Friday, July 1, 2011

just another day in paradise

On the cool-down from this morning’s run (4.5 miles at a nice clip) I noticed several flowers I hadn’t seen before, along the side of the road. Without further ado:
This is spotted St. Johnswort. I goofed yesterday – yesterday’s was common St. Johnswort.
Do those dots look familiar? They remind me of bittersweet nightshade:
Next up, we’ve got…
Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia). This one’s easy to miss, as it’s low to the ground – unlike this next one, which ranged from a foot to five feet tall:
Some close-ups:
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This is tall meadow rue (Thalictrum polygamum). I only keyed it out by chance, because I didn’t know how many petals it has – those are all stamens. The petals have fallen off.
Other tall things! Cattails! If you’re like me, when you think of cattails, you think of brown, or possibly fluffy post-explosion. Did you ever notice them when they were still green?
Starting at the base of the … flowerstalk? and traveling up to the tip, we have…
…all green…
…here’s the transition zone…

…and then the top.
It’s times like these when I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have allergies. I mean, this thing is one enormous pollen factory.
I finally figured out this new anemone-like flower that’s blooming several weeks later than the regular anemone. It is, in fact, also an anemone – “tall anemone”, aka thimbleweed. Unlike the regular kind, which has showy white petals, thimbleweed doesn’t seem to have petals at all. The tepals – no, that’s not a typo – which enclose the whole kit and caboodle – open up and boom, we’re at naughty flower bits right away.
To wit:
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A. canadensis – Canada anemone A. virginiana – tall anemone or thimbleweed. You can see it’s still opening up.

Get your thimble on.
But the regular anemone are doing some pretty fabulous things – welcome to the Battle of the Bulge:
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Are you still with me? Because it was a big day, and we’re not done yet.
The Timothy grass is suddenly blooming. Not all of it, but certainly this one:
Don’t remember what this used to look like? Go here for the few-feet-away look, or here for a close-up from just a few days ago.
In absolutely wonderful news, I found a jack-in-the-pulpit that had been buried under raspberry, ferns, irises, and god knows what else, and guess what? It got fertilized!
Are you still here? Good for you! Here’s your reward:
Orange hawkweed, as usual. (Hieracium aurantiacum)


  1. I'm glad you have cool mornings. The ones in Austin these days start out near 80 degrees.

    With regard to the cattail, the dense flowers below the dividing line are female and the ones above are male (talk about strict segregation of the sexes).

    The flowering plant that you say can grow from 1 to 5 ft. tall appears to be a species of Clematis (of which there are many). Compare the flowers at


  2. Thanks for the cattail info! As to the other one - you're right, the flowers look very similar. But the leaves match up with the description for T. polygamum exactly - 30-times pinnate, blunt lobes. I'll keep an eye out for clematis; there are apparently three kind that grow here, all of them vines.

  3. Maybe this is a case of what botanists call convergent evolution: two unrelated plants develop the same feature or structure. For example, here in Austin I've noticed that Clematis drummondii branches in the same unusual way that Ambrosia trifida (giant ragweed) does, though the two species are in different botanical families. So much to learn....