Images of the day

Sep. 18, 2021

Appalachian false goat's-beard is one of two native species of Astilbe. That's right, we have native Astilbe! The popular garden plants come from east Asia. Appalachian false is a fun plant to find, but the real fun would be our other species. Roan Mountain false goat's-beard is one of the missing grails of North American botany. Astilbe crenatiloba has been reported once from Tennessee in 1885. Now wouldn't that be fun to find! Appalachian false goat's-beard is a woodland plant in GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA, and WV. Beal Gardens, MSU, 6/23/14. Rockbreak family, Saxifragaceae.

Sep. 17, 2021

Jones' bluestar is another garden offering. But this one is a North American native that has been adapted to our flower gardens, particularly to rock gardens. It has a limited natural distribution in the dry high country where AZ, CO, NM and UT meet. Or you could have seen it in front of the University of Michigan Hospital this season. This natural white variety was in a private garden near there. Jones' bluestar is a more compact species than other cultivated bluestars, rarely getting more than a foot tall. Cultivated, Washtenaw Co MI, 6/8/21. Dogbane family, Apocynaceae.

Sep. 16, 2021

The essential basil! Without this plant would there be a chain of Olive Gardens? It's hard to think of Italian style dishes without thinking of this herb. Basil has also become an almost magical part of culture and tradition around the world. For example, Jewish lore says basil lends strength while fasting. Not sure how that would work. You couldn't eat it, and having it around sure would make it hard to fast! Anyway, we now have it here! Basil has been reported from the wilds of AZ, CT, FL, HI, IL, LA, MA, MO, NC, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, and WI. Cultivated, Lenawee Co MI, 5/30/13. Mint family, Menthaceae.

Sep. 15, 2021

Sea kale is a salt loving species from the coasts of northwestern Europe and the Black Sea. It has been a poor man's cabbage into Victorian times. Apparently cultivated cabbage is superior and sea kale has mostly fallen into disuse. It occasionally turns up in gardens because of its tufted shape, pale leaves and plentiful white flowers. Flora of North America reports this from the Oregon coast, and the FDA has it in California. Beal Gardens, MSU, 5/23/16. Mustard family, Brassicaceae.

Sep. 14, 2021

These were once called prairie pointers, but now that we have roads, they are shooting stars. Except in Ohio, where they get to be pride of Ohio. Better than buckeyes! This spring ephemeral grows in slightly damp woods and meadows, and now in gardens. You might see them in AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV, and MB. Highland Co OH, 4/28/21. Primrose family, Primulaceae.