Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 2010, week 2

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to week four of "Name that Native", the plant identification blog from the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants. I took a few weeks off, almost a month actually, to take some vacation and then get through the vacation withdrawal syndrome, but we're back in action! Today we've got a few coastal plain natives as well some mosses thrown in the mix with our piedmont natives.

1) Solidago nemoralis GRAY GOLDENROD Asteraceae Aster Family- Common native perennial to four feet. Spreads by short rhizomes, with both basal and cauline leaves. Cauline leaves rapidly reduced in size as you travel up the stem. Leaves elliptic,crenate, scabrous on upper surface and pubescent beneath. Yellow flowers in heads of 10-15 occuring in panicles. Found along roadsides, woods edges and old fields. Blooms July-September.

2) Hieracium venosum RATTLESNAKE WEED Asteraceae Aster Family- Native perennial of dry woodlands and wood edges. Basal leaves 1-3 inches long, lanceolate to oblanceolate. Pubescent, with prominebt leaf hairs highly visible. Prominent purple-black veins a good diagnostic characteristic. Mostly leafless flowering stem .5 to 1.5 feet tall. Yellow, somewhat dandelion-like flowers in a many-headed corymb. Blooms April to July.

3) Polytrichum commune HAIRCAP MOSS Polytrichaceae Haircap/Smoothcap Moss Family-
Moss species found in moist woodlands, wood edges and along river and stream banks. Individual fruiting stems resembling miniature pine trees. Commonly seen among granitic outcrops/seeps with various other moss species, including Sphagnum spp.

4) Schizachyrium scoparium LITTLE BLUESTEM Poaceae Grass family- Native perennial grass to four feet tall. Forms upright clumps, slender green leaves tinged with blue near the base. Purplish flowers appearing in 3-4" racemes above the foliage in August. Silver seeds heads persist through winter, when this year's foliage dies and turns a golden orange. Common along roadsides, old fields and wood edges.

5) Thuidium recognitum THUIDIUM MOSS Thuidiaceae Tamarisk Moss Family- Moss species often found in moist seeps, streambanks or shaded slopes near moving water. Many of our moss species are very hard to identify. The genera Thuidium can often be keyed out by examining the individual stems. Thuidium stems strongly resemble a miniature fern frond.

6) Vaccinium arboreum SPARKLEBERRY Ericaceae Heath Family- Native shrub to fifteen feet. 1.5-2-5" leaves sub-orbicular, glossy. Unique, reddish exfoliating bark. Often found among other xeric (dry woods) species (Mitchella, Hieracium) on granitic slopes. Latest flowering and fruiting of our piedmont blueberries. Fruit a small black berry in late summer. Blooms April-June.

7) Ilex glabra INKBERRY Aquifoliaceae Holly Family- Native shrub to 6-8 feet. Found most often in sandhills/coastal plain regions- well adapted to sandy soils, though will tolerate other soil types. Evergreen leaves crenate/serrate near leaf tip, oblanceolate, coriaceous. Small glands present on leaf underside. Fruit a black drupe appearing in late summer. Rhizomatous, forming spreading colonies. Dioecious. Blooms May-June.

8) Persea borbonia REDBAY Lauraceae laurel Family- Native tree to 40-50 feet. Evergreen leaves elliptical. Perfect flowers in axillary racemes. Fruit a dark blue drupe in late summer. Important wildlife species in moist forests of the sandhills/coastal plain region. Susceptible to Laurel Wilt, a fungal disease. Blooms in May-June

9) Chamaecyparis thyoides ATLANTIC WHITE CEDAR Cupressaceae Cypress Family-
Medium evergreen coniferous native tree to 40-60 feet. Upright form, once used a source of telephone poles. Fibrous bark a gray/brown. Often mistaken for Juniperus virginiana. Thrives and forms large stands with periodic burns- suffers from fire suppression. Native of moist forests/acidic swamps.

10) Gaylussacia brachycera BOX HUCKLEBERRY Ericaceae Heath Family- Rare native evergreen groundcover shrub to 6". Native of xeric slopes- often found with other xeric companions such as Quercus prinus and Hammamelis virginiana. Only known NC population found in 2003 by blog author in northern Durham county. Rhizomatous, forming very large colonies. Endangered due to forest habitat destruction and the self-sterile nature of these large colonies. Flowers in short racemes of whitish-pink umbellate blooms. Blue/black berry forms in July-August. Flowers in May.

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