Monday, May 5, 2014

Wildflowers of 2014 - #15 Field Penny-cress (Thlaspi arvense), #16 Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), #17 Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), and #18 Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officianale)

Time to catch up on what wildflowers I have found blooming.  These photos are from last Thursday, May 1st.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #15 Field Penny-cress (Thlaspi arvense)

The first wildflower of the day was the first non-native flower of the year.  Field Penny-cress (Thlaspi arvense) is a common weed of roadsides and fields.  A native of Europe and Asia, Field Penny-cress is found in 48 states and all Canadian provinces and territories with the exception of Nunavut. 

Field Penny-cress

Field Penny-cress can be identified by its small white flowers with four petals and by its circular winged seeds with a deep notch at the top end.

Field Penny-cress - note the white flowers with four petals and the notched, circular seeds

Wildflowers of 2014 - #16 Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

My sixteenth wildflower of the year was another wind pollinated tree.  These pistillate (female) flowers belong to a Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum).  Like many other wind-pollinated trees, Silver Maple usually flowers before the leaves appear.

Pistillate (female) flowers of Silver Maple

Silver Maple flowers and emerging leaf

Wildflowers of 2014 - #17 Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

I found my third wildflower of the day, Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), growing in the floodplain along the Chippewa River.  This low growing, spreading native plant has flowers that grow at ground level.  To see these flowers you have to get down at their level.  These flowers grow on a short stem between a pairs of leaves and often rest directly on the ground.

I had do search several colonies of Wild Ginger before I found a single open bloom - there were hundreds of flower buds present.  By looking only at the largest leaves I was eventually able to find several flowering plants.

Wild Ginger - note the purple flower beneath the leaves

Wild Ginger's fuzzy, three-petaled flower often rests directly on the ground to attract beetles

Wild Ginger is named for its ginger-like scent and taste, but it is not related to true Ginger

Wildflowers of 2014 - #18 Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officianale)

The fourth wildflower of the day was the second non-native flower of the year - Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officianale).  Originally from Eurasia, this introduced species is found in all fifty states (including Hawaii) and all Canadian provinces and territories.  Because it is one of the most common wildflowers in Michigan, almost everyone can identify it on sight.  Although I have several flowering at my home right now, this was the first one that I found in Mt. Pleasant this year.

Composite flower of the Common Dandelion

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