Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pretty pictures: July roadside flowers, yellow/blue

Here's the second round of roadside flower pictures from our trip last Thursday. As with the previous group, pictures will be clearer and more detailed if opened in separate windows, and I encourage people who know any of the unidentified plants in the post to speak up.

It's black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) season again here. I think I would have to be lowered over a field on a crane or something in order to get the kind of photograph that would properly illustrate just how many there are: the flowers all but disappear when you try to take a long, low-angle shot of them. This, however, is maybe somewhat illustrative of the quantity we've got in the area right now. Just picture it multiplied several million times.

This, of course, is the more traditional PATSP view of a Rudbeckia. Only a few of the flowers had the dark spots at the base of the petals like this one does: I have no idea whether this is significant or not, but it's something I noticed.

Good old mullein. (Verbascum thapsus) I've loved these since first becoming aware of them. If I ever get a real garden going outside, I'll have to remember to try to include some of these. This photo doesn't really show you what the flower spike looks like: for that, you can look at last year's set of photos.

I don't know what this is, but I feel like I probably ought to: they had all but taken over the state a couple weeks ago. Simultaneously weedy (as individuals), pretty (en masse, or close-up as seen here), hideous (as the flowers die) and nondescript (all year except for June-August).

UPDATE: I think there's a good chance that this is Pastinaca sativa, wild parsnip.

Close-up picture of another NOID; any given plant will have hundreds of these little spikes of tiny white flowers.

The same NOID, but the whole plant. These, too, are everywhere around here, though they seem to favor the edges of fields, and recently-cultivated fields, instead of ditches and roadsides.

UPDATE: Almost certainly Melilotus alba, white sweet clover. Thanks to Hugh.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus), another sentimental favorite that I also took pictures of last year. Last year's picture was better, actually, because it wasn't quite as ridiculously windy on whatever day I took it. Still, this color is self-evidently awesome.

I don't know what this one is, precisely, though the arrangement of the flowers suggests an Allium or something like it. The flower color (which is more or less accurate), though, is something I've never seen in an Allium before. Maybe I just don't know my Alliums. Anybody know? I've only ever seen it growing wild in this one spot (a ditch along a highway).

UPDATE: Probably Tradescantia ohiensis, not an Allium. Which is kind of a relief. Hat tip to Claude.

I also don't remember ever seeing this before, but there was a lot of it in a spot just outside of Iowa City, and it's pretty enough that I want to suspect that it was deliberately cultivated.

This is the foliage that goes along with the flowers in the previous picture.

UPDATE: I think this last one is probably Verbena stricta, or hoary vervain. Partly this is because the flower spikes seem to be longer than in Verbena hastata, which is the next closest species, but also because the davesgarden.com photo I linked to includes the detail that it's a roadside weed in Missouri. Thanks to RJ Flamingo for pointing me in a verbenerly (verbeasterly?) direction.


Esther Montgomery said...

We have chicory growing wild where I live too. It is one of my favourites. And I like the way it leaves impressive white stalks when the leaves and flowers die away. They look interesting all through the winter.


Claude said...

Pretty pics... I'm afraid I don't know too much about the wildflowers in your area though. The only one I can tentatively give an ID on is the one you thought was an allium... The three petaled flowers in a bunch emerging from a 2-leaved 'boat' means that it's some variety of spiderwort. Some of them have very long strappy leaves and look a lot like some of the alliums. But as to exact species, I just don't know.

Darla said...

What a lovely roadside!

Hugh said...

Is the yellow noid after mullein leafy spurge, Euphorbia esula? I think the white one is white sweet clover, Melilotus alba.

mr_subjunctive said...


Probably yes on Melilotus, no on Euphorbia. The flowers on the yellow NOID are arranged in umbels, more or less like Queen Anne's lace though not quite as densely packed.

The pictures that came up in Google for Melilotus didn't look quite right, but I'm at a loss to explain quite how. Most of them were close-ups, too, which makes ID harder.


Tradescantia makes more sense, given the color. I'll look around.

Andrew said...

Chicory is pretty awesome - love that colour. Melilotus alba, white sweet clover is also pretty awesome though I didn't know what it was called until just now. Smells fantastic if you've got enough of it all in one place.

RJ Flamingo said...

I misspoke earlier (not the last time, I'm sure!). I meant that the last purple one appears to be a variety of verbena not salvia. Well, there was a v in there.:-)

Verbena hastata L.
Swamp verbena, Blue verbena, Blue vervain
Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)
USDA Symbol: VEHA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Check this: http://bit.ly/2utEDh and http://bit.ly/nR1xq

mr_subjunctive said...

Hmm. I don't remember there being so many spikes, or the spikes being that short. But the color is right, and the flower shape is right, so maybe. Scanning through davesgarden.com now to see if there are any pictures that look closer. I think you're right about Verbena, at least, though. And very possibly I agree with hastata too.