Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Gymnocladus dioica is one of the few trees in Indiana with bipinnately compound or "bipinnate" leaves. Is it the only one? I don't know. Also known as "Coffee Nut," it is uncommon in the northwest third of the state, sometimes being found in the alluvium along streams in woods. It also occurs in more upland mesic forest and even on dry fencerows.
The large bean pods stay attached to the tree through winter and drop in spring. An earlier post resulted in some very interesting thoughts from the inimitable Justin Thomas, legendary Ozark botanist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blue Beech

The unusual inflorescence of Carpinus caroliniana offers a serious challenge to one of our most recognized birds. The Cardinal sometimes can be seen doing all kinds of contortions to get at the seeds while hanging upside-down from a nearby branch. The dense wood and unusual, sinuous form of the trunk have elicited other common names including Musclewood, Ironwood, and Hornbeam.
Photographed in seed on June 26, 2012 in Marshall County, Indiana.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stipes on Display?

I looked around this carny but didn't see any stipes on display. Nor did I see any rachises, pinnae, or sori. In fact, I didn't see any fern fronds at all. Go figure.

Friday, June 8, 2012

New England Aster!

I was stunned to see this common fall flower in a state of FGB (full, glorious bloom) today, June 8th (!) on a roadside in Marshall County, Indiana. I noticed a lot of closed flowers, and I have to wonder if any of them were open during the month of May!! I don't have records but I believe Aster novae-angliae normally begins flowering in August or September.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia humifusa has to be one of the most unusual plants in Indiana, and it is surprisingly widespread in the state. The actual leaves are very small and pointed, falling off early and leaving little bunches of needles. The "pads" are the stems, and the "pears" are the floral ovaries. I admire any plant that can thrive and flourish in deep, dry sand, especially in a prolonged drought. Photographed in Porter and Lake Counties in Indiana.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Butter-and-eggs, Linaria vulgaris

This showy little snapdragon is one of several attractive non-natives that seem to prefer growing along railroads. Others include Railroad Vine (Convolvulus arvensis), Little Barley (Hordeum pusillum), Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare), and Carolina Cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum), just to name a few of the many. Photographed along the C & O Railroad near New Buffalo, Michigan.


This little seedling was growing along the edge of a parking lot at a playground for small children in a northern Indiana city. Not what I would have expected to see there.