Sunday, December 26, 2010
At the time that I took these photos, I was under the impression that Piloblephis rigida was endemic to Florida, but it appears that it is also known from a couple of locations in Georgia, where it is ranked S1. Piloblephis rigida grows in dry communites such as scrub, sandhills, and pine flatwoods. As with many mints, Wild Pennyroyal has various medicinal uses, including treatment of colds, fevers, and sores; it has also been used to induce vomiting.
You may be thinking, "that sure looks like a Satureja or Clinopodium." In fact, this low shrub is treated by some botanists as Satureja rigida or Clinopodium rigidum.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Can you name the plant, and the bug that makes these markings? Should be easy!
Prem and Scott both suggested, correctly, that the bug that does this is a leaf miner. I apologize that I can't call out the exact type. Scott suggested that the plant is Aster cordifolius, (Heart-Leaved Aster), and that is correct. Good work Prem and Scott!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Spiranthes is from the Greek words "speira" and "anthos," which mean spiral and flower, respectively. A look at the inflorescence makes clear how the genus got its name. Lucida means "shining," a reference to the very shiny leaves of this species. The bright yellow spot on the lip in combination with the early (relative to other Spiranthes) flowering time make this species an easy ID, if you can find it. Spiranthes lucida is known from much of the northern 2/3 of eastern North America, but it is a species of concern in ten states. You can find Shining Lady's Tresses in wet, calcareous areas with little competition, often in areas with some disturbance (such as lake margins and streambanks).
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Hybrid Lady's Slipper. This is a hybrid of the two previous species, Small White and Small Yellow Lady's Slipper. Depending on your treatment of the large and small yellows (as varieties or distinct species), this hybrid is either Cypripedium X andrewsii or Cypripedium X favillianum (see Swink and Wilhelm, 1994). This orchid is known to backcross with parents, resulting in a "hybrid swarm."
"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve life than destroy it." Henry David Thoreau, The Maine Woods
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
...and shortly after, here was quack grass (I think) with a red potato firmly attached at the base. The grass rhizome had grown right through the potato!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Well, October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month have come to an end. Thank you to all who participated by posting photos of pink plants.
Along with the "unpinking" of Get Your Botany On! comes this plant quiz...
Keith was able to pick up on my subtle hints and correctly determine that the photo above shows a berry of Actaea rubra forma neglecta. In the typical forms, Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) has red berries...
... and Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry or Doll's Eyes) has white berries...
However, there is a fairly common form (the more common form in some places, including where I saw it in Douglas County, Wisconsin) of Red Baneberry with white fruits (called Actaea rubra forma neglecta, shown below). Amazingly enough, there is also a rare form of White Baneberry with pink or red fruits (called Actaea pachypoda forma rubrocarpa, which I have never seen). The ranges of these two species of Actaea overlap in the northern half of eastern North America, as Actaea rubra is found throughout much of western North America and in the northern half of the eastern half of the continent, and Actaea pachypoda is found from Quebec to Florida and as far west as Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
So how would one tell the difference between these two species if the fruit color is not reliable? Actaea rubra has pedicels (flower/fruit stalks) that are green or brown when in fruit, whereas Actaea pachypoda has pedicels that are pink to red when the plant is in fruit. In addition, the pedicels of Actaea rubra are slender (up to 0.7 mm in diameter, and thinner than the inflorescence stalk), whereas those of Actaea pachypoda are thick (0.7 to 3.0 mm in diameter, and about as thick as the inflorescence stalk). A third character to look for is the scar that remains on the berry when the stigma falls off and the plants are in fruit. In Actaea rubra, this scar is small, whereas in Actaea pachypoda, this scar (the "iris" of the "doll's eye") is larger.
Both of these medicinal species were used heavily by Native Americans. Actaea rubra was used to treat coughs, colds, and other illnesses; Actaea pachypoda was used to treat sore throats. The way I am feeling right now, I sure wish I had a little bit of both of these on hand.
Congratulations, Keith, for figuring out this plant quiz!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
On this very weekend ten years ago, the legendary Chicago region botanist Floyd Swink was honored at a memorial service at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Ken Dritz shared this limerick, pasted below, which he had "written" in his mind on the drive from Chicago. I am always reminded of it (and Floyd) when I see Deptford Pink.
Inspired by His Penchant for Puns
29 October 2000
Chickadee? Meadowlark? Bobolink?If we needed to know, we asked Swink.
“You have there,” he might say, “Deptford Pink.”
As for fun, there was never a void.
For a pun lived this clever man, Floyd.
In the spirit of Marx
He would hold up a Lark/s-
pur and ask, “What is this—plant or boid?”
“If you mix plants and birds,” proclaimed he,
“You won’t know if you have Partridge PeaOr just old Crowfoot Grass.”
Now he’s left us, alas.
Wit and wisdom are his legacy.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Silene acaulis var. subacaulescens (Moss Campion)
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus (Spotted Joe Pye Weed)
Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pinkweed)
Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush)
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thanks for submitting your photo, Kevin!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This photograph was taken in a prairie remnant in Union County, Ohio.
Thanks for submitting your photo, Chris!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thanks for providing this photo, Kevin!