Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The photos on this post were taken on May 27th when I visited another set of woods the same friend’s farm. This section is across the highway and East Fork Tebo Creek runs through it. The day I was there it was more like a small river. There are a lot of creeks that only have water in them during the rainy season, but Tebo Creek is well known around here and I have seen it get out of hand in the past. The photo above is along the north boundary and the creek also runs along the east boundary. I walked along the creek in several areas and the photo above is narrower and calmer than most. As I approached the creek in this area I scared the crap out of a pair of ducks. Besides birds and a moth, I saw no other wildlife but there were signs.
Upon entering the property from the highway I had to walk in water. This is a fairly low area, lower than the highway. Some of the first plants I noticed was Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny) which I was surprised to see. I didn’t take any photos even though I thought about it several times. I thought it quite odd it was even there and didn’t expect to see it in the wild. Cultivars of this species are popular as groundcovers in flower beds and they make great plants for containers and hang over the sides. It has naturalized in these woods somehow and I saw it just about everywhere.
There area is a mixture pasture with two large wooded areas. I walked through the first set of woods along a boundary fence and was greeted by a very large colony of wildflowers I hadn’t seen before.
Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary)
This delightful species is known as Blue-Eyed Mary, Early Blue-Eyed Mary, and Chinese Houses (a name it shares with other members of the genus). It was named and described by Thomas Nuttall in 1817 and is found throughout the eastern portion of North America. The flowers are two-lipped with two white upper lobes, two blue lower lobes and a fifth lobe that is folded and concealed.
The leaves in the center of the plant are clasping, broadly lanceolate, fairly pointed, have irregular margins to slightly toothed. Many plants had secondary flowers emerging from long petioles above the leaves (axils).
The lower leaves seem to be sessile but not clasping with rounded tips and lack the “teeth” seen on the upper leaves. The leaves and stems are slightly pubescent (fuzzy).
The lower petals of the flowers can either be blue or purplish and rarely white (I didn’t see any all-white flowers). Collinsia verna is one of those rare wildflowers that produces “true-blue” flowers. I read somewhere the flowers persist after it produces seed. I have a photo of what appears to be a seed or a bug in its throat… You can check out its own page but it isn’t finished yet. I went ahead and published the draft so you can see more photos if you want. CLICK HERE. There are other weird things this plant has done to adapt but I really need to sit down and read about it thoroughly.
Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone)
As I was walking in the woods I spotted a few very small white flowers emerging from very small plants. There were very few of these but they seem to be hanging on as other plants could easily overtake them. Perhaps they come up and flower early then go dormant to avoid competition… Hmmm… Anyway, this plant also has a mistaken identity and also is also called Isopyrum biternatum (eye-so-PYE-rum by-TER-nat-um) on several websites and databases. One or the other is the listed synonym of the other and visa versa. Not that it matters, but at one time there were two Isoppyrum genera and one became a synonym of Hepatica.
Where was I. Oh, yeah! Enemion biternatum… It seems most wildflowers have some oddities and this one is no exception. Those little white petals aren’t petals. They are “petal-like” sepals. This species has NO petals or pedals so it isn’t going anywhere either.
This dainty looking member of the Ranunculaceaeeeaaeea (Buttercup) Family has fibrous roots that sometimes produce small tubers. Its leaves grow in an alternate fashion, are ternately divided or trifoliate, and glabrous (hairless). The basal leaves have longer petioles (stems) than the upper leaves. Leaflets are broadly lanceolate to ovate, 2-3 lobed or parted, and sometimes have shallow notches at the tips.
Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy)
It seems a little odd for me to include this species in this post since I have written about it more than once. The reason I even took photos of it growing in the woods was that it seemed quite different than the overwhelming colony in the front yard. I first spotted it in the woods growing under a Multiflora Rose bush and even got under it to take these photos. Believe me, it was a perilous task. 🙂 After I took a multitude of photos and got out of the predicament I found myself in, I saw a lot more growing in the open than I hadn’t stumbled upon yet. The plants in the yard are very short while the plants in the woods were very tall and were flowering along the stem. I thought I had found another species of Glechoma BUT, apparently not.
