Sunday, October 31, 2010

Deptford Pink and Floyd Swink

One of my favorite weeds, Dianthus armeria adds color to old clay fields, dry prairie remnants, and sandy savannas. Posted here in honor of all who have suffered with breast cancer.

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.

A Light-Hearted Tribute, in Limerick Form,
to the Wit and Wisdom of Floyd Swink
Inspired by His Penchant for Puns
Kenneth W. Dritz
29 October 2000

Chickadee? Meadowlark? Bobolink?If we needed to know, we asked Swink.
Ev’ry bird this man knew;
Ev’ry flow’ring plant, too.
“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

My Final Flush of Pink

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds to a close, here are a few more pink plants to honor those who have suffered from this horrible disease.

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink)

Silene acaulis var. subacaulescens (Moss Campion)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus (Spotted Joe Pye Weed)

Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pinkweed)

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Euonymus bungeana, Pink Lady Winterberry or Chinese Spindle Tree

This arching shrub is an escape from cultivation that grows west of South Bend, Indiana, along the edge of a woods near the Grand Trunk Railroad. It also grows in roadside thickets at several locations: northeast of Lydick, Indiana along Pine Road, in LaPorte County on CR 350 N, and south of Syracuse, Indiana along State Road 13. It does not seem obnoxiously invasive at any of these sites, but the fruits are so prolific that it probably could become a pest. The specific epithet is also spelled "bungeanus." The leaves turn pink in autumn, but apparently not this year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Purple Fringed Orchid, Habenaria psycodes

Rare and local, this remarkable plant can still be found in quality swamp forests and open, wet meadows. It is now called Platanthera psycodes. If you have never looked into the intriguing mechanisms orchids use for pollination, you are in for a treat. Two excellent books for midwestern orchids are, "Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region" by Frederick Case, and "Orchids of Indiana," by Michael Homoya, with stunning photos by Lee Casebere.

Showy Orchis, Orchis spectabilis

This orchid is getting very difficult to find. Photographed in southern Michigan in 2008. Now called Galearis spectabilis.

Goat's Rue, Tephrosia virginiana

In northern Indiana, Goat's Rue is occasional in sand prairie and oak savanna.

Toothwort, Dentaria laciniata

Ubiquitous in eastern mesic forests, Toothwort is one of the most common spring ephemerals. The 4-petaled flowers are usually white, but occasionally pink, as shown. The degree of toothing on the leaves is highly variable. This plant is now being called Cardamine concatenata, with "concatenata" meaning "joined together/ forming a chain," probably from the rhizomes with numerous constrictions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Iliamna remota

Kevin has submitted another pink beauty in honor of all of those who have suffered from breast cancer. This is Iliamna remota (Kankakee Mallow), currently treated as Iliamna rivularis var. rivularis.

Thanks for submitting your photo, Kevin!

Vaccinium oxycoccos for Mayme

My mom lost her Aunt Mayme to breast cancer many years ago. This photograph of Vaccinium oxycoccos (Small Cranberry) is posted in honor of Mayme.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Orchid For The Ladies: Cypripedium reginae

Rare and local in Indiana, Showy Lady's Slipper is a strikingly large and attractive orchid. Presented in honor of all ladies who have dealt with breast cancer.

The Pink Underbelly of Red Maple, Acer rubrum

Red Maple is one of the most vividly colorful trees in the fall. Sometime take a look at the underside of the leaves - very often they turn a soft, pastel pink. Flash photography brings out detail, but it fails to capture the subtle color and beauty on the underside of this leaf.

Horse Mint, Monarda punctata

The floral bracts on this denizen of dry sand are more noticeable than the flowers. Pleasantly aromatic, even the dried stems smell good, and they provide one of the highlights of a winter trek in the sand country. "Punctata" means dotted or spotted. Can you see why?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arthrostemma ciliatum for Kate

Before my mom was born, her grandmother, Kate, passed away as a result of breast cancer. I offer Arthrostemma ciliatum (pinkfringe) in Kate's memory.

This melastome is known in the United States only from Hawaii, where it is considered an introduced species. The photograph above was taken within its native range, in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Silene regia

Chris, from the Miami County Park District in Ohio, wanted in on the "pink out" going on at Get Your Botany On! and submitted this photograph of a pink Silene regia (royal catchfly). I've got to say that I've never seen anything like it.

This photograph was taken in a prairie remnant in Union County, Ohio.

