Friday, June 10, 2016

Wildflowers of 2016 - #95 through #99

The following five species were found/photographed on Friday May 27th.  The first four were photographed at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  I found Species Number Ninety-nine at Mission Creek Woodland Park.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #95 Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

I found my first flower of the day growing along the edge of an open field.  This is typical habitat for Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis).  It can also be found in openings in woodlands, along fencerows, and in any other space where birds may drop its seeds.  Black Raspberry can be distinguished from Common Blackberry (R allegheniensis) by its flowers which have sepals as long or longer than its petals.  Common Blackberry flowers have short sepals.  It can be distinguished from Wild Red Raspberry (R. strigosus) by the color of its fruit - I had previously identified this group of plants as Black Raspberry.

Dew-covered Black Raspberry - note long sepals and short petals

Black Raspberry is found throughout the southern half of the Lower Peninsula and in scattered locations northward.  Overall it ranges across eastern North America as far south as northern Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, northward into Ontario and Quebec.  It can be found as far west as Nebraska and the Dakotas.  It has also been documented in Gilpin County, Colorado.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #96 Fistulous Goat's Beard (Tragopogon dubius)

Fistulous Goat's Beard - note how stem swells below flower head

Fistulous Goat's Beard (Tragopogon dubius) is a non-native composite flower - composed of central disc flowers surrounded by ray flowers.  It is one of two species of Goat's Beard that can be found in Michigan, the other being Showy goat's Beard (T. pratensis).  Both plant can grow to nearly three feet in height and have grass-like leaves.  Fistulous Goat's Beard can be identified by its stalk which expands below the flower head and by the long bracts which extend beyond the ray flowers.  Both species can be found in open dry habitats such as field and roadsides.  These flowers often close up before mid-day.  The seed heads of Goat's Beard look like large Dandelion seed heads.

Fistulous Goat's Beard - note long bracts that extend beyond ray flowers (petals)

Fistulous Goat's Beard has been recorded in all but fourteen of Michigan's counties.  A native of Europe, it has naturalized in forty-five states and every Canadian province/territory, with the exception of Nunavut.  It is also commonly known as Yellow Salsify.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #97 Horse-gentian (Triosteum aurantiacum)

After photographing the Fistulous Goat's Beard, I headed into the woods to find my next species.  Horse-gentian (Triosteum aurantiacum) would be easy to overlook.  The small reddish flowers grow in its leaf axils (place where the leaf connects to the stem).  From a distance, you would never notice the flowers.  Initially, when I found this plant several years ago, I only identified it because it was in fruit at the time.  Later in the summer/fall, this plant will develop orange berry-like fruit that measure about 1/2 inch long.  These fruit are by far the most distinguishing feature of this plant.  Sometimes the species is referred to as Orange-fruited Horse-gentian.

Horse-gentain - you can barely see the flowers in the leaf axils

This species can be found in a variety of habitat types, ranging from wet to dry.  It is an eastern species and is found no further west than eastern Nebraska and Kansas.  Although it can be found as far south a Georgia, its population is centered on the Great Lakes region.  In Michigan, it found throughout the Lower Peninsula and in scatter locations in the UP.

Horse-gentian - a closer view of the flowers

Wildflowers of 2016 - #98 Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis)

My next species had me stumped at first.  I found it growing along in full sun along the bank of the Chippewa River.  It was obviously a member of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae), based on it's four-petaled flowers and to use a birder's term jizz of giss (General Impression of Size and Shape), but I was not sure which one.

Wild Mustard - note hairy stems and reddish-purple patches at leaf/stem junctions

It did have several distinguishing features.  It had large showy yellow flowers - large for a Mustard.  The stems were covered with long white hairs. Finally there were reddish-purple patches at the junctions of the stems and leaf petioles.  All of these factors eventually led my to an identification of Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis).  Also known as Charlock, this non-native has naturalized across almost the whole of North America.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #99 Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Virginia Waterleaf plants

Species number five for the day and number ninety-nine for the year was photographed in the mature Beech/Maple forest at Mission Creek Park.  Virgina Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) is a species of the eastern woodlands.  It sf found as far west as Manitoba, south through the eastern parts of the Dakotas, and on into northeast Oklahoma and Arkansas.  From there its ranges curls north of the Ohio River, before dipping southward through the Appalachian into Tennesse and North Carolina.

Virginia Waterleaf - note hairy sepals

For more information on the Virginia Waterleaf, check out my species profile from June 2013.

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