More Wildflower ID & New Friends

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you doing well. I took a few wildflower photos as I was working on Wednesday. It only takes a couple of seconds to whip the camera out of my pocket and take a few photos.

The thistle battle continues at a friends farm but I think I have made great progress. On Thursday I was at one small area along the boundary fence and almost fell over. I looked across the fence and saw a patch of hundreds of Musk Thistle flowers laughing at me. I had very few thistles here this year but that doesn’t mean there won’t be A LOT more next year. The seed is good in the soil for many years. You have to have a plan and understand you have to stick with it. Not that you can’t amend it, but you have to have a goal in mind. Even though the seeds will come up every year no matter what you do, the goal is to get rid of the flowers before they go to seed. They come up from seed and remain in a flattish rosette the first year and flower their second year. I am not a fan of spraying, believe me, but sometimes you have to do it. For the most part, digging them up here has worked fine because I never did have that many and just in the front pasture and a few on the pond bank. My friend has a MUCH BIGGER pasture and digging them all would have driven me nuttier than I already am. 🙂

OK, here we go… In alphabetical order…

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) on 5-30-19, #578-2.

I first posted about the Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) a few weeks ago. I have none of this species here but there are quite a few of them in Kevin’s pasture.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) seed pods on 6-19-19, #592-3.

This Milkweed is also known as the Green Milkweed, Green Antelopehorn, and Spider Milkweed. Many Milkweeds are favored by the Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Tussock Moths, but apparently, this species sheds its leaves before they arrive. The latex sap is toxic to humans and animals so I guess that is one reason the cows avoid them.

 

Chicorium intybus (Chicory or Road Aster) on 6-19-19, #592-12.

There are quite a few Chicorium intybus, commonly known as Chicory or Road Aster growing in the pasture, and along the highways and back roads. You can’t miss them as they are one of the very few blue wildflowers blooming now. It is one of the many members of the Asteraceae Family along with Dandelions. The roots of the Chicorium intybus var. sativum is ground, baked, and used as a coffee substitute. Although the leaves are a bit strange, they can be eaten in salads. It is also closely related to Cichorium endivia which is also called Chickory and Curly Endive which is popular in salads. An extract from the root of Chicorium intybus, inulin, is used as a sweetener and a source of dietary fiber. Other common names include Blue Daisy, Blue Dandelion, Blue Sailors, Blue Weed, Bunk, Coffeeweed, Cornflower, Hendibeh, Horseweed, Ragged Sailors, Succory, Wild Bachelor’s Buttons, and Wild Endive. I found all that information on Wikipedia… There’s more but I am exhausted… OH, one more thing… I found a cluster of these plants with near-white flowers, kind of bi-colored, but the photos were blurry. So, I will have to locate them again and take better photos.

If you notice I misspell, please feel free to correct me. Actually, I would appreciate it. I always proofread a couple of times, but since I started using Grammarly I have found I overlook a few things. But then again, I have had to teach it botanical language. I use TextEdit when I write pages and sometimes I have to watch carefully because it will change the spelling. Then when I copy and paste, Grammarly sometimes disagrees. So, we have to have a pow wow.

 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) on 6-19-19, #592-14.

This delightful Dianthus armeria commonly known as Deptford Pink or Pink Grass grows just about everywhere in Kevin’s pasture and a few areas here on the farm. Although it is considered a native Missouri plant, it is not originally from North America. Although they are plentiful in “poorer” soils, they don’t compete well with other plants where the ground is more fertile. In other words, they are not pushy. The leaves are high in saponins which makes it fairly unattractive to livestock. Most photos online show plants with white spots on the petals, but as you can see in the above photo, these seem to have maroon spots. Hmmm…

 

Erigeron sp. on 6-19-19, #592-16.

There are LOTS of this Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) growing just about everywhere. I haven’t correctly identified the species because there are likely to be several that look so much alike it is hard to tell. The same is true for Symphytotrichum species. 🙂 The two genera mainly differ in petal length and type of catalysts, but there may be up to three species of each growing here on the farm I am sure. When I got more into wildflower ID here on the farm, I became somewhat frustrated with my many trips back and forth from the computer to the plants. Then there was group growing along the fence in the front pasture that is 3x taller than normal. Not to mention some of the colonies had pinkish flowers. When I realized they were quite amused with my bewilderment, they said, “We are quite variable.” Quite…

 

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-19-19, #592-21.

The Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) are growing in a few isolated areas on Kevin’s farm but I have not seen any here. They are also not originally native to the United States.

 

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-19-19, #592-22.

They have larger flowers than the above mentioned Fleabane. They have many common names including Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, Poor-Land Penny, Poverty Daisy, and White Daisy.

 

Libellula luctuosa (Widow Skimmer) on 6-19-19, #592-25.

I have seen a lot of Dragonflies over the years, but this was the first time I have seen a Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). It flew down right next to where I was working and I got this photo first shot. That was good because it quickly flew to another spot. I chased it down and took a few other photos but they turned out blurry. I didn’t spend much time because I was on the clock… 🙂

 

Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweet Clover) on 6-19-19, #592-26.

The Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweet Clover) is a native of Eurasia. They can grow 4-6 feet tall but rarely have that opportunity in a pasture. Hay containing this clover must be properly dried because the plants contain coumarin that converts to dicoumarol when the plants become moldy. Dicoumarol is a powerful anticoagulant toxin which can lead to bleeding diseases (internal hemorrhaging) and death in cattle. Although a sweet clover, it has somewhat of a bitter taste because of the coumarin which cows have to get used to. As with all sweet clovers, they provide nectar for honeybees.

 

Rosa setigera (Climbing Rose) on 6-19-19, #592-30.

There are a few trees with Climbing Roses (Rosa setigera) growing in them along a creek. I have several Multiflora Roses (Rosa multiflora) on the farm but none of these (Although I have seen them along the trail next to the farm).

 

Terrapene carolina triunguis (Three-Toed Box Turtle) on 6-19-19, #592-37.

I almost stepped on this Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis). I love turtles and wish I would see more of them. I am not sure how many turtle photos I have taken over the years but there are A LOT in the folder.

 

Terrapene carolina triunguis (Three-Toes Box Turtle) on 6-19-19, #592-38.

This one was very shy and may have not ever encountered a human before. It would not show its face and I didn’t have time to encourage it. I always like to take photos of their faces because they come in many colors. Turtles are very long-lived, up to 50 years or longer.

 

Verbascum blattaria (Moth Mullein) on 6-19-19, #592-41.

Last week I photographed the Moth Mullein Verbascum blattaria f. albaflora in the front part of the pasture, and this week I found Verbascum blattaria. The same species just different color of flowers. Although they are beautiful flowers, several states have declared them a noxious weed… Verbascum blattaria are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa but are flourishing in the United States (even Hawaii) and southern Canada. The Wikipedia article says “a study conducted in 1974 reported that when a number of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae were exposed to a methanol extract of moth mullein, at least 53% of the larvae were killed. V. blattaria has also long been known to be an effective cockroach repellent, and the name blattaria is actually derived from the Latin word for cockroach, blatta.” Hmmm…

It further says: “In a famous long-term experiment, Dr. William James Beal, then a professor of botany at Michigan Agriculture College, selected seeds of 21 different plant species (including V. blattaria) and placed seeds of each in 20 separate bottles filled with sand. The bottles, left uncorked, were buried mouth down (so as not to allow moisture to reach the seeds) in a sandy knoll in 1879. The purpose of this experiment was to determine how long the seeds could be buried dormant in the soil, and yet germinate in the future when planted. In 2000, one of these bottles was dug up, and 23 seeds of V. blattaria were planted in favorable conditions, yielding a 50% germination rate.” That’s after 121 YEARS!

Of all the hours I have spent digging and spraying thistles, I have only taken photos a couple of days while I was working. Most days I haven’t had my camera with me. Most of the wildflowers on Kevin’s farm are the same as here, but there have been exceptions. Once you have a good camera and some experience, it only takes a few seconds to get good photos. I am using a Canon SX610 HS which I carry in my back pocket. I have used more expensive cameras in the past, but this one takes even better photos and is so handy. Even so, some flowers are hard to take photos of.

