Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to week six of the native plant I.D. blog from the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. This week will be a mixture of wild grasses and perennials of interest at the moment. Only seven plants this week, so a bit shorter than the usual ten.

1) Panicum anceps BEAKED PANICGRASS Poaceae - Grass Family

One of our most common piedmont old-field grasses. Can be seen during August and September in fruit at the same time as another species in today's list, Purpletop. The mature seeds resemble the curved beak of a bird, thus inspiring the common name. Beaked Panicgrass is found throughout the eastern U.S. from Canada to Florida and as far west as Kansas.

2) Tridens flavus PURPLETOP Poaceae - Grass Family

One of our most attractive native grasses, Purpletop typically reaches heights from three to five feet, with drooping floral spikes. As the seeds mature, the florets turn a deep brownish-purple, and are very noticeable among other, often shorter old field grasses such as Andropogon and Panicum species in August and September. Purpletop is a host plant for the larval stages of a number of butterfly and moth species, some of which include the Common Wood Nymph and the Little Glassywing.

3) Coreopsis verticillata THREADLEAF COREOPSIS Asteraceae - Aster Family

Native perennial to two feet. Stems glabrous but often pubescent at leaf nodes. Leaves cauline, in a opposite pair arrangement or sometimes in whorls of three. Ternately dissected, with individual leaf segments very thin. Blooms from a diffuse corymb. Yellow ray and disk flowers from early to late summer in dry woods and slopes. Often found among Eupatorium rotundifolium, Epigaea repens and Mitchella repens.

4) Lobelia cardinalis CARDINAL FLOWER Campanulaceae - Bellflower Family

Native perennial from three to six feet tall. Stems usually pubescent. Leaves alternate, lanceolate, serrate to crenate, petioles becoming shorter as you travel up the stem. Flowers in racemes near apex of stem, corolla a scarlet tube seen from mid to late-summer. Found in wet meadows, moist woods and streambanks. Excellent at providing nectar for Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds.

5) Impatiens capensis JEWELWEED Balsaminaceae - Touch-Me-Not Family

Native annual to five feet tall. Stems glabrous, producing copious fluid when crushed. Flowers in axillary panicles. Flower a heavily spotted orange-red tube with spurred sepal bent back underneath bloom. Tightly wound capsules expel seeds when touched, giving rise to another common name, SPOTTED TOUCH-ME-NOT. Blooms all summer until frost. We have two native species of Impatiens the other being Impatiens pallida. Globally there are eight hundred and fifty species in the genus Impatiens. Jewelweed, like Cardinal Flower, is an excellent nectar producer for our native hummingbirds.

6) Apios americana GROUNDNUT Fabaceae-Pea Family

Native vine. Twining stems arise from fleshy, round tubers, inspiring the common name. Alternate, pinnately compound leaves with five to seven leaflets. Axillary inflorescence with seven to ten creamy brown/purple flowers mid summer. Fruit a three to four inch legume in late summer. early fall. Found in moist woods/bottomlands.

7) Coreopsis tripteris TALL TICKSEED Asteraceae - Aster Family

Native perennial to six feet. Stems and leaves glabrous. Leaves pinnately compound with three to five lanceolate leaflets, often with revolute margins. Flowers in a diffuse corymb, each bloom with six to ten yellow ray flowers and numerous brownish disk flowers. Blooms July to September in meadows and open woods. Often found on circumneutral (pH +/- 7) soils.

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