Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flax-leaved Aster

The scratchy-scabrous leaves of this sand-loving plant have a very unusual feel. Photographed at Ober Savanna Nature Preserve in Starke County, Indiana.

Sky Blue Aster

Aster azureus contributes to the ineffable beauty of September and October days when flat-bottomed clouds line up across the brilliant blue sky. 
 Photographed at Ober Savanna Nature Preserve in Starke County, Indiana.
The lovely and descriptive name Aster azureus (Aster = starry), (azureus = sky-blue) has been dropped and replaced, alas!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fringed Gentian

Photographed in a wet meadow in northern Indiana. What's not to love about this striking plant?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nodding Lady's Tress Orchid

This common orchid is flowering abundantly in wet sandy meadows in northern Indiana. The identification of this one is assumed - I didn't have a field guide in hand and didn't make a collection.

For anyone with an interest in wild orchids, a visit to Peter Grube's Flickr site is a must. In addition to stunning orchid shots he has a lot of other work displayed, and all of it is excellent beyond all measure!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Soapwort Gentian

The rare and inspiring Gentiana saponaria is occasional in sand prairie remnants in northern Indiana. It is interesting and fun to watch a bumblebee pry the flower open, crawl inside, and disappear for a while.
I will never forget how my good friend Hontz loved gentians, and how we spent so many September and October days looking for them as we hiked along under flat-bottomed clouds in a brilliant blue sky.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great Blue Lobelia

Lobelia siphilitica is common in wet meadows and sometimes roadside ditches in northern Indiana. Photographed in a wet meadow between the Calumet Bike Trail and South Shore Railroad in Porter County, Indiana. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Spotted Touch-Me-Not

Impatiens capensis is a common native that can grow densely in wet areas. A member of the Balsaminaceae (Touch-Me-Not Family), it is annual, and is unusual in having fruits that explode when touched (if they're fully ripe). 
The seeds get scattered quite some distance when this happens, and this is always a fun activity for young kids on an outing. It is equally fun for adults!

Impatiens capensis is also known as Jewelweed or Snapweed, but make no mistake, it is native in northern Indiana.
This attractive plant is very popular with hummingbirds and makes a colorful addition to a rain garden or any native plant area that doesn't dry out. This is also true of the closely-related Pale Touch-Me-Not, Impatiens pallida.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blazing Star

Liatris aspera is just one of those plants that's hard to pass up when carrying camera gear. These were photographed in a dry oak savanna at Liverpool Sandpits Nature Preserve in Lake Station, Indiana.