Cephalanthus, Monarda, & Teucrium

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush) on 7-4-18, #469-10.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. Spring is an amazing time of the year and filled with a lot of anticipation. What will return and what will not. Some plants can hardly wait to start flowering while others take a bit longer. Some flowers bloom over a long period while others for only a week or so (or even a few days). There have been flowers I have seen in the pasture and along fence rows I needed photos of but didn’t have my camera. Then, when I went back later to take photos, it was already too late.

I have been watching the two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) behind the south pond so I could get some photos of their flowers. I thought I had taken photos before, but there were none in the folders by plant name or finder. So, I guess these fall under the “flowers I missed” category.

 

The two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are indeed a strange looking pair.

 

They are small trees here on the farm, but in some areas, they are more of a bush.

 

Their trunks are kind of contorted and interesting. They are suitable trained as a small shrub for home landscape use. However, they prefer moist conditions and are often found in low areas around ponds and creeks. These two trees are growing behind the old pond next to the ditch that runs from the other pond. The ditch drains water from the ponds and pasture and eventually runs into the park lake.

 

The flowers have a very sweet scent and are loved by bees and butterflies.

 

Two of the common names are Honey Balls or Honey Plant. After flowering, they have small seed capsules containing two seeds that persist throughout the winter.

For more information, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Wikipedia page.

 

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The Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot, etc.) are definitely in full swing now. This group is in the fence row between the pasture and the south hayfield. There are a few smaller patches along the lane that goes to the back pasture.

 

I don’t remember seeing these when I lived here before. Even when I moved back in 2013 there were just a few here and there.

 

Now there are big patches everywhere! There are MANY huge patches along the boundary of the pasture and the Rock Island Trail.

 

There is even a HUGE patch between the street and fence along the front of the pasture. The Bumblebees were on this patch by the hundreds. I never saw so many in one place at the same time. As strange as it may sound, I never even noticed this patch along the street until this year. Let me see… A neighbor cut this area before in 2013. In 2014 or 2015 (or both) we had an Amish cut it. Last year, I think the county did it. Anyway, we came home from somewhere one day and it was all cut down. I don’t cut the right of way because there are too many stumps for the mower and it is not very wide between the fence and deep ditch. There is a telephone pole in the way and I can get in there anyway unless I go all the way down to the end of the pasture. Then how do I get back out? 🙂 Excuses, excuses! Well, the other reason is that I don’t want to.

 

I wish I could get the red flowered Monarda started to do as good…

 

Some of the flowers had a lot of ants on them. Even though the flowers are pinkish, they are nice and provide food for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and the hummingbird moths. They flower over a long period, too.

 

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I just noticed the Teucrium canadense (American Germander) a couple of years ago next to a HUGE Multiflora Rose bush in the back pasture.

 

The individual flowers aren’t very big, so taking good photos wasn’t easy. ID wasn’t that hard, though.

 

While this species has a lot in common with other members of the mint family, this one is unique… There appears to be NO upper lip. You can see the two upper lobes that point upward like horns. Then the other two rounded side lobes that look like ears to me. Then, the larger lower lip with the cup-shaped bottom lobe… This is the only member of this family in Missouri with this unique corolla configuration.

 

Characteristic square stems…

 

Leaves are opposite, lanceolate, and sharply pointed…

 

I think we are blessed to have so many wildflowers on the farm that feed such a wide variety of insects and birds. I haven’t been to the swamp for several years, so I think I need to do that soon. Well, I guess it really isn’t a swamp, but that’s what I call it. Dad called the area “OH, you mean back in the corner”. Yep, back in the corner for sure. There are some very interesting wildflowers in the swamp and one I have seen nowhere else but here. Then again, I don’t get out much. 🙂 I will go check tomorrow… Oh. It is 1:28 AM. It is tomorrow already.

Until later… Stay well, be safe, stay positive, keep warm or cool depending on where you are. GET DIRTY if you can!