Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wildflowers of 2014 - #34 through #45

This past week was a very busy one for me and I have fallen behind on my list of the Wildflowers of 2014.  Last Tuesday (13 May 2014) I found nine species to add to the list.  This was the only time during the week that I was able to get out to look for flowers until yesterday (18 May) when I added another three flowers during a short walk at Mill Pond Park.

Of the nine flowers that I found on Tuesday, four were native and five were non-native.  All three flowers from Sunday were native plants.

The first three flowers on Tuesday were all  found at Chipp-A-Waters Park.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #34 Broad-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)

The first flower of the day was Broad-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla).  There have been buds on these plants for about a week, but the cold rainy weather has meant that they have been slow to open.  Finally on Tuesday I found several of these plants with open blooms.  This plant is a close relative of the Cut-leaved Toothworth (Cardamine concatenata) that I found blooming on April 29th.

Broad-leaved Toothwort and Dutchman's Breeches foliage

Broad-leaved Toothwort - also known as Crinkleroot

Broad-leaved Toothwort - the third Cardamine species of the year

Like other members of the Mustard Family, Broad-leaved Toothwort flowers have four petals

Wildflowers of 2014 - #35 Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is a small flowering tree or large shrub that is also known as Shadbush or Juneberry.  It is native to eastern north America and can be found from the Atlantic Coat west to a line running from Texas to Minnesota.  Downy Serviceberry is generally an upland species that prefers moist well-drained soils.

Downy Serviceberry

Wildflowers of 2014 - #36 American Black Currant (Ribes americanum)

The third species of the day was a small flowering shrub growing within the floodplain forest along the Chippewa River.  American Black Current (Ribes americanum) is classified as a Facultative Wetland species - meaning it is generally found in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands.  It can be found across most northern states and Canadian provinces east of the Rocky Mountains.  In Michigan, American Black Currant has been recorded in 75 of the state's 83 counties.  It's pale yellow tubular flower attract a variety of bee species.  The edible fruit is consumed by both birds and mammals.  This is one of twelve Ribes species found in Michigan.

American Black Currant - growing in the Chippewa River floodplain

American Black Currant - identified by its tubular yellow flowers and maple-like leaves

The flowers of American Black Currant grow in drooping racemes

A closeup of the American Black Currant flowers

The next five flowers are all non-native plants that have naturalized across most or all of North America.  These plants are generally considered weeds.  All were found at Mill Pond Park.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #37 Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a native of Eurasia that has naturalized in every American state and Canadian province.  Like other members of the Mustard (Brassicaceae) Family, its blooms have four petals.  Shepherd's Purse can be identified by its triangular or heart-shaped seed pods.

Shepherd's Purse  - note the triangle shaped seeds

Wildflowers of 2014 - #38 Mouse-ear Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)

The second non-native flower of the day (and fifth flower overall) was Mouse-ear Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana).  Mouse-ear Cress is another member of the Mustard Family that was originally native to Eurasia.  In North America, Mouse-ear Cress is generally found in dry fields, along roadsides, and in other disturbed habitats. The flowers of Mouse-ear Cress are tiny, being less than 1/8 inch across.  Like many other Mustards, it has long tubular shaped seed pods - these measure between 1/8 and 3/4 inch long.

Mouse-ear Cress

Mouse-ear Cress - note the tubular seed pods

Wildflowers of 2014 - #39 Common Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

The third non-native plant of the day was another Brassica.  Unlike the first two non-native plants Common Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris) has yellow flowers - the plant is also known as Yellow Rocket. Because of the larger size of its flowers and the yellow color, Common Winter-cress is much more noticeable than many other Brassica species.

Common Winter-cress

Common Winter-cress - note the four-petaled flowers

Common Winter Cress wass originally a native of Eurasia

Wildflowers of 2014 - #40 Hoary Alyssum (Berteroa incana)

The fourth non-native plant (and seventh plant overall) for the day was yet another Mustard or Brassica - Hoary Alyssum (Berteroa incana).  The word hoary comes from an Old English word that means "gray or white with age".  Hoary Alyssum is densely covered with fine hairs giving it a grey-green appearance. Michigan has several species of plants with Hoary in their name (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Vervain, Hoary Puccoon, etc.); all of which are covered with dense hair.

Hoary Alyssum - note the flowers with four petals

Hoary Alyssum - note the hairy stems and leaves

Wildflowers of 2014 - #41 Field Peppergrass (Lepidium campestre)

Field Peppergrass (Lepidium campestre) is another non-native member of the Brassica family.  Like the above four species, Field Peppergrass was originally a native of Eurasia, but has become naturalized across North America.  All four of these species are opportunistic and will quickly colonize areas of open or disturbed soil. 

Field Peppergrass (Lepidium campestre)

Wildflowers of 2014 - #42 Creamy Violet (Viola striata)

The final flower from May 13th was a native plant.  This was a flower that I was specifically searching for.  I remembered from past years that one section of woods at Mill Pond Park has large numbers of a species of violet with white flowers.  I had long assumed that these flowers were Canada Violet (Viola canadensis), but after taking these photographs I realized that I have been incorrectly identifying these plants.  Instead of V. canadensis, these flowers belong to the other native species of white violet, Creamy Violet (Viola striata). 

Creamy Violet is one of two species of white violet that is native to Michigan

Also known as Striped White Violet, Creamy Violet differs from Canada Violet in the fact that its flowers do not have a yellow center or throat. This can be seen in the next photograph.  The throat may have purple lines that act as nectar guides to bees, but these are not always present.

Creamy Violet can be identified by the lack of yellow in its throat

Creamy Violet (Viola striata)

After Wednesday, my next opportunity to spend time search for flowers was not until Sunday (18 May 2014).  On a short walk I found three more flowers to add to the list.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #43 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

The first flower of the day was Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).  I have been expecting to find this flower for the past few days.  I have several Wild Geranium plants in my flower garden at home and they began flowering last week.  This native Geranium is found throughout eastern North America.

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium does things in fives - five petals on its flower and five lobes on its leaves

The open flowers of Wild Geranium attract a variety of small and large bees and flies.

Wild Geranium is an attractive native plant that does well in woodland gardens.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #44 Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal (Maianthenum stellatum)

The second wildflower of the day was another native plant, the Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal (Maianthenum stellatum).  False Solomon's Seals can be distinguished from true Solomon's Seal plant by having flowers at the end of the stem rather than hanging below the stem from the leaf axil (point where the leaf attaches to the stem).

Groundcover consisting of Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal, Common Blue Violet, and Downy Yellow Violet

The star-shaped flowers of Starry-False Solomon's Seal grow in a raceme at the end of the stem.

Each flower of the Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal can be 1/3 inch across.

Wildflowers of  2014 - #45 Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

The third flower of the day was Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor).  This marks the forty-fifth flower of the year and is the tenth non-native species on the list.  This attractive native of Europe is considered an invasive species in some states.  It forms large mats that can out-compete native plants and result in a monoculture covering large areas.  Because of this growth tendency, Common Periwinkle is often grown as a groundcover in areas where grass will not grow.

A near monoculture of Common Periwinkle covers a large area of the Chippewa River floodplain

Glossy green leaves and blue flowers help identify Common Periwinkle

Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

A small caterpillar (or some other larva) is munching away on the center of this Common Periwinkle flower.

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