Problem Areas and Wild Weeds, ETC. Part 3 PLUS A SURPRISE!

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley)…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. October is here once again and some of the wildflowers aren’t looking their best. There are a lot of insects and butterflies feeding right now. I have taken a lot of photos the last few days and I am getting behind. 🙂 I now have 655 observations posted on iNaturalist covering 343 species.

This saga of the wild weeds (and wildflowers) and problem areas on the farm continues as I walked out of the main hayfield to the front pasture…

The above photo is the dreaded Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley). There doesn’t seem to be as much of this stuff growing as there has been in the past. That is certainly fine with me…

 

Eleusine indica (Goosegrass)…

As you can imagine, there are A LOT of different species of grass growing on the farm. Heck, pretty much every yard around the world has a lot of species of grass. I don’t know about you, but the worse grass in my yard and pastures has got to be the Eleusine indica (Goosegrass). It is the grass with very tough blades you have to mow over multiple times and even then it still looks raggy. The second worse is the crabgrass which I don’t really want to talk about…

 

Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper)…

There are still a few fairly good-sized colonies of Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) here and there but nothing like 2019 when I identified seven species. That was definitely the year for the Smartweeds.

 

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed)…

The Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) is also scattered among the grass in the front pasture, mainly around the two old mulberry trees. The other six species are scattered about here and there.

 

Hmmm…

I walked over to what used to be a smallish Multiflora Rose. Dad and I pulled up several rose bushes with the tractor a few years ago but left this one. It wasn’t that big and is it along the drainage area where water runs from the pond. When we pulled up the others it left a HUGE hole and I didn’t that that would be a good idea in this area. Three years ago a White Mulberry grew up in it, then last year I noticed a Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) in the mix. To the left is a small colony of Solidago (Goldenrod) and the other cluster is either Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) or Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset/Late Thoroughwort). Those two species look a lot alike and I didn’t take a closer look…

Both of those species have seen better days throughout the farm. There are still quite a few Solidago in bloom along the main hayfield. I am not really sure which species of Solidago are growing here but likely Solidago altissima and maybe also S. gigantea. The galls on a few plants are generally found on both of those species.

 

Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur)…

I am not really sure where I took this photo of the Xanthium strumarium (Rough Cocklebur). It is growing here and there and seems to be getting carried away again. I had been “working on it” for several years and seemed to pretty much have it whipped. Well, it seems to be coming back with reinforcements! I don’t have a page for the Cocklebur…

I walked across the ditch to get photos of what I saw as I started the walk. It was this mass of pink right behind the pond in the front pasture I had somehow just noticed. Probably because I hadn’t been paying attention, but that just can’t be. Just last week, or maybe the week before, I had taken photos of a few plants near the pond and I didn’t notice it then. I am saving the photos for the end of this post so I can end it well… 🙂

After I took some photos behind the pond, I walked toward the fence along the road in the front pasture to the biggest eyesore here…

Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)…

The Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac) has spread into the pasture along the fence. This is a big problem…

Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)…

I put the camera across the fence to get a photo of the mess between the fence and the street. In the first place, the fence is a little too close to the ditch, and the ditch is cut too steep to mow. Whoever did this had no concept of maintenance and it was done MANY years ago. The county used to come along several times during the summer but now we are lucky if they come once a year. At the end of the yard, there is a telephone pole between the fence and ditch making it impossible to get a mower along the fence. To mow the ditch, I would have to drive down the street to where the gate is and come up… Then, I would have to back the mower all the way back down to the gate… Since the ditch is cut like it is, and part of it has washed out a little, it is kind of unsafe. To fix this problem, the fence would have to be removed and moved back and the ditch smoothed out at a slope allowing it to be mowed safely. It is a real eyesore and I don’t like it one bit. I don’t like using chemicals, but this area needs cut and sprayed. Water from the ditch runs to the lake at the park… Perhaps I can talk to the county or the conservation department to find a solution.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because I am very thankful to be here. I have a lot to be thankful for. It seems like I have been given an opportunity and I would like to do much better but I am not quite sure how to go about it…

Getting closer to the surprise…

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)…

One of the first plants to grow after the hay is cut is the Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed). Over the years, trying to tell the difference between Verononia baldwinii (Western or Baldwin’s Ironweed) and V. missurica has been somewhat difficult. I know the difference but couldn’t find enough of the latter to get a good confirmation to prove to myself that’s what it was. To make it worse, the two species hybridize… Earlier, all the ironweed were definitely Vernonia baldwinii.

