May 5, 2016, Between Rain Events

Posted: June 19th, 2016 under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Water, Weather.

Most but not all the surface water has dried up, soils that were seeping and running with water last week are dry enough to walk on in regular shoes.

Main grass: Queen Anne’s Lace, gaillardia, scattered bluebonnets
stiff-stem prairie flax, coreopsis, goldthread, Venus’s looking glass,
skullcap, green antelope horns, others

With enough water running on the surface for long enough, we can have an abundance of wet-weather plants, including some in the mint family.   One of the showiest is obedient-plant, which we transplanted planted a shovel-full of from a wet area about to undergo “development” somewhere else.

It grows several feet tall, if it’s really happy–always at least 18 inches–with these big, glowing, lavender flowers that catch the light.  Bees love it.  The honeybees wrestle their way inside from the front; bumblebees more often bite a hole near the nectar.

It has slowly spread over the years since we introduced it–faster in wet years, of course.  Right here it’s growing with wild onion (at the end of its flowering)  and is overlapping other flower types the bees enjoy.   Bees were too busy toward late afternoon to let me catch them on anything but the obedient plant.

Although I didn’t photograph bees on anything but this, I did see quite a few butterflies and caught this one on Queen Anne’s Lace.  It’s a Common Buckeye, with the sun coming through one wing.

Also with a preference for damp soil–but not growing in water–is Venus’s looking glass, a delicate little plant with purple star-shaped flowers along a single stem.
We don’t see these in dry years.
On slightly damp ground, a smaller mint-family plant with lavender and white flowers:
Brazoria-Warnockia-05-05-2016Toward the bottom-center of image is another, even smaller mint-family plant just past flowering


The two together in a glass of water.  The Brazoria, the larger, is almost scentless; the tiny one, which has rosy-pink flowers that are darker red inside, grows thickly on damp areas of the east grass, is intensely aromatic.  Some year I mean to collect leaves and try them in the kitchen–but they are tiny leaves.   The whole plant grows only 4-6 inches tall.  EDITED 5-8-2016.  R- found an online photo reference.  The small one is Slender Hedeoma, Hedeoma acinoides.  It’s the 333rd plant IDed on the place.

Upstream from the obedient plants and tallgrass clumps, the old ditch is full of wild onions with other plants mixed in, and the field itself has Queen Anne’s Lace, gaillardia, and gold thread, with Brazoria under the grass in the damper spots.  The gaillardias have not peaked yet, and the rudbeckias and other coneflowers haven’t started.


Gaillardia getting started–many more to come.

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