Ummm… Another “S”!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well! I woke up this morning and “you know what” was going on outside! Second time so far this “winter”. When I was a kid we would get “S” before January 1, but then for many years it rarely ever did that and sometimes not until March. I prefer it to do this while I am in bed and be gone by the time I get up. I am not a fan of cold temperatures and would do very well in a tropical or subtropical climate. Growing a garden 12 months a year and not having to bring plants inside for the winter would be great. I know there would be other weather challenges but it wouldn’t involve snow and ice. Just thinking about all the Aroids I can grow gives me goosebumps. Well, maybe the goosebumps are from just coming in from outside.

The above photo was taken at 1:19 in the afternoon and it was snowing every time I looked outside until 3:20. It had stopped.

 

The only time this thermometer is close to correct is during the winter. It was 21° F when this photo was taken and at 3:30 in the afternoon the internet says it is STILL the same temperature. Every time I look at the weather forecast it gets worse. Now the National Weather Service says it “may” get down to 9° F during the night. I checked other websites to check if there is a more agreeable forecast and they all say about the same thing…

I did cover the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles” before I went to bed last night…

 

A few of the cats like the box on the back porch, but the rest don’t seem to like crowded conditions and usually go to the barn. There are probably three cats in this box and it is weird the darker yellow and white fuzzy cat is here. Normally he stays in the barn when it is cold. He has been tamer the last few months for some reason but I still can’t pet him. His brother, the one you can’t see, is just the opposite. If you touch him he won’t leave you alone. The one mom and dad called The Barn Cat and Susie are no doubt in the barn. The two kittens are snuggled under a table on a bag of potting soil. I would let them in but they find too many things to play with. The younger one doesn’t use the litter box either. Simba wants in but I think that would be unfair to let him in when the others are outside. Of course, Jade is sleeping on my bed. Hmmm…

 

The plants in my bedroom seem to be adapting to being inside so far. The Alocasia gageana would prefer the front porch but she is not objecting since she can see the “S”. There are five pots of Alocasia gageana but only one has made it to the basement (where they overwinter). The other three are on the dining room table. When I brought the plants inside for the winter I was excited to see the Stapelia gigantea had buds. Unfortunately, it appears they all fell off! They appear to be growing new buds but I’m not 100% sure what it is doing but the flowers will be HUGE. I purchased the cuttings in October 2018 and they grew like crazy all summer. It is the pot on the left side by the window. I noticed a few mealybugs on it a few days ago which I quickly removed. I haven’t had bugs on my plants for MANY years…

 

The Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ looks amazing! Most of the other Tradescantia are in the other front bedroom with the Begonias and Oxalis. I am not sure if the ‘Pale Puma’ will continue to look good or if it will stretch. Time will tell.

 

I didn’t get a good photo of the plants in the kitchen windowsill because of the light from outside. The Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus, False Christmas Cactus, etc.) has a few buds again. It tried last year but the buds fell off because I didn’t give it enough water. This year it is in the kitchen windowsill so I can keep an eye on it. I tried getting a photo of its buds but it would cooperate. The only good photo didn’t seem appropriate… OH, what the heck…

 

ANYWAY………….. The flowers will be a peach color. Common names include False Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus, Zygocactus, Lobster Cactus, Claw Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus, Crab’s Claw Cactus, Easter Cactus… After that photo, I can think of a few others.

Interestingly, it is a true cactus species and is in the Cactaceae family to prove it. A native of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro (Serra do Mar and Serra dos Orgãos).

 

I didn’t notice buds on the Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) when I brought the plants inside for the winter because of all the wool. A few days ago I noticed buds peeking through and now they are beginning to open. This is pretty exciting because these are its first flowers.

 

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is loaded with buds and a few flowers. This is nothing new for her as she started flowering in October 2017. Ummm… She also flowered this past July.

 

I need to do some further research about the Zantedeschia species because this one is weird… The other Calla I have is possibly Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) (which I have been incorrectly calling Z. aethiopica) because it has spotted leaves and Yellow flowers. It comes up in the spring and is already dormant. It’s label just says “Calla”. This one was given to me by the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse. I mentioned it in several previous posts but I will recap again in case you didn’t see it.  One of several times I was at Wildwood, there were several pots of really terrible looking plants on the floor next to the counter. The owner, I forget his first name, said he had bought seeds of these Calla Lilies and planted them “outside” (the year before if I am not mistaken) and they came up. He put them in pots and they just kind of always looked terrible. Kind of limp and lifeless. He gave me a pot on Jue 13 to see if I would have any luck with it. I didn’t do anything with it for a week or so and it continued looking weird. Just kind of limp and non-energetic although it continued to live. So, I decided to take it out of the pot, shake off all the old soil and put it fresh Miracle Grow Potting Soil. It still did nothing. I moved it to the front porch and then one day in August when I was watering I saw its leaves were standing up! It was like it was a completely different plant. When I brought the plants inside on October 11, it was just amazing so I put it in my bedroom in front of the window. Apparently, it didn’t like it and the older leaves began to die. SO, I took it to the kitchen and trimmed off the dead leaves… Now, what in the heck is going on with this plant? Why didn’t it go dormant like the other Calla? This particular species is likely Zantedeschia aethiopica, but again, I am not 100% sure. The owner of Wildwood didn’t know either. I do know I will need to dig it up at some point and make sure the bulbs, if it has any, are sticking out of the soil. Anyway, when you plant dormant Calla bulbs, you need to make sure they are sticking out of the soil… Well, some websites say to plant six inches deep BUT don’t do that! The other one didn’t flower until I left the bulbs, or rhizomes, or whatever you call them sticking out of the soil about halfway. Hmmm… But these plants aren’t dormant… Am I supposed to force them to go dormant? I don’t know yet. For now, I will just let them grow and see what happens…

What else? Oh yeah, I almost forgot…

 

The Callisia repens (Bolivian Jew) is doing great although there are a lot of dead leaves. It was like that when I brought it inside. At some point, I have to work it over, give it a hair cut, remove the dead leaves, or something. This plant is incorrectly labeled Callisia nutans with a photo of Callisia repens. So, if you happen to have one of these labeled Callisia nutans, you know that is the wrong name. The Bolivian Jew is Callisia repens… 🙂

The succulents and a few more cactus in the back bedroom are doing great but I couldn’t get a good photo.

That’s it for this post. I should have finished it earlier because it will be the 12th and the day after the first “S” before you know it. HOPEFULLY, the cactus and succulent update #3 will be ready soon! It is almost finished… It was almost finished three days ago.

Currently, at 10:35 PM, it is 18° F and falling…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive.

 

 

Walking through fire — talltalesfromchiconia

Hello everyone! I wanted to share this post from Kate about the fires burning in Australia. I know in the US we don’t always know what is going on in other parts of the world. I don’t even watch the news. Keep the residents of Australia in your thoughts and prayers.

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” Carl Jung Sometimes, it is only in the fire that a person’s qualities become apparent. We’re seeing a lot of that right now. The east coast of Australia is largely ablaze. Communities are being razed to smoking […]

via Walking through fire — talltalesfromchiconia

Eight On Saturday-OOPS!

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ (Jerusalem Sage) on 11-9-19, #647-11.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. This afternoon was very nice and the temp was in the 50’s. Seeing a few Six on Saturday posts this morning inspired me so I went outside to take a few photos. Well, I am a newbie because I don’t think I have ever made a Six on Saturday post. How do you do only six?

#1 is the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’. I bought this plant from a seller on Ebay in 2013 for its interesting flowers. It is very borderline hardy here I think so every fall when we have an “F” in the forecast I cover it up with a big flower pot. I did that again when we had the first “F”. Then I oddly forgot about it after that. From 2013 until now I protected this plant to the point of insanity. When it would get cold, I covered it at night until I finally had to keep it covered. We have had several “F’s” and temps have been in the low 20’s. A few days ago I was coming out of the barn and looked toward the corner bed. I thought, “HOLY S—T! I FORGOT ABOUT THE PHLOMIS!” Here it is alive and well while most everything around it is dead.

This is the third location for this plant. It first in the middle of the south bed then I moved it to the southwest corner bed. Then, I planted the Baptisia there and it took up so much room it shaded the Phlomis. My first idea was to move the Baptisia to the southeast corner but it wouldn’t budge. So, I told the Phlomis I was sorry but I had to him again. I suppose it is a “he” since its name is Edward. I dug him up and he wasn’t too thrilled about the whole ordeal… Normally, he gets fairly tall and his leaves get very impressive. This summer, he didn’t grow as well and the leaves didn’t get as large. He did adapt and get over the move and now he is showing off! I now have a sticky note stuck to the computer that says “REMEMBER THE PHLOMIS.”

 

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic) on 11-9-19, #647-1.

#2-The Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic) are all alive and growing well. They are pictured above in the southeast corner bed but they are scattered all through the south bed ad well. I usually dig a few of their bulbs to use in cooking. They produce a lot of bulbils which make single bulbs the following year then bigger bulbs with cloves the next year. They have amazing flower heads which I think are a good substitute for the more expensive Allium species an cultivars. At some point, I guess I should lose the “var. ampeloprasum” part of the name because it isn’t legit now. I never understood how a variety could be the same name as the species anyway…

 

Buddleja ‘White Profusion’ on 11-9-19, #647-2.

#3 is the Buddleja ‘White Profusion’. The Butterfly Bush thrived on neglect this past summer. Basically, the entire south bed went wild which is why I haven’t taken many photos of it. 🙂 I have no idea what that is growing to the left and only noticed it after I looked at the photo. GEEZ! I normally keep this bush deadheaded so it will look tidy and keep it flowering well but I think I only did it once this past summer. It will continue to have green leaves until it gets REALLY cold. One year it stayed green all winter and grew HUGE the following summer. When I bought this plant in 2013 it was only supposed to grow around 4′ tall. Labeling has changed since then because this bush gets MUCH taller than 4’… Hmmm… I bought it and put it here because it was supposed to be a smaller cultivar. Even so, I really like this cultivar and it attracts an abundance of butterflies, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths.

 

Celosia argentea ver spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ on 11-9-19, #647-4.

#4Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’. Well, what can I say? They came up, they grew, they flowered, and now they are dead. Don’t let that fool you because each inflorescence is FILLED with seed than has fallen out, or will fall out, that will come up next spring. DOUBLE GEEZ! Still, they remain my favorite Celosia because of their maroon and green bi-colored leaves and they grow so tall. They make great plants to cover up the wall and are a good background for the plants in the front of the bed. That is until they branch out and try to cover them up, too. We manage, though…

 

Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) on 11-9-19, #647-10.

#5Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo). Every time I post about the Nandina I mention it is my favorite shrub and that I brought it with me from Mississippi. While it doesn’t grow as well here as in Mississippi, it is hanging in there which I am very thankful for. Some bird species like the berries, especially the Titmouse, as they migrate through here. I only see a few Titmouse here but they came by the hundreds in Mississippi. I always liked using the leaves of the Heavenly Bamboo in flower arrangements instead of fern and palm leaves. The Nandina is a great all-around shrub in my opinion. I know in some areas they can be a bit invasive, which is why there were so many at the mansion. A few more here would be a good thing…

 

Cannas on 11-9-19, #647-3.

#6The Cannas… All I can say is they had a pretty good summer. Despite the Japanese Beetles shredding their leaves they still put on an impressive show and grew to their normal 8-12′. Now I have to cut them down and mulch the bed with leaves. Works very good since they aren’t supposed to be cold hardy here. I can’t imagine digging all the rhizomes, storing them for the winter in the basement and planting them again in the spring…

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) on 11-9-19, #647-5.

#7Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). When I took this photo it asked me where I had been? I had no good answer and I really didn’t want to make excuses. This planter, which came from an old coal furnace, is where the Tree Cholla, Sempervivum ‘Killer” and Sedum kamtschaticum var. variegata are all growing. The Semp did poorly this year after it went banananananas last year. It flowered then mostly died (which it is supposed to do). The offsets are doing only so so, which may or may not be normal. The Sedum kamtschaticum var. variegata looked better than ever this spring and flowered like never before then it just went to crap. I had to pull a little grass to take this photo and noticed the Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ has infiltrated the planter. I think that is why the Tree Cholla was wondering where I had been because it knows that is not allowed. Oddly, I did manage to remove the grass without getting stuck. I think that was a first. As always, though, the Cylindropuntia imbricata is doing well and has grown a lot more this past summer. It agrees with me and is ready for spring already.

I took a walk to the back of the farm with one thing on my mind…

 

Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon) on 11-9-19, #647-6.

#8Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon). In my opinion, the most important thing about Fall here is the Persimmons. I visit this tree as often as I can this time of the year because of the delicious fruit. Deer, turkeys, raccoons, and opossum also eat the fruit so it is usually not easy finding them on the ground.

 

This tree was LOADED with fruit but most have fallen off. Even the lower limbs are too high to reach so I have to throw a stick to see if I can get some of the fruit to fall off.

 

OOOPS! The stick got stuck…

 

I only managed to knock three down, but that is OK. Tomorrow is another day. Even if I don’t come back for more, eating only a few is worth the wait. While it is true a “F” does seem to speed up the ripening process, if we have a late “F” the fruit ripens anyway.

On the way back to the house I was wondering if I had taken enough photos for a Six on Saturday Post. As it turned out, I took photos of eight “plants” so I kind of screwed up. I suppose I could have left out a couple, but the plants behind me in the bedroom couldn’t decide which two to leave out… They reminded me there are six of them for next Saturday… It sounds like a plot to me. 🙂

Well, that’s all I have to say except I am still working on the Cactus and Succulent Update #3.

Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments in advance.

How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health — Good Witches Homestead

I read the post and watched the video. I use Elderberry capsules all winter and have always wondered about making my own remedies. This blog is GREAT! So, I reblogged to share it with you.

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array […]

via How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health — Good Witches Homestead

Cactus & Succulent Update Part 2

Plants mentioned in Cactus and Succulent Update Part 2 on 10-26-19, #645-1. On the railing, from left to right, Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’, Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’, and Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. The large pot in the center is Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora ?). Plants to the left of the big pot are Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm'(rear) and Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’. To the right of the big pot are Crassula tetragona (rear) and Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’. In front are the twin Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?), Echinopsis mirabilis (small pot), and Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora ?) on the right.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This is part 2 of the cactus and succulent update. After the light “F” we had during the night on October 11, it warmed up again. The plants were giving me crazy looks and probably talking behind my back. I know this because they would get very quiet when I walked in the room and start looking at each other. They had that guilty look… Then sometimes they would be staring out the window with a bit of drool funning down their chin, or a tear in their eyes. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH, so I put them back outside for a few days. This time, the temps were chilly, it was cloudy and the wind blew every day. I was going to make sure they were ready to come inside and knew “W” was on the way. Even though another “F” wasn’t isn’t in the forecast for a few days, the temperature was going to get below 40 on Thursday night (by morning), so I brought them back inside. This time, they were ready and thankful.

