Images of the day

Jan. 17, 2022

Sweet grass is summarized very well by Allred and Barkworth in Flora of North America, "Wherever they grow, the species that used to be treated as Hierochloe have been used by native peoples. Native Americans used them for incense, baskets and decoration. In addition they steeped them in water for a hair-, skin-, and eyewash, or for use as a cold medicine, analgesic, or insecticide. Early Europeans spread the species in churches at festivals. They can also be used to make ale." Pika gather them to make hay. And they lead me to a pet peeve; that in all the many discussions of native uses of plants, they almost never tell us what nativer names were for the plants they knew so well. They would have had no cause to debate the difference between Anthoxanthum and Hierochloe. We generally call all of them sweetgrass. This one is sometimes also called northern, and grows in AK, AZ, CA, CO, DE IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, in all provinces of Canada, and on GL and SPM. Ives Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/10/14. Grass family, Poaceae.

Jan. 16, 2022

OK, I cheated. Most people call this halberdleaf violet. But what do people these days know of halberds? One site that was selling these called them swordleaf. Probably figured it was more saleable. Like kiwi fruit instead of Chinese gooseberries. That and other sites make a good case for buying them. These often have even more pointed leaves and silvered areas between the veins. Very attractive plants that I have not yet seen often enough to really catch their spirit. Halberdleaf violets grow in woods in AL, FL, GA, KY, MD, MS, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, and WV. Bartow Co GA, 3/23/16. Violet family, Violaceae.

Jan. 15, 2022

Arapohoe gatherers would have been glad to see these flowers waving in the wind. They would have dug the roots, ground the tubers into flour, and made some bread. I was happy to see them too, waving in the prairie wind. But shooting them was another matter. To stop the motion a very fast shutter speed was required. That meant sacrificing pixels. So maybe you should look at this one on your phone. On a larger screen it will look kind of grainy. You might see these waving in the prairie winds in CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, or WY. Sedgwick Co CO, 6/25/13. Bean family, Fabaceae.

Jan. 14, 2022

We are kind of catching this branch of the evolving family tree in mid stride. Current thought in regard to largeleaf avens is that it is splitting into three species. Experiments done by crossing plants from the three groups have concluded that they are distinct but not yet entirely separated populations. And sometimes that matters, and sometimes it doesn't? Native Americans have literally used treatments from these plants to treat every ailment. Some tribes considered largeleaf avens to be a universal panacea. No need to get into the finer points of identification for them! Largeleaf avens grows in AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, ME MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NM, NV, NY, SD, UT, WA, WI, all provinces of Canada, and on SPM. Summit Co CO, 6/17/13. Rose family, Rosaceae.

Jan. 13, 2022

As you go south one of the things you can look forward to are morning-glories. There are many more of them, individually and as species. Lilacbells are among those. They have travelled north from their home in South America to meet us. Lilacbells most likely arrived to adorn our flower gardens, and has been seen wild in AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, SC, TX, and VA. Monroe Co FL, 3/21/16. Bindweed family, Convolvulaceae.