Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More from the test plots

Cross Orb-weaver on lamb's quarters

This cross orb-weaver hanging out in the test plots is a pretty guy. Let nature take over a small plot for a year and that is where you will find all sorts of fantastic beasts like this.

A katydid on ragweed

Lamb's Quarters and Ragweed are two more really common roadside weeds that I haven't mentioned in this blog before because they just don't show up much unless you have a disturbed site like the test plots where the ground is bare. One interesting fact I learned about lamb's quarters is that it was one of the foundations of eastern north america's prehistoric agricultural revolution and is still commonly cultivated in some areas of India.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Small pink flowers found in the testplots

Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum)


Northern willow herb(Epilobium ciliatum)

The testplot area by the road is really helping me extend my knowledge of roadside plants. Getting rid of the grass allowed all sorts of disturbed site weeds to thrive which don't usually grow along here because of the competition from the grass. I find Pennsylvania Smartweed growing sometimes in the crack between the curb and the pavement along my street, but I haven't until now taken the time to identify it. I hadn't noticed Northern Willow Herb before. The plant in the testplot area was small and low to the ground but I later saw another one down by the Manotick Locks that was 4 feet tall and holding its own amongst the wild parsnip and goldenrod.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Prickly Lettuce

Prickly lettuce flowers

The Prickly lettuce plant looks quite similar to a sow-thistle before the flower heads start to appear, the big difference at that point is the row of spines down the midrib of each leaf. Once the flowers start to emerge it looks quite different, as instead of a few upright dandelion-like flowers they have several nodding pannicles of buds that once they flower stand upright in a wide spray of flowers and seed heads(see picture at bottom). The flowers close-up shop early in the day so when I usually come by in the later afternoon they are all closed up. I had to go out to the test-plot area at midday on purpose to see the actual blooms.

Prickly lettuce leaf with spines down the rib

According to the wikipedia article, this is the closest wild relative of our cultivated lettuce although it doesn't look very similar. It is supposed to be edible, but has a milky white sap that is quite bitter. I wouldn't put it in my salad.

A couple more july flowers

Motherwort

Narrow-leaf plantain

Monday, July 31, 2017

A few native wildflowers

Most roadside wildflowers aren't native to North America so it makes a nice change of pace to point out a few that are actually natives

Canada Fleabane(Conyza canadensis)


Spreading Dogbane(Apocynum androsaemifolium)


Milkweed(Asclepias syriaca)


Some Pink and Purple July Flowers

Himalayan Balsam(Impatiens glandulifera) likes moist areas like the banks of Pinecrest creek


Deptford Pink(Dianthus_armeria) is a delicate little flower


Bitter-sweet Nightshade(Solanum dulcamara) is quite poisonous


Lady Bells(Campanula rapunculoides) are pretty but very hard to manage


Burdock(Arctium minus) have pretty flowers but are better known for their very large leaves


Chicory(Cichorium intybus)


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Catbird

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Gray catbird


These guys make quite a racket when you go by.