Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wildflowers of 2014 - #120 through #131

Still catching up on wildflowers...

Last Thursday (12 June 2014) I posted wildflower species #110 -119 for the year.  These ten species were photographed on Sunday June 8th at Mission Creek Woodland Park.

The next five species were also found on Sunday June 8th, but these were photographed at Chipp-A-Waters Park.

The first four species were photographed within feet of the paved trail.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #120 Birdfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

The first species that I found was Birdfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).  This non-native species is identifiable by its distinctive yellow pea-like flowers - the plant is a member of the Legume Family (Fabaceae).  It was originally introduced to North America as a forage species and is now naturalized across most of the Continental United States and Canada.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #121 Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis)

The next species is another that was originally introduced from Europe as a forage plant - Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis).  This large species may grow up to 8 feet tall.  It has compound leaves divided into three lobes and elongated clusters of yellow flowers.  A closely related species White Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus) has white flowers.

Yellow Sweet Clover - note the yellow flowers and three-lobed leaves

Wildflowers of 2014 - #122 King Devil (Hieracium piloselloides)

The third wildflower is another non-native - King Devil (Hieracium piloselloides).  Also known as Yellow Hawkweed or Smooth Hawkweed, King Devil is one of of 15 species of Hieracium found in Michigan.  Eight of these species were introduced from Europe and the other seven are native to North America.  These species can be very difficult to differentiate.  The basal cluster of leaves identify this plant as introduced - the native species have leaves on their stems.  I based my identification of this plant based on the hairy basal leaves and hairless branched stems.

King Devil - note basal cluster of leaves

King Devil - note the branched flower stalks.  The stalks in this photo are covered with fibers from a Cottonwood Tree.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #123 Clammy Ground-cherry (Physalis heterophylla)

A short distance down the trail I found the next plant - Clammy Ground-cherry (Physalis heterophylla).  This plant is a native relative of both the Chinese Lantern (P. alkekengi), a common garden plant native to Eurasia, and the Tomatillo (P. philadelphica), a vegetable plant native to Mexico.

Although this species is distributed across most of the United States (and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec), it is most common in the eastern half of the country.

Clammy Ground-cherry (Physalis heterophylla)

The dangling yellow bell-shaped flowers, when pollinated, will turn into a yellow fruit covered with a papery husk.  This fruit is edible when ripe, but the rest of the plant is toxic.  The entire plant is covered with a dense coat of sticky white hairs.

Clammy Ground-cherry flower

Wildflowers of 2014 - #124 Giant Bur-reed (Sparganium eurycarpum)

The final flower from Sunday June 8th was the Giant Bur-reed (Sparganiun eurycarpum).  This plant was not nearly as easy to access as the previous three species. I found it growing in the emergent marsh along the edges of the old oxbow at the rear of Chipp-A-Waters Park.  These plants were found while wading toward the open water where I took the Yellow Pond-lily photos that I shared last week. These plants were growing throughout the marsh at depths between one and three feet of water.

Also known as Common Bur-reed or Broadfruit Bur-read, this is our most common species of Bur-reed in Michigan. Its range covers most of the United States (with the exception of the Southeast, Alaska, and Hawaii) and Canada.  It can be distinguished from other Sparganium species by its size and branching flower stalks.

For more information on Giant Bur-reed please see this species profile from December 2013.

Giant Bur-reed (Sparganium eurycarpum)

Giant Bur-reed flowering stalk - male (staminate) flowers are above and female (pistillate) flowers are below on the stalk

The next two flowers were photographed on Monday June 9th 2014.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #125 White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)

Flower #125 for the year is the White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata).  Also know as Sweet-scented Water Lily or Fragrant Water Lily, this plant is found growing in shallow water (down to 7 feet deep) throughout most of North America.  White Water Lily is usually found in the open water areas of marshes, in ponds and lakes, and occasionally in backwaters and slow-moving areas of rivers.

White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata) - note the floating leaves and floating white flower with a yellow center
The floating round leaves and white flowers with yellow centers make this plant easy to identify.  It can be mistaken for no other plant in Mid-Michigan.  At night and on cloudy days the flowers will close up and sink beneath the surface of the water.  The leaves and flowers are attached by hollow stems to a tuberous root system.  The roots, leaves, and stems are consumed by a variety of herbivores ranging in size from Muskrats to Moose.

