Images of the day

Dec. 4, 2019

Here we go again with the invasive deal. Frog'-bit was planted in ponds at the Central Experimental Farm Arboretum in Ottawa in 1932. It escaped from there, and was seen in nearby waters by 1938. By 1974 it had reached the U. S. in New York, and in 1996 was found in Michigan. It can rapidly spread wherever it appears, choking waterways. Frog's-bit develops late season buds at the ends of underwater shoots. These buds, called turions, drop off late in the season. They have the remarkable ability to sink to the bottom of the water as it cools in the winter, then rise again in the spring. Much like seeds, they store nutrients, and generate new plants. Some of our native genera like bladderworts and water milfoils also develop turions. The name frog's-bit may come from the plentiful late shoots that look like they could entangle frogs. European frog's-bit has now been reported from MI, NY, ON, and QC. It is endangered in Switzerland. Monroe Co MI, 8/2/11.

Dec. 3, 2019

Merrybells, or often wild oats or sessile bellwort. Whatever its name, it's a pretty little flower of mid spring woodlands. The Cherokee used this occasionally as poultices for external ailments, less often they ate the greens. They also used it as a charm to bring deer close to the hunter. Merrybells grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, MS, NB, NS, ON, and QC. Beal Gardens, Michigan State U., 5/3/13.

Dec. 2, 2019

Smooth phlox is one of the several very beautiful mid-sized species. Not as tall as garden phlox, nor as short as some of the woodland species, and much taller than the tufted ones. One of the keys to identification is whether or not the anthers reach to opening of the tube. Smooth phlox grows in moist open to partly shaded spots in AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD(X), MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WI, and WV. Cedar Bog Preserve, Champaign Co OH, 8/19/11.

Dec. 1, 2019

Fringeleaf wild petunia is a lower growing and more diffuse plant than most of its genus. It often is only a foot high. This mound-shaped plant is becoming more popular in gardens. The flowers are an inch or a little more across, and each only last one day. Mostly growing in open areas in AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD(E), MI(T), MN, MO, MS, NC(T), NE, OH, OK, PA(E), TN, TX, VA, WI(E), and WV. Beal Gardens, Michigan State U., 7/27/11.

Nov. 30, 2019

Peppermint is another welcome trail side nibble. Trail side? You might get your feet wet getting to this one. That's Lake Michigan in the background of this one, and it does like shores and other damp places. But this sharpest of mint flavors is worth it. Several varieties of menthol contribute to that flavor. Pepper's parents come from Eurasia, and have spread their offspring to every state except AZ, HI, ND, NM, and SD, and to BC, NB, NS, ON, PE, and QC. Does the fact that these hybrid offspring were conceived here make them native? USDA says it does! Leelanau Co MI, 9/17/13.