Images of the day

Nov. 22, 2020

Fishhook cactus is conveniently small.  The flowers here aren't much more than a half inch across.  That size makes this a very easy plant to accomodate in a terrarium or other indoor medium.  The ring a pink flowers is worth that effort, but even without those the hooked spines make these interesting.  Just remember that even with the hooks, this can still give you a jab.  Only a few spines at each locus are hooked.  The rest are ready to fend off trouble.  Fishhook cactus comes from arid areas of AZ, CA, NM, and TX.  Cultivated, Lenawee Co MI, 3/30/15.

Nov. 21, 2020

Fringed willowherb is cryptic?  Yes, in botanical terms.  This is a cryptic species complex.  In normal language, it's a bunch of plants that are probably more than one species, but you can't tell them apart just by looking at them.  Variations between extremes are so gradual and continuous it's not possible to reliably decide dividing points.  Whatever fringed willowherb is, it grows in every state and province except AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, and MS, and on SPM.  Conservation concerns are IN(E), MD(E), NH(T), and TN(S).  Lenawee Co MI, 8/15/14.  Willowherb family, Onagraceae.

Nov. 20, 2020

Wild radish plants are edible, but hopefully you're not often that hungry.  When did you last save and eat the leaves from a bunch of radishes?  That's pretty much what you would have with this.  These wild roots are theoretically edible too, but they're really just too tough.  Cultivated radishes are generally considered a separate species, perhaps originally derived from this one.  Wild radishes can now be found in weedy situations in every state and province except NT, NU, and YT, and they're on GL and SPM.  Beal Gardens, MSU, 7/27/11.  Mustard family, Brassicaceae.

Nov. 19, 2020

Horned bladderwort is one of the showier of its kind.  The flowers are about three quarters of an inch long.  It's not unusual to see them in large patches on mucky shores or in bogs.  Bladderworts have no roots.  The leaves are all at the base, and inhabit the mud or water the plant lives in.  The leaves have small rounded traps with openings that can close very quickly to trap small animals.  They also are often home to microorganisms that also provide nutrients.  Both of those food sources help the plants survive in low nutrient, extreme pH situations.  Horned bladderworts grow in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL(E), IN(T), KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH(E), PA, RI, SC, TN(S), TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, AB, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, and on SPM.  Wilderness State Park, Emmet Co MI, 7/13/11.  Bladderwort family, Lentibulariaceae.

Nov. 18, 2020

Hawkweed? Hawksbeard? What's the dif? Is there one? They sure look alike. They are both Old World immigrants more often than not. That's particularly true of ones like this narrowleaf hawksbeard that we mostly see as a weed. The most consistent difference is the pappus, that fuzz we see attached to the seed. That doesn't help much as this stage? It can, if you pull the florets of one head. You will see the fuzz beginning to grow at their bases. You might even be able to see it from the right angle on an intact head. Hawkweed will have brown fuzz, hawksbeard will be white. Narrowleaf hawksbeard has been reported from AK, CA, CT, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA, WI, WY, all of Canada, and GL. Hillsdale Co MI, 7/8/12. Aster family, Asteraceae.