I want to encourage you to leave comments. We are amateurs and I'm sure we make mistakes in the identity of some of the flowers. We are photographers first and botanist second. I do hope you enjoy the photography. Click on any picture to make it larger.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Plant Type: This is a non-native herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 38cm in height (15inches).
Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. Each leaf is toothed or lobed.
Flowers: The flowers have numerous parts and are up to 4.5cm wide (1.75 inches). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early winter.
Fruit: Small seeds arranged in a sphere attached to umbrella like sails and becoming airborne when mature.
Habitat: Fields, fence rows, gardens, thin woods and especially lawns.
Photographic Location: Sycamore Ridge Ranch in Middle Tennessee.
Euell Gibbons in his classic book Stalking the Wild Asparagus devotes over four pages to the many tasty dishes that can be made from this common plant while homeowners and greens keepers spend millions of dollars on toxins to eliminate Dandelions from their lawns. A deep tap root and seeds that mature quickly and are widely dispersed on the wind combined with and almost year round blooming season make this a tough weed to eliminate. I heard of a botanist who when ask by a lady at a garden club meeting what to do about the Dandelions in her yard replied "Learn to love them". Good advice if you ask me.
Lore: Dandelion was intentionally introduced to this country by early settlers because of its value as a tonic. Long winters without fresh vegetables often resulted in malnutrition and the vitamins derived from consuming Dandelions restored the health of suffers in the new world as well as the old. The root could be found even in winter and the juice extracted and given as a tonic. The young leaves picked before the flower forms make a healthful and delicious green. The tinder crown found below the ground can be eaten in salads or cooked. The roots can be peeled, sliced and boiled in two waters to remove the bitterness and eaten. The root can be roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers can be used to make Dandelion Wine. In addition to food and medicine the plant also provides dye in two colors, yellow from the flowers and red from the root. If you decide to try a dish of Dandelions be sure that you don't collect any from a lawn that may have been treated with herbicides.
Medical Uses: As the scientific name implies this plant was considered an 'Official' remedy. It was, and is, an effective treatment for conditions due to a deficiency in vitamins A and C. It is thought to be a diuretic and mild laxative. Those allergic to latex should avoid contact.
Text by © Daniel Reed 2000/2002
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Euphorbia family (Euphorbiaceae)
Description: This is an annual native plant from 3-18" tall that is low and spreading, but not prostrate. The stems are pinkish red, round, and hairless, except for a few fine hairs on new growth. The opposite leaves are up to 2" long and ¾" across. They are oblong, with short petioles and margins that are smooth or irregularly serrate. The lower surface of each leaf is light green, while the upper surface may have a red blotch in the middle. A few fine hairs may occur near the base of each leaf. The inflorescence consists of a small cyathium on a straight pedicel. Usually, several cyathia develop near the ends of each major stem when a plant is mature. A cyathium is a small cup-like structure containing the pistillate flower and one or more staminate flowers, which have neither true petals nor sepals. It is initially green, but often turns red in bright sunlight. On this particular species, the cyathium has 4 tiny petal-like appendages that are bright white. Eventually, a round tripartite fruit develops from the cyathium on a short stalk; it often turns red in bright sunlight as well. This fruit is noticeably larger than the flowers. The blooming period is mid-summer to fall, and lasts about 1-2 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. The root system consists of a central taproot.
Cultivation: The preference is full sunlight, dry conditions, and poor soil. The soil can contain significant amounts of gravel, sand, or clay. Foliar disease rarely bothers the leaves, and drought resistance is excellent. This plant can reseed itself readily.
Range & Habitat: Eyebane is a common plant that occurs in nearly every county of Tennessee. Habitats include dry upland areas of black soil prairies, clay prairies, gravel prairies, thickets, openings in upland woodlands, fields and pastures (whether abandoned or still in use), areas along roadsides and railroads, poorly maintained lawns and gardens, and miscellaneous waste areas. This plant prefers disturbed open areas and is somewhat weedy. It seems to be more common in rural than urban areas, possibly because of its intolerance to herbicides and frequent mowing of lawns.
