Monday, July 13, 2009

Scaly Blazing Star

The look of the prairies at Blue Jay Barrens is still predominately green. Most of the showy flowers have not yet begun to bloom. One exception is this Scaly Blazing Star, Liataris squarrosa.

Scaly Blazing Star is distinguished by these long, sharply pointed phyllaries. These make an attractive display even before the flower blooms.

Scaly Blazing Star is found in only one spot at Blue Jay Barrens and is represented by only a few dozen plants. The leaves are long and narrow and are hard to see in the grass, but once it blooms, it’s impossible to miss.

Maybe this is the only suitable spot on the property for this plant. The literature describes a wide range of suitable conditions for Scaly Blazing Star, so it should be able to grow just about anywhere here.

I’ve tried collecting seed, but I don’t find any viable seed from any of these plants. Pollinators seem to find the flowers attractive. Maybe they just aren’t the types of insects that effectively move Blazing Star pollen from flower to flower.

This interesting little fly looks like it can keep a safe distance from any pollen. That long mouth probably slips right by the pollen to sip nectar.

The fly looks nice and clean. No messy pollen sticking anywhere.

Maybe this is the year for these flowers to get pollinated. I’d like to see a whole field of these blooms. At least the numbers don’t seem to be decreasing.

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