Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wildflowers of 2016 - #30 through #37

Sunday (08 MAY) was a busy day for me.  I had to replant twenty buckets of plants back into the  Saginaw Chippewa Academy Native Pollinator Garden.  Then I had to collect a dozen buckets of pond water for aquatic ecology programs on Monday and Tuesday.  After that, I was able to slip into the woods at Chipp-A-Waters Park for a short time to search for wildflowers.  In just over an hour I was able to add eight species to my 2016 list.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #30  Common Winter Cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

The first flower of the day was a common weedy species.  Common Winter Cress (Barbarea vulgaris) has been documented in most Michigan Counties.  Also known as Yellow Rocket or "wild mustard", this species is naturalized across much of the United States (43 states) and acrros the southern tier of Canadian provinces.

Common Winter Cress is a common naturalized plant of fields and other disturbed areas

The flowers of Common Winter Cress are bright mustard yellow.  Like other members of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae), its flowers have four petals.

Common Winter Cress - note four-petaled flowers

Wildflowers of 2016 - #31 American Black Currant (Ribes americanum)

My second species of the day was a small flowering shrub growing in the Chippewa River floodplain.  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.  In 2014, I photographed this exact same plant.

American Black Currant covered by climbing vines

American Black Currrant - note yellow tubular flowers and maple-like leaves

Wildflowers of 2016 - #32 Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

My third species of the day was the Jack-in-the-pulpit.  Most people who spend a lot of time in the woods are familiar with the Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum).  With its pair of three part leaves and a hooded green or purple flower composed of a pale green spadix (the jack) encased and topped by a spathe (the pulpit) is easily recognizable.  Later in the year, the spadix and spathe will be replaced by a cylinder of green berries that will ripen to a bright red.

Jack-in-the-pulpit flowers consists of a spadix and spathe

A plant of eastern woodlands, Jack-in-the-pulpit can be found in every state east of a line from North Dakota to Texas.  In Michigan, it has been recorded in all but two of the state's eighty-three counties.
On Sunday, I found only two Jack-in-the-pulpit plants; one each at Chipp-A-Waters and Mill Pond Park.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #33 Broad-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)

My next species of the day was my third member of the Cardamine genus - Broad-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla).  This species is also known as Two-leaved Toothwort for its pair of broad compound leaves.  The leaves are arranged nearly opposite on the stem.

Broad-leaved Toothwort surrounded by other spring ephemerals

Like all members of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae), the flowers of Broad-leaved Toothwort have four petals.  The flowers measure 1 to 1.5 inches across.  Plants measure up to 16 inches tall.

Broad-leaved Toothwort leaves are divided into three leaflets

Broad-leaved Toothwort grows throughout most of Michigan.  It can be found throughout the northeastern United States and Canada, and follows the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Alabama and Mississippi.

Broad-leaved Toothwort - note four petals on each flower

Wildflowers of 2016 - #34 Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)

On April 14th I found my sixth wildflower species of the year - Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria).  In a normal year, I can expect to find my next, closely-related species about two weeks later.  This year it took three weeks before I found my first Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis) blooms.

Squirrel Corn - note feathery blue-green leaves

Squirrel Corn plants have feathery, fern-like leaves that resemble those of Dutchman's Breeches, but in a different shade of green.  The heart-shaped flowers dangle from a stalk that rises above the leaves.
Squirrel Corn - note heart-shaped white flowers with purple details

Wildflowers of 2016 - #35 Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata)

Species #6 for the day and #35 for the year was a new species for my Mt. Pleasant list.  In the past I have found four species of violets.  Now I can add a fifth species - Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata).  This species can be identified by the long spur that sticks out behind the petals.  This spur measures 1/2 to 3/4 inches long.  This spur contains nectar that can be accessed by long-tongued bee species.

Long-spurred Violet

Long-spurred Violet is found throughout the Lower Peninsula.  The species ranges from Eastern Wisconsin east to New Hampshire and southward through the Appalachians as far as Alabama.

Long-spurred Violet - arrows point to elongated spurs

Wildflowers of 2016 - #36 Downy Serviceberry (Amelchier 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 - growing along edge of old river levee

Downy Serviceberry flowers are white.  They have five narrow petals and measure approximately 1 inch across. Downy Serviceberry is one of six Amelanchier species that can be found in the state - it is distinguished by a thick covering of hairs on the underside of its leaves.

Downy Serviceberry - note five-petaled flowers

Wildflowers of 2016 - #37 Marsh Violet (Viola cucullata)

My final flower of the day was another new Viola species - Marsh Violet (Viola cucullata).  Marsh Violet is similar to the Common Blue Violet, but is identifiable by its elongated sepals and flower stalks that are taller than the leaves.  The leaves are heart-shaped and usually narrower than those of the Common Blue Violet.  This species is also less hairy.

Marsh Violet

Marsh Violet is found throughout Michigan, but has not been documented in every county - specimens from Isabella County are absent from herbaria in the state.   The species can be found across eastern North America from Minnesota to Newfoundland and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

Marsh Violet - note elongated sepals

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