Images of the day

Feb. 26, 2021

All of our species of Bidens like to hang out near water. This one goes all in. Water-marigold grows in still or slow-moving water, with less than a foot of flowering stem sticking up. Below water, according to Wiki, the stems can be a couple of meters long. But the deepest growing stems recorded here in Michigan were in 4.6 meters of water. In 1980, a careful analysis of the features of water-marigold made a persuasive case that it should be separated into the genus Megalodonta, and it became M. beckii. Within the last few years, analysis of its molecular phylogeny brought it back to Bidens. You can't always believe your eyes! Water-marigold grows in CT(T), IA(E), ID, IL(E), IN(E), MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NH, NJ(E), NY(T), OH(X), OR, PA(E), RI, VT, WA, WI, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, and SK. Lenawee Co MI, 6/13/12. The species is believed to have been extirpated from Ohio. This one was growing nine miles north of that border. Don't give up Ohio! Aster family, Asteraceae.

Feb. 25, 2021

Something old, something new? This bridal wreath could be the something old in that wedding custom. I can remember spiraea planted around my grandfather's parsonage. I can't remember seeing it around any new houses. It's a decoration that has fallen out of fashion. The bridal wreath name could apply to several introduced species and cultivars of spiraea. You may not see this in modern neighborhoods, but you might catch a glimpse where it persists wild in AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, NS, or ON. Lenawee Co MI, 4/17/12. Rose family, Rosaceae.

Feb. 24, 2021

This is one of the larger sedges, getting almost three feet tall. That may explain why it is also one of the most eaten. Many insects, larvae and adults, consume the leaves. Several caterpillars can be found on it. Some bugs will lay eggs on it so the kids will have food handy. The seeds are popular with birds, and larger herbivorous birds like geese will eat the plants. Mammals eat it, but it may not be first choice for most. Muskrats do like it, particularly in its younger more munchable stage. Wooly sedge grows in almost any damp area and adjacent dryer ground in all states and provinces except AK, AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, NS, NT, NU, and PE. It's also grows in France (SPM). Wayne co MI, 5/17/14. Sedge family, Cyperaceae.

Feb. 23, 2021

If a plant once grew somewhere, but no longer does, should we still include those places in its distribution? How long ago did it have to disappear for it to be dropped from a location? 200 million years? Fossils of interrupted fern have a panboreal distrubution going back to the Triassic period. Its present distribution is limited to eastern North America and eastern Asia. I always figured this was named interrupted fern because the fertile fronds have sterile leaflets both below and above these fertile ones. Now it could be because of its interrupted modern distribution? Or because of its interrupted classification? This has been called Osmunda for a long time. Within the last three years it has become Claytosmunda or Osmundastrum. We seem to be in an intermediate phase of figuring it out. Presently this large fern grows in damp places in AL, AR(T), CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY(V), OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and on SPM. Baraga Co MI, 7/13/14. Royal fern family, Osmundaceae.

Feb. 22, 2021

So many Packeras, so little time. There are about 54 of them with us. Trock in FNA notes that species boundaries are imprecise. P. multilobata is enough different with its lobes that it can be more easily identified. And it is widespread enough to be easily found. So of course it was used for medicine. Note that any actual eficacy is not so much a factor. The Navajo and Yavapai people used it to try to treat colds, pain, sores, stomach aches and sore noses. Lobeleaf groundsel grows in AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, UT, and WY. Summit Co CO, 6/16/13. Aster family, Asteraceae.