I am continually updating, so if you click on their pages they may or may not be updated with these current photos.

Here we go…

 

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ at 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″wide on 10-11-19, #639-13.

The last Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing‘ I bought from Wal-Mart in February 2016 is definitely taking its time growing. I suppose that is petty normal when it started out so small in the first place. It has only grown 1/4″ taller since I brought it home and is now at 2 1/4″. The width is the same at 3 1/2″. It is scarred for life from the crickets in 2016… It has no good side… Maybe the crickets stunted its growth. My complete history with Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ from 2009 to present can be seen by clicking HERE.

 

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) at 6 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 6-11-19, #639-14.

The Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) is one of very few cactus companions I have whose name has not changed or isn’t controversial. I write that while laughing because there are 27 synonyms associated with this species. At least it hasn’t changed since I brought it home from Wal-Mart in January 2016. This subspecies is also an accepted name because it pretty much only grows in Uruguay (Syn. Cereus uruguayanus). Growing this plant has definitely been an interesting experience from the start. It looked pretty good when I brought it home but it was sopping wet. Then it was nibbled on by crickets in 2016. It turned pale instead of remaining nice and green and I thought it would die. Well, it didn’t die and many of the offsets are almost as tall as the original main stem. Any new offsets don’t seem to be coming from around the plant but within it. Damaged stems produce new growth that sometimes falls off. Since it seemed to sunburn even in light shade, I tried growing it in more shade to see if the color would get better. Well, that didn’t help. So, this year I kept it in full sun on the back porch. Nothing changed one way or the other. It still looks rather odd to me and it is definitely not a showstopper (unless you are a cricket). On the back porch, which is actually a deck 4′ above the ground, there are no cricket issues… I always measure the cactus from soil level to the top of the plant. This one shrunk because the top of the oldest and tallest trunk was damaged and the new growth fell off. Last October it was 7 1/4″ tall and now it is 6 1/2″ tall. It is still the same width as last year at 4 1/2″.

You can view this plant’s own page by clicking HERE

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-15.

The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ hasn’t been fooling around! It was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in March 2018. It had grown to 6 7/8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide by the time I brought the plants inside in October. Now it measures 8″ tall but it is still 3 3/4″ wide. I bought my first Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Ming Thing’ in 2010 when I lived in Mississippi and it didn’t look anything like this one. As with all monstrose forms in any species, no two are alike. 

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ from the top on 10-11-19, #639-16.

I really like this plant’s growth habit and reddish-brown spines. It is interesting anywhere you look at it.

If you have or encounter a cactus that says Cereus peruvianus f. monstrose ‘Rojo’, it is the same. Cereus peruvianus has been a synonym of Cereus repandus for quite a while but the industry is still using the same old name. The infraspecific name is not an accepted scientific name. Monstruosus forms appear in nature as well as cultivation.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ on 10-26-19, #645-2.

“I saw her before with her silvery glow, tempting me to bring her home. Not just for the evening, but for much longer, maybe a lifetime. Maybe not mine. For I knew parasites may soon come and take her away… So, I hesitated, then went home without her. She haunted me from far away until I returned and gave in. Now she is here with me, her flesh now loaded with brown scale.”

Ummm… While most of the plants are doing well, the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ (Pig’s Ear, etc.) is not. For those of you who may have a Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ that is healthy and growing well, I congratulate you! When I first saw several of these at Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017, they were AWESOME. Every year they have a few and they have big, beautiful, silver leaves are so amazing. However, although I haven’t asked, I think they purchase them every year. Commercial growers sell to retailers that are unaware of what lurks yet to be seen. The problem is, local greenhouses have a clientele that come often and soon learn to avoid certain plants.  After a few years, they can’t sell certain plants unless they sell them to new customers. This plant, in particular, can lead to frustration because of what happens next. Being very prone to brown scale, and likely invisible when buying, they soon develop these brown spots and the plant starts ailing.

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ with a big problem…

I have had only a few plants that have had issues with brown scale. One was the HUGE Crassula ovata (Jade Plant) that always has a few brown scale that I could easily remove with my fingernail. They never became an issue. Then there was the Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia (Ripple Jade Plant) that I brought home from Pleasant Acres Nursery while living in Leland, Mississippi. It looked great when I brought it home, but soon the brown scale started appearing in greater numbers I could remove with my fingernail. I treated the plant with Garden Safe Fungicide 3 (fungicide, insecticide, miticide) which is OMRI listed. I went to the nursery and the plants she had were completely infested as well and MUCH WORSE than mine. The spray helped a lot but the plant was never the same. I brought the plant with me when I moved back here and after a while I ran out of spray. I went to the local hardware store and found a similar product but it wasn’t OMRI listed and smelled of alcohol. It killed the plant within a few days.

To me, I don’t even think the Cotyledon has brown scale. It is something else. I posted the photos on the group Succulent Infatuation on Facebook to see if I can get some answers. I hate to discard this plant because it wants to survive. Last fall I was tempted to leave it outside, but my conscious wouldn’t allow it. Last August I have it a good trim and took several cuttings. Once it regrew the same issues came back as well. I was busy over the summer and somehow I don’t remember what happened with the cuttings.

I hadn’t taken photos of this plant for A LONG TIME because I was wither embarrassed or ashamed. Not sure which… So much for my “green thumb” status. LOL!

To view the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ page click HERE. You can see what it looked like when I first brought it home.

 

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 7 1/2″ tall x 9 1/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-20.

I brought this Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ (Jade Plant ‘Gollum’) home from the Kuntry Bulk Grocery (one of the local Amish stores) last May. It was unlabeled and I originally thought it was a Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’ like the one I had previously. The more it grew the more “Gollamy” it appeared. I like rolled-up leaves and tree-like growth habit. Somehow I didn’t measure this plant when I brought it home, but it is currently 7 1/2″ tall x 9 1/4″ wide.

Click HERE to view the page for the Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’. Hmmm… I put the photos of the current plant on this page because I thought it was ‘Ladyfingers’ at first. I suppose I either need to change the name of the title or add a separate page for this plant.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) at 16 1/2″ tall on 10-28-19, #645-4..

Hmmm… I forgot to take photos of this plant on October 11 and didn’t realize it until I went to write about it. There were no photos! The Crassula tetragona, Miniature Pine Tree, has changed quite a lot since I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse last September. For one, it has grown from 11 1/4″ tall to 16 1/2″ tall. It lost A LOT of leaves while it was inside last winter making me wonder if it needs a little more water than other Crassula species over the winter. In their native South African habitat, this species grows in both areas with summer rainfall and areas with winter rainfall. I put the Crassula tetragona on the back porch for the summer with the cactus and it did very well. It was first on the north side of the porch, but as the cats jumped from the raining to the table they kept knocking off the tops of the stems. So, I moved it to the potting table on the south side of the porch.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) on 10-26-19, #645-5.

Even though the leaves are now concentrated to the top of the plant, I think it looks pretty neat.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) on 10-26-19, #645-5.

Every time I found a broken stem I put them in the pot. Soon there will be a forest in the pot.

According to information online, the Crassula tetragona is reliably cold hardy down to 28° F or even colder for short periods. They are also popular as bonsai candidates.

Click HERE to view the page for the Crassula tetragona page.

 

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?) on 10-11-19, #639-21.

The twin Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?), commonly known as the Golden Barrel Cactus, are both doing quite well. As always, they are the comedians of my cactus companions. I had named them Greater and Lesser because one is a little taller and narrower than the other. Greater is taller and narrower while Lessor is a little shorter but wider. They always try to confuse me when I am measuring them. Occasionally, Lessor will stand on its toes and Greater will puff out its stomach. Their long thorns don’t make it any easier. Since last October, Greater has grown from 2 7/8″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide to 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. It was 2 1/2″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016. Lessor has grown from 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide last October to 2 7/8″ tall x 3″ wide. It was 2 1/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home the same day as Greater. Those measurements are without the spines…

To view Greater and Lesser’s own page click HERE.

 

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 3 3/8″ tall x 6″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-22.

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ (Syn. x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’) has grown A LOT this past summer and so have its kids! The parent is now 3 3/8 ” tall and the whole cluster is 6″ wide. That is 3/8″ taller and 1″ wider than last October. The real change has been the size size of the offsets which you don’t notice by measuring the whole cluster. It was only 2 1/4” T x 3 1/2” W when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016.

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ was an intergeneric hybrid between Echinopsis and Lobivia species (or cultivars). That was until Lobivia became a synonym of Echinopsis. Actually, species of Lobivia were moved to several different genera. They are known for their AWESOME flowers and I am STILL waiting…

Click HERE to view the Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ page.

 

Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) at 3 1/2” tall x 2 1/2” wide on 10-11-19, #639-23.

ALL of the Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) are doing very well. Common names include Red Torch Cactus and Desert’s Blooming Jewel. Hard to imagine, but this plant, according to Plants of the World Online, has 42 synonyms and has been in 8 different genera!

 

Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) on 10-11-19, #639-24.

Ummm… How did I wind up with this many Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora)? Well, I wrote about this before, but I will do it again. I was at Lowe’s looking at cactus on September 12 last year and noticed several cactus on a rack I didn’t have. One of those plants was the one pictured above the above photo. When I was walking around the garden center, I spotted a bigger pot with a very large dead cactus in the middle surrounded by 6 offsets. The pot was on clearance for $5.00 and I figured I could repot them. SO, I put the pot in the cart. When I got home I started taking photos, writing the names down and measuring the new companions. Hmmm… I brought home several plants that day… Anyway, I kind of slipped (AGAIN) and wound up with two pots labeled Trichocereus grandiflorus Hybrids. As it turns out, Trichocereus grandiflorus is a synonym of Echinopsis huascha which looks more like photos of the variety Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora. Well, the later infraspecific is neither approved or listed as a synonym… Anyway, that’s how I came up with seven of these plants. 🙂 I am waiting for their AWESOME flowers!

When I brought home these plants, the one in the pot by itself measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide. It now measures 3 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. The largest plant in the center of the pot of six now measures 4 3/4” tall x 3 1/8” wide. It was 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought them home.

Click HERE to view the Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora page.

 

LAST ON THE POST

BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE LEAST!

Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer) at 3 1/2″ tall on 10-11-19, #639-25.

I have and have had some of the neatest plant companions and will certainly have more to come. I have identified more wildflowers this past summer and some have been really neat. I may never see another pink-flowered Achillea millefolium in nature like I did this past summer. Even so, I would have to say the highlight of this past summer was when the Echinopsis mirabilis started flowering.

Watching and waiting for the bud to open when the flowers only last one night is is quite an ordeal. Especially when I missed the first one. I saw the second and then missed the third. Then the fourth was the day after the third which I did photograph as well. The flowers are AWESOME and worth the anticipation. Like my cousins Cereus, they are night bloomers…

Even though it looks like the plant hasn’t grown to me, it has. When I brought it home, it measured 2 5/8″ tall x 1 1/8″ wide. It now measures 3 1/2″ tall. It needs a new pot…

To view this plant’s own page with the flowers, click HERE!

Now I am finished with part 2. Part 3 and 4, maybe 5 or 6, are coming up. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this update as much as I enjoy sharing it. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Make a comment or click like if you can because I really enjoy hearing from you.

Weird WordPress Mystery Solved…

My site showing not logged in… No black bar across the top and the follow button at the bottom right-hand corner.

Hello everyone! Yesterday I went through every blog I follow and clicked “visit site” on each of them to see what would happen. I had gone to system preferences and removed all website data then restarted the computer. Before i did that, I had somehow managed to log in to my blog’s site instead of just on my dashboard. I hope this makes sense because I am almost confusing myself trying to explain. 🙂 Anyway, after I did that and signed back in I could not log back into my site. You know, when you go to your site, the back bar across the top says

Out of 144 blogs, 64 said “following, 64 said “follow” and 10 didn’t give an option. I tried signing in a multitude of times and nothing changed.

What was really weird is that the blog was still behaving normally on the old iMac. The black bar appeared across the top as always. I could get on the reader and when I went to the website of followed blogs that say “follow”, I could click on follow and it then changed to “follow”. That is still a bit odd that blogs I am following already would say “follow”. Once I clicked “follow” it said that their posts would appear in my reader. Hmmm… They are already appearing in my reader otherwise I would have clicked on the site in the first place. Anyway, at least it worked.

Hmmm… Maybe I lost you somewhere. The old iMac is a 2007 model that I bought in 2013. The hard drive needed to be replaced about every year so last year I decided to get a newer model. The new one is a 2013 model with many updated features, bigger screen, and so on. I had reached the point where the old one couldn’t be updated any further. The newer one actually cost me less than the old one did six years ago.

I had compared the setting from one computer to another to make sure they were the same.

Today I contacted WordPress customer support about the ongoing issue because the last guy had no clue. This time I got results…

The rep asked if I was using Safari and I told him I was. He said sometimes different versions of Safari work differently. He suggested I go to Systems Preference and click on “privacy”. He asked if the “prevent cross-site tracking” was checked. I told him yes. He said to uncheck then quit Safari and let him know if it worked.

Hmmm… I thought “prevent cross-site tracking” was a good thing but I did as he suggested then quit Safari…

 

When I got back on, it worked fine… The back bar appeared across the top like magic. But, just as an experiment, I got back on Sytems Preference and checked the box again. I quit Safari and then reopened it. I got on my blog and it said the same thing as before… So, I unchecked the box again, quit Safari and got back on… It worked AGAIN!

Now, who would think having the “prevent cross-tracking” would be a good thing on one version of Safari and not the other?

Now, when I go to the reader and click “visit site”, the blogs I am following that says “follow” change to “following” when I click to follow just like with the old computer. Huh? So, if you get a notification that says I just followed your blog when I have already been following, you will know why. It’s just weird to me that a blog I am following says “follow” when I am already following. No, I don’t have OCD nor do I want to know what that even means. A friend in Mississippi would always tell me I had OCD when I straightened pictures on the wall. Well, the mansion would shake when someone hit the chug hole on the street and the pictures would get crooked as a result. It had nothing to with always looking at the crooked window at the new house across the street when I went out the door. I just notice things that are a little off.

