Friday, May 29, 2009

Cranesbill (Geranium dissectum).

Cranesbill (Geranium dissectum).

was "Weird Weed"

What I thought was an odd shaped and green flower, is actually the seed head after the flower. (I'll be on the lookout next year).

ADENDUM: Why waste my time :) To see a great a real naturalist at work, and read more of what happens to this plant in June see

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dock Weed (Curly Dock)





These are pics from last year, but the Curly Dock are standing out, full brown amidst the green and flaxen grass right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snapshot Week 20, May 17-23: Great Blue

Snapshot, Week 20: May 17-23

As a rule, I dedicate "Snapshots" to floral activity, but after a week of the folks in for my daughters' highschool graduation, I didn't have much to show, flora-wize. What I did capture were some nice images of a Great Blue Herron, taken on the White River, where I joined my Dad-n-law for a fishing trip.

As for the week in general, preceding weeks of heavy rain broke into bold blue skies, cumulus clouds, and a hot day or two. We are flirting again with ever more rain, but on the whole we saw the sun that we haven't seen in weeks.

It looks like we are now ending that last part of Spring I call the "White Zone.' Our dominant roadside flowers are the cream colored Queen Anne's Lace and the very white Daisy Fleabane, which together with the boiling popcorn clouds and lance-leaf correopsis, make for a theme of white on white with green, and a touch of gold.

Flowers seen, to present later this week

Daisy Fleabane
Mega clovers
Horse Nettle
Moth Mullen
Self Heal

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

False Dandelion (or Cats-ear)

False Dandelion

Hypochaeris radicata

I had assumed that this plant was a close relative of the common yard dandelion. (Infact, I have always called them "mega-dandies", however, If I'm right on the ID, these are considered a more distant cousin and a member of a different genus. Unlike our dainty lawn dandies, these things range from 1 to 2 feet high. And where common yard dandies showcase one flower head per stem, False dandies may support several yellow heads on a branching stem. Like regular dandelions, False dandies rise out of of base pad (rosette) but rather than one or a few, False-Dandies launch whole stem thickets. In keeping, the stems are tough and fiberous (not hollow), and -- as anchored, most difficult to pull from the ground. Some False-dandies rise elegant, and can -- as a cluster, resemble the shape of a coke glass or vase. Others, like the one featured on top, look more like a Medusa head.

Like common dandelions, False Dandies follow a pattern which at first surprised me. The yellow flower head (comprised of many smaller florets) folds in on itself before reopening into the seed ball head. The second-to-last picture features a plant with yellow flower-head folded in waiting to unfold again as the seed ball.

Final note: the seed balls of False Dandies are frumpy, not nearly as elegant as real dandelions.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Snapshot Week 19: 5/10-5/16 - 40 days shy

Busted. Almost three weeks of steady rain, with a strom or two thrown in for good measure.

Pecan tree heavy with floral catkins. Peacnas are one of last major trees to go to leaf.

Green day with moss, Sweetgum tree

Swamp dwelling Spider Lilies flourished at the begining of the week, went bad by the end.

"Jetson" weeds, among the crimson clover seed heads.

The up and coming weed extravaganza.

Southern mags, the big guys are out in full force.

After almost three weeks of steady rain, Arkansas is one big wet green Miso-soup soppy mess. It would appear, however, that the weeds and grasses really like it. (Wonder what it ever feels to be a germ living on green mold... go outside.)

Given the weather my observatory skills may be diminished, but here is a quick count:

  1. Wild Pink carnation roses, starting to take to the highway hedge rows
  2. Still lots of honeysuckle.
  3. Queen Anne's lace in bell curve growth spurt
  4. Poisson Hemlock (or that which looks like QAL but is not, rising in the shadows.
  5. Grass, Grass, weeds, and all kinds of things that I have yet to find names for.
  6. Spider lilies now expired.
  7. Catalpa trees in floral heat.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jumbo White Clover (unknown name)


All pics 5/15/09 and 5/15/04 ... just goes to show you the earth clock keeps pretty good time.

If you can't tell from the pictures, these clover are about three to five times the size of the traditional white "lawn" clover. And unlike the lawn variety, they don't taste very good -- Far to brittle and stickery. (Not like I tried it or anything.) On the other hand, they furnish a great way to see what a clover really is... a collection of Pea-flower blooms in the round.

As is, all of these clover were on a sloping highway cutaway, and may have been placed there to protect from soil erosion. I have yet to find the name of this plant, so if anyone can help, jump in.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Queen Anne's Lace (QAL) Part 1


all pics, previous years ... The QAL should be about for another month or three, in assorted stages, but they are just now taking on the quaility of " a lot." And there will be a lot more.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Daucus carota

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Species: D. carota

Daucus carota:

Wild Carrot, or Bird’s nest weed, or (my name) Chalice of Stars:

Watching a QAL in various stages of unfold is its own special treat. It starts as small unfolding wad, with just a hint of purple as the bundle unfolds. As the flower head matures it flattens, then swells, moving from the shape of small pancake, to a pin-cushion.

Then there are the blooms themselves. Like wheels within wheels. You might notice the small bloom-cluster moving away from the pack. It mirrors the overall shape of the larger flower-head.

Even weirder, after getting all big an flowery, the flower pad folds back in, going back into something of its pre-boom shape where it becomes a virtual seed nursery. (Addendum coming)

For More information on QAL's and its relationship to other members of the carrot family see:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snapshot Week 18: 5/3-5/19: It's a jungle out there

Rain, Rain, Sun, Rain


Mount Holly Cemetery Roses
Privet Hedge Sludge...

Cat's Ear

Lance Leaf Coreopsis


Catalpa Blooms after downing rain

Crimson Clover, having gone to brushy seed head.

The week of May 3 through May 9 was one wet steamy mess. With some two weeks marked by rain, many parts of the state are juggling flood and mud. And we even had one 90 degree day in the mix.

QuObservation: I watched as a diesel bus left a trail or rose petals in its wake.

Quick notes:

  1. The school bus yellow lance leaf coreopsis reved with the rain.

  2. The purple vetch all but disappeared, leaving behind growing little pea beanies.

  3. Spider Wort, Catalpa, Privet Hedge in full stride.

  4. Red Clover, White Clover, Yellow clover, Mega White Clover....going wild. Crimson gone to seed.

  5. Grass, Grass, Grass. I have yet to give the kind of kind of time to it will take to learn my grasses and tell them apart, but there are more and bigger grasses in the wake of rain than I have seen in some years.