Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Thirteen 297: Another Walk

This time of year, it seems like something new is blooming every few days. Right now, members of the mint, bean and sunflower family are especially riotous. It's a profusion of purple and yellow, with the occasional white, orange, or red making an appearance. Here are thirteen plants I've found growing along the bike path in recent weeks, including some I'd never seen before.

Red Mulberry Tree the deep red, almost black, berries are ripe, and really
sweet. Unfortunately, they are also impossible to reach.

St John's-Wort there are three different varieties in this area:
Kalm's, Common and Great. The name comes from the fact that, in
England, it blooms on or near June 24, St. John's Eve. The Common
variety is considered invasive. It has been used medicinally, as
well as to ward off evil spirits and thunder in medieval times.

Goat's-rue, also known as Rabbit-pea, is in the bean family.
These were still in bloom July 2, but are now gone.

Butterfly-weed, or Orange milkweed. Member of the
milkweed family. Used medicinally by Native Americans.

Deadly Nightshade, or Belladonna  I've seen a few patches along the bike
path. Foliage and berries are extremely toxic. It can be used both medicinally
and as a poison. The drug atropine is derived from this plant. 

Catnip, a member of the mint family. There are large patches
of it up and down the bike path. Naturally, I had to pick
some for friends' kitties.  

Pale Purple Coneflowers, or Echinacea, is a member of the sunflower
family, and used widely for medicinal purposes. (Wis threatened species).

Yellow Coneflowers  Another member of the sunflower family.
There are a ton of these along the bike path and some roadsides.

Canada Thistle, also called creeping or field thistle  these look similar
to the larger Pasture Thistle, but there are several at the end of each
stalk instead of one. Ecologically invasive and noxious. Sunflower family.

Compass Plant, a towering member of the sunflower family, can be
seven feet tall. Looks like the songbirds have been at this one. Native
American children used the resinous juice in stems as chewing gum.

Wild Quinine, or American Feverfew  there is a lot of this growing along
the bike path through Dunn's Marsh, as well as in Greene Prairie. It is a
member of the sunflower family, and has been used medicinally for
centuries. (Wis threatened species.)

Purple Prairie-Clover is not a true clover,
but is a member of the bean family.

Wild Bergamot, or Bee Balm, is usually a pale purple or bright
red. We have a lot of the purple along the bike path, but there
is a patch of red where I work. Used medicinally by Native
Americans and Colonists, it is part of the Mint family, and still
used today as flavoring in Earl Grey tea. That's a Smooth
Scouring Rush, also known as Smooth Horsetail, next to it.

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen


anthonynorth said...

Beautiful pics. It took its time, but Summer's certainly here.

Shelley Munro said...

What gorgeous photos. Those berries look tasty!

colleen said...

The goats rue is weird. Quite a few of these are medicinal as well as pretty and/or exotic looking.

Adelle Laudan said...

My friend had a mulberry tree. Every year he'd sting up a tarp under it and a few of us would climb up and shake, shake, shake. He made the best wine with it. Happy T13!

Mary Quast said...

Lovely pix. Growing conditions have been so well for my coneflowers, they are almost as tall as me!

Heather said...

Anthony: With the heat advisory we've been under all week, there is certainly no doubt about summer being here. Already 91F at noon, with a heat index of 99F. Ugh!

Heather said...

Shelley: The few mulberries I've been able to reach have indeed been tasty. Raspberries are also rippening right now. I picked about a pint of them at work yesterday, and those were just the ones I could reach before the heat got to me. *g*

Heather said...

Colleen: Goat's-rue (properly spelled with the hyphen) is a little weird looking, but pretty. I think St. John's-wort was the biggest surprise to me. I'd never seen it before. Who would have expected it to be so pretty?

Heather said...

Adelle: The tarp would be a great idea, if we could clear enough ground under the mulberries. All the years I've been working there, I never knew there were mulberries because you can't get to them. I hope to remedy that while there are still ripe berries within reach. :-D

Heather said...

Mary: Wow, those are some tall coneflowers. I don't think I've ever seen them that big. But then, they are a member of the sunflower family, and some of those can be 7 or 8 feet tall.

CountryDew said...

Lots of interesting flowers there. I love to learn about such things.

Alice Audrey said...

Oh, so that's what mulberries look like.

Heather said...

Colleen: There is great variety in the plants growing near me. I love seeing what's new along the bike path from one week to the next, while I don't think most people see more than weeds and a few pretty flowers. The sad thing about that is that people don't really know what is okay to touch and what they should avoid (like wild parsnip).

Heather said...

Alice: Yes, that is what mulberries look like. They're really sweet and delicious!

Paige Tyler said...

Great pics!


My TT is at

Heather said...

Thanks, Paige! ☺

Anonymous said...

The house we lived in when my children were young had two huge, ancient mulberry trees. I had forgotten all about it until I saw your pictures.

Hazel Ceej said...

The cool thing I find in your list is that you know the names. Such lovely names too. I love nature but really need to improve my vocabulary. The red mulberries must be for the birds only :)


Heather said...

Angrygreycat: I would love to have my very own mulberry tree. Maybe I suggest one to a friend who wants to replace a crabapple. The fruit is much sweeter, and we don't have to rake the windfall every spring and fall. *G*

Heather said...

Hazel: Learning the plant names has been an on-going process. Some I've learned over the past few years on guided walks at the UW Arboretum. With some of these, I had took photos to compare to my book, Prairie Plants of the UW-Madison Arboretum. I also cross-checked a couple online when I couldn't decide for certain what something was. There are some I'm still trying to identify. ☺

Jane said...

Nice photos! I enjoy observing the weeds and flowers in our woods, in the marsh and along the roadside when I walk my dog. We have some similarities in Florida to the ones you have up there...Spotted Horsemint-similar to the bee balm, there is a purple thistle on the marsh, St Johns wort in the woods, the orange milkweed along the roadside-but rare as so many people mow and clear! So many weeds are important for the honeybees and other insects! Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

Hi Jane! We have Dotted Horsemint up here, too, but I haven't seen it yet. Last year I didn't see it until late Sept or Oct when it was starting to die out, so have been watching to see it in full bloom. Of course, it can be hard to spot with the tall grasses.

Amy (A Simple Love of Reading) said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Beautiful photographs! I LOVE taking pictures of flowers myself! If you're interested, here are a few of my own:

I also love how you did your 13 post in pictures! :)

Novroz said...

Beautiful photograph...I especially like that deadly nightshade.

Heather said...

Thanks, Amy. I almost always have my camera with me, and love nature/floral photography the best. Much more cooperative and easier than humans or animals. I often do posts with photos. I seem to take so many that sometimes they serve as great random filler. *G*

Heather said...

Novroz: Should we be scared that you are most drawn to the deadly nightshade? *g* Seriously, I'm glad you like that photo. It was the best of those I took, and still isn't as great as I'd like. Part of the problem is that, with one exception, all of the patches I've seen are really low to the ground.