For the past several weeks, I have been getting a notification to upgrade from macOS Mojave to Catalina… I have been hesitant but I am wondering. I hate making changes sometimes when what I am using works fine.

Well, I feel much better now and I can go happily about working on the blog as before. If you have an issue with WordPress that bugs you, don’t hesitate to contact support. I am certainly not a computer expert and sometimes I need some help. I must say, though, I have had very few issues since I started using an iMac in 2013.

Now back to working on the cactus and succulent updates… Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

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!

 

Elephantopus carolinianus and Perilla frutescens Observed

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I was helping a friend move cattle from his mother’s farm a few days ago and stumbled across this interesting plant. I helped him move a 1964 Ford Pickup from a hill that had been in the trees for 15 years a couple of days earlier. That was interesting. I didn’t take the camera at the time but I wish I had because seeing the old pickup in the trees and what we went through to get off the hill and up the road to the house would have made an interesting post. His mother sold her farm so we had to get everything moved.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) on 9-9-19.

Now, you have to visualize a shady hillside with a creek running along the side. The hillside is covered in trees with literally THOUSANDS of Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant). While I was waiting for my friend (Jay) and another helper (Jay Wagler, Ruth Wagler’s son from Wagler’s Greenhouse), to drive the cows up from somewhere, I waited on the hill. Of course, I had my camera that day so I took several photos of the Perilla frutescens.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) flowers on 9-9-19.

I thought it was very interesting how the Perilla frutescens there were in full bloom when the plants behind my back pond were just budding.

After a while, the cows came so I had to forget about taking photos. I had to go up the hill from where I was then run down the hill as fast as I could, through all the Perilla, trees, vines, etc. toward the creek, then across the creek so the cows couldn’t go back to where they had come from. While I was running toward the creek, I almost tripped more than a few times. Anyway, as I was running I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going because I was looking at the plants. I spotted a plant I had never seen before but I didn’t have time to stop… By the time I made it to the creek, the cows were heading that direction. They crossed the creek and so did I.

Now, if you have ever driven cattle through a forest that have no idea why they are being herded in the first place, you will know they aren’t just casually walking. Some of them are calm and in no hurry while most of them have their ears up and are running full speed ahead. The calves were going in circles because they had no clue. Mama cows would run ahead then realize their kid wasn’t with them, so they would turn around. And, of course, there were always a few that just stand way behind the others that think they can get left behind. They try to sneak off while you are trying to get the runners to go where you want them and not where they want to go, which is back to where they were in the first place. The opening we needed them to go through was plain as day and right in front of them. What did they do? They stood there looking at the opening. The opening in the fence was to the pasture where the barn was… Ummm… Where the corral was. Now, if you are a cow that is used to a daily routine you would be wondering why you are being herded to the barn in the morning instead of being called to eat feed later in the afternoon. You would be thinking something is fishy. After a while, a few started toward me. Then the rest followed. As I waved at them they found another opening in the fence so they could circle around to the other opening to try and get away. Well, that didn’t work and finally, they went to the barn.

There is a little more to what happened next, but we did finally get them in the coral. All but a cow named Fuzzy who escaped.

Once the cows were in the trailer, I walked back to the creek. I had to go back up the hill to get the tractor I had left there but the tractor wasn’t on my mind. I had to find that weird plant!

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

I crossed the creek and started up the hill through all the vegetation. The hillside was nice and shady and I had to just stand for a minute to admire nature at its finest. There was so much life going on! The bugs were all busy feeding on flowers and each other, birds were flying around, butterflies flying from one flower to another. I found the plant I was looking for with no problem because there were a lot of them along the bottom of the hillside. It was sure a strange plant and I had never seen any quite like it. That evening I identified the plant as Elephantopus carolinianus (el-eh-fun-TOE-pus  kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-us). Common names include Elephant’s Foot, Carolina Elephant’s Foot, and Leafy Elephant’s Foot.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Reading the description of this plant on the Missouri Plants website can be pretty complicated.

Inflorescence – Capitate cluster (glomerule) of flower heads terminating stems. Peduncles to +10cm, antrorse appressed pubescent. Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract. Flower clusters subtended by typically three foliaceous bracts to +/-4cm long. Bracts with antrorse appressed pubescence.

I think that means the stem ends in a cluster of flower heads that are compact or unusually compressed. Close to the top of the stem is a leaf with another 3 1/2-4″ of stem above it. Then there are 3 leaves (foliaceous bracts) which the flower clusters sit on. Bracts and peduncles have short hairs.

Involucre – Phyllaries loose, to -1cm long, 2mm broad, acute, green in upper 1/2, scarious below.

GEEZ! An involucre is a bract (phyllary) or set of bracts (phyllaries) that surround a flower or cluster of flowers. In this case, I believe there is something a little strange going on… Skip down to the photo after the next one…

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

The flowers are rather strange. Although this plant is a member of the Asteraceae (composite) family, the flowers are not “daisy-like”. They only have disc flowers.

“Disk flowers – Corolla lilac to whitish, irregularly 5-lobed. Corolla tube 5mm long, glabrous. Lobes to 5mm long, linear, glabrous. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube. Anthers connate around style, 2mm long, exserted. Style included. Achene (in flower) white, pubescent, 2mm long. Pappus of 5 bristles. Bristles to 5mm long, slightly flattened and expanded at base.”

Hmmm………………………………………. Something seems a bit odd.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Some of the plants have lavender-pink flowers. The above photo is somewhat easier to explain… The flower emerges from the phyllaries… WAIT A MINUTE! Take a closer look at that mass of petals… Something is weird! I think I need to jump the fence and have a closer look. How many flowers do you see? One? Count again… I see at least four.

So, using the above descriptions, each bract has a set of four loose phyllaries (actually 2 pairs of 2) in which 4-5 flowers emerge from. Have you ever seen a Fan Flower (Scaevola sp.) where the petals are on only on half the flower? I think that’s what is going on here…

It would have been better to have read the descriptions then searched for this plant so you will know what to look for. For sure you would have known what this plant is when you see it because there is none even similar.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Lower leaves are quite large and “spatula-like”. One website says these lower leaves are 5″ long, but just guessing, I would say they are closer to at least 8″.

Missouri Plants says: “Alternate, sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate or spatulate, acute to acuminate, shallow serrate to crenate-serrate, slightly scabrous and pubescent below, sparse pubescent and shiny dark green above, to -30cm long, -10cm broad, tapering to base.” That is about 11″ long by about 4″ wide and the leaves attach directly to the stem with no petiole (sessile).

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

The plant’s upper leaves are MUCH smaller and kind of oval in shape. Here you can see this leaf is what is meant when Missouri Plants says: “Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract.” This leaf is where the “inflorescence” begins and is part of it as the “single foliaceous bract.” At least that is my opinion. Subtended means “under” so it makes sense.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Besides a camera, I also need to remember to take the magnifying glass, a small note pad and pen… A field guide would also be promising. I haven’t normally been one to bring plants home from other locations, but I am really tempted with this one. I saw this plant again while I was helping Jay at either his farm or in the back yard of his mothers (the one she sold). Apparently this plant is fairly common in that neck of the woods. I think I may need to check the creek behind here even though I don’t own that property. I normally only go there in the spring to hunt morels. No one will ever know… 🙂

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

I think I read somewhere that the bracts contain a single seed that doesn’t fall out. The whole bract falls off with the seed still inside.

Map from USDA Plant Database showing where Elephantopus carolinianus is native.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 23 species of Elephantopsis. Four are native to the United States including E. carolinianus, E. elatus, E. nudatus, and E. tomentosus. E. carolinianus most abundant from Kansas down to Texas and eastward to Pennsylvania and down to Florida and has been Introduced to Cuba. Most species are native to several countries in South America and several in a few countries in Africa. 

The cows were loaded into a trailer in the afternoon and taken to another pasture. As far as I know, Fuzzy is still at large.

I have been working on the post about the Persicaria species (Smartweeds) here and ran into a snag. Two species are very much alike and one is variable. One has longer leaves than the other and both have the same identifying features. I think many colonies could have both species which makes it complicated. I was measuring leaves in a very large colony and a few plants have 6″ long leaves while most are 3 1/2 to 4″. The rest of the species were fairly easy to identify. I am going to check out Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri on Monday at the library to see if they can help. The original was written by Julian Steyermark was published in 1963. In 1987, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation decided to work together and revise and update the older book in a three-volume set. The first edition, written by Mr. Steyermark was published in 1999 and it is available at the local branch. Volume two was published in 2006 and volume 3 in 2013. Volume 2 and three were written by George Yatskievych. They are at another branch but can be delivered here or I can drive 18 miles to pick them up. Each volume has over 1,000 pages. The post is ready, but I need to make sure about the one (or two) species.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and observant. Never know what you may will run across.

 

Delightful Dayflowers

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Now it is time to post about the Dayflowers. It has been interesting and there are three species of Dayflowers here on the farm. Two species are in a small shady and secluded area behind the chicken house. One of those is also in the back of the farm by the pond but their flowers were already wilted when I noticed that. Their flowers only last for one day but are mostly gone by late afternoon.

I took a few photos of Dayflowers last year but I didn’t really pay much attention to them at the time. When I was getting ready to write a page about them, I noticed something weird… I had all their photos labeled Commelina communis but when I did the research I realized none of the photos were that species… At that point, they hadn’t started flowering so I had to wait. After the hay was baled and I could mow the two lots I stored hay in behind the chicken house I noticed the Dayflowers had started blooming. I almost fell off the tractor. I took photos after I was finished mowing (since I happened to have the camera with me). That was on August 29.

I took photos for several days I concluded is Commelina erecta, commonly known as the Whitemouth Dayflower. I first thought it was surely Commelina communis because the bracts were open the entire length but there was something weird.

 

Commelina erecta on 8-29-19.

As you can see in the above photo, the bract, the odd-looking part the flower emerges from is entirely open from end to end (like a taco). That is one of the distinguishing features of Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower). But, there were a couple of problems with that diagnosis… For one, the color is lighter blue than the photos of Commelina communis online. The second problem is the staminodes of Commelina communis are supposed to have brownish-red dots. I looked at probably 100 flowers from August 29 through September 1. All their bracts were open and there were NO brownish-red dots.

Before I continue, figuring out what species of Commelina, or Dayflowers, you have growing is pretty easy. There are only four species found in Missouri. Two species have two blue upper petals and one lower white petal. One of those has brownish-red dots on their staminodes. One of those has fused bracts and one has open bracts. The one with the reddish-brown spots is supposed to have open bracts and the other has fused bracts.

Then, low and behold, Sunday afternoon a miracle happened… Well, maybe not a miracle, but you know what I mean…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I had walked into the lot where the Dayflowers were, took a few photos, then on the way out I noticed these darker blue Dayflowers on the other side of the opening. I checked and HOLY MOLY there were spots on their staminodes!  As you can see, the flower in the above photo has darker blue upper petals and brownish-red spots on the staminodes…

BUT, there is a problem…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

All the flowers in this group have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open! I looked at all the flowers for a few days and they were always the same. I thought perhaps they would be closed earlier when the flower first emerges and open later when the flowers have almost run their course. But, the time didn’t matter.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

The above photo shows the darker blue Commelina communis with the spots on the staminodes on the left. Commelina erecta, on the right, has lighter blue upper petals and NO reddish-brown spots on the staminodes. All seems as it should… These are the only two species in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a very small lower white petal.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

But, the above photo clearly shows the Commelina communis with fused bracts and the Commelina erecta with open bracts. Hmmm… Just the opposite of what they are supposed to be. Every website I checked says the same thing.

So, tell me, what is the deal? Maye the fairies in this area didn’t get the memo… I need to check the plants by the pond in the back of the farm to see what they are doing…

But, there is also something else very interesting…

 

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 8-29-19.

Some of the Communis erecta have two flowers coming from the same bract. Typically, each bract produces more than one flower, sometimes three, but not usually on the same day.

 

Commelina erecta open bract on 8-29-19.

I opened one of the bracts of the Commelina erecta and you can see in the above photo this bract had produced two flowers in succession. It may have produced more, but I kind of ruined that possibility. The egg-like, umm… Are the fruit where the seeds are hiding.

I read the information on several websites for plant ID and for the heck of it. The Iowa Plants website has some very good photographs of the inside of the bracts (and many other good photos). I was going to include some of them in this post, but I don’t have permission. You can see them online when doing an image search as well.

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

So, it is a little strange that the Commelina communis growing here have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open. But, nonetheless, they have to be Commelina communis because they have the brownish-red spots on their staminodes. No other species has that feature. And, I admit, it is a little odd the Commelina erecta have entirely wide open bracts when they are supposed to be closed. But, they have to be Commelina erecta because they have no spots and they are the only other Commelina species found in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a lower white petal.

One other interesting thing about the Commelina species is that they compete for pollinators… This is why you may rarely if ever find two species growing among each other. Although the photos I took of both species are in the same lot, they are not together. It makes me wonder if they have adapted over time and the Commelina erecta have found out open bracts are better for their survival and the Commelina communis decided the opposite is true for them. Who knows. But for whatever reason, they are doing something weird here.

 

NOW, for the third species…

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

This small colony of Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) is growing south of the big pond in the front pasture. They are in the low spot where the overflow runs out of the pond and the pasture drains.

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I need to get more and better photos of this species. As you can see, this species has three blue petals. It is one of the two species found in Missouri with three blue petals. The other is Commelina virginica (Virginia Dayflower).

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Commelina diffusa has smaller flowers than Commelina virginica. Hmmm… Isn’t it strange how you notice things in a photo you didn’t when taking the photo? What is the white thing below the lower petal?

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Ahhh, there it is. Hmmm… I have no idea what it is. Another flower? Well, trying to find out blew another 30 minutes and I still have no clue.

 

Commelina diffusa on 9-1-19.

OH, I almost forgot! Another distinguishing feature is that the bracts of Commelina diffusa are open the entire length and Commelina virginica are basally fused. Hmmm… Like that helped with C. communis and C. erecta!