Faunal Associations: The tiny flowers occasionally attract small bees, Syrphid flies, and wasps. These insects seek nectar primarily. The seeds are consumed by the Mourning Dove and Greater Prairie Chicken, and to a lesser extent by the Bobwhite and Horned Lark. The Wild Turkey has been known to eat the foliage, developing buds, and fruits, apparently without ill effects. Mammalian herbivores rarely eat this plant because of the poisonous white latex in the stems and foliage.
Photographic Location: Sycamore Ridge Ranch in Middle Tennessee.
Comments: Eyebane can be readily distinguished from other Chamaesyce spp. by its more erect habit, larger leaves, and mostly hairless stems. Several scientific names have been applied to Eyebane in the past, including Chamaesyce maculata, Euphorbia maculata, and Euphorbia preslii. Sometimes the entire plant will turn reddish green in response to strong sunlight and dry conditions.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Here are just a few of the summer wildflowers blooming in my neck of the woods.
|(Elephantopus carolinianus) Carolina Elephant's Foot|
|(Asclepias incarnata) Swamp Milkweed|
|(Conoclinium coelestinum) Mist Flower|
|(Mimulus alatus) Sharp-Winged Monkeyflower|
|(Spiranthes lacera var gracilis) Green-Lipped Ladies'-Tresses. |
One of the few orchids you will find in middle TN.
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)
The large, bright, terminal blossoms of this showy, 2-4 ft. perennial are made up of small, rose-purple flowers. Deep pink flowers clustered at the top of a tall, branching stem, bearing numerous narrow, lanceolate leaves. Opposite, narrow, lance-shaped leaves line the erect, open-branched stem. Elongated, tan-brown seed pods persist into winter.
Photographic Location: Wilson County in Middle Tennessee.
The juice of this wetland milkweed is less milky than that of other species. The genus was named in honor of Aesculapius, Greek god of medicine, undoubtedly because some species have long been used to treat a variety of ailments. The Latin species name means flesh-colored.
This is a very important plant for the survival of the Monarch butterfly. They eat it, lay their eggs on it and build their chrysalis on it. In the last 20 years, the population of monarch butterflies in the eastern U.S. has declined by 90 percent, greatly worrying environmentalists and researchers. Today, three major conservation groups and a scientist have called on the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the brilliant orange and black insects as threatened, a move that would provide federal officials with more latitude in efforts to preserve them like designating certain areas as protected.
Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae)
Description: This native perennial plant is ½–3' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are glabrous, 4-angled, and more or less winged. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across. They are ovate, lanceolate-ovate, or lanceolate, becoming smaller and more narrow where the flowers occur. The leaves are glabrous and either dentate or serrate along the margins their petioles are narrowly winged and about ½" in length or more. The flowers occur individually above the axils of the middle to upper leaves; their pedicels vary from nearly zero to ½" in length. Each flower is about 1" long, consisting of a two-lipped corolla and a tubular calyx. The throat of the corolla has a patch of yellow that is surrounded by a narrow band of white, otherwise it is pale violet or pink. The upper lip has a pair of lobes that fold backward laterally, while the lower lip has 3 well-rounded lobes that spread outward and function as a landing pad for visiting insects. The surface of the corolla is often covered with fine white hairs, particularly at the base of its throat. The light green calyx is about as long as the corolla and glabrous; it has 5 winged ridges along its length and 5 linear teeth along its outer rim.
The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 1-2 months. Only a few flowers on a plant are in bloom at the same; there is no floral scent. After the corolla falls off, the persistent calyx surrounds a capsule containing several smooth seeds. The root system is rhizomatous. Although this plant is not a strong colonizer, clonal offsets are occasionally formed from the rhizomes.
Cultivation: The preference is partial sun, wet to consistently moist conditions, and rich soil containing an abundance of organic matter. Full sun and light shade are also tolerated. When plants are grown in conditions that are too dry and sunny, they remain small in size and their foliage becomes yellowish green. Foliar disease is rarely a problem.