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)…

Now, most of the ironweed are likely most definitely (GEEZ) Vernonia missurica. The heads have more florets (30+) and the involucral bracts are appressed. With Vernonia baldwinii, they have fewer florets and the bracts are recurved. I don’t have a page for the Vernonia missurica and the page for Vernonia baldwinii is still in draft mode. They have been driving me crazy so I wanted to make sure what I was talking about. Am I sure now? Well, not really. 🙂

OH, so here we go…

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)… On 9-28-21…

Don’t laugh like I am. This is probably the first pink flowers I have gotten excited about in my life. For one, the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) is the first species in the genus I have been able to properly identify and it become research grade on iNaturalist. The flowers are 1 1/2″ wide while the others are 1/2″ (more or less) and most commonly white or a pale lavender-pink. I am sure, almost, I have identified one species as Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) but I can’t get anyone on iNaturalist to stick their neck out and agree. I have submitted a few species that are difficult with the same results… Birds are easy and every species I have submitted are research grade.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 9-30-21, 1 1/2″ diameter…

The Missouri Plants website lists 16 species of Symphyotrichum in Missouri and most are pink. The USDA Plants Database lists 154 accepted species (including infraspecific names)in North America. Plants of the World Online lists 95 species worldwide including 12 hybrids but not including possible varieties. To find that out, I would have had to click on 95 pages. For grins, I checked out The Plant List which hasn’t been maintained since 2013. It lists 143 species (including infraspecific names), a whopping 1,116 synonyms, and only 37 species unplaced at the time. I would count the list on the Wildflower Research website, but I am sort of exhausted…

the underside and upper leaves of the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)…

Getting back to the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae… Information online says their flowers are purplish and rarely pink. Well, these are pink fading to white. It also says they supposedly grow to around 40″ or so tall. Hmmm… There is a problem. The huge clusters of pink flowers are on stems in a circle 10-12′ in diameter.  One could mistakenly “think” the stems are 40″ or so tall. BUT, in the center of the circle, there is a cluster of bent over stems (at the base of the plant). I picked one of the stems up and it was about a foot taller than me and I am 5′ 8ish… The stems had gotten so heavy they fell over and curved upward (like sweet corn). I took more photos on the 30th, including the bent-over stems at the base of the plant. Unfortunately, the photos of the base of the plant were blurry so I will have to try AGAIN. Possibly take a tape measure (and photograph the measurement) to prove my point. That happened before with another species of Symphyotrichum growing along the fence in the front pasture. The stem was growing in the fence and it couldn’t fall over and was close to 8′ tall. I do have photos but I have never been able to identify the species…

Danaus plexippus (Monarch Butterfly) on the New England Aster…

There were a lot of small butterflies and insects were very busy. There was a single Monarch enjoying itself as well.

Jocelyn asked me to take a 20-30 minute video of the farm for her YouTube channel so, on Friday, October 2, I decided I would give it a shot. I took a video of the New England Asters and the butterflies then walked up the ditch toward the main hayfield. There was a large colony of Missouri Ironweed at the corner and there were more Monarch feeding than I ever saw before. There were several colonies of ironweeds scattered about halfway across the front of the hayfield so I continued recording. Then I walked to the back pasture where another pond is. There is a HUGE colony of ironweeds where I found HUNDREDS of Monarch feeding and it was quite a sight. There were even several Hummingbird Moths which are impossible to photograph but they came out quite well on the videos. Well, I took 17 videos normally 3 minutes or so each. A couple were 7 minutes because I got a little carried away and a few are around a minute because I had to stop recording to take photos. She will just have to splice the videos together to get 20 minutes or so. I have to upload the videos on Skype, and if I make them too long it takes forever and sometimes it won’t work at all. If I had a better way to do it I would…

Well, I better close for now. I took quite a few photos this past week and I need to do some catching up. 🙂 We have FINALLY gotten some rain…

Until next time, take care, be safe, and always be thankful!

 

Is It Torilis arvensis or Torilis japonica?

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) among the Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) on 7-8-21, #809-48.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been fooled many times over the years when it comes to wildflowers. I have learned a lot as a gardener, expecting one thing and getting another. Plants are not that complicated, or so we might think. Plants in our garden, flower beds, and pots depend on us for their growth and survival. If we take care of them and give them what they need, we are rewarded with flowers and a harvest of fruit and vegetables. But sometimes our perennials may not return the next spring, and our self-seeding annuals may come up God knows where. We do, however, have a lot to say about what grows where in our yard and we can thin or move things around a bit. Plus, there are always new plants to bring home. 🙂 In the wild… Well, that is a different story.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21.

Since 2013 when I returned to the family farm and have been getting more into wildflowers, I have noticed a lot of changes. Many wildflower species come up hit and miss from one end of the farm to the other and don’t necessarily grow in colonies. That being Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) for one. The large colonies of seven species of Persicaria have also changed which I thought were unstoppable… All but one species no longer have large colonies and have been consumed by others. The Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed), on the other hand, seems to definitely be unstoppable for the moment where it colonized in 2019. Of course, all the Persicaria species identified here are still present, just not in huge numbers. Switching from grazing the pastures to growing hay has made a big difference. Nature is definitely dog-eat-dog and depends on the survival of the fittest.

I started this post a few days ago but always had something better to do. Honestly, anything is better than writing about Hedge Parsley. I thought about taking more photos for this post, like all the places it is growing, but it started raining. I also need to work in the garden, but it started raining. What else? Well, since it started raining my list became very short and the Hedge Parsley draft is staring right at me. GEEZ!!! So, I guess I just as well dive in and get it out of the way and off my mind.