There is plenty of information about the Commelina species online. I will be including more information plus links for further reading when I get their own pages published. There will be many photos on their pages of their flowers, leaves (upper and lower, topside and underside), their stems, etc. I have found the Dayflowers to be very interesting and they seem so happy. They are also edible but I haven’t tried them.

Next, I will be posting about the Persicaria species (Smartweed) growing here. I have identified seven species and am still somewhat confused about the eighth. One species is highly variable but the key identifier says it all. One species here is VERY rare, but two key identifiers show they are alive and well here. Well, maybe not all that well since they are only in one small area (and very few plants) while most of the other species are quite abundant. Unlike the Dayflowers, the Smartweeds enjoy the company of their cousins.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and so on. Just do it, and do it well!

First L.g. ‘Thailand Giant’ and Ruellia simplex Flowers for 2019

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 9-3-19, #622-3.

Hello everyone! I took a photo of the first Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ flower on Tuesday but I hadn’t posted it yet. This morning, as I was starting to write the post, I thought I better check to see if it had a second one already.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ second flower on 9-6-19, #624-7.

Sure enough, it already has a second flower. I think the one I grew in 2017 produced twelve by the time it got ZAPPED in October.

As I was going up the steps to back inside, I noticed something else trying to hide…

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) first flower on 9-6-19, #624-10.

The Ruellia simplex Mrs. Wagler gave me is FINALLY starting to flower. The Ruellia simplex I grew before were pink, so I am very glad these are blue.

 

Ruellia simplex buds on 6-9-19, #624-12.

More buds are a good sign of more flowers to come. Of course, I will keep you posted. 🙂

As usual, one photo led to another then another…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 9-6-19, #624-3.

I still think these funky smaller leaves are weird. I am sure there is a proper name for these appendages but funky is good enough until I find out. NORMAL Colocasia esculenta do not do this so it is no telling what is in its bloodline. A little of this, a little of that… GEEZ! What kind of a monster will be lurking under the porch some morning? 🙂 For sure, this is not a “normal” Colocasia esculenta which is why the species name isn’t used…

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 9-6-19, #624-1.

I had to post another photo of the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ because she was waving her newest and largest leaf at me. I was joking around with her pretending I didn’t notice. Some Aroid experts have been trying to confuse each other by saying ‘Coffee Cups’ is a variety, form or whatever of Colocasia esculenta. It was originally found in the wild in Indonesia and looks nothing like any Colocasia esculenta. She is secretly whispering Colocasia fontanesii in my ear. 🙂

That’s it for now. I will be back very soon! Until then, you know the drill. Be safe, stay positive, and so on.

Colocasia Looking Good!

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ at 64″ tall on 8-30-19.

Hello everyone! I trust this post finds you all well as summer starts to wind down (here anyway). We have had much cooler temps the past few days but it is supposed to be 90° F on Tuesday.

I wanted to share a few photos of the Colocasia and Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. They seemed to be growing slow then they went bizurk! The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ in the above photo is NOW 64″ tall.

The cat in the photo isn’t my cat… Well, I am not so sure about that now because she has made herself at home. Nathan brought her home one night from a convenience store parking lot. She didn’t look like she was a stray to me and had a flea collar on. I told him he should take her back then he told me “after a week” that she had been in the parking lot for several days. GEEZ! When I came here in 2013, mom and dad had 20 cats. I got all the females and males spayed and neutered and after six years there were only five left. Nathan came and brought two more. Then Kevin gave me the little black kitten (GEEZ!) and now there is this one. Yes, it is a female and Nathan’s male cat Simba has taken a liking to her… I went behind the chicken house this morning to have a look at the Dayflowers and “you know who” followed me…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ flowers on 8-30-19.

As I mentioned before, Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is the first black-leaved Colocasia I have grown since 2013. I was thinking about a ‘Black Magic’ but found this one at a local greenhouse. It is a Walters Gardens introduction.

It had been raining before (and after) I took these photos so all the leaves are wet.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf on 8-20-19.

The leaves are pretty neat for sure but not as “puckered” as advertised. I am not complaining at all because this is a nice plant.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf underside on 8-30-19.

The undersides of “Elephant Ear’ leaves are pretty neat and this one is really NEAT!

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ at 39″ on 8-30-19.

I must say the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ has done very well over the past month and is now 39″ tall.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ leaf holding water on 8-30-19.

It’s always neat how the leaves hold water then dump it out once it gets heavy enough. It would make a nice little video.

 

Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house on 8-30-19.

The Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house and doing really well despite the apex of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out. The tallest plant is 65″ tall…

 

Cannas and Colocasia esculenta along the garage on 8-30-19.

Hmmm… Ignore the grass and weeds. It was a surprise when the Colocasia came up in the Canna bed this spring and more surprising how well they have done this summer. Well, most of them. The big one in the middle of the photo is 60″ tall. I planted them along the Cannas last spring because I had plenty extra. Instead of digging their rhizomes for the winter, I mulched them along with the Cannas and they all came back up this spring. Well, Cannas aren’t supposed to overwinter in the ground here either…

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ at 55 1/2″ tall on 8-30-19.

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ finally got with the program and is now 55 1/2″ tall. Hopefully, it will flower like the one did in 2017.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ leaf at 36″ long x 32″ wide on 8-30-18.

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ grow MUCH bigger in the south and in tropical climates than here but I am very pleased. We still have until sometime in October for it to grow bigger.

I have still been taking wildflower photos and even found a few new ones this past week. It is weird how I am still finding new plants after I have been here since 2013. I found a nice small white flower a couple of days ago I couldn’t ID then found out they are normally blue. So, let me see… How many wildflowers have I found this year whose flowers have been an unusual color? I think three or four. Then, the weird Dayflowers that have all the features of a particular species except one… That will be the next post. 🙂 Why don’t they have reddish-brown spots like they are supposed to have? OH, and in 2017, the Dayflower photos I took all have three blue petals. Now, where are they? Then there is a colony in the back of the farm near the swamp that is totally different that has not started flowering yet. Need flowers for a positive ID. I am 99% sure they are a species of Commelina (Dayflower) because of the veins on the leaves. Hmmm… Maybe they will have three blue petals. 🙂 Then I can say, “Ahhhh! There you are!”

Probably the hardest wildflowers (weeds) to make a positive ID here are the Persicaria (Smartweed) species… There are at least four species here that only one thing distinguishes them from similar species. I have been using the magnifying glass to try and figure them out. It seems I am looking for the “thing” that is missing to prove they “are or aren’t” particular species. Then this afternoon, I found the missing “thing” on two colonies growing separate from the other three species (or four)… There could also be another species around the back pond. I saw before… Any way, I have been working on their ID for a couple of years. OH, then there are the three colonies, in another location, that are the same species with different color stems. One has red stems, one has green stems with red nodes, and the other is in-between. Not only in color but location. They are all only a few feet from each other. I will be posting about them once I get them figured out, or at least when I convince myself I have made positive ID’s. Hopefully within a few days. (Scratching my head).

OK, I will close for now…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and be thankful! Get dirty if you can because a little dirt is good for you.

Doing Well Even Though…

A few Alocasia doing GREAT!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. To say this summer has been ordinary would be quite misleading. I don’t have photos of well-maintained beds because there aren’t any here. I have managed to keep up with beds on the north side of the house and just so with the shade beds. The only deterrent with the shade beds has been the mosquitos because of grandmas old goldfish pool. It always has a little water in it which is a mosquito paradise so I have to work quickly and quietly.

The mole repeller has worked wonders in the shade bed and I have no complaints about it at all. The other one quit working a while back, but it did help for a while. I am supposed to write a review at some point, and the company was supposed to send their “upgraded” model to replace the one that stopped working. What I am wondering is how I write a new review on a model that has been replaced? Hmmm…

The Japanese Beetle traps have worked quite well with a few issues that I don’t think is any fault of the company. Most people don’t have as many beetles as there are here. They have slowed down now, but for a while, I was having to empty 2-3 traps about every day. I am not sure what kind of an impact the traps will have on next years population because even though I have eliminated many, there are still thousands that have probably managed to lay eggs. I even see Japanese Beetles when I am taking photos of wildflowers in the back of the farm and on Kevin’s farm. They eat flowers and leaves of quite a variety of plants.

 

Northeast front porch.

I took a lot of photos of the potted plants earlier but they didn’t make it on a post. I became involved with wildflower ID for a while which took a lot of time. The potted plants are all doing very well and are very easy to manage. The Alocasia are thriving as always and look great! The plants in the above photo were repotted last summer and are doing well on the front porch while the larger pots are next to the shade bed (in the first photo). I still haven’t figured out how offsets from Alocasia ‘Portora” and Mayan Mask’ come up in the same pot… One might think they are cross-pollinating when they flower but that is nearly impossible since they don’t flower at the same time if at all. Alocasia ‘Calidora’ flowers more but there have been no step-children showing up in their pots. Weird…

 

Billbergia nutans flower on 8-11-19.

The Queen’s Tears or Angel’s Tears (Billbergia nutans) has been flowering for a while and is always AWESOME. If you recall, I divided the HUGE POT last year and gave away many. I still have three pots to give away.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 8-11-19.

Although the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ seemed to have gotten off a little slow, it is doing very well now. I really like the smaller dark cup-shaped leaves and dark stems. They have a little water in their leaves from somewhere most of the time. You would be surprised at how many insects I have seen drinking water from the leaves. If you haven’t tried Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’, I suggest you do.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 8-11-19.

I must say Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ has been pretty impressive. I planted one of these in a planter at a friends home and it was growing better than this one. I thought maybe it was because the planter was full of Miracle Grow Potting soil so I found the bag of fertilizer Mrs. Wagler had given me last year and mixed a little in the soil in this bed. Normally, I do not use commercial fertilizer but I decided to give it a shot. Well, you can see the results. It is now bigger than the one in the planter. 🙂 The leaves have become a little more “puckered” but not near as much as photos of this plant online. The leaves are also supposed to be much darker when grown in the sun, and this plant gets plenty of that. Whether or not this plant is even a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is somewhat debatable. I have grown Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ in the past and their leaves have always been much darker even in the shade. I am not complaining because this is a really nice plant no matter what it really is.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has been AWESOME as always.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is now flowering and doing very well. The Hosta in this bed are mainly under a large maple tree and are still doing very well. Except for Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ which has been struggling all summer. I really miss its awesomeness and it may not survive this winter.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ is doing OK and has several buds. The plants in the corner shade bed are all doing OK because they still have good shade. The ones on the other side are a different because they are usually shaded by the elms whos leaves have been pretty much dissected by the Japanese Beetles.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 8-11-19.

Hmmm… While I am sure this is a Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ this year, it seems it should be much bigger. I am not sure how tall this one is, but the previous one was 54″ tall on 8-29-17. If you remember, the one I bought last spring turned out to be a Xsanthosoma robustum… The Leococasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ I had in 2017 grew HUGE but it was closer to the porch where the soil is better. Maybe a little of Mrs. Wagler’s fertilizer is on order. I was reserving the space closer to the porch for the Xanthosoma sagittifolium a friend was supposed to send me but it never arrived. The X. robustum from last year rotted. I had plans for this bed but…

 

Colocasia esculenta on 8-11-19.

The Colocasia esculenta are doing great as always even though not as large as usual. The top part of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out, which never happened before. As a result, I have many offsets with no main plant.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) on 8-11-19.

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) is strutting its stuff now but the wind and rain knocked some of the plants over. It is flowering really well now, but something is a little weird…

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) flowers on 8-11-19.

Ummm… Its flowers are PINK! Normally, they look white with just a hint of pink. Some photos make them look pinker that you can see with your eye, which is a little strange. I remember taking photos before that turned out pink and I thought, “Why do they look pink? They aren’t pink!” Well, folks, this time around they are definitely pink!

Supposedly, the Obedient Plant gets its name from the flower stems staying where you put them if you bend them a little. I tried that and it didn’t work. I began to question whether or not this was actually an Obedient Plant but research proved they are definitely Physostegia virginiana. However, mine are disobedient.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 8-11-19.

Well, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm‘ are flowering up a storm now. It was strange how they didn’t spread that much until I moved a few to the northeast corner of the old foundation. Now they have gone banananananas.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but PREVIOUSLY Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia sullivantii were two separate species. PREVIOUSLY this cultivar was simply Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 8-11-19.

The Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) is doing really well here in the north bed by the steps. There are 2-3 more stems but they seem to be laying down on the job. I need to put a little more dirt around them so they will stand up and because their roots are showing. The one in the photo has a few buds and it will have blue flowers. The plants I had in Mississippi (and brought with me in 2013) had pink flowers, so I was glad Mrs. Wagler and the blue “variety” in her flower bed. HOPEFULLY, they will survive the winter. IF they produce offsets I am going to dig them up and overwinter them inside. They actually do well inside if they are small enough. It may be possible to grow these in pots and bring them inside although I haven’t tried it.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 8-11-19.

The Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ have really been impressive. This is the first year I have had this cultivar and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

 

Zantedeschia aethiopica on 8-11-19.

There is always a lot going on here and sometimes I get caught up with this and that that I may neglect to notice something interesting. In June, the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse gave me this pot of Calla he had grown from seed. He had several pots and he couldn’t get them to grow or do much of anything. I brought this pot home, put it in fresh potting soil and it did nothing except not die. Every time I looked at it, it was the same. Then, when I was taking photos on the 11th, I noticed it had perked up! You just never know!

 

Before I close, I want to introduce to, ummm… OK, let me start from the beginning… This kitten showed up at Kevin’s, a friend I have been working for. You know, the guy I have been spraying and digging thistles on his farm, the farm I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on, the guy I have been taking care of his landscaping for him. Yeah, that guy. Anyway, this kitten showed up, obviously from being dumped. He saw it several times and one evening he saw it trying to catch bugs under a porch light so it could have something to eat. Kevin said he could tell it was doing its best to survive so he bought it some kitten food. Eventually, it began coming up to him so he put it in a bathroom so he could tame it down. Then, he attempted to get me to bring it home because his sister didn’t like cats and wouldn’t approve when she came for a visit. So, when she was going to come I told him I would take the cat home and see how it went. On the way home I stopped by the store and bought a litter box and cat litter. GEEZ!!! As soon as we got home, I filled the litter box, put the cat litter in it, then put the cat in the litter box. Even though she probably never saw a litter box, she automatically knew what it was for and she has never failed to use it.