Range & Habitat: Found throughout TN and most of the south east, common. Habitats include openings in floodplain and bottomland forests, swamps, seeps, edges of small rivers and drainage canals, soggy areas of alluvial meadows, and roadside ditches. This plant is somewhat conservative in its habitat preferences, but it can be found in disturbed wetlands occasionally.
Faunal Associations: The nectar of the flowers attracts Bombus pensylvanica and other bumblebees. Insects that feed destructively on Mimulus spp. (Monkeyflowers) include caterpillars of the moth, Elaphria chalcedonia (Chalcedony Midget), and caterpillars of the butterfly, Junonia coenia (Buckeye). An aphid, Aphis mimuli, uses these plants as summer hosts. Little appears to be known about the ecological relationships of these plants to vertebrate animals, although they are large enough to provide some protective cover in wetland areas.
Photographic Location: Wilson County in Middle Tennessee.
Comments: Winged Monkeyflower is a very attractive plant that can withstand occasional flooding. It has a similar appearance to Mimulus ringens (Monkeyflower) and it occurs in the same habitats. Winged Monkeyflower differs from the latter species in the following characteristics: 1) Its flowers are often pink rather than blue-violet, 2) Its leaves have narrowly winged petioles about ½" long or more, while Mimulus ringens has sessile leaves, and 3) The pedicels of its flowers vary in length from nearly zero to ½" in length, while Mimulus ringens has pedicels that are greater than ½" in length.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Family - Onagraceae
Flowering - June - November.
Habitat - Sandhills, pine flatwoods, bogs.
Origin - Native to North America.
Photographic Location - Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area in Middle Tennessee.
Other information - This species can be found scattered thinly throughout Tennessee. Mostly in the southern half. The plant can be identified by its pubescent stems (which are frequently red), sinuate to dentate leaves, small, white flowers, and ovoid fruits. The fruits are on pedicels 2-6mm long. The pedicels are longer than the body of the fruit. Another species, G. sinuata Nutt. ex Ser., is similar but has larger flowers and more narrow fruits.
The genus name Gaura derives from the Greek "gaur(o)" meaning "proud, majestic, superb" and is not very fitiing of most of the species.
The species epithet filipes derives from the Latin "fil(i)" meaning "a thread" referring to the stalks of the fruits (compared to the fruits of other species which are sessile or have thick stalks).
Monday, August 11, 2014
Cashew family (Anacardiaceae)
Description: This native woody shrub is up to 20' tall, but more often 5-6' tall. The new growth of the stems is usually covered with a greyish pubescence. The alternate compound leaves are oddly pinnate, individually consisting of 7-21 leaflets and a central leaf stalk that is conspicuously winged. These compound leaves are up to 2½' long. A leaflet is about 3" long and 1" across. It is ovate or ovate-lanceolate, with smooth margins and an upper surface that is glabrous or slightly pubescent. Some of the upper stems terminate in a panicle of flowers up to 1' long. This panicle is broader at the bottom than the top. The small flowers are yellowish white and individually about 1/8" across. Each flower consists of 5 spreading petals, 5 stamens, and a central pistil. The calyx is divided into 5 triangular lobes that are recurved. Sometimes Winged Sumac is dioecious, with male and female plants. When this occurs, the flowers of the male plants will lack pistils, while the flowers of the female plants will lack stamens. The flowers usually bloom during mid-summer for about 2-3 weeks. Later in the year, they are replaced by dark red drupes that are covered with short acid hairs. Each drupe is about 1/6" long and contains a smooth stone. These drupes persist through the winter, gradually becoming black. The root system consists of a taproot and spreading rhizomes. Sometimes vegetative colonies of plants are created by the rhizomes.
Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun and mesic to slightly dry conditions. This plant often flourishes in poor soil that is sandy or rocky because of the reduced competition from other plants, but it should develop normally in richer soil as well. The foliage is normally attractive, but occasionally attacked by leaf spot and other kinds of foliar disease. This sumac is less aggressive than Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac).
