Images of the day

Feb. 28, 2020

When is a cinquefoil not a cinquefoil? When the gene counters have analyzed it, and found out that its genome doesn't fit with the rest of the genus Potentilla. But if you can't parse the genes, the principal difference seems to be the anthers. These open along one side, instead of along the top. Big difference! These can be relatively robust plants for cinquefoils, which is probably why they are called big. The flowers aren't much different from a lot of other cinquefoils. It's also probably worth mentioning that this has pinnate leaves, unlike the majority of cinqefoils. Bigflower grows in CO, ID, MT, NM, OR, SD, UT, WY, and AB. Jefferson Co CO, 6/16/13. Rose family, Rosaceae.

Feb. 27, 2020

What a cute little droopy bellflower! These are about a half inch, and the drooping aspect adds such a nice touch. This was the only I've seen it. Looks like the stem straightens after blooming. But now I do a little research for today, and am reminded of the safety of numbers. More observations would have quickly informed me that this one is an outlier. Most of the just settle for being straight up all along, and they might be white. Rockbell is an import from south Asia and Australasia. In China the roots are a famine food. Here it grows in AL, AR, FL, GA, HI, LA, NC, SC, and TX. Colquit Co GA, 10/19/15. Bellflower family, Campanulaceae.

Feb. 26, 2020

Tiny trumpet certainly doesn't have the stature of its phlox cousins. The horns are hardly a quarter inch across. You have to get right down there hear this trumpet. I guess I've yet to get that close! I always thought it was called slender gilia. In the west it is comfortable in their thin rocky soil. In the east it grows in thin soil too, giving it the appearance of a weed. There seems to be little agreement about it's eastern status. I lean towards its being introduced here. It wasn't collected in Michigan until 1933. It grows in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, and YT. Summit CO CO, 6/17/13. Jacob's-ladder family, Polemoniaceae.

Feb. 25, 2020

Maximilian was originally a tall prairie plant of the Great Plains. Since that origin, it has taken advantage of modern means, and hitch hiked far and wide. It might now be seen in every state except AK, AZ, DE, FL, GA, LA, NH, NV, OR, RI, UT, and VT, and would be no surprise in any of those. It's also in AB, BC, MB, ON, QC, and SK. Lenawee Co MI, 10/1/15. Aster family, Asteraceae.

Feb. 24, 2020

Note the thorn at the lower left. There are LOTS of them on a prickly-ash. It can make a walk in the woods significantly less joyful. Does it have any redeeming value? The leaves and seeds have a citrus aroma when crushed. One might expect an aromatic plant that's easy to find - it practically reaches out and grabs - would be used by herbalists. Extracts and powders of the bark have been long used to treat various ailments. But perhaps its greatest redeemer is that caterpillars of great swallowtail butterflies feed on it. Common prickly-ash grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL(E), GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD(E), ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NH(E), NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN(S), VA, VT, WI, WV, ON, and QC. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/11/19. Rue family, Rutaceae.