Images of the day

Nov. 27, 2021

Yellow sweet clover is sort of the good, the bad, and the pretty (cue Morricone's odd flute music?). It was brought here very early as a forage crop that also helps nuture the soil. But in moldy conditions it can become poisonous to cattle. But the poison has been used to control rodents. And yellow sweet clover is useful for remediation of soils containing dioxins. Yellow sweet clover can be seen in every state and province, and on GL and SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 6/9/21. Bean family, Fabaceae.

Nov. 26, 2021

Broadleaf or lemon thyme may have leaves wider than the ones in your spice jar, but they are still quite tiny. It's not a frequent escape from our gardens, but if it does get out it can be plentiful. If you drive route 31 from Traverse City to Charlevoix in Michigan, you can see it in almost any mowed area along the last half of the trip. Like bugle from the other day's posting, thyme likes lawn mowers with its short sprawling habit. Lemon thyme can be used to spice up your food, but is more often grown as an ornament in rock gardens. These plants have been reported wild from CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NY, OR, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, MB, NB, ON, PE, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 8/30/11. Mint family, Lamiaceae.

Nov. 25, 2021

Oleander is an old friend. It was likely the first tropical I made acquaintance with. As we traveled around the world, it was always there. A friend in every port. And a friend for all times. Oleander is mentioned in the earliest writing about plants, and shows up in very ancient art. Our name for it comes from ancient Greece. But maybe it isn't always friendly. There's a story about a scout troop that died from roasting hot dogs on oleander sticks. Not true, but it makes a point! Oleander's origin is lost in time, but may have been around the Mediterranen. Now you might see it in AL, AZ, CA, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX or UT. St. Lucie Co FL, 1/27/13. Dogbane family, Apocynaceae.

Nov. 24, 2021

Bugle is an immigrant from Europe. It is a short plant that spreads extensively by sending out runners, so it makes a good groundcover. But then it keeps going to the point that it is sometimes considered invasive. Certainly it invades lawns, where there is little competition from taller plants. Mowers are its friends. In other habitats where it is shaded it does not seem to be as aggressive. Bugle has been reported wild from AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, BC, NF, NS, ON, and QC. Highland Co OH, 4/28/21. Mint family, Lamiaceae.

Nov. 23, 2021

Southern or hairy chervil demonstrates a type of germination ecophysiology previously undescribed in botany. That's a mouthful! And it's only the beginning for Baskin and Baskin in their paper for the Journal of Ecology. They go on to discuss southern chervil's version of morphophysiological dormancy. This all means that when seeds drop in the summer, the embryos have not matured. They go dormant at that stage through summer. In early autumn temperatures, they are stimulated to develop mature embryos, then germinate. The plants are then dormant , depending on latitude, until spring. This process gets the delicate embryos through the hottest and dryest part of summer.
Southern chervil mostly grows in open areas in AL, AR, AZ, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NE, NM, OH, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Morton Co GA, 3/15/16. Celery family, Apiaceae.