Thanks for submitting your photo, Chris!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lespedeza violacea

This photo of Lespedeza violacea (Violet Lespedeza) was submitted by Get Your Botany On! follower Kevin, a volunteer at Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois. Kevin is fortunate not to know anyone who has had breast cancer, but he wanted to submit this photo from his yard to honor those who have had the disease.

Thanks for providing this photo, Kevin!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kalmia polifolia for Bev

This Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel) is presented in honor of my Aunt Bev, another breast cancer survivor.

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Especially at home in limestone gravel, Henbit is an early spring weed of ruderal areas. It's a member of the mint family that sometimes produces cleistogamous flowers. These self-pollinating flowers look like little pink buds that never open. The open flowers may be faintly fragrant but the herbage lacks the aromatic oil of so many others in the family. The specific name "amplexicaule" means "embracing the stem," probably in reference to the leaves.
Henbit, Lamium amplexicaule

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Polygala cruciata for Norma

Here is Polygala cruciata (Drumheads) for another survivor, Lindsay's grandpa's sister, Norma.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sabatia angularis

Trillium catesbaei for Joy

Lindsay's Aunt Joy is a breast cancer survivor. This Bashful Wakerobin (Trillium catesbaei) is posted in her honor. Like Joy, Bashful Wakerobin resides in North Carolina.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)

Photographed at Cressmoor Prairie Nature Preserve in Lake County, Indiana. This is one of many sites that our friend Myrna was instrumental in saving!

Grass Pink Orchid (Calopogon tuberosus)

Photographed on a wet sand flat near New Buffalo, Michigan.

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

Photographed at Bendix Woods County Park near New Carlisle, Indiana.
The crushed foliage has a very unusual smell. Notice what looks like a spider with transparent legs lurking among transparent hairs on the calyces of the flowers. Or is it a mosquito?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Rose for Myrna

My friend Myrna survived breast cancer 20 years ago (!) and since then has been instrumental in the preservation of many natural areas in the Midwest. Even back when she was battling cancer she was active in conservation in a variety of ways.

This Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina) was photographed in a preserve in Indiana that she was involved in saving. Our world is so much better because of her! Thank you, Myrna!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hibiscus palustris for Deb

In September 1994, Lindsay's Aunt Deb lost her long battle with breast cancer. Deb loved hummingbirds, so in her honor, I present you with this pink Swamp Rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), a species frequented by hummingbirds.

Shooting Stars for Thelda and Karen

I'll start things off with Shooting Stars, Dodecatheon meadia, photographed on a prairie remnant in Lake County, Indiana. Honoring the memory of two favorite co-workers who were taken by this dreadful disease.

Pink Out!

Whoa... what happened to the traditional green theme on Get Your Botany On!? Keith had the great idea that, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we "Pink Out" the blog for the remainder of the month. Until the end of October, post your favorite pictures of anything pink and plant related - flowers, fruits, leaves, or anything else. For those of you who are not contributors but are regular visitors, feel free to email me ( a photo and some text, and I will post your pink plant photos for you.

For those of you visiting after October 2010, you'll just have to imagine these October posts with a pink background and pink text.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Early Fall Color in Northern Indiana

Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia.
Thicket Creeper, Parthenocissus inserta.

For a detailed comparison of these two creepers,
see the excellent post by Scott Namestnik here.

Feel free to identify these beauties for us!

Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, begins flowering in autumn.
Petals can sometimes be observed well into December in Indiana.
As Thoreau said, "...its leaves fall, its blossoms spring."

The wonderfully aromatic Sassafras tree, Sassafras albidum.

Tupelo or Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goldenrods, Asters, a thistle and some bugs!

The halcyon days of early autumn have yielded many delightful hours in the field. Here are a few recent photos. Please help identify the bugs!

Fen Thistle, Cirsium muticum, looking like a fireworks display, only cleaner, quieter, and far better-smelling. Have you experienced the tactile wonder of the involucre on this plant?
Riddell's Goldenrod, Solidago riddellii, with a Buckeye butterfly. This is one of the few butterflies that will hold still for a photo.
Riddell's Goldenrod, Solidago riddellii, with what appears to be a Chinese Mantid eating a hornet. It's a gruesome spectacle as that thing has a bunch of mouthparts wiggling around as it aggressively devours its prey.

Shining Aster, Aster puniceus var. firmus with some unknown bug wearing an elegant fur coat. PETA would be outraged.

Shining Aster, Aster puniceus var. firmus, with what appears to be an American Hover Fly.

Fen Thistle, Cirsium muticum, with a Silver Spotted Skipper.

"I leave the towns behind and I am lost in some boundless heath, and life becomes gradually more tolerable, if not even glorious." Henry David Thoreau