Monday, September 14, 2009

Creek Bed Plants

Each year, there are certain plants that I find growing in the dry creek bed. Some of these plants are annuals which would normally grow in disturbed areas with exposed ground. Others are perennials that would have to cope with a shifting creek bed and inundation for part of the year. It seems a precarious place to be living. This Great Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica, is one that commonly grows in the stream corridor.

This specimen is growing right in the middle of the stream. The plants growing in the rocky stream bed are shorter than those that develop at the edge of the bank.

Beggar Ticks, Bidens frondosa, is an annual that is common in wet disturbed areas. The barbed spears of the seed will develop to stick out of this flower head. Many people mistakenly believe the rays have been eaten from the flower, but this is the flower in full bloom.

Virginia Bugleweed, Lycopus virginicus, is a lovely plant. The tiny flowers can be seen at the base of the leaves. I’ve never seen this plant anywhere other than the creek bed.

Aster prenanthoides, Crooked Stemmed Aster, is normally described as having blue or violet flowers. All Blue Jay Barrens specimens have white flowers, sometimes with a hint of violet.

The leaves have wide wings on the petioles and flare out to enclose the stem. The stem makes a little bend at each leaf junction.

Clearweed, Pilea pumila, always looks bright and shiny. You normally find this plant growing in areas of smaller stones and sand.

The flowers grow from the leaf axils. This plant, like most of those growing in the creek, flowers in the fall. I suppose plants growing here must not begin growth until the water flow slows in the late spring, so late development would not be uncommon.

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