Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Blooming Flowers

I said I would get out this week and let you know what plants were blooming. The prairie plants are just starting to bloom and most are still a week or two away from coming out. This is Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, one of the best known prairie plants.

If you like fuzzy plants, you’ll love False Gromwell, Onosmodium molle var. hispidissimum. The bloom isn’t very showy, but it manages to get a lot of insect visitors. This plant has some interesting features that won’t become evident until later this summer. We’ll visit it in more detail then.

Blackeyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta. These are more common in abandoned crop fields where disturbed soil provides a good seed bed. It’s not very common in the established prairie areas at Blue Jay Barrens.

Flowering Spurge, Euphorbia corollata, is one of the upright spurges. This plant is very common across the dry prairies. The tall plants sway in the breeze, looking like a swarm of little snowflakes. Most people are more familiar with sprawling weedy spurges of gardens and driveways.

Flowering Spurge blooms are composed of a ring of male flowers, each with a single stamen, out of which extends a female flower consisting of a single pistil. The globular object at the end of the right leaning stalk is the pistil or the seed producer.

Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, always looks slightly out of focus when I see it from a distance. I think that’s the effect of all the long, thin leaves. Of course it could just be my eyes. It’s looking a little out of focus as I view it on the computer screen.

Prairie Ruellia, Ruellia strepens, is an attractive plant, but the upper leaves often block your view of the blooms.

To really appreciate the Prairie Ruellia, you have to get down close to the plant. Unfortunately, these plants seem to grow in the same locations favored by chiggers and you are sometimes left wondering if viewing the flower was worth a week of itchy bites.

New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus, is a small shrub that grows in some of the driest areas. Severe winter weather tends to kill back the top growth every few years, so the plant is never very tall.

The flowers of New Jersey Tea attract a variety of insects.

This New Jersey Tea flower cluster seems to be dominated by ants.

Wild Rose, Rosa Carolina, has a tiny bloom that is not very noticeable from a distance.

The Pasture Thistle, Cirsium pumilum, is one of the showiest of the thistles. The plant is short, but the flower can be seen from a great distance.

Pasture Thistle is also a great attractor of insects. Note the small wasp flying in from the right. I never get shots that good when I’m trying to catch something in flight.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve- Thanks for following my Ohio Nature Blog. Martin M. just told me last week about your blog, I completely forgot about it. I don't make it down to Adams County much with my work with DNAP- Mostly do stuff in the Lake Erie Watershed. Looking forward to learning new plants through your blog.