Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wildflowers: July 10, 2010

Some of what I call the prairie plants are blooming.  These are plants with really deep root systems, they are accustomed to the normally dry conditions on the prairie and go deep for water to sustain themselves.
 Lead Plant or Amorpha canescens with it's lovely blue spruce colored foliage, is blooming.  It is native to Minnesota. Its roots can reach ten feet deep.

White Prairie Clover or Petalostemum candida is also a native plant.  You have to really search for this one, it grows as a single plant and its color can get lost among the hordes of white wildflowers blooming..like the "white weedy wonders" Pennycress and Hoary Alyssum.  White Prairie Clover blooms from the bottom of the cone shaped head to the top just like it's purple sister. It's roots can reach five feet deep.

Purple Prairie Clover or Petalostemum purpureum is the native purple sister that will knock your socks off when you see her out on the prairie.  I have been searching for this plant for a year now, I knew that there should be some around..the other day I saw it out in a field..and Chance and I went back to check it out.

 What a sight they were in the evening light, they really stick out like a sore thumb once you see them you will have no doubt that you have seen one of the true gems of the prairie.

Prairie Lily or Lilium philadelphicum is another native plant.  This one is the only upward pointing lily that grows on the prairie.  I have noticed that it likes the opposite side of the ditch..the shady side that is farther from the edge of the road..I have only seen this one in the ditch..not on the prairie. 


This is Common Mullen or the Flannel Plant or Verbascum thapsus.  This one is a biennial, which means that the first year it forms a rosette of growth and the second year it shoots its bloom upward, and then dies. ( It re-seeds itself nicely for a perpetual display from one year to the next.)   This is a non native plant.  However it is one that I find very interesting.  It's soft bulky leaves were used by the pioneers and the Native Americans inside their footwear for warmth in the winter.  They also dipped this flower stalk in bear grease and used it as a torch.  Since this flower stalk/seed head persists into winter..I always look for them, when they are covered with snow..I know the snow is deep because this plant can grow from two to six feet tall.  Oh yeah..if you ladies are in need of a little blush on your cheeks you can use this plant to irritate your cheeks for a rosy glow..kinda like natures makeup:)

13 comments:

  1. I have seen the Mullen, it grow prolifically up country, in that dry climate. But the others are new to me.

    Jen

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  2. I know that I saw many of these when we still had our cabin "up north," but I never learned anything about them. I'm really enjoying your wildflower series.

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  3. I always enjoy these wildflowers. Interesting to read about their different uses.

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  4. So who found the Purple Prairie Clover first - - you or Chance? And how is "Someone's" finger? I have read all the stuff when I was gone on vacation and may have missed it.

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  5. Just what I need - irritated cheeks. I think I will skip the blushing aspect of Common Mullen. Better to be pale then irritated.
    I noticed so many wildflowers along the roadway yesterday. It seems to be an exceptional year for them. Absolutely lovely. I just wish the highway department would share my enthusiasm and quit mowing them down.

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  6. My cheeks are fine just the way they are thank you. I love wild flowers and herbs and anything nature. We used to get in our land cruiser on Sunday afternoons and drive around the country roads looking for flowers to pick and then hang upside down to dry. This was really interesting.

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  7. Beautiful. I just love wildflowers....I have mine along the side of the road across from my house so I can gaze at them from my kitchen window. How very interesting some of the uses are. Gee, just never thought about it.

    Ya'll have a wonderfully blessed weekend!!!

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  8. Who would think a flower 's root could go down in the ground so far to get water like a tree. Very interesting , thanks.
    Patsy

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  9. The prairie lily...my lifetime favorite wild flower!!

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  10. I've got the purple prairie clover in a corner of my flowerbed and it's literally taking over. It's not wild here but north and west I think I could find it.

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  11. As kids we called mullen cow's tails just because we weren't too smart being southern Iowa farm kids. It was always fun to see them along the paths while fetching the cows.

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  12. I snapped a photo and am sending it to you by Email -- I think it is like that mullen

    (from my walk on Saturday morning)

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  13. We don't have your all your wildflowers but as usual in each of your posts I find at least one we share. This time it is mullen. And whacky me allows it to grow in the beds around here, especially if it was courteous enough to place itself to the back of the bed. But sometimes I even let it go in some of the oddest positions, making my beds appear even more unattended than they actually are. I love weeds. Well most of them any way.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie