed, Woodland Knotweed, and maybe others. I didn’t really notice this species that much until one came up beside the steps to the back porch in 2017. I let the plant grow so I could make a positive ID. Even though they are considered a perennial, I think they probably mainly return from seed ( just my opinion from observation). A few plants have returned by the back porch but not in the same exact spot. This year one or two came up by the AC so I had to keep whacking them off with the trimmer along with the grass. Have to keep good airflow, you know. 🙂

On September 8 when I was on a photo spree in the back of the farm, I noticed a small colony of Persicaria virginiana in the lane near the gate that leads to the back pasture. Ummm… The problem was they are growing among the Poison Ivy so I zoomed in for a few photos.

Persicaria virginiana is more of an upright grower with stronger stems than the other species here. They are not decumbent and do not root from their lower nodes (hmmm… likely because they are not decumbent).

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 9-22-19, #635-22.

Then on September 22, I noticed a single small plant behind the pond in the back pasture. I was able to take quite a few photos but the light was weird so most of them didn’t come out well. I needed more photos but I have been kind of busy lately. Now, as I am writing and have the time it is raining!

Anyway, the two most distinguishing features about Persicaria virginiana is their large ovate leaves and their curious flowers (especially when they start to fruit) on very long racemes up to 16″ long. I haven’t been able to photograph their open flowers but maybe I can still do that before it is too late. Their leaves are ovate and grow up to about 6″long x 3″ wide. Leaves can have a reddish to purplish V-shaped, crescent-shaped, or triangular splotch on the upper surface. I didn’t notice this on any of the plants here but some photos online do show this feature.

While the lower part of the stems are basically smooth, the upper stems and leaf surfaces have appressed hairs. You can’t see the hairs without magnification but they feel slightly rough. I didn’t get good photos of the ocrea around the leaf nodes yet, but they are brownish and weirdly fuzzy and sort of look like someone took a wire brush to them. The ocrea tends to dry and fall off so they are absent on the photos I did get.

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 9-22-19, #635-26.

Umm… Their flowers are very small and I was able to get this close-up when I was taking a group photo of the Persicaria flowers on the back porch. Luckily I was able to find a plant flowering by the AC. If I had have known what their seeds looked like at the time I would have opened up a flower to have a look…  Unfortunately, I didn’t know until I was reading about them in Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri to write their description on October 10 (late in the evening). I am hoping the rain will stop while I am writing so I can get photos! But, if you are reading this and there are no seed photos you will know that didn’t happen… I want to get this post finished!

The most interesting thing about this plant I only read in Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri and not on any other website I have noticed. It says tension builds up at the joint of the fower as the fruit matures which acts as a spring to shoot the seed up to 12 feet away. Passing animals also trigger this action then the seed gets stuck in their fur. The small two-angled seed tapers to a hooked beak (maybe the tail in the above photo is part of the seed). Seed can be black or brown, shiny or dull… I need to get a photo of those seeds!

Persicaria virginiana can have white, green, or pinkish flowers. They are sometimes used in woodland gardens and there are a few cultivars with red flowers and variegated leaves. There is a rare variant of this species in the south with thicker leaves.

You can click HERE to view the page for Persicaria virginiana.

WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

I HIT THE

JUMPSEED JACKPOT!

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-1.

Once it stopped raining this afternoon, Thursday, October 10 at 3 PM depending on when you are reading this, I decided I would see if I could find a closer Persicaria virginiana so I could get better photos of the ocrea, seed, and maybe open flowers. There were no more around the back porch or AC but I didn’t especially want to go to the back of the farm to wade in the Poison Ivy. There was one area I hadn’t been in pretty much all summer north of the chicken house. This area is about 150′ x 150′ and is where my grandparent’s old peach orchard was. I measured in the early 1980’s so I know how big it is. 🙂 Last year I backed the mower (with the tractor) in all this jungle and cleaned it up a bit. Anyway, I walked to the northeast corner and almost s–t! (sorry, but it’s true!)! Here right before my eyes was a HUGE colony of Persicaria virginiana!!! After I thought there were just a few on the whole farm, there is a HUGE colony right in the backyard!

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-2.

There were no open flowers but there were SEEDS GALORE! Remember I mentioned how the seeds shoot out? Well, it is really true! One plant I touched literally vibrated as the seeds shot out!

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-4.

And we have fuzzy ocrea! There were so many plants to choose from and I took over 50 photos total. Well, some were not that good and after choosing the best I saved 11. The wind was not being all that cooperative either. I truly hit the JUMPSEED JACKPOT! 🙂

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-7.

