Wildflower Catch Up With A Few Bugs…

Hello everyone! It is an interesting time of the year to go wildflower hunting since most of them have gone to seed. There are still a few flowering, especially where the hay was cut. I also noticed there weren’t as many insects as last week but there are still a few Monarch butterflies. The weather has been nice for the most part but we are supposed to have a couple of chilly nights. After that, it will warm up a little again.

Of course, the seeds of the Desmodium paniculatum (Panicledleaf Ticktrefoil) are always trying to hitch a ride. I have done pretty well avoiding them until the last three times I went out. This time was the worse. I walked through the middle of the south hayfield to avoid them which turned out to be a good idea. Unfortunately, I had to go through them to get to where I was going. I was on a mission. 🙂 Then when was finished, I walked out of the briars and looked at my boots. GEEZ! I should start wearing my old rubber boots with the hole in them. After that, I didn’t bother trying to avoid them. When I came back to the house, I removed them off my pants then sat down on an old telephone pole to pick them off my boots.  I removed them from one boot then thought how glad I was they weren’t those other stick tights (from the Torilis japonica). I pulled off the other boot and sat my foot right down on a cluster of the other stick tights I hadn’t noticed when I sat down. GEEZ!!! My sock was LOADED! One of their common names is the Tall Sock Destroyer and they live up to their name.

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seed pod…

I originally went out for the walk to check on the last of two milkweed seed pods for the experiment crew at the Augusta University Biology Department in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They are studying the Showy and Common Milkweed and the hybrid species between the two. The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) grows in the eastern half of the United States and the Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) grows in the western half. There is an area where they overlap and hybridize in the middle. They contacted members of iNaturalist that submitted observations of these milkweeds to participate in the study. I agreed to participate so they sent envelopes for the samples. I mailed the two pods on Thursday.

Their information says, “We gave been collecting genetic, metabolomic (any small-molecule chemicals found within a tissue sample), and phenotypic (physical characteristics, such as shape of the leaves, color of flowers, etc.) data by taking leaf and seed pod samples from plants in each species zone and within the hybrid zone. Once we have finished collecting this data, we will begin to analyze the differences between the two species and their hybrid species. With this information, we hope to begin to understand why these species remain geographically separated and how genes are passed between them.” 

On the way to where the milkweed was, I stumbled on something very interesting…

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-9.

I remember seeing maroonish leaves on another plant just like this one closer to the briar patch a while back, but this one was more in the center of the hayfield. I didn’t pay much attention earlier because I thought the plant had maroonish leaves because maybe something was wrong with it. You just never know… Weird things happen in nature. Anyway, Wednesday I saw this one with flowers and I completely didn’t recognize it. Of course, I took A LOT of photos. 🙂

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-10.

The large leafy bracts should have turned a light on because I have identified only one species like it. The flowers weren’t open which is probably why I still didn’t recognize it.

Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 10-12-21, #843-11.

After I went through the 94 photos I had taken for the day and deleted the ones I didn’t want. I separated them by species and uploaded the observations on iNaturalist that I already knew. Then, I took the first photo for this one and uploaded it for ID. It suggested ONLY Elephantopus carolinianus. I thought it was completely whacky! I did the same to the second and it said the same thing. I took a better look at the second photo and then it hit me. HOLY CRAP! I have Elephantopus in my hayfield!

I first saw this species on September 9 in 2019 while I was herding cattle on a friend’s mother’s farm. I was in a dead run going down a wooded hillside toward the creek when I spotted them. I almost rolled the rest of the way down. Anyway, you can read about it on THIS POST.

The Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) is definitely one of the most interesting wildflowers I have ever seen. I will try and get photos of its flowers opened up, but you can click on the name above to go it its own page.

Ipomoea hederacea (Ivy-Leaved Morning Glory), 10-12-21

There were several Ipomoea hederacea (Ivy-Leaved Morning Glory) blooming in the south hayfield as well. I don’t have a page for this one because I just got a proper ID. 🙂

Then I walked to the southeast corner of the hayfield to go to the back pasture, through the blackberry briars…

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed) in the southeast corner of the back pasture on 10-12-21, #843-28.

The Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed) are still blooming up a storm. They attract A LOT of pollinators and other insects that have a hard time finding food this time of the year. Normally, they probably aren’t flowering that much now, but they regrew after the hay was cut. I do not have a page for this species yet.

Danaus plexippus (Monarch) on the Vernonia missurica on 10-12-21, #843-5.

There are still a few Monarch’s flying around the ironweed but not near as many as last week. This one let me get very close.

Euthochtha galeator (Helmeted Squash Bug) on 10-12-21, #843-22.

There are many species of insects that look similar to this Helmeted Squash Bug. This one was feeding on what looked like whiteflies when I first saw it and it didn’t really like my intrusion. I asked it to pose and give me a big smile but it kept looking at its food.

Croton capitatus (Wooly Croton) on 10-12-21, #843-3.

There is a lot of Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Wooly Croton, Goatweed Etc.) flowering in the back pasture right now… There aren’t usually that many here…

Then I walked north toward the…

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 10-12-21, #843-7.

The Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) tree in the back pasture is really LOADED this year.

Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) on 10-12-21, #843-8.

Besides being able to cut the milkweed seed pod and seeing the Elephantopus, being able to eat a few persimmons made the whole walk worthwhile. Then I walked to the house to pick off the mess on my boots.

That’s all I have for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

Wildflower Walk Part 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot)

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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


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



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

Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, or Goatweed)

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



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

Croton willdenowii (Common Rushfoil)

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


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

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



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

Desmodium perplexum (Perplexing Tick Trefoil)

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


Their flowers kind of reminds one of sweet peas…


Look familiar? Such neat flowers with terrible seeds!


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

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



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

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed)

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


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


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


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



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

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

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


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


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



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

Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead)

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



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

Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed)

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

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


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

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