Range & Habitat: Winged Sumac is found throughout TN. It prefers areas with a history of disturbance, such as fire.
Faunal Associations: The nectar or pollen of the flowers attracts many kinds of insects, especially wasps, flies, and bees. The foliage is a food source for the caterpillars of several species of moths and other insects. The caterpillars of Pyrrhia umbra (Bordered Sallow) also eat the flowers and drupes. Both upland gamebirds and songbirds eat the drupes during the fall or winter, and help to distribute the seeds far and wide. Both rabbits and deer browse on the foliage, stems, or bark. In general, the ecological value of sumacs to wildlife is quite high.
Photographic Location: Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area in Middle Tennessee
Comments: The foliage turns red during the fall and is quite attractive. It is easy to identify this species in the wild because the central leaf stalks of the compound leaves are conspicuously winged. Another distinctive characteristic is the smooth margins of the leaves – other Rhus spp. have leaf margins that are serrate or crenate.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
This is another repeat. For more information, Click Here. It's one of my favorites mainly because of the secondary interest. There are always butterfly's, clear wing moths and praying mantises to add a little visual interest.
The mantises know the buterflys will be there and they wait for their opportunity. You see a lot of swallow tails with one or both tails missing.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
This is another one of my favorites. This year it seems to be blooming everywhere! My photography skills may be improving a little so I hope this is a little better picture.
Photographic Location: Sycamore Ridge Ranch in Middle Tennessee.
This is another repost. For original post and more information on this beautiful flower, Click Here
Saturday, July 19, 2014
I know that I have posted this beautiful flower before (Click here for description), but since its one of my favorites and it grows on my farm, I thought I would post a few new pictures. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
Photographic Location: Sycamore Ridge Ranch in middle Tennessee.
Photographic Location: Sycamore Ridge Ranch in middle Tennessee.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Bean family (Fabaceae)
Description: This perennial wildflower consists of a short leafy stem (4-12" tall) and a flowering stalk (1½-3' long) that are separated from each other at the base. The leafy stem is erect, light green to reddish green, and short-pubescent; it has 1-2 pseudo-whorls of 3 compound leaves at its apex. The compound leaves are trifoliate with slender petioles about 2-3" long. Individual leaflets are 2-3½" long and 1½-2½" across; they are lanceolate-ovate to oval in shape and their margins are smooth. The upper surface of the leaflets is medium green and short-pubescent to glabrous, while their lower surface is pale green and glabrous. The terminal leaflet of each trifoliate leaf has a slender petiolule (basal stalklet) up to ¾" long, while the lateral leaflets have slender petiolules less than 1/8" long. The erect to ascending flowering stalk is light green to reddish green and short-pubescent; it is usually leafless, although a less common variety of Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil has 1-2 trifoliate leaves. The upper part of the flowering stalk consists of a raceme or narrow panicle of flowers up to 1' long. The flowers are arranged along the stalk in widely spaced pseudo-whorls. The pedicels of the flowers and lateral branches (if any) are about ½-¾" long..
Individual flowers consist of 5 whitish pink or pale lavender petals, a short tubular calyx with blunt teeth that is greenish red to white, several stamens with white filaments, and a pistil with a single style. The corolla of each flower has a typical pea-like structure consisting of an erect banner, a straight horizontal keel, and a pair of spreading wings. The calyx is short-pubescent and its bottom tooth is larger in size than the others. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer for about 1-1½ months. On each plant, only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time and they are not noticeably fragrant. The flowers are replaced by flattened seedpods called 'loments.' The loments usually have 2-3 one-seeded segments (less often, 1 or 4 segments); the upper side of each segment is straight or slightly concave, while the lower side is convex or rhombic. The lateral sides of each loment are covered with short hooked hairs; each loment has a long stipe (about ½" long) at its base and a shorter beak (less than ¼" long) at its tip. Each segment of the loment is about 8 mm. long (a little less than 1/3"). The root system consists of a short broad taproot or caudex. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself.
