Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fleabane and more....

I was inspired by this post at Woodsong, with a picture of a lovely moth (Spotted Thyris moth-- Thyris maculata) on fleabane to go out and do an inventory of the current wildflowers in the field.

The dominant colour is yellow right now--the hawkweed is everywhere, and seems to be even more yellow than it has been in other years. We've got two kinds, Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) and another yellow hawkweed, as well as a very occasional orange hawkweed. All are European species.

I think this is King Devil Hawkweed.

Goat's beard are flowering and quickly going to seed here and there. The curly vetch is just a hint of purple here and there--we'll see how it does as it comes into full flower in the next little while.

Goat's beard

I searched for and did find some fleabane, a native species, but just a few small stands of it. Curiously, 3 in dry to very dry spots, and one in very wet conditions. The fleabane in the pictures is daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus), while I think Woodsong's is common fleabane (E. philadelphicus). Added: On further investigation, it turns out that while common fleabane is a native (and possibly threatened) species, daisy fleabane is not.

Fly on fleabane

Maybe that's why I didn't find the moth. I did find a couple of fancy critters, one bug, one fly, as the pictures show.

Bug on fleabane

Daisys, which are making a great show in fields nearby, are just putting in an appearance in these fields. And there is a great show of a kind of yellow clover, I think, very similar plant in form to the big white clover that often does very well here. Also blooming is the rather subtle, also non-native, bladder campion (Silene cucubalus).

Bladder campion

In the swamp, along with the small collection of fleabane, there is some kind of rose (or at least a member of the very large rose family), thornless, blossoms are pink and single. I've looked for what it might be without any luck--got to go out and study its leaf arrangement etc. and try again. Or at least try again to get a useful photo. Meantime, here's another yellow flower that's in bloom right now:

Tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris L.)
Another yellow European

Added later: A Note on Common names
After I finished writing this post I got to thinking about vetch--the crown vetch that has nearly finished swallowing our yard, and what I've been calling curly vetch, mentioned in the post, that occurs both in the yard and in the fields. And last year dominated in its time in the fields. I wondered if either were native, so searched them out on the web. Crown vetch (Coronilla varia) it turns out, as I suspected, is not a native species, is promoted as a ground cover, and damned as an invasive.

"Curly vetch" on the other hand is a name used by a very small handful in cyberspace--a Goggle search turns up a mere seven results, the first two of those are links to my post about the profusion of the stuff last year. A handful is stranger than if it had just been me, a handful spread out over the continent is weirder than if it just been folks in the Ottawa Valley (of which none turned up), the ancestral home of my mother's family, since it was my mother who taught me to call this plant "curly vetch." So I don't know for sure what this little vetch is--it's certainly curly (tendrils twist around other plants). I think it's probably cow vetch (Vicia cracca), an introduced species, but am not sure. If you know a plant as "curly vetch" and what plant it is, please leave a comment.

Submitted to the Friday Ark


Duncan said...

Nice to read about your enjoyment of wildflowers Pamela, the bush over here is quiet and muted as winter starts to bite. Walked through a stretch of mintbush yesterday that will be a blaze of mauve when spring returns, looking forward to it.

Pamela Martin said...

Thanks, Duncan-seasons are great I think.

I know people who travel regularly between the hemispheres. One couple who spend spring and summer in Canada, and then spring and summer in Chile every year. Another who lives part-time in Australia, part-time in Canada (and a month or two in Hungary and England every year). That would be strange I think--to regularly pull oneself out of the rhythm of the year.

TroutGrrrl said...

Post a picture of your curly vetch. I bet it's more commonly called hairy vetch. A purple-flowered winter annual legume. It's also widely used as a cover crop. It's in most of my experiments - purposefully.

Pamela Martin said...

Thanks Troutgrrrl--I'll get those pictures up!

Anonymous said...

cool! glad you found some good stuff on your fleabanes (the one little guy looks like an assasin bug nymph) ..and I agree with Trouty, our roadside vetch species is called hairy vetch.. I usually find alot of skippers/butterflies nectaring on them.. it's quite invasive, but colorful :)