Monday, July 19, 2010

Numbers 525 & 526

I continue to slowly add new species to my Blue Jay Barrens plant list. Number 525 is the Starry Campion, Silene stellata, a plant that grows in the open woods. The petals look as though they were shredded in a storm, but that is their normal appearance.

The leaves grow in whorls of four around the stem. Characteristics like this really narrow your choice of possibilities when you find a new plant. I probably would have walked right by this plant without giving it any notice if a shaft of sunlight hadn’t been illuminating the bloom.

I’ve seen Number 526 before, but never when it was flowering. This is St. Andrew’s Cross, Hypericum stragulum. The four petaled flower has four sepals; two are long and broad, while the other two are short and narrow.

St. Andrew’s Cross is actually a low growing shrub with sprawling branches. The plant is heavily browsed by deer which may explain why I’ve never before seen it in bloom.

The leaves look very much like those of the St. Johnsworts with which St. Andrew’s Cross is included. I think I’ve always recognized the relationship even though I couldn’t identify the species.

I found this patch growing in one of the barrens openings. I remember seeing it in past years, but can’t say for sure how old this clump might be. Now that I know what it is, I’ll certainly be paying more attention in the future.


  1. It's very exciting to find and identify new species on your property. Blue Jay Barrens sounds like quite a place. ~karen

  2. Your have a great collection of flowers, but if I probably got out and really payed attention I probably would find alot of them I have never noticed before!!!
    The first flower ...very pretty and the St Andrews Cross nice!!!
    Keep cool!!

  3. Karen - I'm always surprised when I find a new species, especially when they are as noticeable as these.

    grammie g - The more you look, the more you find. It's surprising how much we walk by everyday without noticing.

    In the last couple of days we've had thunder storms, hail, 90 degree temperatures and some of the most humid weather I can remember for some time. Our County Fair is going on now and that's the kind of weather we expect for this event.