The only photos I had trouble were close-ups of the flowers. Seriously, folks, I was experimenting with not one magnifying glass, but two, one on top of the other. (I bought another magnifying glass because I didn’t think the old one was a 10x. But, as it turns out, they seem to be the same.) It works like a charm and is much better than just one but it still takes practice and patience. LOL! The problem is with zooming in, and with two magnifying glasses, you have to be very still. If not, the camera complains about vibration. Zooming in with one magnifying glass was tricky and sometimes the camera would shut off and say “lens error”. With two, I didn’t have to even zoom in that much and the camera never shut off. I think I could take photos of the hair on a gnat’s eyebrow now. (I would say butt, but I already said s–t earlier which could be deemed as inappropriate behavior).

In the above photo, you can really see the “hooked beak” of the fruit. There are two…

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-8.

Here’s a good one of the ocrea on one plant. The ocrea can be light to dark brown, depending on the preference of the plant. You can clearly see how the ocrea becomes dry and starts to tear away. This photo was taken toward the upper part of the plant so I could get a shot of the appressed hairs on the stem as well.

 

Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) on 10-10-19, #638-11.

I think half of the photos I took were of the seed. The seeds are fairly small but larger than the other species. When I was removing the outer part of the achene I had to be careful not to remove the “hooked beak”. The seed itself doesn’t have a beak and is part of the entire “fruit”. Hmmm… Like many other plant’s seed, they are part of what is called an achene. An achene is a dry, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit. Indehiscent means the achene (pod or fruit) does not split open to release the seed when ripe. Sunflower and strawberry seeds are two examples… I read that description on the Missouri Plants website’s glossary… 🙂

I can hardly believe it has taken so long to write this post and I am not even sure it is actually finished. It seems like I left out so much!

Now, as temperatures are cooling down I will have to be thinking about moving plants inside for the winter. The dreaded time of the year. The forecast for here says it will be clear Friday night and we will have a widespread “F”. GEEZ!!! I am never ready for that.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Not because I did it, but because I learned a lot and that is always a great thing. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, hug someone or something you love (not just anyone because you may get slapped). As always, it is good to GET DIRTY!

Introduction To The Next Post (Perplexing Persicaria)…

Persicaria species from left to right: Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper), Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed), Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed), Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed), and Persicaria sagittata (Heartleaf Tearthumb) (also along the bottom. Photo taken on 9-22-19, #635-3.

Hello everyone! I hope this introduction to the next post finds you well. I have been working on the next post for about two months because it has taken that long to take lots of photos, make proper ID’s, write descriptions, etc. Some plants change a lot in a month as nature takes its course, so I just kept taking photos. GEEZ! All the photos on this post were taken on Sunday, September 22.

I found out there are seven species of Persicaria and the next post will take you on a very interesting journey with each one. Don’t worry, I am not including all the 188 saved photos of Persicaria in the post. Most of the photos will go to each species own page (whenever I get those finished). I have identified 129 wildflowers now, mostly from this small farm. There are A LOT more I haven’t identified or even looked at because I consider them weeds rather than wildflowers. While walking around taking photos of plants, I have also taken a lot of photos of butterflies, spiders, and other critters that are busy working to survive.

 

 

Persicaria hydropiper Water Pepper) colony on 9-22-19, #635-4.

The Persicaria hydropiper, commonly known as Water Pepper, own the territory between the lagoon and the pond south of the barn, and approximately 60′ or so southwest of the pond. Persicaria is a friendly and sociable genus, so in the mix are other species as well. Persicaria hydropiper is also one of the most “variable” species here so they had me going for a while until I discovered their secret. I had to wait until plants matured enough to find out, though, which took some time. I will tell you their secret in the next post.

 

The largest Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) colony on 9-22-19, #635-9.

While the largest colony of Persicaria doesn’t belong to the Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), they are in the running for second place. Not only do they occupy this good-sized area between the ditch and the twin Mulberry trees, they are also growing among ALL other species on the entire farm (even along two sheds, the garage, and the north flower bed). From the front of the farm to behind the back pond and even in the swampy area in the southeast corner. The pink cast you see in the above photo is the Persicaria longiseta. They have two key identifiers, one which almost disappears with age.

 

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) on 9-22-19, #635-10.

Sad to say, the Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) is almost extinct here. They are only growing in an area maybe 12″ x 36″ with only a few plants in front of the Mulberry trees and nowhere else on the farm. Their flowers have pretty much run their course and are now setting seed.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 9-22-19, #635-11.