I didn’t work today because we had a storm come in. It was nice! (I laughed at that one…) Maybe I am a little strange, but I am not the only one. Dad and I both used to sit on the back porch together in many storms. We were under the roof of course.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and continue giving thanks. As always, a little dirt is good for you.

Surprise Pink Achillea and Green-Leaved Milkweed

Achillea millefolium with pink flowers on 5-30-19, #578-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I have been working on the thistles at a friends farm and have noticed a few wildflowers I don’t have here. It only takes seconds to take a few photos. Sometimes it is good to have proof of what you saw when it is unusual. I remember a few years ago I found a HUGE Morel growing in the chicken yard in February. I took a photo with my cell phone but had no way of getting it into my computer. I sent the photo to a few people, but now I don’t even have the cell phone. That was probably a once in a lifetime event and a fluke of nature to have a Morel in February.

Well, a few days ago, I was surprised to see a single Achillea millefolium with pink flowers. Achillea millefolium in the wild typically have white flowers and I have seen hundreds, and most likely you have, too. They can be seen growing along highways, back roads, in pastures, along trails, in fence rows, etc. There are many cultivars of Achillea in several different colors but to see an Achillea millefolium, other than white, in nature is a rare find. I feel very blessed and am thankful for witnessing this plant. I am very tempted to dig it up and bring it home so a cow won’t eat it or step on it.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) on 5-30-19, #578-2.

Another wildflower on his farm that I don’t have growing here is the Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed). The Missouri Botanical Garden website says they are commonly found in the Missouri Ozarks and the southeastern corner of the state as well as several other states.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) flowers on 5-30-19, #578-3.

The nectar from the flowers are a source of food for many butterfly species.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) leaves on 5-30-19, #578-5.

The leaves are a source of food for Monarch Butterfly larvae (caterpillars). This milkweed also goes by several other common names. It is known as the Spider Milkweed because the White Crab Spider lives on this plant and Green Antelope Horn because the seed pods resemble an Antelopes horn.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) on 5-30-19, #578-7.

Ummm…  This stately plant may look AWESOME and it does have beautiful flowers. But, if you see these in your yard or garden, take photos and admire the plant then get rid of it. This is the terribly agressive and invasive Carduus nutans commonly known as the Musk Thistle and Nodding Thistle. A few years ago I had a couple of these growing next to the south side of the barn. It was different than the other thistles with its beautiful silvery leaves. I let it grow until it flowered so I could take photos then sprayed it. Then, this spring, I saw a couple more growing next to the hay lot.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle on 5-30-19, #578-8.

The wickedly beautiful leaves are lined with very sharp spines.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) flower on 5-30-19, #578-9.

The flowers are really neat on the Carduus nutans but they are different than the “common” thistle. Most thistles are very invasive and NOT native to this country.

When I first did my research on the species of Thistles growing on the farm, I could NOT find this plant. I was looking in the Cirsium genus. I really hadn’t gotten into Thistles for a few good reasons, and concentrated mainly on other wildflower species I have been identyfing on the farm. But, since I have been working on the Thistles on my friends farm, I noticed a few different species so I did some investigating.

He told me about the app from the Missouri Sate University that can be downloaded and used for plant ID. Well, I don’t have a cell phone but I did get on their website. I looked at the many species in the Cirsium genus but could NOT ID this Thistle. I noticed one of the links was redirecting to the wrong plant so I sent an email to Pam Trewatha to tell her about it. Of course, I sent her a photo of this thistle as well as the Achillea millefolium with the pink flowers. She correctly ID’d the thistle and thanked me for bring the error to her attention.

She also said she would be happy to help ID any other mystery plants. Hmmm… I have several so she will be hearing from me again. I have one in particular that comes to mind. 🙂

I will be writing a post on Thistles soon which should be pretty interesting. They aren’t all created equal and, believe it or not, they are edible and nutritious.

Until next time, be thankful, be safe and stay positive. This is a nice sunny day, so I think I will do some mowing and trimming. Of course, I will GET DIRTY. Care to join me?