Thursday, March 15, 2007

Diagnostic help?

A little early in the season (March 5 or so), the wildflower group I'm in performed a survey on a tract of land in Blount county. There were a few plants we didn't recognize, so I had the idea to put them here to see if anyone else had any ideas. Sorry for the bad lighting in all of them. I couldn't take long at each stop, because our trip leader was a fast mover.

They're all wild plants, in hardwood areas near a largish creek.

These dried stalks were sometimes very tall, to six feet or so. They were always near edge, usually close to the water but sometimes just at the edge of a path. The stalks below this point were bare (I think).

A close-up of the seed pods. I couldn't find any seeds left in any of them.

Someone had thought this was Shooting Stars coming up. It isn't, but I don't know what it is. It was under deciduous cover.

Another dried plant mystery. This one was much smaller if I remember correctly... maybe a foot or two tall. Under deciduous cover.

There was another mystery plant that I forgot to photograph. At first I thought it was deciduous ginger. But there were more than 2 leaves coming up together, and the texture wasn't quite the same. I kept thinking it was ginger of some sort -- there was lots of evergreen ginger on this site -- but I couldn't find anything that matched it exactly. It was in edge areas.

Clicking each picture should make them larger. Let me know if you have any idea what these things are. We should be going back to this site but I'm not sure when.


Wayne said...

Working on it! What it's not - Oenothera, Ludwigia, Hypericum. If it were viney I'd have thought maybe Convolvulus, but six feet tall! Very nice pictures though.

The little rosette strikes me as an everlasting or cudweed, rabbity tobacco sort of thing. Maybe an Antennaria pussytoes.

Wayne said...

oh - some kind of Mimulus monkeyflower?

Rurality said...

Thanks Wayne! I forgot to say that they were not ALL six feet tall, but most were 4 - 5 feet at least. Of course this was probably pretty rich soil, being close to the creek.

The rosette thing, well maybe... the leaves were a little rubbery though, and seemed less pliable than the everlastings - and aren't those all hairy? This wasn't, I don't think. (I know, I should be saying glabrous or pubescent but I can't seem to bring myself to it!) I could be remembering those wrong though, I don't see them a lot at our place.

I'm not at all familiar with monkeyflower. Don't think I've seen that one.

KFarmer said...

You know I'm a ditz in that department but I would be interested in knowing what they are. Happy hiking!

lisa said...

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower website has an expert "Mr. Smartyplants" who will help you identify any wildflower. (Love the play on words.) I have used their expertise several times. Here's the link:
Sorry I'm dumb with HTML lingo, or it would be click-able. Good luck!

anne said...

I have a book recommendation for you, though you may already have it. It's not ideal, as it's aimed at agricultural pests, but it does have descriptions of plants you might not find in other books and it also describes their postsenescent habits:

I realize that you are in the south, but a lot of these critters are all over the US.

I love reading your blog and seeing your photos - thank you!

Rurality said...

Lisa, thanks for that link! I think I might try sending the pics to a local expert first though, now that you mention it. Don't ask me why that didn't occur to me before, LOL. Of course we hope to be able to revisit this site a little later on to see the plant in bloom.

Thanks Anne! Oh now you've done it. Not only did that book have to go on my wishlist, but also one that amazon tells me "people who bought this also bought"... about identifying garden bugs! :) My field guide wishlist is really long, but I don't have a good weed book so I may try that one.

anne said...

Rurality - Weed books are so hard to find, that's why I love the one I suggested. I asked for it for Christmas the year before last, and I got it - and it was absolutely my favorite gift. I've pretty much been poring over it ever since. I suppose that would make me a big giant dork. That's ok, though.

I'm with you on the desiring of a long list of field guides. I love them with a white hot passion. Hyperbole, perhaps, but more or less true! While I'm on the topic, there's another book (that you probably already have but I feel compelled to recommend) -

it's old school, but it's quite good.

Yay, plants!

Rurality said...

Ack! Talking with you is going to end up costing me lots of money! ;) I think I need that book too. Lately I've used the library for most of my reading but with field guides I feel as if I MUST possess them.

I'm a longtime member of the big giant dork club. All are welcome...