Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Bloomers

Summer Bloomers. No, not the kind made of sheer cotton, silly :) Flowers! I took a quick tour around the park today and snapped a few pictures of the things in bloom. Some of my favorites were making a nice showing today.

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is always a crowd pleaser. This is a great plant to add to any garden. It has beautiful, long-lasting blooms. It is a great nectar source for butterflies; I have seen many different species utilizing coneflower. And the seedheads are a great seed source for birds and other animals. Goldfinch absolutely love coneflower seeds. They will grasp the stem and become so completely engrossed in eating you can almost touch them.

Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, one of my all time favorites. Lush, round pink blossoms that smell terrific. And, they attract lots of interesting bugs, as a bonus.

Another milkweed that also has a great fragrance, Marsh Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata. This plant likes areas a little more wet. It has a deep pink blossom that is more flat than Common Milkweed. This one is just starting to bloom.

Yet another member of the milkweed group, Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa, is a brilliant orange. This plant attracts loads of butterflies and other nectar-seeking insects.

One of those insects is the cuckoo wasp. This beautiful tiny creature is iridescent and can shimmer green or gold depending on the light.

Another shot of a different cuckoo wasp on Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana. It was so busy nectaring it didn't even flinch when I bumped the plant. Naturalist note: Pokeweed is the plant that gets the large clusters of blackish-blue berries in the fall. Historically, the berries were used for ink. The Declaration of Independence is supposedly written with ink from fermented Pokeweed berries and many letters home from the Civil War were written with Pokeweed ink.

Virginia Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana, is another wonderful summer bloomer. I found a little patch growing in the woods. Blue is my favorite color, so I am biased.

Along the same path, I found many Solomon's Plume in bloom. I am a poet, and didn't even know it. :) Solomon's Plume, Maianthemum racemosum, has a spike of white flowers that turn into these wonderful red and gold-tinged berries.

At the woods edge, I noticed a patch of Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. Such an interesting looking flower. If you ever wander into a patch of Stinging Nettle, Jewelweed can be your best friend. Just crush the stem and rub the juices on the area. The burning itch on you legwill quickly go away.

The lacey inflorescence of elderberry, Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis, was found along the woods edge. The tiny white flowers are gorgeous.

This Phlox ( I am not positive what species), is just covered with pretty pink blossoms.

Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum. Not a super showy plant, but butterflies love it and the leaves smell fantastic if you crush them. Supposedly makes a great tea, but I haven't tried that yet. Yes, the lady who eats bugs is hesitant to try a tea. Go figure : )

Downy Wood Mint has interesting white flowers with tiny spots. The leaves do not smell as nice as the Mountain Mint's, but more like cat pee. Sorry, not drinking that!

Almost gone. Celandine Wood Poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum, starts blooming in April and is still blooming!

And this is why it is called a poppy. These seed heads, when ripe, will pop open when bumped by some unsuspecting animal and thus scatter the seeds. Hopefully, some of the seeds will end up in its fur and be carried off to another locale helping with seed dispersal.

So spring isn't the only time to see whats out there. Later this week I will wander to the prairie and hopefully get some other summer bloomers.



dAwN said...

Very nice post..I always enjoy learning about the wildflowers.
thanks for all the great info..and also for being the unknown poet..LOL

Jana said...

I don't think there is anything more beautiful than butterfly weed. What a gorgeous color.

I enjoyed looking at the bouquet of flower photos. Thanks.

kneill said...

Like it, Janet!