Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept. 13, 2011 Twenty Species Flowering Along Ox Bow Boardwalk

Wetland as seen from overlook near Cottonwood Shelter
Boardwalk over the  Ox Bow wetland
At first glance the Oxbow wetland at Ox Bow County Park looks like a solid mass of cattails, but if you look carefully over the sides of the approximately 200 yard long boardwalk, you may see as many as twenty species of native flowers in bloom.
Wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia
The "Wingstem" name is apt because the stem has papery wings running the length of both sides of the stems.  Other common names of plants are less helpful, e.g., Swamp Lousewort, below.
Swamp Lousewort, Pedicularis laceolata
Swamp Lousewort is a member of the same plant family as Snapdragons.  It's two-lipped, white flowers are less than one inch long.   Turtlehead (below), also is in the same family and has two-lipped flowers, but the flowers are showy and big --- nearly two inches long and an inch wide.  They are the most eye-catching flower along the boardwalk now.  They typically grow in marshes and wet borders, but we do not see them very often.
White Turtlehead, Chelone glabra
White Turtlehead
Another showy flower  is the Great Blue Lobelia.  Many are blooming toward the north end of the boardwalk.
Great Blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica
Three species of wetland sunflower relatives are flowering now - Beggar's Tick, Bidens connata; Nodding Bur Marigold, Bidens cernua; and  Tickseed Sunflower, Bidens coronata.  All three species have seeds with burs that disperse by sticking like ticks to the passersby.
Beggar's Tick, Bidens connata
Nodding Bur Marigold, Bidens cernua
Tickseed Sunflower, Bidens coronata
The USDA Plants Database page for Bidens coronata includes photos and drawings that show details of the plant's structures, including the tickseeds.
Two species of Asters are now in bloom in the wetland.  Asters are not easy for me to identify.  [Please comment if you question my identification of the two Asters below.]
Swamp Aster, Aster puniceus
Calico Aster, Aster lateriflorus
The last two flowers pictured are members of the genus Eupatorium.  When eaten by cattle, White Snakeroot, Eupatorium rugosum, can render the milk and meat poisonous; Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, reportedly died of milk sickness caused by a chemical in White Snakeroot. 
White Snakeroot, entwined with leaves of Hog Peanut

Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium maculatum
Listed below are native flowers in bloom in the wetland today, but not pictured above.

Tall Ironweed, Vernonia altissima
Flat-topped Goldenrod, Solidago graminifolia
Late Goldenrod, Solidago gigantea
Woodland Knotweed, Polygonum virginianum
Water Smartweed, Polygonum punctatum
Orange Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
Water Parsnip, Sium suave
Water Hemlock, Cicuta maculata
Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint, Pycanthemum tenuifolium

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