Cultivation: The preference is light to medium shade, mesic conditions, and a slightly to moderately acidic soil containing sand, rocky material, or loam with decaying organic matter. The root system of this wildflower fixes nitrogen into the soil via symbiotic bacteria.
Range & Habitat: Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil found throughout TN. Habitats consist of mesic beech-maple woodlands, sandy oak woodlands, and rocky woodlands where sandstone is present. This wildflower occurs in higher quality woodlands where the native ground flora is intact. Jul-Aug.
Faunal Associations: The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees, other long-tongued bees, and Halictid bees; these visitors collect pollen. Nectar is not available as a floral reward. Other insects feed on the foliage and other parts of Desmodium spp. (Tick Trefoils). These species include the caterpillars of several skippers, butterflies, and moths; the leaf-mining larvae of the Buprestid beetles Pachyschelus confusus and Pachyschelus laevigatus; the larvae of the seed weevil Apion decoloratum; the thrips Echinothrips americanus and Neohydatothrips desmodianus; and the aphid Microparsus variabilis. There are also several leaf beetles that feed on the foliage of tick trefoils: Anomoea laticlavia, Bassareus lituratus, Cerotoma trifurcata, Colaspis brunnea, Cryptocephalus insertus, Odontata dorsalis, Pachybrachis nigricornis, Pachybrachis othonus, Phyllecthris dorsalis, and Saxinis omogera. Some vertebrate animals also use these plants as a food source. The seeds are eaten by the Wild Turkey and Bobwhite, while the foliage is palatable to deer, rabbits, horses, cattle, and other mammalian herbivores. Because of the height of the flowering stalk (up to 3') and the habitat (woodlands), White-Tailed Deer are probably the primary transporters of the seeds of Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil as the loments (seedpods) can cling to fur.
Photographic Location: Big South Fork National Park
Comments: Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil is usually easy to identify because, unlike other Desmodium spp. (Tick Trefoils), it produces its leaves and flowers on separate stalks (except for an uncommon variety). While other species in this genus produce leaves that are clearly alternate, Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil produces its leaves in pseudo-whorls. This species also has loments (a type of seedpod) with straight or slightly concave upper sides above their segments. In contrast, most species of tick trefoil have loments with convex upper sides above their segments. Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil also prefers shady woodlands, while other species of tick trefoil usually prefer partially shaded savannas or sunny prairies.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Evening Primrose family (Onagraceae)
Description: This perennial plant is about ¾-2' tall and unbranched or little branched. Scattered white hairs occur occasionally along the central stem, although it becomes glabrous with age. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and 3" across (excluding the petioles); they are ovate-cordate, dentate along their margins, and largely hairless. The upper leaf surface is medium to dark green and hairless. The slender petioles of the leaves are up to 1½" long and medium green. The central stem terminates in a raceme of flowers up to 6" long. The stalk of this raceme has scattered white hairs. The small flowers are sparsely, but evenly, distributed along this stalk on slender pedicels up to ½" long. These pedicels spread outward.
Each flower consists of 2 white petals, 2 green sepals, 2 stamens, and a slender style. Each petal is deeply divided into 2 lobes. At the base of each flower, there is a 2-celled ovary that is green and covered with stiff hooked hairs; it is obovoid in shape. Each cell of this ovary contains a single seed. The blooming period for a colony of plants occurs during the summer and lasts about a month. Each flower is short-lived and replaced by a small bur-like fruit (see the description of the ovary above). The root system can produce rhizomes or stolons that extend through the soil or leaf mould to create clonal offsets from the mother plant.
Cultivation: The preference is dappled sunlight to medium shade, more or less mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter.
Range & Habitat: The native Enchanter's Nightshade is throughout TN. Extended range from Nova Scotia to S Manitoba south to GA, LA and OK. This plant may be less abundant than in the past because of browsing by deer. Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, including oak woodlands and maple/basswood woodlands, and areas that are adjacent to woodland paths. Sometimes this species occurs in wooded upland areas and along ravine slopes. Jun-Sep.
