Blog

Dec. 6, 2019

Yesterday's initial image of butterwort was from Horseshoe Cove on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Butterwort occurs in damp spots on and around this rocky shore. Horseshoe is one of many scenic spots up there, well worth a visit. But this one is tricky to find without a guide and a vehicle with good clearance.

Dec. 5, 2019

No, not the pretty patch of bug eaters. We've talked about things we find while looking for other stuff (no, not my bug collection mom shipped back from Arabia and saved for 40 years). Rather, words and ideas. Today's new word is hibernaculum. Latin for tent for winter quarters. Mostly these are now for animals. But yesterday we talked about turions, those cool little overwintering buds that sink into water to get plants through the winter. Plant turions can also be terrestrial, and are sometimes called hibernaculums (actually plural they're hibernacula). They're tight little buds with new plants inside, waiting for spring. Or in this case, maybe just waiting for a better day. Butterworts form hibernacula. This patch near the Lake Michigan shore was very much underwater when I was there last year. Lakes are now up. Hope the hibernacula can wait long enough!

Dec. 4, 2019

The day I found the frog's-bit, I was over by Lake Erie to see American lotus. These may be our largest native flower. They're a threatened species here in Michigan. When I originally posted this flower, I used a much wider shot that included some nesting swans. So here's a closer image. Both this and the frog's-bit were shot with telephoto from a dock.

Nov. 30, 2019

Peppermint is considered a sterile hybrid. The parents are spearmint and lemon mint. For a sterile plant, peppermint sure acts like it produces seed. For example, it grows throughout Michigan. One parent, lemon mint has been found only in three northern counties, and two of those collections were more than a century ago. Peppermint has flowers at the ends of branches, without leaves with them. This image is of a plant growing among a patch of peppermint and field mint. Field mint has flowers subtended by leaves, like this. This individual also had bunches of flowers at the ends of branches, which field mint does not. In many ways it was intermediate between the other plants, and tasted like peppermint. It seems very much like a hybrid with a sterile parent!

Nov. 27, 2019

Spearmint mostly has very pale flowers. I was a little surprised when this one with its nice color keyed to spearmint. But mints are a little sloppy after centuries of agriculture and horticulture. The are many varieties and hybrids, any of which may turn up in the wild. All tasty!