Posts Tagged 'flowers'

Botanisk Have

A selection from Copenhagen’s botanical garden. Their native plant section was mostly gone to seed, but a few flowers were still bravely waving.

Yes, a little awkward cataloging this post under “Sweden” but the Danes held the part of Sweden we visited for centuries, so I’m sure, in the spirit of Scandinavian cooperation, everybody’s going to be chill about it all now.

Speaking of identity: a fascinating look at Northern Ireland’s tripartite either/or/and, with lessons for all of us citizens of Earth.

Franklinia

A late summer bloom. Isn’t the flower rather reminiscent of a camellia? In fact, the Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha) is in the same family, Theaceae, as the camellias, along with as its fellow natives Stewartia and Gordonia.. But this North American native is presumed extinct in the wild; it hasn’t been spotted since the early 19th century.This one is in the NYBG’s Native Garden. All known living specimens today are presumed to be ancestors of the seeds collected by Willian Bertram in 1773. He and his father John found them a few years earlier on a not very large tract on the Altamaha River*. It’s still not known why they disappeared in the wild. Was it climate change, over-harvesting by collectors, or the introduction by a pathogen via the cotton production that took over the region?

William Bertram wrote about “This very curious tree”: “we never saw it grow in any other place, nor have I ever seen it growing wild, in all my travels, from Pennsylvania to Point Coupe, on the banks of the Mississippi, which must be allowed a very singular and unaccountable circumstance; at this place there are two or three acres of ground where it grows plentifully.”

*Somewhere in its wending way, the Altamaha lost the extra “a” of Bartram’s day.

On the Button

The deciduous shrub known as Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) for its round flower heads is a fantastic pollinator-magnet. The plant loves its feet (roots) wet, and, as we discovered recently at the edge of Beaverdam Reservoir in Virginia, it also attracts hummingbirds. Who knew? Well, everybody in the pollination biz, but it was a lovely discovery for us. This Ruby-throated (Archilochus colubris) was supping at the last remaining flower head.

Swamp Loosestrife

Decodon verticillatus is also called water-willow and whorled loosestrife. The flowers are spectacular, but you sure have to get close to them.These leaves certainly look rather “willowy,” but the species isn’t related to Salix. It is related to Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), the dreadful invasive, but D. verticillatus is a native from Maine to Louisiana. Talk about liking to get its feet wet! It grows in fresh water. One source says muskrats like to munch on these bulbous underwater bits.

Milkweed Madness

A field of Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, home to just above everybody.Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).Fourteen-spotted Ladybeetle larva, Propylea quatuordecimpunctata.Large Milkweed Bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus.Above and below are two variations on larval stage Harmonia axyridis, the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle.Don’t forget all the flies and bees. Also, Yellow-collared Scape Moths.Anthrenus genus carpet beetle, I think. Tiny.And Oleander aphids (Aphis nerii).

The Buzz

For a number of plants, including such delicious Solanaceae (nightshades) as tomatoes, potatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, and peppers, the frequency of a bumblebee’s buzzing is what releases pollen. The bumble grabs ahold of the anthers and vibrates the pollen loose. Honeybees, who get more credit they they deserve, don’t do this; they pick up exposed pollen, but they can’t unlock the anthers of plants that require the buzz. Here’s a short video on buzz pollination.A closer look at the flower of what I think is Horse-nettle (Solanum carolinense), a delightfully weedy nightshade, shows the horn-like anthers that the native bees’ buzz  shakes open.

As you can see from the linked video, a tuning fork can also do it. The internet — oh, you crazy internet! —  says that a vibrator and an electric toothbrush will also do the trick, I mean, if you wanted to do it personally….

Diospyros virginiana

American Persimmon sex parts brought down during Saturday’s downpour. (I didn’t notice that bumblebee until looking over the photo.)These are the male flowers, rather fleshy bell-shaped things with recurved lobes. And a fruit that’ll never be.


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