Faunal Associations: The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract small bees, including Halictid bees (Lasioglossum spp.) and little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.); they are also visited by Syrphid flies and bee flies (Bombyliidae). The caterpillars of a moth, Mompha terminella (Enchanter's Cosmet), are blotch leaf-miners. Birds and mammals help to distribute the seeds, as the small bur-like fruits can cling to feathers and fur; these fruits can cling to the clothing of humans as well. Deer occasionally browse on the foliage of Enchanter's Nightshade.
Photographic Location: Big South Fork National Park
Comments: This is one of the woodland wildflowers that blooms during the summer in shaded areas. The flowers of such species are usually small, white, and not very showy. Enchanter's Nightshade is a rather odd member of the Evening Primrose family, as its flowers have only 2 petals, 2 sepals, and 2 stamens. This is a distinctive characteristic of the Circaea genus in this family.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Primrose family (Primulaceae)
Description: This native perennial plant is 1-2' tall and more or less erect. Initially, it consists of a rosette of leaves that are rather angular and orbicular. Later, a central stem develops that is 4-angled and smooth. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and ¾" across. They are lanceolate or narrowly ovate, and often fold upward along the length of the central vein. Their margins are usually smooth (although sometimes ciliate), and there are no hairs, except toward the base of each leaf. These leaves are sessile against the stem, or they have short petioles with a few coarse hairs. The uppermost leaves at the top of a plant are usually whorled. The underside of each leaf is light or whitish green, but eventually becomes darker with age. There are a few short side stems in the upper half of the plant. From 1-4 nodding flowers develop from the upper axils of the leaves, each with its own pedicel. Each flower is about ¾" across, with 5 narrowly triangular green sepals, 5 yellow petals, and 5 yellowish orange stamens. The petals are well-rounded, but their outer edges are often ragged and may have conspicuous tips. Toward the center of the flower, there is a patch of orange surrounding the upper portion of the pistil. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable fragrance. The flowers are replaced by spheroid capsules with slender spike-like tips. A fully developed capsule is about the same height as the surrounding sepals. The root system consists of a taproot and rhizomes that form little plantlets. This plant often forms small colonies by means of vegetative reproduction.
Cultivation: The preference is partial to full sun, and moist to mesic conditions. This plant usually grows in a loam or clay-loam soil, but it can tolerate soil with sandy or rocky material as well. The foliage is rarely bothered by disease; occasionally insects nibble the edges of the leaves.
Range & Habitat: Lance-Leaved Loosestrife occurs throughout TN, and from NJ to WI south to FL and TX. Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, open woodlands, thickets, swamps, gravelly seeps, limestone glades, and old fields with hardpan clay or sandy soil. Jun-Aug.
Faunal Associations: The flowers of the Lysimachia spp. (Yellow-Flowered Loosestrifes) are unusual in that they produce a floral oil, rather than nectar. Because of this, they attract the short-tongued Melittid bee, Macropsis steironematis. This oligolectic bee collects both the floral oil and pollen and forms a pollen-ball that becomes the food of its developing bee-larvae. Otherwise, the flowers attract few insects, except for the occasional visitor seeking pollen from the anthers. Information about Lance-Leaved Loosestrife's relation to birds and mammals does not appear to be readily accessible at the present time.
