Images of the day

Jul. 28, 2021

The purple spikes of dense blazingstar may be well known to those of you who garden. Cultivated varieties of the native have been very successful, including white ones. Many of those plants get two or three feet tall. Those are often called gayfeather. In the wild, these will be four or five feet tall, and are every bit as beautiful. For example, the openings at Sibley Prairie Preserve are ablaze with them now. Dense blazingstar blooms in prairies and fens in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WI, WV, ON(T), and QC. Sibley Prairie Preserve, Wayne Co MI, 7/24/21. Aster family, Asteraceae.

Jul. 27, 2021

Cottony goldenaster has these beautiful flower heads with rays a little over a centimeter long. So do what seems like a gazillion other species in this and several other genera. When I first started paying attention they were mostly called Heterotheca. It was all bewildering. Now it has all become clear. The cytotaxonomy has been thoroughly analyzed, several genera are now recognized, with many distinct species. All we need is to travel with a super computer to analyze the genetic samples we collect. In other words, this bunch of flowers is still bewildering, and if you think I'm sure of the identities of goldenasters, I've got this bridge for sale? Cottony goldenaster is a plant of the southeastern coastal plain in AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, and VA. Taylor Co FL, 10/20/15. Aster family, Asteraceae.

Jul. 26, 2021

Prickly fanpetals is up to around two feet tall, with flowers a little under an inch across. If you draw a line from Texas east all the way to India you can tell where the species transitions from native to the south, and weedy to the north. Here it is mostly introduced, sometimes classified as a noxious weed. It has reached as far north as Michigan only rarely. It's been reported three times, twice near Detroit, and once here in Lenawee County. That collection was from along a railroad in the little town of Britton in 1920. The seeds were probably dropped in activity around the grain elevator. The plants did not persist. That record is kind of typical for the northern limits of this plant.
Prickly fanpetals has been recorded in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, and ON. Polk Co FL, 3/16/16. Mallow family, Malvaceae.

Jul. 25, 2021

So far we have looked at linear and spatulate leaved sundews. Now here's roundleaf. But unlike the first two, this one doesn't cooperate by arranging itself so leaves and flowers make a well composed image. These flowers are smaller, on stalks that are about twice as long as those on our other species. So getting flowers and leaves in the same shot results in an image of the flower that's much too small. I'm complaining because those leaves are so darn interesting. All those sticky red hairs with occasional meals still caught on them. Maybe you should just go see for yourself! This sundew grows in areas of high or low pH in AK, AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, across all of Canada, and on GL and SPM. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/23/12. Sundew family, Droseraceae.

Jul. 24, 2021

This nice patch of black willow shrubs was on the way to see something else. The something else didn't pan; out another willow that wasn't what I thought. Black willow is safe. This is often seen as a shrub, but it is the largest of our native willows. It can sometimes get more than a hundred feet tall, and thirty feet around at the base. Black willow provided wood, weaving material and medicine to Native Americans and pioneers. It contains a chemical close to aspirin, and is a legitimate pain relief. Black willow mostly grows near water in AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, MB, NB, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 5/20/12. Willow family, Salicaceae.