Sep. 21, 2021

Why are all those coneflowers called coneflowers? This is the dried head of a prairie coneflower. The somewhat conical part is the receptacle that holds all those tiny flowers at the center of the flower head. And at this stage holds, then dispenses the seeds. All flowers in the aster family have receptacles, many are flatter or even concave. Some with columnar or conical receptacles, particularly in the genera Echinacea, Ratibida, and Rudbeckia, are named for that feature.

Sep. 20, 2021

. . . while looking up other things. The Library of Congress is not the only official library of the United States. There are four others. One of those is the United States National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. Bet it's a fascinating place! So the next time you're in Beltsville?

Sep. 17, 2021

Blue is probably the more frequent color for Jones' bluestar. This cultivated patch was probably the cultivated variety "Blue Ice". It's a little taller and more enthusiastic than some of its wild ancestors, probably in part because it escaped the high desert of the Southwest.

Sep. 15, 2021

The tour of Oak Openings last weekend was mostly to see the newly renamed species of ladies'-tresses orchids. This one was a nice surprise. October ladies'-tresses is an even smaller species that gets to keep its old name, Spiranthes ovalis. I had never seen it blooming before October.

Sep. 14, 2021

You will often see the white variety of shooting stars in gardens. These were at Hidden Lake Gardens this spring. But I prefer the colored variety. The pink shot on the wildflower page was from a population in Ohio which had a variety of shades from an even darker pink to a few that were completely white.