Archive for the ‘Plant Profiles’ Category

Giant Solomon’s Seal … and More

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Giant Solomon’s Seal (Commutation sp.) grows at the edge of my spring wildflower garden. The garden is between a pine and a hackberry tree, with a sweetgum to the south. The arch of the Solomon’s Seal is three feet high.

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 The flowers are 3/4 inch long.

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The three to five flowers dangle from the leaf axils.

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Then I find this caterpillar on a young wild cherry tree nearby. I have yet to identify it.

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I went back out later to take a couple more pictures. And … one of the adult ground hogs came part way out of the barn while I was still out there, which was definitely a first! They usually dart under the barn if they see me moving in the house.

What a morning!and wasn’t even 10 a.m. yet!

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An hour later I looked out the picture window, and there was a red-eared slider heading east across the back yard. it didn’t cooperate while I was out there.

What a morning!!

Puttyroot Orchid

Three days of dreary inclement weather called for a loop drive through the country. I parked on the road to the trail head at Stoneface, a popular spot on the Shawnee National Forest.

A light rain fell as the temperature gradually dropped.

I decided to walk a short distance, just to be out.

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These puttyroot orchid seed capsules actually stood out among the colors of fall.

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They were in the process of drying.

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Puttyroot orchids (Aplectrum Hymale) send up a single leaf in the fall. This one has c0nsiderable growth yet to go. (Today is October 11).

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A smaller leaf, on the opposite side of the seedstalk, was of another plant.

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This is how the leaves look through the winter. There is a single leaf for each plant.

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Dried seed stalks are easy to find in the winter,

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and the flowers bloom later in May.

Bush Honeysuckle

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Bush honeysuckle grows in the shrub border around our backyard (along with a lot of other things).

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It’s attractive and is much better behaved than honeysuckle vines.

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 It also blocks the view of our new neighbors, who moved a prefab house in behind us this spring.

Three Trilliums

Three species of trilliums bloom in my spring wildflower garden.

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Purple trillium (trillium recurvatum) started blooming first and is the most common.

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White trilliums (Trillium flexipes) grow in a relatively tight group.

Most of the flowers in this garden were given to me years ago by a friend when she started having health problems.

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This third trillium surprised me this year … I’d totally forgotten about it, since it only bloomed the spring a friend gave it to me several years ago. Then I almost stepped on it a few evenings ago. It only stands 8 inches tall and certainly blends in with its surroundings.

The trilliums bloom among wild gingers, bluebells, wild geraniums, purple and white violets, bloodroot and Jack-in-the-pulpits.

Purple Trillium

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Purple trilliums bloom in two clumps in my spring wildflower garden.

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Each plant has three leaves.

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Each flower has 3 petals.

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The scientific name trillium recurvatum refers to the 3 recurved green sepals.

Six anthers crowd around the pistil.

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“Aaaaaah … spring.”

First Bloomers

The last little bits of ice finally melted today.

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Flowers starting to bloom in the maple by the barn.

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Two crocus grew near the large oak at Ingram Hill.

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 They were such a pleasant surprise!

Catalpa Seeds

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The clusters of 16-18 inch long seedpods

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  are quite noticeable on the catalpa tree.

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Wind disperses the thin, flat seeds. The lower seed flapped in the wind as I took pictures.

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The seeds stayed together in pods slow to open.

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Reluctant to turn loose and fly?

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I went out in the evening to take orb pictures, like I do a few times a week.

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The moon was three days from full and “hung” above the catalpa.

Self-Heal

 

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Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is a member of the mint family.  Mints have square stems.

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The upper lip covers the stamens, and the lower lip is three-lobed. It’s a perennial that grows throughout North America.

Prairie Dock

Prairie dock posed all kinds of photographic challenges.

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Two grow in my gardens. The oldest plant grows in my weed patch, and the youngest, a volunteer, grows nearby  among a patch of sedums. The blooming stalks on both of them stand 10-11 feet tall.

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The flowers usually face the south for some reason. This complicates picture-taking with the denseness of the weed patch.

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Prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum) is a native plant growing on glades and in prairies.

I knew prairie dock had a taproot from trying to move a young plant. Then when researching for the blog, I found out the plants are slow to develop and are nearly indestructible when mature. It is a long-lived plant with a taproot growing down 12 feet or more. They may send offsets a short distance from the mother plant.

Now, I think I might have management issues to control the plant. Think need to remove the 2 young plants, because they grow where I don’t want them to. I’m sure glad I blogged prairie dock and found this out before things became any more of a problem

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Gone too Soon

Some flowers don’t bloom as long as I’d like them to.

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This iris is a family heirloom.

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