Photographic Location: Big South Fork National Park
Comments: This plant would be more attractive to humans if the flowers did not hang downward. The nodding characteristic of some flowers is often a sign that the primary pollinators are bees, which are more willing to hang upside down on the protruding structures of a flower in order to obtain whatever food source they are seeking. This characteristic may also protect the nectar or floral oil from rainfall. Lance-Leaved Loosestrife can be distinguished from other loosestrifes primarily by its opposite leaves, which are sessile or have very short petioles. The height of the mature seed capsules is about the same as the height of the surrounding calyx segments, while in other Lysimachia spp. they are often unequal. The species Lysimachia hybrida, which used to be considered a variety of Lance-Leaved Loosestrife, has a similar appearance. However, Lysimachia hybrida is supposed to have somewhat longer petioles, somewhat broader leaves, and the undersides of its leaves are green rather than light or whitish green, even in younger leaves.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Clusiaceae (St. John's-Wort Family)
Synonym(s): Ascyrum hypericoides var. multicaule, Hypericum hypericoides var. multicaule, Hypericum stragulum
Reclining St. Andrew’s Cross, Multi-stem St. Andrew's-cross. Hypericum hypericoides ssp. multicaule has been classified as a separate species of St. John’s Wort - Hypericum stragulatum in the past. The other (original) subspecies, Hypericum hypericoides ssp. hypericoides, is a taller, erect plant, up to four feet tall, and has leaves which are widest in the middle, whereas those of ssp. multicaule are widest past the middle toward the end of the leaf. The subspecies name multicaule means many-branched. Reclining St. Andrew’s Cross is a short shrub with many branches, forming mats.
As with most Hypericum there are many stamens, although this species has fewer than many. There are four sepals, with the inner ones being smaller than the outer sepals, seen here with the bud below the open blossom.
The stems of Reclining St. Andrew’s Cross may be up to about 10 inches high. The leaves are about an inch long, opposite, and linear to oblanceolate - wider toward the tip than in the middle.
Photographic Location: Big South Fork National Park.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Judy and I have started camping again after her knee replacement surgery. We could not think of a better place to go than Rock Island State park in Middle Tennessee. We have been to this park several times and just love it.
Rock Island State Park is an 883 acre park located on the headwaters of Center Hill Lake at the confluence of the Caney Fork, Collins and Rock Rivers. The rugged beauty of the park includes the Caney Fork Gorge below Great Falls Dam. These overlooks are some of the most scenic and significant along the Eastern Highland Rim. Great Falls is a 30 foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, located below the 19th century cotton textile mill that it powered over 100 years ago. Rock Island became a Tennessee State Park in 1969.
As usual, the staff was very friendly and helpful.
The camp grounds have just gone through a refreshing and the facilities were just great.
|Since Judy was still recovering from surgery, we got to use the handicap spot. They now have 4 sewer hook-ups, 2 handicap and two regular.|
There had been a good bit or rain lately, so the water was really flowing.
|Another Twin Falls|
|More of Twin Falls|
|The spring castle. The "castle" is probably a larger version of a springhouse, which was used for refrigeration.|
|Lots of photographic opportunities along this trail, especially wildflowers.|
|Striped Wintergreen, Pipsissewa|
|Yellow False Foxglove (Similar to Smooth False Foxglove)|
I hope you enjoyed this short review of our trip to another one of Tennessee's great state parks. What's next, back to Big South Fork! Can't wait!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Spiraea japonica is one of several Spiraea shrubs with alternate, simple leaves, on wiry, freely branching, erect stems. Stems are brown to reddish-brown, round in cross-section and sometimes hairy. The shrub reaches 1.2 m to almost 2 m in height and about the same in width. The deciduous leaves are generally an ovate shape about 2.5 cm to 7.5 cm long, have toothed margins, and alternate along the stem. Clusters of rosy-pink flowers are found at the tips of the branches. The seeds measure about 2.5 mm in length and are found in small lustrous capsules.
It is naturally variable in form and there are many varieties of it in the horticulture trade. So far, nine varieties have been described within the species.
Spiraea japonica is a deciduous, perennial shrub native to Japan, China, and Korea. Southwest China is the center for biodiversity of the species. It is naturalized throughout much of the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest areas of the United States, and parts of Canada.
Habitat: A common habitat for S. japonica in general seems to be in riparian areas, bogs, or other wetland habitats. It is found growing along streams, rivers, forest edges, roadsides, successional fields, and power line right-of-ways. It prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. It prefers lots of water during the growing season; however, it cannot tolerate saturated soils for extended periods of time. It prefers a rich, moist loam, but it can grow in a wide variety of soils, including those on the alkaline side.
