26 June 2009

Flower Friday

Yes, yes, I know I'm overdue for a Flower Friday post. I've been having fun, I mean working hard, and trying to blog about all the other stuff going on, too. Like the beetles eating my zucchini (Rar!). But I happen to know at least one reader who really likes the pretty posies so without further ado:

The lilies in front of my house are ready for their close-ups (don't know the cultivar, though).
A lovely Hydrangea in Pierce's Woods

Actaea racemosa (Black Snake Root or Black Cohosh), formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa, which I think is much more fun to say. This plant was used by Native Americans as a remedy for arthritis, muscle pain, sore throat, cough and indigestion. Yet another common name, Bugbane, refers to its insect repellent qualities (this is why you need to learn the botanic names for plants! Imagine the confusion if you were to go to your local nursery and ask for Bugbane when they only knew it as Black Cohosh, or vice versa. Even worse, imagine asking for Snake Root and having the sales person give you funny looks. It's bad enough when I insist on calling it Cimicifuga and the nursery help has never heard of it at all!). 'Course, some of the noted side effects of using this herbal remedy are far worse than the original condition, so think twice before you rush out and start gnawing on your garden!

Not a flower, I know, but the foliage sure is perty! And with a name like Coleus 'Fishnet Stocking', how can you resist? I couldn't, and took several cuttings while working in the propagation house this week!

This is one of the plants we have to know for our Deciduous Flowering Shrubs class. Can you see the fussy little headless chickens?How about now!?
I always get excited when I manage to come even remotely close to identifying a new plant so when I correctly guessed that this Stylophorum diphyllum (Celandine Poppy), seen at Jenkins Arboretum, was in the poppy family I gave myself a nice "Atta-girl"! Another common name for this one is Wood Poppy, probably because it likes the dappled shade that a woodland environment is happy to give it. There's a noxious weed in these parts called Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) that was introduced by European settlers who used it as a culinary herb. It decided it really liked the eastern side of the US, especially those dappled woods, and promptly took over. The roots produce alellochemicals (oooh...big word) that harm the micorrhizal fungi (oooh...even bigger words) in the soil that many of our native plants rely on for growth. Consequently, it's threatening many species in the woods out here from huge trees to this poor little Wood Poppy. The Garlic Mustard also confuses the West Virginia White Butterfly and the Mustard White Butterfly because it so closely resembles the native Dentaria (Toothwort; don't you just love these common names!) on which they lay their eggs. The butterfly larvae can't survive on the Garlic Mustard because it's toxic to them. So I say, Down With Garlic Mustard! Save the Wood Poppies and Butterflies!

Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink)
Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)
Asclepias syriaca, commonly called Common Milkweed, Butterfly flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, or Virginia Silkweed. This pic isn't nearly as awesome as the one Emma got of the bee coming in for a landing.

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