Images of the day

May. 9, 2021

Coastal plain palafox, that's an interesting name! Palafox? Must be named after some botanist? Not this time. The genus memorializes Jose de Palafox y Melzi, Duke of Saragossa. He was a captain-general and hero in the Peninsular Wars, fought by Spain and its allies against Napoleonic France from 1807 to 1814. Subsequently, his name was given to this genus by Mariano Lagasca y Segura when he published 'Genera at species plantarum' in 1815. The genus mostly grows in areas of North America formerly controlled by Spain. This Palafoxia grows in FL and GA. Wakulla Co FL, 10/19/15. Aster family, Asteraceae.

May. 8, 2021

When I started working on this entry, it was fun to see its new name. North wind bog orchid! That seems to be an improvement on northern green orchid or Sheviak's bog orchid or green rein orchid, but maybe not on eagle rein orchid. It seems to be human nature to keep trying to improve things. So we've also taken the old Habenaria hyperborea and made it genus Platanthera. Then we split it into P. aquilonis, P. hyperborea, and P. huronensis. All botanically necessary according to our current knowledge. One reason for the split is that this one is mostly self pollinating. As the flowers open, they rotate 180 degrees so the anthers are above the pistils. They then curl down to deposit pollen sacs on the stigmas. They also sometimes just drop pollen or let it migrate through drops of rain water. Or even rarely let bugs help out, which keeps the genetic lines healthy. North wind orchid grows in damp low-nutrient environments; this one was on a rocky shore. They can be found in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM< NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY, across Canada, and on SPM. Emmet Co MI, 5/27/12. Orchid family, Orchidaceae.

May. 7, 2021

This shot of cat's-ear happened while we were on vacation with a group of friends. Turns out some people were surprised and a little disturbed that others would just pull into a strange driveway. hop out, and start taking pictures in the yard. But I got the shot. The plant presents a bit like dandelions, but fuzzy and without the teeth of the lion along the leaf edges. Cat's-ear is said to be edible. The fuzzy leaves can be used raw or more often cooked. The root can be a coffee sub. Myself, I hesitate to put that much fuzz in my mouth, so I haven't tried it. This Eurasian is now found in every state except AZ, IA, KS, MN, ND, NE, OK, SD, and WY, and is in BC, LB, NB, NF, NS, ON, QC, SK, and on SPM. Grand TRaverse Co MI, 9/21/11. Aster family, Asteraceae.

May. 6, 2021

These are the very small flowers of western panicgrass. This grass grows to around a foot tall, and produces a panicle of these two milimeter long florets. You've got to be a little agile and sharp-eyed to appreciate these purple offerings. But it works well for the plants, helping to make them one of the first arrivals any time man or nature leaves some bare soil behind. This panicgrass grows in every state except AK and HI, and in AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, and QC. Wayne Co MI, 6/20/14. Grass family, Poaceae.

May. 5, 2021

This bugloss is indeed on the smallish side. That may well be to its advantage; it's not too pesky. It is a weedy introduction from Europe, mostly found in gardens and other areas of human disturbance. It's apparently in decline due to modern methods of weed control. So now we have items like this from Nature Gate of Finland, "It is recommended to leave small bugloss that appears in the vegetable garden or flower bed or on the lawn in peace; the modest and annual weed will hardly make much of a nuisance of itself; on the other hand it adds its own brand of natural diversity and has a story to tell about human history in Finland." And remember, Finland is the happiest country in the world for three years running. So grow bugloss! So far happy states have included CA, CT, ID, MA, MD, ME, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, VA, WA, WI, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, PA, QC, and SK. Beal Garden, MSU, 8/13/13. Borage family, Boraginaceae.