Wednesday, July 13, 2011

orange velvety goodness, miterwort seeds, and stealth hostas

New today: the first of the day lilies next to the house.
Oh my heavens. I think I need to cool off.
OK, I lied, that wasn’t a crocus the other day. It was – I believe – a stealth hosta (Hosta sneakiensis). Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?
- rounded petals
- curvy fluted stamens
- no leaves to speak of
- pointy petals
- straight anthers (flat yellow things on top of the stamens)
- this flower is nestled in a rosette of basal leaves.
The crocus picture is from months ago. The stealth hosta is from three days ago.
Today, our little mystery friend is already shriveled up. And here we enter the land of WTF?!? which enabled me to ID this as a hosta, because…

…it has a companion stalk that I swear is the same plant (I rustled around in there to check) – with a whole set of buds about to open up. You can just make out the shriveled petals with the dangly stamens, nestled in the bed of leaves, in the background, to the right of the unopened buds. You can also see that this plant has had a run-in with the lawnmower in the past, as some of its leaves have been chopped off. I used my logic tools and powers of deduction, and concluded: It’s a stealth hosta, intent on taking over a nice patch of hosta-free lawn. See, not far away, the no-doubt-about-it hostas are flowering.
…and they’ve been known to send little volunteers off into the lawn, which first appear as solitary leaves. Our crocus wannabe flower is probably a hosta volunteer that’s two steps ahead of those solitary leaves. Although the stamens don’t look right (compared to The Google), hosta flowers are six pointy-petaled bells, not unlike our mystery…Hm…I’ll have to wait til all the various flowers – both of the mystery stalk, and the regular hosta, are open, and then compare.
You’ll wait with bated breath, right? I knew you would.
In other news, not all cinquefoil leaves look like well, what I already said they look like.
Here’s another kind, whiling away a summer’s day out by the pole barn. This is rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica). There comes a time when you heave a great sigh and say “lo and behold, could it be? Another five-petaled yellow flower?”
Sometimes I get lucky, and I find a four-petaled yellow flower instead. O Happy Day! To wit: yesterday I claimed I saw some sundrops but I wasn’t sure – today I checked it out some more and instead have concluded it was really evening primrose. They show up on the same page in the flower guide, so it shouldn’t be offended by my mistake.
This is a plant that at eye-height, isn’t done growing up.
The flowers are modest by day, and open up at twilight. I’d go out and prove it to you, but a) it’s raining and b) I’m lazy. Actually, I had an amusing moment today. Check out a picture of one of these specimens, that I took yesterday:
P1110677 Yeah it’s overexposed and blurry, but it was intended to help me key it out.

This plant appears less than a foot tall, right?

That’s what I  thought.

Guess again.

Here we are today....
It’s easily three or three and a half feet long. It’s just fallen over, but the tip where the flowers are (over on the left) has gamely righted itself. Yes, Your Observant Amateur Naturalist failed to notice this yesterday. DUH.
To assuage my guilt pangs, Mother Nature threw a different four-petaled yellow flower at me today:
Common St. Johnswort. Boatloads of stamens, and little dots at the edges of the petals.
Moving on.

The tall anemone, aka thimbleweed, flowers have abandoned all pretense of having had petals, and now they just look like buzz-cut pineapples on sticks.

Remember agrimony? Brand new to me as of the other day? Check out its seeds.
These might be the things Charlie comes in to the house coated in. I’m not sure.
But speaking of seeds. BOY DO I HAVE A COOL THING TO SHOW YOU. We need to go back in the time travel machine to the beginning of May. Remember miterwort?
P1070170 P1070175
One of the earliest spring flowers around here. It has these incredibly tiny, snowflake-shaped flowers.
Well, I decided to visit the woodland mystery today, and whaddaya know, miterwort is still going strong, and is ready with its seeds.
P1110804 P1110803
Are you not in love? I am.
Speaking of love…
Here we have a bumblebee locked in a passionate embrace with a purple-flowered raspberry flower. For which I am grateful, as the result…
… is pretty tasty.
And last, but not least, I missed the flowering of this, but I’m pretty sure this is fairy bells (Disporum laguninosum)
Sweet, eh? Should generate a red berry. Stay tuned.

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