For several days she hid behind my boots in the bathroom. I would reach down and pet her, but she wouldn’t come out when I was around. I told her if she came out I would allow her to come into the bedroom. I couldn’t let her in the rest of the house because Nathans two cats are here now. The next day, she came out and didn’t go hide like she understood what I had said. So, I opened the bathroom door and she came into the bedroom. BUT, she hid under the bed. The next day I told her she couldn’t be hiding under the bed because it was too hard to get her out. Apparently, she understood that, too, because she didn’t do it again.

She has been here several weeks now and last week I let her in the rest of the house. Jade, Nathans female cat, didn’t approve at first and would run from her. Simba, his male cat, has been staying outside. When he first saw her, she was in the hallway and he was in the kitchen watching her. He started talking to her and the kitten came into the kitchen. Simba just watched her and the kitten eventually came up to him. They smelled noses and neither one of them hissed or growled. The problem is, Simba is quite interested in her and would really like to play but he is very big… Once the kitten gets bigger, that may be OK… One of them is going to have to go to the vet, though. 🙂

It has been a long time since I had a kitten to bring up and she is a certainly a fur ball of energy. Everything that moves becomes her toy. When she isn’t playing or sleeping, she wants my attention. Trying to get on the desk where I am working is very annoying. Teaching her not to get on the table or swing on the curtains has been a challenge. Now, she knows better but still does it when I’m not looking. She likes watching me when I wash my hands and shave and darn near gets in the sink. Last week she came in when I was using the restroom and jumped in the toilet… Not kidding! How she thought the lid would have been shut when I am using the toilet is beyond me. She often jumps on the seat when I am at the sink, but never when I am in front of the toilet. I think we both learned a valuable lesson that time, and from now on I make sure I close the door behind me. Of course, when I leave my computer I have to make sure my keyboard is unavailable. Even though the knows I don’t want her on my desk when I leave the room the first place she goes is on the desk. One day she sent messages on Skype. Of course, it wasn’t actual words, but it was evidence that she had been there. Yesterday, I opened the refrigerator and she had to have a peek inside. I left the door open because I was taking items out. I told her NO several times, and she would always back out. She knows what that means but she is somewhat confused about it. Next thing I know, she is IN the refrigerator. She looks at me and meows like she is saying, “See, it is safe.” HMMM… NO to her means to try when no one is looking.

My computer desk is next to my bed where she likes to lay down after she gets worn out from playing. Next thing I know, I can see her out of the corner attempting to get on the desk. I will say “NO” and she backs up. After about the tenth try, she gets on the floor and starts rubbing on my legs. I put her back on the bed and tell her to lay down. After the third try at that, she then jumps on my lap. So, then we go through that ordeal a few times. GEEZ!!!

I am not sure how much stuff she has brought into my bedroom, or even where it all came from. When all is quiet and she isn’t in the bedroom playing with something, sleeping on the bed, or trying to get my attention, I have to wonder what she is doing. Then I go check and she follows me back into the bedroom to repeat the cycle all over again! 🙂

Hmmm… Wonder what she is doing now?

Well, that’s it for this post. It is sprinkling now and that is good and relaxing. Maybe I should go to bed. It is 1:42 AM…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful always and give some a big HUG!

My First Luna Moth Sighting

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. A few weeks ago my son showed me a photo of a Luna Moth that he, and many others, spotted at a convenience store one night. It was on a brick wall and was almost as wide as the brick. Over the years several people have told me about seeing them at night, usually being attracted to porch lights, street lights, and yard lights. I had never seen one in person until a few nights ago.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

I had got up at about 3:30 AM and walked into the living room. The yard light shines through the house at night and I could see from the shadow that something fairly large was flying around the light. I looked out the back door and saw it was a Luna Moth. It flew around the light, banging itself on the light and the pole then landed on the grass. I grabbed the camera and went outside to see if I could find it. I thought something that big surely wouldn’t be that hard to find.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

It wasn’t too happy about being picked up at first and got away twice. The third time I picked it up, I assured it I meant it no harm and it completely calmed down. After that, it seemed perfectly happy to be resting on my hand.

They are quite easily identified. It is large, light green, normally with four “eyes” on their wings, have a pinkish-purple bumper along the front of their wings, have feathery antennae, and normally have a long tail…

The Wikipedia says, “There are some sex-determined and regional differences in appearance. Females will have a larger abdomen compared to males because it contains 200–400 eggs. Both sexes have antennae, but on the male, much longer and wider. Wing color is blue-green in the north and for the over-wintering generation in the central and southern states; second and third generation wing color has more of a yellow-green tint.”

“Based on the climate in which they live, Luna moths produce different numbers of generations per year. In Canada and northern regions of the United States, they are univoltine, meaning one generation per year. Life stages are approximately two weeks as eggs, 6–7 weeks as larvae, nine months as pupae, finishing with one week as winged adults appearing in late May or early June. In the mid-Atlantic states the species is bivoltine, and farther south trivoltine, meaning respectively two and three generations per year. In the central states, the first generation appears in April, second in July. Even farther south, the first generation appears as early as March, with second and third spaced eight to ten weeks later.”

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

This Luna Moth looks a bit ragged and even its long “tail” is missing. The average Luna Moth wingspan is 4 1/2″ wide, but can be up to 7″. The long tails of their hindwings are thought to confuse the echolocation detection used by predatory bats.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

InsectIdentification.org says the Luna Moth is only found in North America and their population is on the decline. They are very sensitive to light pollution (such as yard and street lights that are constantly on), pesticides and parasitic flies (a parasitic fly that was introduced to the U.S. to control the Gypsy Moth…).

It was interesting to read the Luna Moth is being bred in captivity and is used in classrooms to teach about the lifecycle of butterflies and their role in the environment.

Many years ago I was told the Tomato Hornworm was the caterpillar for the Luna Moth but that is untrue. The Tomato Hornworm is the caterpillar for the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth. Luna Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of certain trees. Strangely, the adults do not feed.

You can read more about the Luna Moth on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

I am thankful I finally got to see a Luna Moth in person for the first time and hope to see more.

Thanks for reading this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful!

The Quest For Truth Part 2: Wildflower ID-The Swamp Revisited

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) flowers on 7-28-19.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Sunday and Monday I revisited the swamp in the back southeast corner of of the farm then walked the south side. It was very enjoyable and I found a few new wildflowers. I have been here since 2013 taking photos of wildflowers throughout the growing season and it seems there is always something new. The butterflies, bees, grasshoppers, and other insects were very busy. I returned twice on Monday because I found a few new plants and had to go back to take more photos for more positive ID.

The Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) in the above photo is doing well and its flowers are now opening. NICE! A better description is in the previous post.

I do not go into the swampy area that often because it is completely overgrown and getting worse every year.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

While poking around near the swamp at the edge of where the grass had been mowed for hay, I noticed several wildflowers I hadn’t seen before. One group was this Hypericum punctatum which is commonly known as Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

I took many photos of these plants flowers, leaves, and stems so I could get an ID. Umm… Missouriplants.com give detailed descriptions for NINE species of Hypericum to choose from. Sooooo… I had to go back later, at 7 PM, for further observation which led to another discovery.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

Its flowers were closed up for the night. Hmmm… Anyway, there are several differences between the species one being their flowers. Hypericum punctatum have spots and streaks on the surface of their petals. Other species just have dots near their petals margins, but most do not have any. So, I had returned to look at these plants petals with a magnifying glass. Even though the flowers were closed, I can safely say this species is Hypericum punctatum, the Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) buds on 7-29-19.

Hypericum punctatum was named and described by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck in Encyclopedie Methodique in 1797. I would hate to have that many names. Plants of the World Online lists 504 accepted species of Hypericum so I am fortunate to only have nine species to choose from.

Bees are attracted to their flowers because of the pollen but their flowers do not produce nectar. Mammals seldom eat these plants foliage because the leaves contain hypericin which can blister the skin and irritate the digestive tract.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

In the mix and nearly covered by other weeds was this wildflower I finally identified as Lobelia inflata. I made the positive ID after the second trip and looking into its throat with a magnifying glass. OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. Its main common name is Indian Tobacco, but other names include Asthma Weed, Bladderpod, Gagroot, and Pukeweed.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

Lobelia is not the only genus that has species with two upper and three lower lips but their flowers are MUCH larger. The petals and throat of the Lobelia inflata are white, usually, with no dots or streaks.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) flowers on 7-29-19.

Although these plants flowers are very small, it packs an interesting medicinal history. The Wikipedia says it was used by several Native American tribes to treat muscle and respiratory disorders, as a purgative, and as a ceremonial medicine. The leaves were burned by the Cherokee to smoke out gnats. It is still used in medicine today but it can have adverse side effects such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and possibly death. Possibly? The plant contains 52 different alkaloid compounds, most importantly lobeline.

 

Phyla lanceolata (Lanceleaf Fogfruit) on 7-29-19.

I first noticed this interesting wildflower on Sunday but all the photos of the flowers were blurry. I found several more of these plants growing under and among the weeds on Monday and took more photos. The magnifying glass works wonders once you get the hang of using it with the camera. I finally found out this wildflower is the Phyla lanceolata, commonly known as Lanceleaf Fogfruit and Lanceleaf Frogfruit. Hmmm… This plant was first named Lippia lanceolata by André Michaux in 1803 but was changed to Phyla lanceolata by Edward Lee Greene in 1899. Missouriplants.com uses the first name even though it was changed 120 years ago! Maybe they didn’t get the memo… There isn’t much online about this plant besides technical ID stuff which I will be adding to its own plant page once I have it finished.

I was hoping to find a connection with fog or frogs…

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, etc.) on 7-28-19.

While visiting the back of the farm on Sunday, I noticed this neat plant called Prunella vulgaris. It has many common names including Heal-All, Common Self-Heal, Woundwort, Heart-Of-The-Earth, Carpenter’s Herb, Brownwort, and Blue Curls. I revisited this plant on Monday to take more photos because many of what I took before were blurry but not because the flowers are very small. Some plants just seem somewhat difficult to photo especially in full sun.

Prunella vulgaris is native in almost all of the Northern Hemisphere and introduced in much of South America. Plants of the World Online lists eight species in the genus and only two that are native to the United States and Missouri. Missouriplants.com and Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers only describe one. Most species in the genus are only found in small areas. Although listed as a US native, it was apparently brought here by settlers from Europe.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All) on 7-29-19.

The description of the inflorescence on Missouriplants.com says:

Inflorescence – Terminal dense 4-angled spike of verticillasters to +/-7cm tall(long), 1.5-2cm thick. Verticillasters each with 6 flowers(3 flowers per cymule). Cymules subtended by broad ciliate-margined bracts. Bracts decussate, abruptly acuminate, 1.6cm broad. Flowers sessile.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I haven’t experienced this plant that long, but I think the dark areas are buds. While most plants flower from the bottom up, this one seems to have no particular order. About the flowers, Missouriplants.com says:

Flowers – Corolla bilabiate whitish-purple. Corolla tube to 8mm long, glabrous. Upper lip galeate, purple, 6-7mm long, 5mm broad, with a few villous hairs externally on midvein. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lateral lobes 2-3mm long, 1.5mm broad. Central lobe 4mm long, deflexed, fimbriate-erose at apex, light purple. Stamens 4, didynamous, included under the galea, upper pair adnate near base of galea, lower pair adnate near base of corolla tube. Filaments purple, glabrous, the longest to 1.2cm. Anthers purplish-brown. Style inserted between upper pair of stamens, glabrous, lilac, 1.6cm long. Stigma 2-lobed. Ovary 4-parted. Calyx bilabiate, accrescent, 10-nerved. Tube to 5mm long in flower. Upper lip with three mucronate lobes, reddish-purple at apex.  Lower lip 2-lobed. Lobes acuminate, 3mm long in flower, reddish-purple. Calyx villous on margins and on nerves. Nutlets to 2mm long, brownish-yellow, glabrous.

Hmmm… That was an interesting copy and paste.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I originally saw this plant on Sunday and thought it was only growing in the area by the swamp. After my first visit to the area Monday afternoon I walked the fence along the back pasture and saw it growing in MANY areas. Although it isn’t favored by cows, they will eat it along with the grass which is probably I hadn’t noticed it before. This plant is definitely not new to the area or it wouldn’t be so widespread.

The Wikipedia says this plant is edible and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and as a pot herb. It can also be used as a tea. The plant is considered by the Chinese to ‘change the course of a chronic disease”. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids, rutin, and many other chemical constituents. The VeryWell website has a good article about the benefits of this plant.

This plant was a neat find and almost overlooked because it was growing among taller plants. You just never know unless you have a closer look…

My thanks to Missouriplants.com, the Missouri State University website Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, Wildflowersearch.org and their many links that helped to make a positive ID. My thanks to Plants of the World Online by Kew for plant name research and to Dave’s Garden for pronunciation. I am also thankful to the many contributors of the Wikipedia pages who work hard to give so much information about plants. I am thankful for having an interest in plants and being part of the abundance and beauty of nature and being able to experience it first hand. I give thanks to God (Mother Father God, the Universe, etc., whichever you prefer) for its creation. OK, I will stop now even though I have more…

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed finding the plants, taking their photos, and doing the research. In time they will have their own pages.

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

 

Pink Queen’s Ann’s Lace, Swamp Agrimony, & Tall Thistle

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you well and that you are having a great week ahead. Last week the hay was cut and baled here on the farm so now I can resume taking wildflower photos here.

I found something very unusual on Thursday while working at Kevin’s farm north of town…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

There are A LOT of Daucus carota or Queen Anne’s Lace growing everywhere now, but there is something definitely strange about this particular plant…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

It has pink flowers! Just like with the Achillea millefolium a while back with pink flowers, one plant out of hundreds with pink flowers! I think that is so neat and I feel very blessed to witness plants in nature doing something different than most in their species.

I took a few other photos of plants I am watching for positive ID… I think I am confusing myself by taking photos of plants I can’t ID because all I have is leaves.

I have been trying to get a photo of a certain plant here on the farm since 2013. I always see the leaves in the swampy area but never any flowers. This year, I FINALLY did it!

