Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ranunculus bulbosus, Bulbous Buttercup

Three cheers for DenPro! On March 22 I posted this photo of a vegetative plant I didn't recognize, hoping someone would be able to name it. To me it looked like Artemisia, and there were a lot of suggestions in different families and genera. DenPro suggested some kind of Ranunculus, and today I discovered he was right!
Good call - it is Ranunculus bulbosus, not recorded from the 11,000 square mile Chicago Region since the days of Julius Nieuwland! Discovered in disturbed, gravelly clay waste ground at the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds, South Bend, Indiana. Note the white clover in the upper right corner for scale. This plant has not been mowed.
Finding something new is always fun, even if it's a weed. For the rest of the day's botanizing trip I was champing at the bit to get home to my books and microscope!

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them." Eeyore

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Plant Quiz - Answered!

I recently posted the following plant quiz...

The photograph below was taken in St. Joseph County, Indiana.  This should be an easy one, given that pretty much the entire plant is present in the photo...

Good luck!

It doesn't take long for an answer to a plant quiz on Get Your Botany On!, and this time EMP correctly answered with Ellisia nyctelea. This member of the Hydrophyllaceae (waterleaf family) is an annual that grows in mesic forests as well as in disturbed areas where little competition from other species is present.  In Indiana, Aunt Lucy, as it is known, was previously documented from a few western counties.  I was shocked when I saw it in a forest in St. Joseph County along the St. Joseph River.  Luckily, Keith Board was home that Saturday afternoon when I called him from the field, and he was able to look up its known distribution so that I knew to collect it as a new county record.

Congratulation on correctly answering the quiz, EMP!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Plant Quiz Solved - Large-flowered Valerian!

Good Call, A.L. and M.Y.O.Q. It is Valeriana pauciflora. It is interesting to note that “pauciflora” means few-flowered, but the common name is Large-flowered Valerian. This native plant has a limited distribution in North America, but can be locally abundant where it occurs. Maps on the USDA Plants database seem to show that Indiana has more known locations than other states in the plant’s limited range. These were abundant in low, rich woods along the Salamonie River in the Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, Wabash County, Indiana.

Do you recognize this plant? Without seeing leaves, identification is much more challenging. Feel free to name it or just take a guess! It was growing in shaded, wet woods.

Fire Pink

Silene virginica is one of those striking plants that just has to be noticed in shady forests in late spring. I saw it again today and tried to improve on the many pictures I already have of this showy plant. I posted a few pictures a week ago but I believe these are better.

Starry False Solomon's Seal

Smilacina stellata is one of the easiest natives to grow at home. It spreads like crazy from abundant rhizomes, and grows in just about any habitat, wet or dry. The herbage of this lily is notably elegant, resembling the leaves of an orchid.

Wood Sedge or Woods Edge?

Whatever it is, I would love to have that in my street address. I'd call it Wood Sedge Road, and I'd get return address labels with line drawings of Laxiflorean sedges!