Wildflowers 101

I am of the belief that there is no such thing as a weed, especially if it blooms pretty.  Honestly, I have never seen an ugly flower.  Well, except for an anthurium.  I loathe anthuriums.  Around our property this spring and summer, we have had a fair assortment of prettily blooming plants.  I am doing some work in identifying them, which is no easy task.    Here are a few of the wildflowers that I’ve seen.

This is a campanula rotundifolia, better known as a bluebell bellflower.  The bluebell bellflower is quite common throughout most of the United States. The flower isn’t found in a few mid-western states and in Nevada, where it is too dry.  The flower is well known in Scotland and even grows in northern Asia and Europe.  The bluebell bellflower is known by these other names as well : blawort, hair-bell, lady’s thimble, witch’s bells, and witch’s thimbles.

I call this an orange dandelion, but it is actually orange hawkweed, scientifically known as a pilosella aurantiaca.  Just like the everyday yellow dandelion, the orange hawkweed is part of the aster family.  The plant is also known as fox-and-cubs, tawny hawkweed, devil’s paintbrush and grim-the-collar. It grows from sea to shining sea in the northern United States and some southern states as well.  In many areas of the United States, Canada and Australia, it is considered an invasive species and / or a noxious weed.  I really can’t believe that something so beautifully orange can be considered a weed.  That is just not right.

This year, we have had a abundance of rosa nutkana, or wild roses.  The flowers are a beautiful pink, but don’t have much for fragrance.  There are many varieties of of wild roses throughout the United States and many other countries.  This species is also called the Nootka rose because it was first discovered at the Nootka Sound of Vancouver Island.  They are also called a bristly rose.

The blooms don’t last all that long, and the petals fall quickly.  After the petals drop, there is left this unique star shape around the stamen.  The deer eat the bitter rose hips in the fall and winter.  Not to be outdone, Otis has been known to eat them as well.

We should have named him ‘Mikey’. [Name that commercial (*)]

You gotta know the lillium lancifolium, or commonly known as a tiger lily, is on the top of my list as a favorite flower.  It’s orange !  I was so very excited last year when I noticed a few blooming in our woods.  This year, we have almost 20 plants.  The tiger lily is native to China, Japan, Korea and the Russian Far East.  The plant was scientifically named twice, first lillium lancifolium, and then later lillium tigrinum.  Under the rules of of international botanical nomenclature, the older name wins.

Those botanists gotta have their rules.

There is a whole bunch of hypericum perforatum, better known as common st john’s wort, growing around Spring Ridge Estates.  St john’s wort is named for St John’s Day, a European mid-summer holiday.  The plant is known as a medicinal herb due to its antidepressant and inflammatory properties.  St john’s wort is native to Europe and Asia, has spread worldwide and is, in some areas, considered an invasive weed.  It can cause death in livestock if eaten.  In Western North America, beetles have been introduced to help control the growth of st john’s wort.

I believe this is a sulphur cinquefoil, and its scientific name is potentilla recta.  The petals are actually pale yellow, but considered to be white.  It is a very common herb that grows throughout North America, with the exception of Alaska and the most northern part of Canada.  This is becoming repetitious, but this delicate-looking flower is considered a noxious weed in some areas.

It is one of my favorites because of its heart-shaped petals.

Every day, I notice something interesting blooming.  Thank you, Wikipedia, for your help in identifying the pretty flowers that grow around me.

(*) Life cereal

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