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

I went to the back of the farm to remove the electric fence in the middle of the back pasture so it would be easier to cut the hay. LOW AND BEHOLD there was one of these plants right next to the electric fence about 12-14′ away from the HUGE OLD Multiflora Rose. It was very tall and getting ready to flower. I removed the fence and put the five electric fence posts around this plant. I put the yellow insulators on top of the posts to sort of act as flags. I told BJ about the plant and where it was and I had put the posts around it so he couldn’t miss it. I told him I wanted a photo of it so not to mow over it. I didn’t have the camera with me at the time or I would have taken photos right then. The next day I went back with the camera to take photos. Well, my thoughts about him not being able to miss it were true… He didn’t miss it! He ran smack over the plant and the five steel posts! Always in the past, there were several of these plants growing down by the swamp so I went to have a look. Sure enough, they were also getting ready to flower so I got my photos after all and made a positive ID. I didn’t complain to BJ about mowing the HUGE specimen because it was already done. He was there to mow and bale the hay and undoubtedly was looking forward and behind and didn’t even think about the plant. I am sure he remembered when he hit the posts, though.

 

Lower leaves of the Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

There are a few species of Agrimonia in Missouri, but the leaves easily distinguish Agrimonia parviflora from the others. The common name is Swamp Agrimony, Small-Flowered Agrimony, Harvestlice Agrimony, and Harvestlice. Plants of the World Online lists 21 accepted species in the genus but the Wikipedia says about 15. There are seven or so species in the US with three being described on the Missouriplants.com website. This species is found in 32 states in the United States. Out of all the species, Agrimonia parviflora is considered to be the most noxious.

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

Although bees and other insects feed on the nectar of the flowers, most mammals avoid this plant due to its bitter taste. Certain birds use Agrimony in their nests to keep away parasites such as lice and mites because of its foul aroma and taste. Flowers give way to bur-like seed capsules that cling to the fur of animals.

Even though considered a noxious plant, its burs were used by Native Americans for diarrhea and to reduce fever. The roots can be pulverized and have been used to increase red blood cell count, a gastrointestinal aid, a topical treatment for skin issues, and as a dietary aid. 

Probably the most interesting thing about the Agrimonia parviflora is that it is a member of the Rosaceae Family along with Roses…

Now then… After I took photos of the Agrimony, I walked to the corner to the tree line that borders the south hayfield. It’s a little hard to explain, but trust me, I know where I am going. 🙂 Here again, are plants I had not seen flower because they didn’t have the opportunity before.

 

Arilus cristatus (Wheel Bug) on the Cirsium altissimum.

Hmmm… I better move to the next plant. This one has a hungry stalker and I wouldn’t want this Wheel Bug to invite me to dinner or think I was interested in his.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

In the corner of this area were three of these plants and there are a few more farther north. I was unsure what these plants were so I took lots of photos to help ID. Doing research on several websites, I thought at first they could be a Sonchus species usually referred to as Sow Thistles. There are three Sonchus species mentioned by Missouriplants.com, Wildflowerresearch.org, and Midwest Weeds and Plants but the lower leaves and top of the plant do not match. It is definitely not Sonchus asper because this plant is friendly and S. asper is definitely not. Ummm… I also found one of those in another area. The tallest plant in the corner appears to be well over 8′ tall. Maybe I should take a tape measure and check for sure. It would also be a good idea to measure the leaves. That might sound a little overboard but you will see why in a minute.

 

Lower leaves of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

These plants could be Sonchus oleraceus, the Common Sowthistle but the lower leaves absolutely do not match. Sonchus oleraceus is not a spiny plant either. After looking at many photos on several websites, I came to the conclusion these plants are Cirsium altissimum, comonly known as the Tall Thistle.

 

Central leaves of the Cirsium altissimim (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The leaves change shape and become very long, broad, and lance-shaped with toothed margins. Again, they are not spiny. Very similar to Sonchus oleraceus.

 

Bud of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The buds are globe-shaped. A small spider had made a home on this bud.

 

Top view of a bud on the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

You have to admit this is a neat bud… All the photos of buds I have looked at are farther along than these. So, Sonchus bud search was unfruitful. After determining it was probably a Cirsium species, I saw buds that were similar which helped to ID this plant.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) is somewhat variable in the way they grow and what they look like from one location to another. I think light plays a big factor. The plant growing in full sun is shorter, has no lobed lower leaves, and the inflorence is more open. The plant  in this photo is growing in a mostly shaded area.

 

Top part of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

As with the Tall Thistle, Sowthistle flowers are normally well above the leaves. The lower leaves and flower buds were the determining factor before the buds open. After that, the Cirsium flowers will be a pinkinsh color while Sonchus species have yellow flowers. Probably, if I had ever seen a Sonchus species in the first place, I wouldn’t have been confused initially. I am sure they are much different in several other ways as well. Hopefully someday I will meet a Sonchus.

UPDATE: THE “could be” Sonchus oleraceus is Cirisium altissimum, a Tall Thistle.

Well, that’s all for this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

The Quest For Truth: Wildflower ID Part 1

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I guess the title of this post could get some attention for many reasons. Many of us are on a quest for the truth about something because, after all, the truth will set you free. We wonder about the truth of who we are when traditional religious teaching leaves us asking questions we are told have no answers. Some of us accept there are no answers and we go about life la-de-da. Well, I am not one of those people. While I may live in my own little la la land sometimes, it is far from a life of not knowing who I am, where I came from or where I am going. I have concluded it doesn’t really matter where or how we originated. What matters is who we are now and how we embrace life day by day. Growing spiritually, being thankful, and remaining positive are a few keys to living a happy and abundant life. We continue learning and making new discoveries which makes life truly amazing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working outside this summer. The past several months spraying and digging thistles on Kevin’s farm have allowed me to watch many wildflower species grow and flower. I have identified many species not growing on the 38 (or so) acres where I live which has been pretty exciting. There are many plants I haven’t identified fully because I am waiting for flowers which can get a bit entertaining. Partly because sometimes I can’t find a plant I was watching and partly because the cows eat them before they flower. So many species in different genera look alike while they are growing then they change when they are about to bud and flower. Some plants of the same species look different growing in different areas of the pasture.

Taking a lot of photos of many different plants can be somewhat confusing if you let it be. Going from one plant to the next then finding better specimins later. Maybe a feature you didn’t shoot before to help clarify a species… I usually photograph a finger (or fingers) between plants. I have learned from experience to take as many photos as possible when you have a chance. You may think there will be other plants of the species somewhere else but maybe not. Then later, when you didn’t find any others, you may not be able to find the plant you photographed earlier. Been there, done that more than once.

 

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

One of the many plants I haven’t encountered before is the Convolvulus arvensis commonly known as the Field Bindweed. There were several flowering in the front area of Kevin’s pasture all white flowers with five pale pink stripes. I saw one on the west side with all white flowers and information on Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers says they are commonly all white or mostly pink. There are five pink bracts on the underside of the flowers which may be why the flowers appeared to have pink stripes. The bracts distinguish it from the Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium). Their roots can grow from 8 to 30 feet deep with stems up to 9 feet long. Their roots can send up many shoots and a group of these can spread up to 20′ per year. They produce LOTS of seeds which are viable for up to 30 years!

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

The biggest issue I have been dealing with is the cows eating the plants I have been watching. I am certainly not complaining about the cows or anything. It is just the way it is and part of the cycle of life and nature. The milkweeds are a good example. The cluster of milkweed I posted about before that I couldn’t ID was likely because it had been snacked on at an earlier age. I took the above photo on July 17, which you can tell from the caption. 🙂

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

This probably caused the leaves to be smaller and is perhaps what caused the stems to a different color than it would have had if it had been allowed to grow to maturity naturally. While the growth habit, even though nipped earlier, sort of remained the same. So, the Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) would still remain a bit of a sprawler. Even though several Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) stems were eaten earlier, the growth that remained would still grow upright. Both the Common Milkweed and Green Milkweed have similar leaf veins but their growth habit, leaf shape and other characteristics remain true for the species.

 

On Monday, July 22, I went to Kevin’s farm to locate the Milkweed I previously questioned to get more photos. I wanted more in-depth photos of its leaves and stems on the upper and lower parts of the plant. I didn’t work on Monday so I wasn’t taking time away from my duties. Hmmm… I went to where I thought it was and it was not there. I thought maybe I wasn’t in the right spot so I walked around a bit and still couldn’t find it. So, I went back to where I originally thought it was and found a clump that was probably it. I remembered the clover and other weeds growing with the clump which was the determining factor but the whole spot had been eaten. What remained left me somewhat confused. What remained looked like Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed). The upper part of the stems that left me questioning what species it was earlier was now missing. At least I am fairly certain this is the same cluster… Hmmm… With the cows grazing and eating all the time, the surroundings change. Plants and parts of plants they like get eaten while weeds they don’t care for continue to grow.

 

Asclepias sullivantii on 6-22-19.

There are a few milkweeds that look similar but have distinguishing features that separate them from the rest. The Asclepias sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed) grow more upright with up facing leaves. The veins on the leaves are also more refined than the Common Milkweed but the midrib is pretty similar. When there are no flowers it can be somewhat difficult so you have to look for other features. Am I 100% certain? Not going to tell you…

There is a fairly large colony of Asclepias sullivantii in one area but the plants are spread out quite a distance from each other. They are supposed to flower in June and July but none of the plants had flowers during the time I have been there. There are no seed pods…

 

Arctium minus (Burdock) on 6-22-19.

Then there are the plants that completely change in appearance as they mature. The Arctium minus, commonly known as Burdock, is one of these species. The HUGE lower leaves that look like rhubarb are all but completely gone and have been replaced by smaller leaves and flowers (or buds).

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 6-22-19.

Rarely have I seen Ruellia humilis, the Wild Petunia (etc.) with this many leaves. Without the flowers, it may be a little difficult to identify because we look at their flowers first. If I saw this plant without flowers, not having seen one this large and with so many leaves, I may not have even recognized it. The only plants I have been around are those that have been in the pastures and the ditch where they are constantly eaten or mowed. The one in the above photo somehow escaped being eaten. When I mowed on Saturday I also noticed a large specimen in an area of the ditch here that hadn’t been mowed. The Wild Petunia is a true survivor.

We depend a lot on flowers for proper identification but sometimes that isn’t enough when there are many species in a genus that all have similar flowers. We have to look to their leaves and stems and sometimes their calyces on the underside of the flower may be the only difference.

Sometimes we get a little surprise and have to rethink what we think we know. Notice I am saying “we” (trying to avoid “I”).

 

Unidentified species on 6-22-19.

Several clumps I have been watching have done this… It is in an area where there are several Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s Ironweed) that are now beginning to flower. This plant is definitely not an Ironweed. The teeth on the upper leaves look like little nubs…

 

Hmmm…

The upper leaves are growing upright…

 

Double HMMM…

The teeth on the lower leaves look similar to many species, including Ironweed… Well, some of them… As these plants grew the teeth on their leaves changed somewhat.

Over the years I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on the farm but not always in every stage. So, it could be I will recognize it once it flowers.

 

Vernonia sp. (Ironweed) on 7-24-19.

As I mentioned, the Vernonia baldwinii are now beginning to flower. Actually, some had started earlier in another area and I included them in an earlier post. This plant is Baldwin’s Ironweed which most people just call Ironweed. At my place, an Ironweed is an Ironweed but I noticed something a little weird.

 

Dark stems on this cluster of Ironweed on 7-24-19.

This particular cluster of Ironweed has very dark stems. Some colonies stems are darker than others but have the same general characteristics otherwise. Stems partially dark but not necessarily the entire stem.

Have you ever thought something was right then started feeling maybe not?

 

Again with the Hmmm…

Notice the stems, or whatever you call them, on the entire inflorescence are a maroonish color… Well, I think it looks pretty neat!

 

GEEZ!

And then there is this one… No dark stems…

 

DOUBLE GEEZ!

Its inflorescence looks like this! No maroonish color at all!

 

TRIPLE GEEZ!

WHAT IS THIS? Its leaves look like the plant in question from before with the little nubs! Hmmm…

 

Ummm…

Here is a blooming inflorescence of the same, umm, Ironweed in a different spot.

 

Here is the whole group of Ironweed without dark stems. What you don’t notice in the photo is that these plants have a reddish glow which is quite fascinating in person.

Missouriplants.com gives descriptions of four species of Ironweed. The Missouri State University website, Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, has five. Looking at their descriptions of Vernonia baldwinii AND photos I took of plants here last year… Ummm… They all are plants with green stems and not dark. Vernonia gigantea (or Vernonia gigantea var. gigantea), the Tall Ironweed, has dark stems. Information says Vernonia baldwinii is “variable” and sometimes difficult to ID. Species in the genus cross to form hybrids as well. The different species can be identified by looking at the bracts surrounding the flower head. The phyllaries are somewhat different, but GEEZ!!!

So, I sent Pamela of Missouri State University some photos to get her input. The photos in the folder are not all labeled because they are not all ID’d. Actually, the photos in the last three folders are not all labeled. Each day of photos is in separate folders… Ummm… 606 folders so far since 2009.

Well, I think I will conclude this post and start on part 2. There may even be a part 3 and 4. I kind of like the name of this post. The Quest For Truth…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Past Week Wildflowers

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19. #602-1.

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. The past week has been fairly hot with no rain. I went back to check on the status of the thistles at Kevin’s farm north of town on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I have them pretty well whipped but there are always a few I missed from before. The Bull Thistles are always a one-time shot and not that big of a problem. The Musk Thistles have been a different story. The bigger plants are all gone but small ones continue to sprout a flowering stem here and there. It is almost like they do this overnight. Supposedly they grow a rosette the first year and flower their second. Well, I can argue that point after spending two months with them. The plants that continue to shoot up flowers are less than a foot tall while earlier the bigger plants were up to around 4′ tall. It has really been an experience.

I have continued to take photos of wildflowers while I worked. There is a combination of two days of photographs in this post but I wanted them in alphabetical order. The Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) in the above photo is getting with it now.

 

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19, #602-2.

The bumblebees really like them.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seed pod on 7-16-19, #602-4.

I had to take a photo of the seed pod of the Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). Its unique seed pods are one of the identifying features of this species of milkweed.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19.

While taking photos, a cow walked by and ate the tops right off this Common Milkweed. You can see the sap oozing out of the stems… Hmmm…

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19, # 602-6.

The Common Milkweed is a very robust plant that can grow to over 6′ tall. In pastures, they don’t get that chance and this group is only around 3′ tall, possibly multi-stemmed perhaps from an earlier pruning.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-7.

The Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) are among the first of the milkweeds to flower at the farm then are among the first to go to seed.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-8.