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica ? on 9-20-20.

Well, you know I mentioned in the last post I had added several observations of Torolis arvensis to iNaturalist. Then one member had to ask if I was sure it wasn’t Torilis japonica. Honestly, it is always annoying when someone asks me if I am sure about anything. If I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t be saying anything at all. I am not one to exaggerate… If I tell you I caught a fish that was 3 feet long it is because I measured it and have a photo to prove it. I have never caught a fish 3′ long, by the way. 🙂

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japnica ?  on 9-20-20.

But… His question festered inside of me for a long time. I figured since I have been picking those darn stick tights off my clothes since I was a kid, they had to be Torilis arvensis. After all, Torilis japonica wasn’t discovered in Missouri until 1988. Heck, the species wasn’t even named until… OK, so it was first named Caucalis japonica in 1777 and that was a long time ago. They aren’t a native species after all and Torilis arvensis wasn’t even “collected” in Missouri until 1909. Besides that, both species were misidentified by a lot of botanists, horticulturalists (and so on) because they didn’t know the difference between the two. So, which one was actually here in the first place?

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica ? on 5-11-20, #698-29.

They are basically exactly the same and some websites even say one species is a synonym of the other, including one of my favorite wildflower sites. According to Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, many authors mistakenly treated Torilis arvensis as Torilis japonica despite detailed descriptions and reversed the distributional range statements of the two species. Despite Steyermark’s lengthy description about both species, it doesn’t mention the key ingredient. Not even enough to be able to tell the two apart. Likely, by the time the first specimens were collected, both species were fairly widespread. It is just my opinion, but farmers back then didn’t really think about weed species that much, and botanists didn’t really know what was really out there.

Well, I couldn’t take it any longer. Up till now, I hadn’t done much research about the two species because I thought, or assumed, the species here was Torilis arvensis. I had made the page for Torilis arvensis in May, but like a lot of species, I haven’t written descriptions yet. I got behind and anxious to get pages for all the wildflowers so I just basically added a little information, photos, and links. I didn’t feel I needed to get into research because the two species were so much alike that even experts can’t tell the difference, so how could I possibly do it? WELL, I was mistaken. Once I started reading about Torilis japonica, I found out their fruit has hooked bristles while Torilis arvensis bristles are straight to slightly curved.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-16.

SO, I took the two magnifying glasses to have a look at the bristles on the plants growing next to a shed in the “other” backyard. Well, the area in question is the old floor of grandpas old garage. One of the sheds is on half of it and the Hedge Parsley likes the other half. All that is left of the floor is old gravel and cinders. When I first came here, dad had used this area to throw anything that wouldn’t burn in the spot. I removed all the junk like old barbed wire, paint cans, oil filters, electric fence wire, and so on so I could keep it looking halfway decent. Anyway, I looked at the bristles on seeds that had been leftover from last year and couldn’t tell…

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-17.

Then I looked at a few other clusters that still had a little green… Hmmm… It was still somewhat hard to tell but they looked VERY suspicious! Taking photos of what I see in I a magnifying glass is very difficult.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-18.

Then I looked at bristles on this year’s fruit. HA!!!

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-19.

Low and behold, the bristles have hooks! Well, I went from one spot to another around the barn by the gate, next to the barn, all the way to the twin Mulberry trees. There is no shortage of Hedge Parsley because it grows everywhere. ALL had hooked bristles… I could not believe what my eyes were seeing!!! I have Torilis japonica instead of Torilis arvensis!!! Well, at least the plants fairly close to the house are. I have not checked for hooked bristles everywhere yet. Now I will be checking everywhere I go! Well, at least when no one is looking. 🙂

I will keep experimenting with the camera and magnifying glass in front of the lens. There are just some close-ups I can’t get with just the camera. Some flowers are also very tough, but seeds are in a completely different category… It seems to have a lot to do with light, color, and even the background. It was also somewhat windy when I took the photos on June 11.

Small Marigold and Hedge Parsley seedlings look exactly alike. In the south flower bed where I have had Marigold ‘Brocade’ growing, the Hedge Parsley was also present. In the spring I had to smell the leaves to tell them apart.

Ambrosia artemisifolia (Common Ragweed) on 8-20-19, #615-2.

Ambrosia artemisifolia (Common Ragweed) also grows in the area by the shed among the Hedge Parsley. They also look A LOT alike until they start flowering. Hmmm… Well, looking at that photo again makes me wonder. I was sure at the time.

Well, I better close for now. I have a Torilis page to clean up a bit! I am not sharing the link because it is now weirder than before. 🙂

I have several posts in the making but I am waiting for an email confirmation for one. I think I need permission to use something… Well, while I was looking at the stick-tight seeds, I spotted a butterfly I had not seen before. Wait until you see it!

I also have to post about a goof. Well, I didn’t know any better at the time so I am calling it a learning curve. It really is a curve as you will see.

So, until next time… Be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and don’t forget to GET DIRTY!