Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sow Thistle’

I’m still seeing wildflowers but this will most likely be the last post this season that is devoted entirely to them.

1. Spotted Knapweed

Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) might be a hated invasive but with such a beautiful flower it’s hard not to forgive it. This plant is native to Europe and Asia and was accidentally imported in a hay seed shipment in the late 1800s. One reason it is disliked is because it releases a toxin that can hinder and prevent the growth of neighboring species. It grows in all but 5 states.

2. Small Flowered Aster

Small flower white aster (Symphyotrichum racemosum) is a curious little plant that gets knee high at best but makes up for shortness by packing every stem with as many small white flowers as possible. Another name for this plant is fragile stem American aster, because its stems are brittle and break easily. Some websites say that this plant can reach six feet tall, but I’ve never seen it more than two.

3. Small Flowered Aster

One good way to identify small flower white aster is by the way its flowers all crowd onto one side of the stem. The flowers are small-maybe a half inch across. For some unknown reason the USDA doesn’t list this aster as one that grows in New Hampshire, but I see it everywhere.

 4. Jimson Weed

Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) is in the nightshade family and all parts of the plant are toxic to humans and livestock. Taken in small enough doses the plant is hallucinogenic, as British soldiers found out when they included Jimsonweed leaves in salad in Jamestown, Virginia in 1676. They were high for 11 days and had to be penned up to prevent them from hurting themselves. When the symptoms wore off they remembered nothing. You can read about the incident by clicking here.

 5. Jimson Weed Fruit

Jimson weed has many common names, one of which is thorn apple. The unripe seed pod in this photo shows how that name came about.

 6. Nodding Burr Marigold aka Bidens cernua

Nodding bur marigold (Bidens cernua) is a very late bloomer, often blooming just before frost. It is an annual plant that has to grow from seed each year so that might explain its late blooming time. As they age the flower heads nod down toward the ground. I find this plant growing on river bans. Mallards are said to love its seeds.

 7. Pink Turtlehead

Rose turtlehead (Chelone oblique) is very similar to pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii), but this plant grows about a foot shorter and its flowers are a darker shade of pink. A friend gave me a piece of her plant many years ago and it still grows in my garden, getting morning sun and afternoon shade, with virtually no maintenance. All I’ve ever done with this plant is give pieces of it away and it blooms beautifully each fall.

8. Perennial Sow Thistle aka Sonchus arvensis

Sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) flowers look a lot like dandelions, but the rest of the plant doesn’t. Its flowers are held about 2 feet high on wiry stems, and its leaves have prickly edges. The seed heads look a bit like a dandelion seed head but are denser because of more seeds. This plant is considered a noxious weed in many places and comes from Europe and Asia. It was first reported in Pennsylvania in 1814 and is now in all but 8 states and most of Canada.

9. Self Heal

Heal all (Prunella vulgaris) is still blooming. Its tiny purple flowers always remind me of orchids. Heal all has been used medicinally since ancient times. It was once thought to be a holy herb sent by God to cure man’s ills and is still sold for medicinal use. Native Americans used it as a food and a medicine.

10. Deptford Pink aka Dianthus armeria

For a while this year I thought that black eyed Susan’s (Rudbeckia hirta) must be the longest blooming wildflower but I have since remembered that there are many others that bloom as long or longer. Deptford pinks (Dianthus armeria) like those in the photo start blooming much earlier than black eyed Susans, and are still blooming.

11. Red Clover

Red clover is another season long bloomer. This one was lighter pink than many I see. Clover first came to North America with the English settlers. Native Americans took to the plant immediately and found many uses for it. It has been used medicinally for centuries-since before recorded history, some say.

12. New England Aster

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) flowers can be so many different shades of pink and purple that you have to wonder sometimes if they’re even the same plant. These plants own the roadsides now and in many areas are the only flower seen blooming. Asters don’t like hot dry weather and will start to lose leaves unless it is cool and moist-like it usually is in autumn in New England. This is the largest flowered aster, with most of its flowers about the size of a 25 cent piece.

13. Dark Colored Aster

This dark flowered New England aster shows the wide color range that can be found in this plant. It seems like for every thousand light colored flowers I find one dark colored one. One day I watched a bunch of bumblebees swarming around both light and dark colored flowers that grew side by side and the bees visited the lighter colors much more than the dark ones. That might help explain why there are more light colored plants than dark ones.

 14. Witch Hazel

Last winter the witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana) along the river bloomed well into January. This year they are off to an early start. Extracts of its leaves, twigs, and bark have been used medicinally for centuries and witch hazel preparations can still be found in drug stores today. I remember my father using a witch hazel ointment on his hands.

The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly. ~William Wordsworth

Thanks for stopping in.

Read Full Post »