Friday, August 31, 2012

More Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)


August 17th, 2012. I was making my way over to the Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis) plants growing at the edge of the woods on the south side of GA-16 east of Sparta in Hancock County. I had to walk through grass and cross a shallow ditch to reach the woods. At the bottom of the ditch, I happened to look down. And there it was a...


Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata) plant in bloom. I almost didn’t notice it. It didn’t stand out. I looked around and saw more plants growing along the ditch.


I’d wondered how many ‘decks’ of flowers could develop on a stem. This stem has five decks.


A closer view of the flowers


It seems that a lot of flowers have small ‘friends.’  This flower had a resident Green Lynx (Peucetia viridans) spider lying in wait in hope of a meal.


As I was walking about photographing the Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectablis), I happened upon this clump of beebalm plants. The clump appears to have more plants than it actually has. Most of the stems had branched with blooms on each branch. It’s interesting how ‘dull’ the flowers are in low light – it was late afternoon and cloudy.


Looking back at the patch from the road. It’s hard to recognize them at a distance. They look like dead flowers. See a more complete set of photographs here.

Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm, Eastern Horse-mint, Dotted Horse Mint) is native to the United States where it’s found in states southeast of a line from Quebec and Ontario, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas to New Mexico. In Georgia, it’s found in many counties throughout the state. Interestingly it has not been formally documented in Oglethorpe County.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Monarda punctata (Eastern Horse0mint)- Missouri Plants: Monarda punctata

Distribution:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Monarda punctata


Related posts:
Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)
- Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis)                  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis)

August 17th, 2012. We spotted Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis) plants – we didn’t know what they were at the time - blooming on the south side of GA-16 east of Sparta in Hancock County. GA-16 is a major highway crossing the county from east to west and it’s sometimes difficult to pull off the road and park, particularly if the traffic is heavy. We lucked out with light traffic and found a convenient place to park. The plants were growing at the edge of pine woods.


A view of the plants from the edge of the road


A little closer


Close to the edge of the woods. The plants were 4 to 5 feet tall.


The leaves. At first glance the flowers looked like baptisias but the leaves were quite different, arranged singly compared with the 3-leaf arrangement of Baptisia sp.


The top of the flower stalk.


A closer view

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Closer views of individual flowers.


Another close view.


Developing seed pods. These are reminiscent of baptisia seedpods.


Green seed pods, up close, and...


ripening seed pods.

Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox) is a native of the ‘Old World Tropics.’ In the United States it’s found in states southeast of a line from Virginia to Illinois and southwest to Texas. In Georgia, it’s found in many counties throughout the state. Interestingly it has not been documented from Hancock County, Georgia.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox)
- Missouri Plants: Crotolaria spectabilis

Distribution:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Crotolaria spectabilis

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) And Friend

August 17th, 2012. Tall Thistles (Cirsium altissimum) are blooming at the moment. Most plants are only 4 to 5 feet tall. Every now and then, we spot a truly tall plant as we did in the Scull Shoals Experimental Forest in the Oconee National Forest a couple of weeks ago. These photos were taken in the Oconee National Forest in either Greene or Oglethorpe counties.
 

 This plant was 10 to 11 feet tall. Last Saturday (8/25/2012) we saw a couple of plants at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge yesterday that were 7 to 8 feet tall but the plant at in the Scull Shoals EF has been the tallest we’ve seen this year.

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Compared with the leaves most Cirsium species, the leaves of C. altissimum are smooth

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 A developing buds

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Opened flowers


A spent flower


A male Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) was feeding on one of the flowers.

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) is native of the United States where it’s found in states east of a line from Minnesota to Texas. In Georgia, it’s found in counties in the Piedmont.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle)
- Missouri Plants: Cirsium altissimum

Distribution:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cirsium altissimum

Monday, August 27, 2012

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

August 11th, 2012. There are a couple of swamps on Enoch John Road in  Wilkes County, Georgia. We make sure that we go by them each time we go to Wilkes County. There’s always something to see. It’s worth noting, however, that the road approaching the Anderson Mill Creek swamp from the west has a couple of deep potholes that are filled with water just before the bridge over the swamp. On the 11th, we were treated to a Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) butterfly. I’ve only seen this butterfly once previously.

It was skittish. It had landed on the gravel roadway to sun itself but took off when I approached it. After a while it settled on the tip of a Common Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) leaf over the water.

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It opened and closed its wings repeatedly before it finally settled with…


wings opened to soak up the heat of the afternoon sun.

Viceroys are resident in Georgia and may be seen between early March to early November.
Click on an image to view a closer image

Identification resources:
- Butterflies and Moths of North America: Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
- Michael Beohm, West Central Georgia Butterflies: Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
- BugGuide: Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) [Top]  [Side

Related post:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Maryland Or Wild Senna (Senna marilandica)

August 11th, 2012. We’d seen this plant in the Fishing Creek Wildlife Management Area in Wilkes County previously but hadn’t stopped to take a closer look. This time we did. The plant was a little taller than 6 feet. It was in bud but with only one flower actually open. I didn’t manage to get a good shot of the entire plant but it was about 6 feet tall.


 The top of the plant with the single, open flower at the bottom right.


A closer view of the buds at the top of the stem


The compound leaves


A close-up view of the flower and buds.

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 Close views of the flower.


Ants were clustered around the base of the leaf and flower stem.


These plants have extra-floral nectaries - glands that may be dome-shaped and dark gray-purple, with or without a short stalk at their base. The gland on this plant was sessile (no stalk) and dark green in color.

Senna marilandica (Maryland or Wild Senna) is native of the United States where it’s found in states east of a line from Illinois to Kansas south to Texas. In Georgia, it’s only been documented in a few counties, including Wilkes County, in north, central and southern Georgia.

Another species, the American or Northern Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa), has only been documented in Fulton and DeKalb counties in Georgia. The extra-floral nectaries in this species appear to be located further along the leaf stem rather and in the axil between the leaf and stem.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- J. Pippen, Duke University: Senna marilandica (Maryland or Wild Senna)
- Illinois Wildflowers: Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica)

Distribution:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Senna marilandica (Maryland Senna)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chanterelle (Cantharellus species)

August 11th, 2012. We hadn’t been down in the Fishing Creek Wildlife Management Area in Wilkes County, Georgia, for a while so we retraced our way along most of the roads. One road leads threads its way through the woods to a small meadow. Access beyond this area is only for vehicles with handicapped permits.

Just a little way along this road we spotted bright yellow mushrooms and, judging from their shape even at a distance, they were chantarelles. I’d never seen chantarelles ‘in the flesh’ before. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, I’d heard that chantarelles could be found in the woods surrounding a rural airstrip but we never searched for them. But here they were right under our noses; too good an opportunity to pass up.

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Part of a large ‘fairy circle’


A cluster of mushrooms that formed part of that circle.

The specimen mushrooms were on the other side of the road. Two of them, bright yellow with caps that were approximately 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

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From above


From an angle


Showing the gills running from the edge of the cap down the stem. The false, forked gills are clearly visible in this photograph.

Several Cantharellus species occur in the United States. Based on photographs, this mushroom could be either Cantharellus cibarius or C. lateritius, edible mushrooms. Cantharellus species may be confused with Omphalotus olearius which is poisonous. These mushrooms are similar in color. However, Cantharellus species have false gills which are forked whereas O. olearius has true gills that are not forked.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
Michael Kuo, MushroomExpert.com:

Wikipedia
- Cantharellus lateritius