Saturday, September 17, 2011

September Church Flowers

The wildflowers now in bloom at the Waterford Mennonite Church wetlands are totally different from those featured in our April 26, 2011 post.  The most striking and unusual plant now in full bloom is the Closed Bottle Gentian.  [You may click on the photos to enlarge them.]
Closed Bottle Gentian, Gentiana andrewsii
If you start the loop trail at the east side of the pond and go around the pond counter-clockwise, you will see Closed Bottle Gentians on both sides of the trail.   Although there are many Closed Bottle Gentians growing here, they are not common in our area.  They are not listed as threatened in Indiana in the USDA Plants Database, as is true for several northeastern states.
Closed Bottle Gentian
Closed tight!  Too tight for most insects to pollinate, except for bumble bees.
Bumble bee opening a Closed Bottle Gentian
Bumble bees are big enough to pry open the "bottles"; as they descend into the flower the rim closes again, then reopens as the bee pushes out.  (I took this picture Sept. 17, 2008; the others I took 2 days ago.)  Many other native flowers are also blooming around the pond and in the floodplain between the pond and the Elkhart River to the west.

A reminder, just in case the Waterford Church flowers tempt you!

Great Blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica
Great Blue Lobelia is nearly the same bright blue and grows in some of the same places as the Gentian.
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Another Lobelia, Cardinal Flower, also grows around the pond, but the biggest populations are in the floodplain, off of the loop trail, especially at border of the Elkhart River, where these "Swamp People" (in photo below) found it blooming a few days ago.  The floodplain forest here appears not to have been greatly disturbed over the years - very few invasive shrubs grow here. 
"Swamp People" in floodplain forest

Crayfish holes in the floodplain
Water Parsnip, Sium suave
Arrowhead grows in the muddiest part of the floodplain - I sank into the mud up to the rim of my knee-boots when I took this picture.
Common Arrowhead, Sagittaria latifolia

Back to the firm trail that loops the pond.  Years ago the pond was dug out in the floodplain; nonetheless, many native plants have re-established along the pond border.
Joe-Pye Weed,  Eupatorium maculatum

Boneset, Eupatorium perfoiatum
Calico Aster,  Aster lateriflorus
An aster, perhaps Aster praealtus or A. puniceus
Swamp Thistle, Cirsium muticum
Orange Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

Swamp Lousewort, Pedicularis lanceolata
 The "Swamp People" who hiked the trail and floodplain with me found two three-legged frogs in the pond and spotted several painted turtles sunning on emerged logs
A three-legged frog
Painted Turtle
When we  got back to the car we found hitch-hiking seeds on our clothes.
Seeds of Tickseed Trefoil on pant leg.

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