The other strange thing was the placement of the fowers. This photo shows, well kind of, the petioles of the flowers growing from the, um, axil of the leaves in the center of the plant. The flowers were all facing the same direction on all of the plants under the bush. It was just strange and interesting. In my yard, the flowers are growing from the top of the plants.
Ornithogalum umbellatum (Common Star of Bethlehem)
This species is not new to me as there is a HUGE colony somewhere on the farm. Anyway, I have photos of them from May 1 of last year but no page for them yet. I haven’t made it that far down on the list. This is the Ornithogalum umbellatum also known as Star of Bethlehem, Common Star of Bethlehem, Eleven O-Clock Lady, Nap At Noon, Grass Lady, and Snowdrop… Ummm, the last one it shares with species of the Galanthus genus (of various clades) of the family Amaryllidaceae. Ornithogalum umbellatum happens to be in the Asparagaceae Family… It has very neat flowers with six red petals. OK, so they are white. I thought about saying a different color to see if you were paying attention then I thought how disappointed I would be if you didn’t notice.
In my opinion, the neatest thing is the underside of the petals… This plant is NOT native to America but they have naturalized quite well…
Smilax ecirrhata (Upright Carrion Flower)
SMIL-aks eh-sir-RAT-uh ?
I was walking in the woods minding my own business when this strange creature popped up and asked what I was doing there. I said, “What am I doing here? What are you doing here? Who are you anyway?” It stood up tall, spread its leaves and arrogantly said, “I have you to know I am Smilax ecirrhata and I am the only one in these woods and I am an Upright Carrion Flower! I am one of 262 species in the genus Smilax with is the ONLY genera in the Smilacaceae Family” “Well”, I said, “I am not so sure you are the only one in these woods, but you are the only one I have ran across. If you were the only one, how did you get here in the first place?” The plant looked at me with a big “?” on his face and couldn’t answer that question. Then I asked, ‘What a “Smilax ecirrhata anyway?” OH, I shouldn’t have asked that question because I thought the conversation would never end. He said he has a lot of dirty cousins that I may have met that are very territorial. He said I should be very careful around them because they aren’t as polite as he is.
From what I gleaned, Smilax ecirrhata is also known as the Upright Greenbrier that can grow to around 3 feet tall. The leaves grow in an alternate pattern from 1/2-2/3 from the base of the stem. It can grow up to 20 leaves that are broadly ovate, have prominent parallel veins, and have smooth margins. The largest leaves can reach 3-5″ long and up to 4″ wide. As the plants grow taller, the lower leaves fall off and become scale-like bracts. Sometimes tendrils are produced near the upper leaves.
From what I understand, umbels of flowers are produced from the lower bracts where the leaves have fallen off and sometimes from the middle leaves. The problem is these plants don’t flower every year and the plants are dioecious… Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. SOOOOO… I need to scour the area I found this plant in to see if I can find more. They flower in late spring to early summer for only about 2 weeks… Ummmm… The flowers have an odor of decaying meat. It will be interesting to watch this plant since it grows upright and not as a vine… I feel it is a rare find.
As far as its dirty cousins? Have you have ever been in a wooded area and ran across vines with MASSIVE amounts of thorns, thin and larger thorns on the same vine, with ovate-lanceolate leaves? Well, they are a species of Smilax. I have them growing here on the farm in several areas and once in a while one will pop up in the yard or next to a tree. I have never bothered to identify them so I didn’t know what they were until I met Smilax ecirrhata… You just never know what you will learn.
There are several trees that had damage from Beavers although I didn’t notice any new activity.
It was great getting out in nature once again and meeting new wildflowers. This was supposed to be a Six on Saturday post but I didn’t get it finished in time. So, I removed the numbers and now I can add more photos. 🙂 Well, maybe I need to take new photos that are current for the next post.
This has been a busy week with many things wanting top priority. The grass is growing like crazy in the yard and I haven’t been able to work on several projects. I did get the garden tilled again and I am ready to start planting. 🙂
Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!