White Water Lily - the round leaves are slit from one side nearly to the center

Wildflowers of 2014 - #126 Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

The next flower is one that I have been watching for several weeks, waiting for flowers to appear - Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum).  This plant is often called Tall Meadow Rue, but that name more properly belongs to a species that is found east of Michigan (T. pubescens)

Purple Meadow Rue is the second Thalictrum species that I have found this year.  Early Meadow Rue (T. dioicum) was #49 - found on May 21st.  The two species can be distinguished by size: Early Meadow Rue grows to a height of only 1-2 feet while Purple Meadow Rue can grow to a height of 3-6 feet.

Another feature that can be used to identify them is the shape of their leaves.  Both species have lobed leaved.  Those of Early Meadow Rue have five to nine rounded lobes; the leaves of Purple Meadow Rue are more pointed and have three (sometimes five) lobes.

Like other Meadow Rue Species, male and female flowers are found on separate plants.  Male plants have dangling flowers on widely branching pyramidal clusters (panicles).  Male flowers are whitish with a purple or brown tint.  Female flowers are also located on panicles, but the flowers are erect instead of dangling.

Male flowers of Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

Female flowers of Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) - also note the three-lobed compound leaves

Purple Meadow Rue - note the purple tint of the stem

On Thursday 12 June 2014, I found an additional five species in bloom.  All five flowers belonged to non-native species.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #127 Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is another Eurasian legume (Fabaceae) species that was originally planted in North America as a forage crop.  It has naturalized across the continent and has been documented in all fifty states and every Canadian province and territory with the exception of Nunavut.  It is commonly found along roadsides, in old fields, and in other dry weedy disturbed habitats.

The plant superficially resembles Yellow Sweet Clover (#121), Alfalfa can be identified by its blue-purple flowers and three lobed compound leaves.  The flowers resemble those of several other Legume species including Hairy Vetch (#116), but the leaves help narrow down its identity.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #128 Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea)

The next species is one of nine non-native Potentilla species found in Michigan - there are also six native species.

Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea) is a low-growing plant found in dry fields, roadsides, and other weedy places.  It reaches a height of only 4-18 inches.  The plant's yellow flowers have five petals and grow in clusters at the ends of branched stems.

The leaves of Silvery Cinquefoil have five lobed leaflets arranged in a palmate fashion (lobes that radiate outward from a central point).  The underside of the leaves are covered with a dense coating of hairs giving it a silvery appearance.

Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea)

Silvery Cinquefoil - note the flowers with five petals and palmate leaves with five lobes

Wildflowers of 2014 - #129 Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) is considered an invasive species or noxious weed by twelve states.  It was long planted for erosion control and for wildlife habitat, but has spread when wildlife consume its fruit (hips) and deposit the seeds in their droppings.

Multiflora Rose can be distinguished from other Rose species by its many white flowers - multiflora means "many-flowered".  Most native species produce single pink blooms.  Many of the other introduced species also produce pink flowers.  Individual Multiflora Rose blooms have five petals surrounding a yellow center.

Mutliflora Rose has compound leaves with 5-9 leaflets (sometimes as few as three on the upper part of the stem).  The leaflets have serrated edges.  The plant's woody stems are covered with curved thorns.

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)

Multiflora Rose - note the serrated leaflets and many flower buds

Multiflora Rose - note the hairless stem and curved thorns

Multiflora Rose bloom - note the five white petals and yellow stamen.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #130 Bitter Dock (Rumex obtusifolius)

The next flower is another weedy introduced species from Europe - Bitter Dock (Rumex obtusifolius).  Like many non-native species it prefers disturbed sites such as fields and roadsides where it is able to grow with less competition from native plants.

Bitter Dock initially grows as a basal cluster of leaves.  The leaves may be up to six inches wide.  Later in the season one or more flowering stalks arise from this basal rosette.  The flowers are small and greenish-red.  They grow directly along the branching stalks.  Smaller leaves may also grow along the stalks.

Bitter Dock (Rumex obtusifolius)

Bitter Dock - a closeup of the flowers

Wildflowers of 2014 - #131 Common Goat's Beard (Tragopogon pratensis)

The final flower of the week was Common Goat's Beard (Tragopogon pratensis).  Also known as Showy Goat's Beard, this is one of two Goat's Beard species that are found in Michigan.  This species can be distinguished from Fistulous Goat's Beard (T. dubius) by two features that are present in the latter, but not the former.  Fistulous Goat's Beard (#88 on the list) has long bracts that extend out beyond the rays of the composite flower head, these bracts are absent in Showy Goat's Beard.  Also, the stalk of T. dubius swells below the flower head, the stalk of T. pratensis is not swollen.

Showy Goat's Beard - note the grass-like leaves

Showy Goat's Beard - note the absence of long bracts that would be found on Fistulous Goat's Beard

Showy Goat's Beard - a composite flower composed of disc flowers surrounded by rays

No comments:

Post a Comment