Sunday, April 26, 2015

Birds and Blooms II

Zebra Swallowtail on Dogwood Blossoms
If you are having trouble locating the flitting, darting little warblers in the spring, you can always take photos of wildflowers. At least they only move when the wind blows.
Dwarf Crested Iris
Many spring wildflowers are white, but sometimes you find bright blues, reds and yellows. The colors look different to pollinators who can often see in ultraviolet light.
Canada Violets
Roses are red, Violets are blue, or white or yellow...Usually violets grow close to the ground, but the Canada Violet has a long stem and a yellow center in each blossom.
Halberd Violet
Other violets leaves of elongated shape or varied shades of green.
Yellow Lady's Slippers
It's always the thrill of the season to find any kind of orchid, so when a friend asked if we'd seen the Yellow Lady's Slippers growing on the roadside, we hopped in the car immediately. You would expect a bright yellow like this to flash like neon, but it's so easy to drive right by them if you don't know exactly where they are. Two professional photographers with tripods were our clue. We saw single blossoms, or pairs, then found a cluster of four and another of SIX blossoms! What a thrill!
Pink Lady's Slipper
We found a single Pink Lady's Slipper almost by accident, growing all by itself on the top of a large boulder down by the Visitor's Center just below the Falls. People walked right by it all day without seeing it.
Sweet White Trillium, Jewel Wakerobin - t simile
Trilliums have three of everything - three leaves, sepals, petals - so they are easy to recognize. Natural Bridge State Park has similar geography, and there are loads of Trillium there, but we found very few plants at Cumberland Falls State Park, and a few different species at Yahoo Falls in McCreary County. How disappointing.
Sweet Betsy - t cuneatum
Telling them apart can be a real challenge. Be sure to use a field guide that puts all of them together for comparison. Since most of them have dark red or white blossoms, you can't rely on color or leaf shape to make an ID. The trick is to look closely at the colors of the reproductive parts - the stamens and ovary.
Red Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Red Wakerobin, Stinking Willie - t erectum
There are sooo many common names for trillii (trilliums?) so even I try to pay attention to the latin names for them. Many of them refer to the unpleasant odor. Less common names for the t erectum include American Tru-Love, Bumblee Root, Indian Shamrock and Threeleaf Nightshade!
Solomon's Plume fka False Solomon's Seal
Every year I seem to take photos of the same kinds of flowers, but that's OK. They are always beautiful!
Fire Pink

Foam Flower

Squaw Root

Star Chickweed

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