By contrast to many other plants, the large seed pods are mainly filled with fluff which helps the seeds float through the air. The distance they travel depends on a few things including wind speed and the height of neighboring plants. Rain can also spoil their trip by making the fluff heavy and wet and then the seeds just fall to the ground close to the parent plant.

 

Asclepias viridis on 7-17-19, #603-3.

While there are still a few Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) flowering, most have gone to seed.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-1.

While most of the milkweeds are pretty easy to identify, especially when flowering, I have found one that has me stumped… When I first saw this plant and took a couple of photos, I didn’t realize what a difficult time I would have identifying it. If I had have known, I would have taken more photos and looked around for other plants like it while I was working.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-2.

If I have a plant I cannot figure out, I contact Pamela Trewatha from the Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). I am not sure if she is a botanist, horticulturalist or what but she maintains their Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers website and I think she took most of the photographs. She was stumped on this one as well which was very surprising. She thought it could be Asclepias sullivantii although she said she has never seen one in person. I looked at hundreds of photos online and I haven’t figured it out. This plant does not have the growth habit like Asclepias sullivantii nor are their leaves similar. There are many other differences as well that ruled out A. sullivantii. There were a few possibilities but not close enough. The one species that came close does not grow here and where it does grow it is very rare. There were no flowers on this plant and I didn’t notice any old flowers or seed pods. When I go back I will scout the area and see if there are other plants like this clump and possibly find flowers or seed pods. The spent flower in the above photo is a Red Clover…

There are several wildflower websites I use for ID. While there are milkweeds with similar leaves, some species leaves are “variable” and can be “oval” or have a slight point at the tip. However, the veining on this species leaves are not that “refined”, the tips are round, the midribs are light green (some species can have either maroonish or green midribs), and the central stems on this milkweed are brownish and not green like most… The leaves are also fairly small.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-9.

I found a good-sized group of Bull Thistle I had somehow overlooked right in the middle of a large area. When I was getting ready to spray, the plants came to life as these HUGE beetles started flying out. It was very hot, so apparently, the beetles were farther down inside the thistles. I couldn’t get any photos at first because the beetles were moving pretty fast. Then, several feet away, I noticed this beetle along with a Japanese Beetle on a stem of an old Musk Thistle.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-10.

The Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) is a pretty good-sized bug. They feed on flowers in pastures but also eat fruit. I attempted to pick up this guy (or gal) but it wanted no part of a new friendship. Beetles are not the most graceful flyers and sometimes you wonder if they even have a clue as to where they are going. These beetles sound like a small plane (very small) when they fly. When there are hundreds flying at once you might want to take cover because you will get run into.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-11.

This interesting species is the Croton capitatus, commonly known as Hogwort, Wooly Croton, and Goatweed. Croton is a very large genus consisting of 1,173 species (as of this post date) and this species is found through much of the United States. The Missouri Department of Conservation says there are three species of Croton in Missouri. I have two species growing on the farm.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) flowers on 7-16-19, #602-13.

Their flowers aren’t that particularly interesting unless you take a closer look… The cluster of flowers consists of male flowers toward the tip and female flowers below. Male flowers have 5 tiny white petals and 10-14 anthers. The female flowers don’t have petals but have 6-9 calyx lobes which are split 2-3 times making a total of 12-24 lobes. The fruits are about 1/4” wide and contain only three seeds each. Apparently doves and quail like their seeds.

While many wildflower species have many medicinal benefits, this plant produces Croton Oil which is a powerful laxative.

 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) on 7-17-19, #603-5.

The Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) grow throughout the farm here as well as at Kevin’s. The flowers are so small it is very hard to get good photos of, especially close-ups. The plants are very short and have narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Although not an original US native, they can be found growing throughout most of the US and Canada.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-16-19, #602-14.

While I was walking around the area where the Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) were I noticed more flowers. I guess the photos I had taken for a previous post were their buds and now they are flowering.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) flower on 7-16-19, #602-15.

There were a lot of bumblebees on the flowers as well as a few Japanese Beetles. It was funny watching for a few seconds. It was like the bumblebees were on a mission and no Japanese Beetles were going to get in their way.

 

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) on 7-17-19, #603-6.

I needed to go visit a friend Wednesday afternoon so I decided to drive by the large colony of Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower). This is where I was going to dig some plants up this spring but… Well, it didn’t happen. Maybe I can collect some seeds later. I love the way the native coneflowers petals droop.

Ummm… While I was taking photos of the Yellow Coneflower, I noticed some really neat leaves but there were no flowers… Then later I spotted them again with flowers… The name begins with an “S” so it is farther down in the post. 🙂

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-7.

I have seen this plant growing along highways for MANY years and have always wondered with it was. Usually, I don’t have time or I don’t have the camera, but mainly because I didn’t want to stop along the highway. Well, when I went to visit my friend on Wednesday I noticed them growing along a different road. Not only them but the plants that begin with the “S”.

The plants in the above photo are Lotus corniculatus commonly known as the Bird’s Foot Trefoil. Hmmm… OK, I know how common the Bird’s Foot Trefoil is but I had never seen any up close and personal until now.

The Lotus corniculatus isn’t a US native. The Wikipedia says the plant is native to parts of North Africa and Eurasia. Hmmm… I learned something. I had to click on Eurasia to find out where it was. I don’t think they taught it was Eurasia when I was in school… It is the largest continent on Earth consisting of all of Europe and Asia with 70% of the world’s population. Hmmm… I didn’t even realize Africa was considered an Asian country. Well, I got stuck reading about Eurasia so I better get back to…

Where was I anyway? Oh yeah! Lotus corniculatus!

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-8.

I lost my train of thought while reading about Eurasia and kind of went blank because I didn’t know… Anyway, it was interesting.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil is grown as a high-quality forage plant for pastures, hay, and silage that does not cause bloat.

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-9.

The flowers are particularly interesting. What is even more interesting is that a plant guy didn’t even realize these yellow flowers growing along the road were Bird’s Foot Trefoil! Several people have asked me what they were over the years but I never knew until now. Now I know and I am thankful. I am also thankful for learning where Eurasia is. 🙂

Ummm… The Lotus genus is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea Family) and contains 124 accepted species.

What we usually think of as a Lotus is the Nelumbo nucifera, also known as the Sacred Lotus Flower, Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, Egyptian Bean or simply lotus. It is the only genus in the family Nelumbonaceae with two accepted species. Strange the Water Lily isn’t in the same family, but they are in the Nymphaeaceae family. Hmmm…

I had to check on that because I was wondering why Bird’s Foot Trefoil was a Lotus. Then I find out the Lotus isn’t a Lotus. Double hmmm…

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-16.

OK, I realize the Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) isn’t a wildflower and maybe most wouldn’t find them that interesting. For me, though, I think they are a magnificent tree especially when they get very old.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange), 7-16-19, #602-17.

Just look at that massive trunk… This tree isn’t quite as large as the old one at my place, but it is still pretty good sized.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-21.

This tree, like most very old Osage Orange, have stood the test of time. Just think of how many high winds, thunderstorms, heavy snows, and ice they have been through. If you ever have a chance to visit a very old and large Osage Orange, look up into the tree and you can see how they have twisted and turned over the years. They tell a tale of a long life in the elements of nature and have endured them all. This tree was really talking and I enjoyed our brief visit and feeling the energy surrounding it. It is more than alive, it is A LIFE! 🙂

 

Nepeta cataria (Catnip) on 7-17-19, #603-10.

While I was spraying in a little area I had rarely gone, I noticed a plant I completely didn’t expect to see in the wild. I said, “It’s a mint! What in the world are you doing here?” Of all places next to a Gooseberry bush and Osage Orange tree where an old fence row had been. Just goes to show you just never know what you might find… Oh! It is a Nepeta catariaCatnip! They have different leaves and flowers than Spearmint.

I suppose the Catnip has to grow in the wild somewhere and there are several mints that are native to Missouri. I have just never seen any in the wild. Of course, they are members of the Lamiaceae family along with 234 other genera of aromatic and tasty culinary herbs.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower on 7-16-19, #602-22.

Had I not noticed something weird about this plant, I could have easily passed it off as a Horsenettle. All I saw at first was a nearly hidden yellow flower drooping downward so I thought I would have a peek because Horsenettle does not have yellow flowers. Then I saw what else was hidden beneath the leaves. As it turns out this plant is a Physalis longifolia, commonly known as the Common or Smooth Ground Cherry.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower, on 7-16-19, #602-23.

AH HA, you say! 🙂 Well, at least I thought it looks like the plant called Chinese Lantern, which is actually Physalis peruviana. Perhaps you were thinking about the Tomatillo or Mexican Husk Tomato which is the Physalis philadelphica and/or Physalis ixocarpa. Well, inside of these small lanterns is a fruit which is also edible…

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 7-16-19, #602-24.

The Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia, etc.) are growing here and there on Kevin’s farm as where I live. They seem to be growing as solitary plants rather than in colonies except for in my ditch where there are several. I think there are more in the ditch in front of the house than on the entire pasture and hayfield. While they flower over a long period, they seem to only produce one flower at a time. While one bud is beginning to open, the one before it is fading. Some information online says the flowers open in the morning and fall off in the evening. Hmmm… These plants are very easy to recognize in the wild because, after all, they are a petunia. Not saying all Ruellia species are the same, but all do have similar characteristics. Plants of the World Online currently list 357 accepted species in the genus.

Now that I am down to the mystery plant… Well, maybe I should save it for a post of its own. Just kidding. 🙂 But I do feel a nap coming on…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-13.

OK… The above photo, although taken out of numerical order, is the leaves of the plant with no flowers I saw when photographing the Echinacea paradoxa. They were by the road so apparently, their flower stems had been mowed off. I took the photo because I thought they were quite strange and unusual.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) on 7-17-19. #603-20.

Hmmm… I realize you are laughing at me AGAIN because anyone who has driven on most highways and backroads has seen this plant. Of course, like me, maybe you just passed them off as some kind of sunflower. I had no idea this plant had so much interest whatsoever.

Found throughout Missouri except for the southeast corner, the Silphium laciniatum is easily identified by its pinnatifid leaves, hairy stems, and big yellow flower heads. Its common name is the Compass Plant because their flowerheads follow the sun across the sky (heliotropism) like many species in the Asteraceae family such as sunflowers.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-14.

Silphium laciniatum has been used as a worm expelling, coughs, lung problems, asthma, and as an emetic. The resin produced on the upper part of the stems was chewed by Native Americans. The mouth cleansing gum is said to be fragrant but bitter.

Contrary to what you might think, the common name comes from their leaves and not their flowers. Pioneers believed that the leaves of the Compass Plant pointed in a north-south direction. The basal leaves do usually grow on a north-south axis thought to minimize intense overhead sun exposure. Of course, their flowers follow an east to west movement following the sun…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) flower on 7-17-19, #603-23.

The Compass Plant grow from 6-12 feet tall and their flowers can be up to 5″ across. It can take several years for these plants to develop into a full-sized plant but they can live up to 100 YEARS! Their taproots can grow 15′ deep! The basal leaves can grow to 18″ long while the upper leaves are much smaller.

So now we know these plants are Compass Plants and not just another sunflower. 🙂

 

Solanum carolinense (Horsenettle) on 7-17-19, #603-25.

Of course, this is the common ‘ol run of the mill Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) we may all love to hate. One of its common names, Tread Softly, says a lot! While it is a member of the Nightshade family (along with tomatoes) and its fruit may look like cherry tomatoes, DO NOT EAT! The Wikipedia says:

“All parts of the plant, including its tomato-like fruit, are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine glycoalkaloids which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant’s natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death. “

I may have not taken a photo of the Horsenettle if it weren’t for the flower below which I noticed the day before…

 

Solanum dimidiatum (Robust Horsenettle) on 7-16-19, #602-25.

Ummm… As I was working I noticed something a little unusual… While I do have a lot of Horsenettle in my pastures and hayfield, some of the colonies in Kevin’s pasture have these blue flowers. While it is true that some in my pasture do have a slight tint, they are mainly all white. So, I took photos and found that these are Solanun dimidiatum commonly known as the Robust Horsenettle. While I did find it particularly interesting this was a different species, I won’t be collecting any of their seeds. One Horsenettle plant is plenty. The Housenettles are not really nettles in the sense of what nettles are. Ummm… What I mean is, they are not true nettles they are just called nettles. Kind of like the Sacred Lotus not being a Lotus. GEEZ!

I have seen a few plants that looked like the Black Nightshade which I sprayed because they looked pretty shady to me. I had one growing at the farm last year in an area behind the chicken house. I took a lot of photos of it one day and the next day it was completely gone (no trace whatsoever). I thought that was very strange that the plant grew so large, flowered and even set fruit and then the cows must have eaten it. What else could have happened to it? Maybe the Wood Chuck or a bunch of squirrels?

 

Verbena stricta (Hoary Vervain) on 7-16-19, #602-29.

One of my favorite wildflowers is Verbena. The interesting thing is that the species growing on Kevin’s farm are different than the ones growing where I live. This one is Verbena stricta commonly known as the Hoary Vervain. The species growing in my pastures and hayfield is the Verbena hastata commonly known as the Blue Vervain. I mainly noticed the difference by the Verbena stricta‘s broader leaves and larger flowers. The one thing that makes them very similar is getting photos that aren’t blurry… While Plants of the World Online list 147 species in the Verbena genus native to most parts of the world, Verbena hastata and Verbena stricta are native to most of the US and Canada.

I am finished for now because I ran out of photos. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed this post because I learned A LOT. I am thankful I found out about Eurasia, too!

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always, always, be thankful! After a week of heat and no rain, I am thankful we finally had rain this morning and as I am finishing this post.

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Find

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-12-19, #600-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well and doing your best to enjoy the summer. We have had some hot days but it cools down nicely in the evening. I hadn’t been out to the farm where I have been working on the thistles for 12 days until Thursday. Friday I made my way to an area where I had been watching a colony of plants. I had been waiting for them to flower so I could make an ID but they flowered while I was away.

While I was in the area I noticed an Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). I have these growing along the lagoon at my house but I hadn’t taken any photos for some strange reason. This species of Milkweed grow pretty tall, up to around 6′, and have nice broad oval leaves. There is another species that is similar in Missouri but they may have gone extinct since none have been seen since 1933.

Asclepias syriaca is known as the Common Milkweed, Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallowwort, and Virginia Silkweed. This species was one of the earliest North American species described by Jacques-Philippe Cornut (French physical and botanist) in Canadensium Plantarum Historia in 1635. Many species of insects feed on the Common Milkweed.

