Images of the day

Dec. 6, 2019

Marsh parsley, also called slender celery, is a delicate little plant up to 20 inches, but often less. It's said to work as a parsley substitute, but apparently not good enough to gain a place of its own at the table. In Ethiopia it's used to treat Mitch. Mitch, despite the initial upper case letter, turns out to be a malady rather than a guy. It's a intestinal illness, mild enough to make one hope marsh parsley will make it better, not bad enough to keep you from eating it. It's been considered for cultivation, but mostly shows up in our fields as a weed. Native to South America, marsh parsley now occurs around the world. It has been reported from AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IL, LA, MD, MS, NC, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Polk Co FL, 3/16/16.

Dec. 5, 2019

Butterworts don't look particularly fierce, but they are carnivorous. You wouldn't think rolled leaf edges would have much effect. They do help move bugs farther onto the leaves. Those leaves are covered with sticky little glands - up to 25,000 per square centimeter. Once stuck, an insect can be effectively dissolved within two days, leaving only the exoskeleton. Butterwort grows in damp areas, often around lime, and needs that nutrition supplement. Butterwort is circumboreal, with us growing in AK, ME(T), MI, MN, NH(E), NY(T), VT, WI(E), through Canada, and on GL and SPM. Keweenaw Co MI, 7/12/14.

Dec. 4, 2019

Here we go again with the invasive deal. Frog'-bit was planted in ponds at the Central Experimental Farm Arboretum in Ottawa in 1932. It escaped from there, and was seen in nearby waters by 1938. By 1974 it had reached the U. S. in New York, and in 1996 was found in Michigan. It can rapidly spread wherever it appears, choking waterways. Frog's-bit develops late season buds at the ends of underwater shoots. These buds, called turions, drop off late in the season. They have the remarkable ability to sink to the bottom of the water as it cools in the winter, then rise again in the spring. Much like seeds, they store nutrients, and generate new plants. Some of our native genera like bladderworts and water milfoils also develop turions. The name frog's-bit may come from the plentiful late shoots that look like they could entangle frogs. European frog's-bit has now been reported from MI, NY, ON, and QC. It is endangered in Switzerland. Monroe Co MI, 8/2/11.

Dec. 3, 2019

Merrybells, or often wild oats or sessile bellwort. Whatever its name, it's a pretty little flower of mid spring woodlands. The Cherokee used this occasionally as poultices for external ailments, less often they ate the greens. They also used it as a charm to bring deer close to the hunter. Merrybells grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, MS, NB, NS, ON, and QC. Beal Gardens, Michigan State U., 5/3/13.

Dec. 2, 2019

Smooth phlox is one of the several very beautiful mid-sized species. Not as tall as garden phlox, nor as short as some of the woodland species, and much taller than the tufted ones. One of the keys to identification is whether or not the anthers reach to opening of the tube. Smooth phlox grows in moist open to partly shaded spots in AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD(X), MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WI, and WV. Cedar Bog Preserve, Champaign Co OH, 8/19/11.