Saturday, November 19, 2011

Last Bloom

I was walking along the creek when I found what is probably the last of this season’s blooming flowers at Blue Jay Barrens. It was surprising to find flowers this fresh after all of the frosts, freezes and cold weather we’ve had the past few weeks. Some of the blooms are still developing. This is certainly something I wasn’t expecting to see.

This section of creek is entrenched by several feet, so it’s possible that a microclimate exists that kept the plant from getting a cold weather death blow. This is the only plant along the entire length of the creek that managed to survive.

There’s not much insect life left to pollinate these flowers. Although the weather was sunny with temperatures just shy of 50 degrees, I didn’t see any active flying insects. Even when the night time temperatures were in the 50’s a few days ago, the only possible pollinator attracted to my black light was a large moth.

The bloomer is a Crooked-stem Aster, Aster prenanthoides. The slightly zigzagged stem is evident and the dried leaves still show the winged petioles.

Not only is the plant blooming, it’s producing new shoots at the base of leaves. This is quite a persistent plant. It’ll be interesting to see how long it survives before winter brings it to an end.

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