Friday, July 1, 2016

Wildflowers of 2016 - #165 through 168

I am getting really close to being caught up on my Wildflowers of 2016 list.  On Friday June 24th, I photographed four species at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  All four of the species were growing in dry open areas near the Girl Scout Cabin located near the west side of the park.  These species were growing near the trail marked "North Oxbow Unpaved Footpath" on this linked map.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #165 Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria)

The first species of the day was a small introduced wildflower called Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria).  I found this species growing in the same place as I did in 2014.  A native of Europe, this plant is an annual (or biennial) that grows best in disturbed soils.  It spreads by seed and does not compete well against other plants.  As a landscape evolves, Deptford Pink populations may appear for several years and then disappear entirely.  It is also easy to overlook this plant unless it is flowering.

Deptford Pink can be hard to find
Deptford Pinks are very easy to identify when flowering.  Even though the flowers are small (1/3 inch across) they are very distinctive. Each flower has five pink petals with a toothed outer edge.  The petals are covered with small white dots.  Flowers grow in one or more v-shaped clusters at the top of each plant.
Deptford Pink - not small white dots and toothed edges of petals

Deptford Pink plants grow from 1 to 2 1/2 feet tall.  They have both basal and stem leaves.  The basal leaves are narrow oval shapes; stem leaves are grass-like measuring 1/8 inch across and up to 3 inches long.  Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #166 Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

My second flower of the day was the native Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium).  This species prefers dry open habitats.  This species is very well distributed across both Michigan (only two counties lack records) and North America (in all but six states and one Canadian province).

Spreading Dogbane can grow up to three feet tall. The plant's leaves are oval-shaped and measure 1 to 3 inches long.  These leaves display prominent light colored veins.  Leaves are arranged in pairs that droop off of the plant's branching stem.

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) - note drooping leaves

Flowers of Common Dogbane arranged in flat topped clusters at end of the plant's stem s.  Individual flowers are 1/4 to 3/8 inches across, white or pink colored, and have five petals that either spread wide or curl backward.  Like the plant's leaves, the flowers nod or droop slightly.

Spreading Dogbane - note drooping white flowers and reddish stems
Spreading Dogbane is one of only two Apocynum species; the other being Common Dogbane or Indian Hemp (A. Cannabinum) - the two species hybridize as a variety known as Apocynum X floribundum.  Both species and the hybrid can be found across most of North America.

Back on May 25th, I recorded Common Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) as Species # 71 of the year.  This is one of seven Erigeron species that have been recorded in Michigan.  Three of these species (including Common Fleabane) are found throughout Michigan.  The next two species are the other two widely distributed Michigan Erigeron species.  I found these two species growing together along the trail.

Wildflowers of 2016 - #167 Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus)

Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus) is a native species in the Asteraceae Family.  This family used to be known as the CompositaeAsteraceae plants have what are known as composite flower - a central disc of small closely packed flowers surrounded by a ring of ray flowers.  Most people think of the rays as petals, but they are actually individual flowers.  Each Prairie Fleabane flower head has approximately 50 to 100 rays.  An individual Prairie Fleabane plant may have several to many flower heads.  The disc of each flower is yellow and the rays are white (or pink).

Prairie Fleabane - note few leaves

Prairie Fleabane, which is also known as Rough Fleabane or Daisy Fleabane, typically grows 1 to 3 feet tall.  It has leaves arranged alternately along the stem.  The leaves are either toothless or have small teeth.  The stem has short hairs that lie parallel to the stem - hairs that lie like this are said to be appressed.
Prairie Fleabane - note small hairs on stem and leaves

Wildflowers of 2016 - #168 Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

Growing among the Prairie Fleabane, I found several plants that although they were similar were definitely different.  These "different" plants were Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) or Eastern Daisy Fleabane.  Like Prairie Fleabane, this species has composited flowers with a yellow disc and white (sometimes pink) rays.

Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Like the previous species, Annual Fleabane also has alternate leaves.  The leaves of this species are typically both larger and more numerous than those of Prairie Fleabane.  The leaves are also more likely to have coarse teeth than E. strigosus.  In addition to the larger more numerous leaves, this species can be identified by its stem hairs.  Unlike the flattened hairs of the previous species, Annual Fleabane has longer, spreading (erect) hairs.

Annual Fleabane - note larger leaves and spreading hairs

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