Posts Tagged 'plants'

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).

A Week on the Thoreauvian Rivers

“The Indian pipe is still pushing up,” noted Henry David Thoreau in his journal on August 23, 1858. The ghost plant, indian pipe, Emily Dickinson’s favorite flower: Monotropa uniflora emerging. Often mistaken for fungi, this is actually a heterotrophic flowering plant. There are several thousand species of such non-photosynthesizing plants in the world. Most of these, like M. uniflora, are mycoparasitic, meaning they get their food from the mycorrhiza interwoven with the roots of photosynthetic plants.

This year’s commemorative stamp. That’s sumac. Compare with the 150th (1967) commemorative. Maybe they’ll get it right for the 250th?

By the way, the CO2 level in the atmosphere is higher than it has ever been in the 200,000 years of human history. (Not written history, obviously, but our history as Homo sapiens.) By the 2050s, your children or grandchildren will be living in a climate unseen by any hominid in 50 million years.

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.

Large Piece of Turf

Homage to Dürer.
*

A lesson of Jeremy Corbyn’s near victory against the dead center of his own party and the vicious opposition of the Murdochian sewer of Britmedia? Don’t let the bastards get you down.

Ladybugs

The first four photographs were all from on the same patch of milkweed (Ascelpias syriaca), not yet in bloom but already festooned with aphids.Multicolored Asian, Harmonia axyridis. There were several.
Checkerspot, Propylea quatuordecimpunctata. The only one noticed.
Two-spotted, Adalia bipunctata. Counted four. Getting busy and laying eggs. This is one of two egg clusters on the underside of different leaves of the same plant.I also found some Two-Spotted in Greenpoint. There were more Multicolored Asian LBs as well there. Then I hit the MALB jackpot at Bush Terminal Park, where there were quite a few on an expanding patch of mugwort (there’s an epic battled between mugwort and cottonwood there). There was at least one Seven-spotted (Coccinella septempunctata) at BTP as well.

Douglas-cones

This color! Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones start out red. As they mature through the spring, they turn this surprising and delightful purplish.Then they green as the chlorophyll comes into its own. In the fall, they will dry out and turn tan-brown, opening to release up to 50 tiny seeds per cone. A tree has to be about 20 years old before it starts producing cones, and the more mature trees produce more. This UC site has a lot more information about this species.

The three-pointed bracts sticking out from the scales of the pendulous cones are distinctive.

These photos are from way out of the native range of this wonderful tree, in the New York Botanical Garden. Here’s a little something I wrote about them on their native slopes.

And in a throwback to Thoreau Thursdays, here’s a fine thought-provoking review of Walls’s new biography of Thoreau.


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