Flynn Bogs Chapter VII

CHAPTER VII - Sandy uplands above the Pitcher Plant Bog and Pond


In this sandy area we find some of the same plants as in the previous sandy area-- Possumhaw Viburnum, Cupleaf Penstemon, and so on. There are also plenty of new species to examine.

A couple of the plants seem designed to catch your attention--or at least your skin or clothing. Rubus argutus (Louisiana Blackberry, not shown) is a typical bramble, covered with hundreds of little curved prickles. Unlike the locally common Dewberry, however, it is an upright plant rather than a ground-hugger. This allows the canes to snatch at your waist and hips and not just your ankles. Blackberry fruits, though, are delicious enough to make up for any scratches.

Cirsium horridulum (Bull Thistle) has an extremely appropriate specific epithet. These spiny-leaved plants can grow to more than a meter tall and almost as much in diameter. The only part of the plant that isn't prickly is the flower head itself (but watch out for the bracts underneath!) The flower head can be white or pink.

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Fortunately, most of the other plants here are more tame. Linum berlandieri (Stiff- stem Flax) has sunny yellow flowers on slender, wiry stems. Enjoy this wildflower where it grows--the petals fall off as soon as the plant is picked.

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Another yellow-flowered beauty is Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm). A member of the mint family, Spotted Beebalm has whorls of pale yellow flowers lightly speckled with maroon.

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Hedeoma hispidum (Rough False Pennyroyal, not shown) is another mint which enjoys sandy open places. It has rather antiseptic-smelling foliage, but some of its sister species smell more pleasantly of peppermint or lemon.

Linaria canadensis (Oldfield Toadflax) is always nice to find. The graceful stem arises from a basal whorl of leaves and bears pale bluish-lavender, bilabiate flowers . Note the long, curving spur extending from the back of each blossom. If the flowers are very fresh and if they are pinched at the sides of the "jaws" very gently, they can be made to gape and "talk" like their larger cousins, Snapdragons.

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A glimpse of the last wildflower on this leg of the tour is reserved for the dedicated ground-scanner. Sedum nuttallianum (Yellow Stonecrop) is a miniature member of the Crassulaceae, the family which includes such familiar succulent houseplants as Kalanchoes and Hen-and-Chicks. Even a small patch of Yellow Stonecrop can bear hundreds of tiny yellow stars.

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Chapter VIII - The Lotus Pond


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