There are only a few small colonies of Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) here. The one in the above photo is growing east of the largest colony of P. punctata behind the chicken house. There is a small colony by the gate in front of the barn and another small colony on the north side of the twin Mulberry trees. They are growing here and there among other species in several areas as well, but not many.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 9-22-19, #635-13.

The good thing about Persicaria pensylvanica is that their flowers open freely. The other species are very shy to open if at all. Persicaria species are self-pollinating and even pollinate without opening.

 

Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) on 9-22-19, #635-16.

The most prolific and largest colony of Smartweeds belong to Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed). They occupy the territory behind the chicken house en mass and what a mess! There are a few P. hydropiper and P. longiseta among them and one P. pensylvanica colony are growing among them. The interesting thing about P. punctata is that they are allotetraploid… Its parents are P. hydropiper as the pollen parent and P. hirsuta or P. setacea as the seed parent, all of which are diploid. They just haven’t figured out which of the last two are seed parents. Actually, could be either one or both depending on location. Neither P. hirsuta or P. setacea is growing here or even close, so the hybridization was done elsewhere such as the southeast part of the country. P. punctata shares the characteristic “punctate glandular dots” on their tepals as P. hydropiper with long racemes of flowers with the other two parents. Well, the inflorescence of P. hydropiper are fairly long as well. A PL2int analysis suggested 15 cases of allotetraploid speciation, including 2 hexaploids and an octaploid. It is believed P. punctata has become so widespread through seed contamination. The fact that they are hybrids has given them a distinct edge over diploid species. In some cases, P. punctata has flourished where its parents have failed to spread.

Persicaria punctata isn’t the only species to begin its life as a hybrid. The tetraploid Persicaria maculosa has been traced to the diploid P. foliosa and the parental lineage “seems to be” P. lapathifolia (both native of Eurasia)Testing shows Persicaria pensylvanica is an octaploid whose parent could be P. glabra or P. hispida.

 

Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) on 9-22-19, #635-17.

The Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) is one of the neatest of the Persicaria species. The stems appear to just go up through the base of their leaves. The common name comes from the short, stiff bristles on the stems. These are only growing in the swampy area in the southeast corner of the farm. I made their positive ID in 2013 when I first ventured into the swamp. There was a good-sized colony back then, but I have no idea what its condition is now. From a distance, it appears the Panic Grass (Dichanthelium latifolium) has taken over. I started to go into the swamp this afternoon but backed off. My DRYSHOD boots (we had rain) were already covered with every kind of stick tights imaginable just to take the above photo and get a sample for the first photo.

 

Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed) on 9-22-19, #635-21.

GEEZ! I screwed up! While I was behind the pond at the back of the farm, I found a lonely Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed). It is strange how a single plant can be growing anywhere here. How did it get here in the first place for there only to be one? The plan was to take a better photo of this species by the back gate (involved with Poison Ivy) or behind the house. I took a few photos anyway, mainly because I didn’t want to get too friendly with the plants by the gate. After I took the photos behind the pond, I ventured to the swampy area to take photos of the P. sagittata. Hmmm… These photos are in alphabetical order, not the way they were taken. 🙂 After I left the swamp I decided to pass on the plants by the gate and wait until I went to the house.

 

Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed) leaf on 9-22-19, #635-23.

On the way to the house, I snatched a few racemes to take the group photo (the photo at the top). When I got to the house I snapped a photo of the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and Colocasia esculenta and that was that. The battery was dead… I put the battery in the charger and waited about 30 minutes then took the group photo. I forgot about P. virginiana behind the house.

I met a lady behind the pond and she was a beauty. I asked her name but she was way to busy to stop and talk…

 

Araneus marmoreus (Marbled Orb Weaver) on 9-22-19, #635-1.

I checked with iNaturalist and found out she is Araneus marmoreus (Marbled Orb Weaver). She didn’t run off like her cousin, the Neoscona crucifera (Spotted Orb Weaver), did a few days ago. Strange how they have the same shape and are a different genus. OK, I’ll show her to you even though the photo was taken on the 18th.

 

Neoscona crucifera (Spotted Orb Weaver) on 9-18-19, #634-32.

She was working on her web fairly close to where I spotted the Marbled Orb Weaver today. She thought I was being a little too nosy, so she hurried up her web. I tried to get a photo but she was moving around so much I couldn’t get a good shot. She finally moved back down to where she had been working on an insect caught in her web.

Well, that’s all I wanted to say for now. Hopefully, I can finish the next post, Perplexing Persicaria, tonight or tomorrow. OH, heck! It is already tomorrow… 1:14 AM on Monday.

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