Images of the day

Dec. 2, 2021

Blue-eyed-grass are fascinating little lilies! Not. They're irises. How come? The main difference is the inferior ovary. That means as you go along the flower stem toward the flower, you come to the ovary before you get to the sepals and petals. With lilies, the ovaries are superior, and the sepals and petals come first. And of course there are exceptions in both families, just to add to the fun. Strict here is a reference to the plant's rigid stems, a feature common to most blue-eyed-grasses, and for that matter most stems. Strict blue-eyed-grass grows in AK, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY, all provinces of Canada, and on GL and SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 5/15/21. Iris family, Iridaceae.

Dec. 1, 2021

Chickasaw plum produces small red plums. I used to look forward to these every year on the old gnarled tree on the back of the lot in West Virginia. Those were the old grade-school days of first figuring things out. I figured these for Chickasaw, and it was fun to think of them as vaguely having something to do with Indians. Now seventy years later I've finally looked up the Chickasaw, who once lived in a large area roughly from Kentucky to Mississippi. They're now relocated to Oklahoma, on a trail of tears that every American should know about. They too must have looked forward to these fruit, and no doubt the fragrant flowers. Chickasaw plum grows in AL, AR, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Putnam Co FL, 1/28/13. Rose family, Rosaceae.

Nov. 30, 2021

When Chuck Pearson found these plants at Ives Preserve, we thought they were just chervil. More careful examination revealed bristly ovaries below those petals. That just wasn't right! The Michigan keys don't work for a plant with bristly ovaries and fruit with the rest of the characters you see here. The ultimate answer to this puzzle was bur-chervil. First time it's been documented in Michigan. Fun! So what did Chuck do after he found bur-chervil? No, it didn't involve Disney. He killed it. We don't need any more Eurasian aliens in the Preserve. Bur-chervil has also been found in AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TN, VA, WA, WV, WY, BC, and ON. Ives Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/15/21. Celery family, Apiaceae.

Nov. 29, 2021

I suppose one reason I like Ives Preserve so much is that it's a great place for sedges. When I first started figuring out what grows there, I was forced to figure out sedges. Turns out they are great puzzles. Like all puzzles, you need to learn the rules and techniques. Once you do, sedges are an endless supply of medium difficulty puzzles. This one turns out to be coastal sedge, and it's a bit of a different puzzle. Mostly it hangs out in the north, in CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, WI, LB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and on SPM. But then it jumps to AL, GA, MS, and NC. An unusual range, probably involving mountains? Mackinac Co MI, 5/27/17. Sedge family, Cyperaceae.

Nov. 28, 2021

South American no longer? Starting from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, this mock vervain has been moving north. Gardeners helped a lot. With its low, even creeping habit it is a good choice for dry and rock gardens. Now in some areas of the south they are starting to think about invasiveness. But the jury is still out, and in any case if you want to plant some for the season farther north, no worries. South American mock vervain has been reported wild from AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, NM, SC, TN, TX, and UT. Lowndes Co GA, 1/29/13. Vervain family, Verbenaceae.