Although the plant’s latex contains large quantities of glycosides which makes it toxic to livestock and humans, the young shoots, leaves, flower buds, and immature fruit are edible (raw). Apparently, it can be cooked like asparagus. I read this information on Wikipedia.

According to Plants of the World Online, there are 206 species in the Asclepias genus. It is a member of the Apocynaceae Family (family of Milkweeds) which currently contains 358 genera. Version 1.1 of The Plant List (updated in 2013) listed 410 genera and 5,745 species. It also lists a WHOPPING 10,568 synonyms (genus and species synonymous with other species) PLUS 3,928 species names that were still unresolved… Well, that was several years ago and those numbers have changed due to the effort of many botanists and horticulturalists. So many species had/have multiple scientific names. It is a continual work in progress.

 

Arilus cristatus (Wheel Bug) on 7-12-19, #600-1.

While looking at the Milkweed I noticed this assassin bug. It is the dreaded Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus). The Wheel Bug is one of the largest assassin bugs. I have seen these many times on the farm but didn’t know much about them. I found some good information on the North Carolina State Extension website. They feed on a number of insects including aphids, caterpillars, beetles, and many other problem insects. They inject their prey with a toxin that kills within 30 seconds. Their bite is said to be more painful than a wasp sting so it is best not to handle.

Debbie Roos has a great article titled Birth Of An Assassin Bug! on the North Carolina State University Extension website. The article also shows photos of their eggs.

 

Daucus carota (Queen Ann’s Lace) on 7-12-19, #600-3.

Earlier there was A LOT of Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) on the farm, and there still is for that matter. I mean, where would they go anyway? Now the Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) is flowering. Daucus carota is a member of the Apiaceae Family with carrots and 441 other genera. There are 45 accepted species in the Daucus genus.

While the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers are kind of similar in appearance to the deadly Poison Hemlock, their leaves have a mixture of tripinnate leaves, fine hairs, and a root that smells like carrots. Poison Hemlock have larger leaves and the plants grow MUCH taller. I ran across this YouTube video, Poison Hemlock Identification and Yarrow Comparision, that shows the difference between Poison Hemlock, Queen Anne’s Lace and Achillea millefolium.  While their flowers may look similar to people who don’t spend a lot of time in nature, the leaves of Achillea millefolium look nothing like the other two.

Since summer is here, it seems like the interest in “foraging” has returned. If you are interested in this, you really should invest in a field guide to take along with you, or even someone who is experienced. Ummm… Also when you do this, I suggest leaving your cell phones behind or at least turn them off. When you are out in nature, be out in nature and leave any distractions behind. Take time to be aware of the beauty and life around you. Sit quietly someplace with your eyes closed and allow your other senses to observe as well. Sometimes we see best with our eyes closed in nature. Be aware that we are all one with EVERY living thing.

 

Daucus carota (Queen Ann’s Lace) on 7-12-19, #600-4.

Flowers are used in arrangements and will change color depending on the color of the water, similar to Carnations.

Plants are beneficial companion plants attracting pollinators and improving the microclimate for some vegetables. Some states have it listed as a noxious weed and considered invasive in pastures when established.

Now for the plants I was keeping an eye on…

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-5.

I took an interest in these plants growing along the highway because I don’t have any like this at my place. I have seen them here and there, normally where there is a ditch or a creek.  It may sound strange but I had no clue what they were even after seeing their flowers but the name Teasel popped into my head on the way home. Well, I guess I must admit, the name didn’t just pop into my head. We are not alone and when we talk to ourselves we are actually talking to “them” as well. GEEZ! It is kind of hard to explain unless you have done the same…

OK, even though you might think I am a bit whacky, I will explain. Once you realize you are not alone and we have guides and Angels and so on with us all the time, when you talk to yourself you are also talking with them. They are here not only to guide us and watch over us, but they are also here to learn from us and our human experiences. They are very OLD and knowledgeable about many things. So, when you have questions about this and that, just ask. You will be surprised at how you receive your answers.

Anyway, this plant is, in fact, the Cut-Leaved Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus). For some reason, it is a member of the Caprifoliaceae Family, also known as the Honeysuckle Family, which consists of mainly shrubs and vines. It was formerly in the Dipsacaceae Family (the Teasel Family). Plants of the World Online list 21 accepted species in the Dipsacus genus. There are a few other Teasel species found in Missouri but their flowers are a different color and their leaves are also different.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-6.

I think they have already flowered but they are still very interesting.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-7.

They are monocarpic, living for several years before flowering then dying. The flowers attract bumblebees, bee flies, butterflies, and skippers.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-8.

Its leaves are oppositely arranged around the stem. The pinnately lobed leaves are around 16” long. The base of the leaves clasps around the prickly stems.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-9.

There is quite a colony in the ditch that apparently aren’t old enough to flower. The leaves of immature plants are usually unlobed.

For more information about this plant, visit the Missouriplants.com, Its Wikipedia page, or just type in Dipsacus laciniatus. There are several state websites with good information.

Well, that’s it for this post. Until next time, take care, stay positive, be safe and always be thankful!

The New Rescue Japanese Beetle Traps

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. The new Japanese Beetle Traps came in the mail on Monday. I sent the company an email about the issues with the first two traps I bought from the local Farmer’s Co-op. I sent a link of my post to her and she said she was glad to see I had caught so many beetles but was sorry to hear about my issues with the traps. She said they had a lot of complaints about the same reason I did so they changed the design. They changed it in October 2018 although the first two I bought the first part of July were the old design. I replied with a couple of links from people who had “re-engineered” the top part of beetle traps and fit them in funnels (like the ones you use to pour oil into motors) and fit them onto 5-gallon buckets. I thought that was very ingenious and maybe they can make a kit to use with buckets.

I didn’t put the traps up until Tuesday evening because I wanted to take one to the Farmer’s Co-op to show them the new design. Well, they had a full box of the old design they just got in. I showed them how the zipper on the old design cut the bags when they were opened and closed and how the new design works. They didn’t seem to enthused. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I may have “implied” the ones they were selling were no good. Even though I said customers complained so the company changed the design. She said, “That is what they sent.” I guess they came from a warehouse and had them leftover from last summer.

 

The top part of the trap is basically the same as the old design (although not as colorful).

 

With no sliding zipper to cut the bag…

 

You just simply pull it apart.

 

It is kind of “velcro-like”.

 

To close, you just press the two sides back together. Pretty simple.

 

Then you snap the “funnel” in place.

 

I must admit, the attractant does smell pretty good.

 

The attractant slides into place at the top of the trap.

 

As you can see, packing tape doesn’t work all that well sometimes. Maybe duct tape would work better but it would be a pain removing it when you have to dump the bag. You would pretty much have to cut the bottom and retape it every time you needed to dump it.

 

All setup and ready to go next to the shade bed. I put them both where the old ones had been. I didn’t get bombarded with beetles since it was 8 PM when I hung them up.

 

I am not sure how easy it will be to reseal the bag with it hanging, so I may have to take it down and put it on a flat surface. That’s easy enough to do as long as it works.

Even though some retailers may still be selling the old version, many people don’t have as many Japanese Beetles as there are here so they probably won’t have an issue.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. I did take a few other photos for another post. Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY Plus A Few Photos

Echinacea purpurea on 7-4-19, #598-1.

Hello everyone and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! As always, the city had their 4th of July celebration at the park down the road from where I live. There was a steady stream of traffic going by most of the day. It rained this afternoon which kind of put a damper on things, but the fireworks display went ahead as planned. I must admit, they do a pretty good job for a community the size of Windsor. I can see the fireworks pretty good from the backyard which lasted about 30 minutes.

Despite it sprinkling most of the afternoon, including one pretty good downpour, I did manage to go out about 6 PM and take a few photos. I took photos all week but have been tardy writing daily posts. Ummm… How many times have mentioned something to that effect? 😐

Last July 4 I moved the plants and plant tables from around the shed in the other yard to the front and back porch. That was because of the Japanese Beetles.

So, in alphabetical order…

In the above photo, the Echinacea purpurea, which may be the cultivar called ‘Magnus’, is now flowering up a storm. The bank in town has a HUGE patch of them I have been meaning to photograph. The Purple Coneflower is one of my favorite plants. GEEZ! I can’t believe I said that because I try not to have favorites! I like the way the petals droop and like the feeling of the cones. Echinacea purpurea is a very beneficial plant in many ways.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 7-4-19, #598-2.

Out in the shade bed, several of the Hosta are starting to flower. The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has a lot of buds but they haven’t peeked their way through the foliage yet. Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has been an awesome performer over the past at least eight summers. I bought it while in Mississippi at the mansion and the first photo was taken on April 15, 2012, but it seems like I had it longer. I really like its dark green, puckered, and corrugated leaves. The clump had gotten very large and has been the best performer of all the Hosta in my collection.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on 7-4-19, #598-3.

Even though I just brought the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ home last June 7, it has become quite a show-stopper. Very bight and cheery for sure and starting to flower.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 7-4-19, #598-4.

The Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ is always a dazzler. Its leaves change color with age which just adds to its interest. It isn’t a big plant, but it puts on a big show!

 

Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora on 7-4-19, #598-5.

I purchased the two Ledebouria socialis (Silver Squill) varieties last October and have really enjoyed them as companions. The above photo is of the Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora which used to be Ledebouria pauciflora. I like the silvery leaves with the small green flecks.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea on 7-4-19, #598-7.

The Ledebouria socialis var. violacea is really growing well. It had many more bulbs than the other one when they arrived. This one was the species Ledebouria violacea but the name changed also.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea new growth on 7-4-19, #598-9.

The Ledebouria socialis var. violacea also seems to be a bit more of a spreader. These plants are VERY, VERY easy to grow even through the winter in the house. You don’t even need to water them through the winter, in fact, it is best if you don’t.

I am STILL waiting for the two new cultivars to arrive… I think he is a bit behind.

Hmmm… My computer just notified me I have a new memory from summer 2017. Weird… Now I am wondering how it came up with that idea. 🙂

 

Mammillaria hahniana on 7-4-19, #598-10.

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is starting to bud again. It isn’t looking like its normal fuzzy self because it is wet from the rain. This is our fourth summer as companions.

 

Mammillaria pringlei on 7-4-19, #598-11.

The Mammillaria pringlei (Rainbow Pincushion) is also starting to flower. This is our third summer together.

I took photos of all the cactus and succulents several days ago but they haven’t made it to a post yet.

 

Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ on 7-4-19, #598-12.

I was delighted to see a flower on the Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’. I was amazed that it even returned this spring as it seems most perennials I have bought have not, especially in the north bed.

Let me see… How many perennials have not returned here? I don’t even want to think about it. I have amended the soil with “the good stuff”, added new soil with LOTS of “the good stuff”, raised the whole area only to have it sink during the winter.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 7-4-19, #598-13.

Hmmm… While the Rudbeckia hirta (the native species) have been flowering for a while now, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is STILL in bud!

 

Schizura ipomaeae (Morning Glory Prominent)

I took the above photo this moth a few mornings ago but wanted to share it with you. It was just sitting there trying to blend in with the porch raining. Later I found out is it the Morning Glory Prominent (Schizura ipomaeae). It reminded me of a post called Rainy Season from June 4 on the SKYEENT blog. The second photo on the post is of the Buff Tipped Moth which looks exactly like a decaying birch twig. I find many moth species camouflage very fascinating.

A lot of insects do some very interesting things. There is a small wasp that fills the windchimes on the back porch with grass. It was kind of funny, actually. I had noticed the grass in the wind chimes but didn’t say anything to mom and dad about it. I just kind of ignored it as weird. There is a lot of weird around here sometimes. Anyway, one day dad and I were on the back porch and this small wasp comes flying in with a piece of dry grass about a foot long and somehow manages to put the whole thing in one of the tubes. Dad said it always does that and sometimes the wasp drops the grass and has to get another one. I didn’t notice the wasp last summer and a lot of the grass has fallen out by now. I have been hoping it would return so I can take photos. 🙂

OK, I am finished now. It is 12:35 AM and it is now the 5th of July. It is raining and thundering which will make for a good night sleep (hopefully).

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

 

Rescue Japanese Beetle Trap #2 Video

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I bought another Japanese Beetle trap Tuesday afternoon. Within three seconds the first beetle was in the trap. I looked out into the yard north of the shade bed and I could see Japanese Beetles coming out of the grass and heading toward the trap.

I decided to make this video…

 

 

The first trap hasn’t been getting as much activity since I put up the second one. Most of the beetles were coming from that area in the first place because of the Chinese Elms.

Wednesday morning a man came to recharge the AC and he wanted to see the traps. So, I showed him the first one then we went to the new one. Beetles were coming from everywhere but there weren’t that many in the trap yet.

Then at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon…

 

HOLY COW!!!! THE TRAP IS FULL!

 

I went to get a bag to empty the trap, but on my way, I stopped to check the first bag…

 

Hmmm… No wonder there weren’t many beetles in the trap. There is a hole in the bottom! That’s weird! So, I taped the bottom with packing tape.

 

I went to the new bag, opened the zipper and emptied the trap. Then, when I closed the zipper, there was a tear all away across the bottom. The zipper makes a rip all across the bottom above the zipper! How’s that for a design flaw?!?! The bag is supposed to reusable!

 

So, I had to put tape all across the bottom of the bag. I guess it is still reusable as long as you use tape.

I am now going to send an email to the company. Did I miss something in the instructions perhaps? There are videos online about this product, like how to use it… It shows a different way to open and close, you just pull it apart and seal it shut like a ziplock bag (without a zipper). Mine is new and it isn’t made to open it that way. It has a ZIPPER!

While it is true the trap works, which I definitely can’t complain about, why does the bag rip when it is supposed to be reusable? Maybe most people don’t have as many beetles, but I highly doubt I am that unique. I did see some traps on Ebay that didn’t use bags…

Well, that’s it for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive and always be thankful… Even if your Japanese Beetle trap springs a leak. 🙂

UPDATE!

I did send the company an email with a link to this post. The email was promptly replied. The customer rep said she was glad to see the number of beetles I had caught but was sorry to hear about the problem with the bag ripping. She said that because of customer feedback with the same issue they redesigned the bag (like the one in the video I watched). She said they would send me two new traps to try and review. 🙂 Now, I will go to the Farmers Co-op and tell them the news. LOL!