Friday, March 23, 2007
Virginia pennywort, Obolaria virginica
A plant that's very easy to overlook in the leaf litter. It would be nice in rock gardens, I think. Some of them get a bit larger than this, but not by much.*
Do you see any violets?
I took this picture with the camera pointed at my feet.** There are almost a dozen clumps of Viola walteri in the frame. (A.k.a. Prostrate blue violet or Walter's violet.)
Here's a closer look, with my foot for scale:***
They're very petite.
Most of them are purple, but there are a few white ones:
Every flower in a clump is the same color.
They have a medium-length hook or spur behind the flower. At our place they grow in dry limestone areas. (For the longest time, I just assumed they were regular violets that were stunted because of poor soil conditions!)
Common but still enchanting:
Bluets! This is one of the first wildflowers that I learned the name of. It's also how I learned that many birdwatchers are also very knowledgeable about plants: when the birds aren't showing themselves, you can always look around on the ground. ("Hey, what do you call this little purple flower, anyway?")
*My glove size is small, so this really is a tiny plant.
**I'm 5'4", which is exactly average for American women by the way, not short, and I'm not standing on a rock or anything.
***My feet are sort of small too, size 6.
(Yes, since I've gained weight I like pointing out the things about me that are still small!)
In researching the Walter's violet I came across a nice Alabama wildflower web page, Alabamaplants.com. Here is a link to that site's excellent photos of Viola walteri.
A sad update:
While preparing to email Dan Tenaglia about his excellent site mentioned above, I learned that he passed away in an accident just last month.