Uses: Spiraea japonica was introduced in North America as an ornamental landscape plant and first cultivated in the northeastern states around 1870.
Photographic Location: Rock Island State Park in Middle Tennessee.
Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use. The tall forms may be grown as hedges, low screens, or foundation shrubs. The low-growing forms can be used as ground cover or in borders. Spiraea japonica has been used as traditional medicine by native people, and extracts from the plants were found to be bioactive.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Lily family (Liliaceae)
Description: This native perennial wildflower is ¾–1½' tall and unbranched. It consists of a central stem with 3 terminal leaves; a mature plant will produce a single stalked flower. The central stem is terete, glabrous, and pale green or pale reddish-green. The terminal leaves are arranged in a whorl at the apex of this stem. Each leaf is up to 6" long and 5" across; it is oval-ovate or oval in shape, medium green, and glabrous. Each leaf has smooth margins and parallel primary veins.
The single flower spans about 3-4" across on a stalk about 1-3" long. This stalk is ascending or erect; the flower is held above the leaves and usually leans to the side (but doesn't droop downward). Each flower consists of 3 white petals, 3 green sepals, a central white ovary, 6 stamens, and 3 stigmas. The petals are ovate-obovate, widely spreading, and usually longer than the sepals; they often become light pink with age. The sepals are lanceolate and widely spreading. The dull yellow stigmas are slender and either straight or slightly recurved. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a 6-angled seed capsule that becomes dark with age; it eventually splits open to release the seeds. The root system consists of a vertical rootstock with fibrous roots; spreading rhizomes are also produced. Occasionally, this wildflower forms loose colonies of variable size.
Cultivation: Dappled sunlight or light shade is preferred during the spring; later in the year, more shade is tolerated. The soil should be rich, loamy, rather loose, and evenly moist; a surface layer of leaves and other decaying organic material is desirable. This wildflower develops very slowly from seed (several years to maturity). It is also possible to propagate this species from vegetative offsets of the rhizomes, but this takes time to develop as well.
Range & Habitat: Large-Flowered Trillium is frequent in the eastern 1/2 of Tennessee, while in other areas of the state it is uncommon or absent. Habitats include rich deciduous woodlands, swamps, and shaded riverbanks. Occasionally, Large-Flowered Trillium is cultivated in shade gardens, but it is expensive and difficult to obtain; wild-collected plants should be avoided as it is illegal to remove any plant or plant part from a state natural area.
Faunal Associations: As showy as they are, the flowers are rarely visited by insects; Graenicher observed a single species, Ceratina dupla (Little Carpenter Bee), sucking nectar and collecting pollen from them. Another small bee, Andrena geranii, was observed to seek shelter in a flower from the rain. The caterpillars of two moths, Euplexia benesimilis (American Angle Shades) and Clepsis melaleucana (Black-Patched Clepsis), occasionally feed on Trillium spp. (trilliums); the latter species is polyphagous. The seeds of this and other trilliums are distributed by ants because of their elaisomes (food appendages). White-Tailed Deer readily browse on the foliage and flowers of trilliums, and they appear to be attracted to Large-Flowered Trillium in particular (possibly because they can easily see the flowers). Where this trillium is abundant, its large leaves can provide significant cover for small mammals.
Photographic Location: Taylor Hollow State Natural Area in Middle Tennessee.
|This particular plant had double petals! Only one I have seen like this.|
Comments: Among the various species of trilliums, this one is probably the most attractive and charismatic. The flowers are very showy and the leaves have a nice glossy surface. The only other species that is similar, Trillium flexipes (White Trillium), has flowers that are a little smaller and more nodding; usually its flowers hang a little above or a little below the leaves. Large-Flowered Trillium has slender stigmas that are straight or slightly recurved, while White Trillium has stout stigmas that are strongly recurved.