Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category

Dandelions

It’s obvious why there are so many dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) around the yard.

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Each flowerhead produces a LOT of seeds …

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with a little help from the insects.

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Wind disperses the

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the parachute – like seeds.

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Each dandelion flowerhead contains both female and male flowers.

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Dandelions don’t actually need wind or insects to pollinate the flowers. If you look close at a female flower and follow it down, you’ll see that they each of them is in a tube. The tube is the male flower. So, the female flower becomes pollinated as it grows out through the male flower.

African Violet Surprise

I have three African violets that originally belonged to my grandmother. She passed away several years ago, and her violets” moved” to southern Illinois where they now live in three different houses.

 One of the violets surprised me by having a tiny yellow mushroom growing under the plant, near the edge of the flowerpot.

  During all these years of caring for the violets, I’d never seen a mushroom growing with one.

The mushroom was quick to open, and was much smaller than I expected.

 

When I first found the mushroom, it was tiny … only 1/8th of an inch in diameter.

I’m sure I still have more to learn about African violets.

 

 

 

Spiderwort

 

Spiderwort flowers bloom among my other spring wildflowers.

Two clumps of them grow in my spring wildflower garden (between the pine and hackberry tree) where they attract small insects.

An occasionally breeze blew this flower and made it look like a flying “butterfly.”

There are several species of spiderworts (Tradescantia)

… and this one posed to have its picture taken.

Me and My Shadow

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Here’s an Indian pink flower (spigelia marilandica) with a shadow of itself.

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The position of the sun determines the angle and the size of the flower’s shadow.

The combination of the flower stalks and the dark shadows mirroring it makes an interesting composition.

Purple Trillium

Purple trilliums (trillium erectum) are a woodland species that blooms in the spring.

They grow in my small spring wildflower garden that’s centered between a pine and a hackberry tree.

Trilliums have parts in three’s — three leaves, three petals and three sepals.

This picture shows the parts more clearly.

This is my only yellow trillium. It was a gift from a friend.

Virginia bluebells grow among them too.

Billbergia in Bloom

This billbergia plant is a family heirloom. I have no idea of its age.

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It’s a bromeliaceae from the pineapple family.

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This plant has bloomed for at least three weeks, and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

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Obviously, it adds color to dull winter days.

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It was passed down to me from my grandmother.

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I have no idea how old the plant is.

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It does look happy beside the picture window.

Kenilworth Ivy

I found Kenilworth ivy blooming near the side door of our house on the 25th of November.

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Its small size blended in with the surroundings.

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The flowers measure from 5/8 inch wide to 1/4 inch front to back. The lobed leaves range from 1 inch to 1 1/4 inch. They grow on the sides of the castles in England. I’m not sure how my grandmother got hers. (I assume it’s family hand-me-down.)

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This must be the gnome of the ivy “woods.”

It’s a friendly-looking gnome.

Spiderwort Still Blooms

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Spiderwort (a tradescantia species) is a native wildflower.

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A dense clump of it grows in my spring wildflower garden between a hackberry and a pine tree.

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They were given to me by my girl scout leader years and years ago. She had health problems and wanted me to have most of the flowers in her garden.

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This picture shows just how dense the flowers grow.

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I became intrigued by the shape, the color of the flowers, and with the number of those past bloom.

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Obviously, the plants insist on having a long blooming time,

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and I plan on enjoying it.

(I wrote this blog the middle of July, and the plants are still blooming.)

A Catalpa Tree

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 This catalpa tree grows near the middle of our backyard.

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For some reason it had much less flower clusters this year than usual.

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There are more flowers on the upper part of the tree than there are on the lower part.

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One pistil and two stamens form a group near the opening of the flower.

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The lined-pattern on the lower petal are like that for a reason. They guide any visitors up into the flower, and they pollinate it at the same time.

The flowers bloomed the end of May.

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I don’t know what kind of insect this is. It does have long antennae.

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I couldn’t resist the shape and contrast of this abstract design.

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The above caterpillar is younger than the one below.

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I’ve only seen one caterpillar in the last week.

Something’s Missing

There is something missing from all these pictures, except the last one …

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… Butterflies

They don’t call this butterflyweed for nothing. In a good butterfly summer, the milkweed would be covered with butterflies of all sizes and colors.

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Not this summer. I’m seeing a few dragonflies, but I haven’t seen a butterfly for weeks.

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It’s a shame. I look forward to them every summer.

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One common milkweed grows beside the old garage. At least I’ll have a place for monarch butterflies to lay eggs if they do visit here.

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Obviously, this picture wasn’t taken this summer.

They still might visit here on their migration north.

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At least aphids are hatching on the underside of a milkweed leaf.