Images of the day

Jun. 30, 2022

Field forget-me-not or field scorpion-grass? Forget-me-nots have flowers that are a quarter inch or so across. Scorpion-grasses have flowers half that width or smaller. This species of Myosotis is in between, so take your pick! Myosotis means mouse ear. Most if not all species have small oblong hairy leaves. Field scorpion-grass is an occasional Eurasian introduction in CT, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, and on SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 6/7/12.

Jun. 29, 2022

Riverbank wild rye is a large grass that at its extreme can get ten feet tall. The long awns of this and related Elymus are rough, and serve well to protect the seed head as it matures. The leaves are also scabrous. They give us an uncomfortable window into life in the days of yore. David Jones in Comanche Plant Medicine says they were used as eye scrapers for removing cataracts. Let's hear it for lasers! Riverbank wild rye grows in shade or semi shade in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 6/13/17. Grass family, Poaceae.

Jun. 28, 2022

These rather drab flowers wouldn't seem to attract much of our attention. And apparently this very poisonous genus was named after Euonyme, the mother of the Furies. But then there are the marvelous pink/purple fruit. Fall cascades of those are very attractive. The wood is hard and was indeed used to make spindles. Could the combination of poison and spindles account for its selection as the weapon in Sleeping Beauty's tale? Spindletree also is a primary source for artists charcoal. Soap is made from oil of Euonymus. All that adds up to the species being occasionally cultivated, and occasionally escaping. Now we occasionally cut them down at Ives Preserve, but they're not seriously invasive. Spindletree has been reported from CT, IL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WI, NB, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 5/1/12. Staff-tree family, Celastraceae.

Jun. 27, 2022

Eleven petals? Sometimes large buttercups can even have more, up to 22. That's a thing with buttercups, They are considered relatively primitive plants that are still working on finding what works best. Even within their family they lag a bit. Nothing fancy like columbines or larkspurs, Just some number and size of petals, and not much variety in color. What you don't see, but pollinators do, are the striking starry centers in ultraviolet. These petals are around three-quarters of an inch, making this one of the larger efforts in the genus. FNA says these grow in damp spots in TX. USDA also has them in AZ and NM. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Travis Co TX, 4/17/22. Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.

Jun. 26, 2022

Ever sit down with an old acquaintance and listen carefully? Then feel like you really know them for the first time? That's kind of how I feel about this shot. I never really found the full measure of thimbleweed until now. The purple tips were a look-close surprise. This thimbleweed is a modest plant, not often reaching its potential height of three feet. The ones in this population hardly got to a third of that. None had more than one or two flowers, on long naked stems that accounted for much of that height. The thimble of purple-pointed pistils turns into a longer seed head that in the end reveals a fuzzy mass of wind-carried seeds. Some have discovered other potential here. The Ponca saw this as a fuzzy good luck charm. The Meskwaki felt that something here is good medicine for crazy people. This thimbleweed grows in fens. prairies and other windy openings in AZ, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, VT, WI, WY, AB, BC, MB, ON, QC, and SK. Goose Creek Grasslands Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/24.22. Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.