T is for Turtlehead

Just take a look at these funny flowers!

Turtleheads are a fun plant that love moist soil. The little tricksters are designed so a bee gets completely brushed with pollen getting into the nectar at the bottom.

To see the bee completely inching in, hop back to our post entitled Getting Into Pink Turtleheads!

Just a side note that not all turtleheads are pink. The native ones are white, but we haven’t seen those in our suburban neighborhood. A human planted these showy pink ones.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Have you seen this growing about?

Let us know in the comments, and I’ll return later with your answer!

~~~

As one of our regular readers said, the important thing to know about this plant is you can never get rid of it! So true.

Creeping Charlie, or what Miz Flora’s wildflower guide calls Gill-Over-The Ground, Glechoma hederacea, is a member of the Mint Family. (Bet you can see the square stem!) Rather than standing upright, it creeps, putting down new roots where the nodes touch moist ground.

The blue or violet flowers bloom in spring and early summer, and because it’s a common plant, they feed bees while the other plants are getting going. The blossoms are quite small–meaning we had a really touch time getting a close photo.

But we are sure you can find one in your lawn to check them out!

Q is for Queen Anne’s Lace

By branching out of our season, we squirrels have a few more choices of plants to use for those difficult letters!

Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, is a summer-bloomer, a wildflower brought over from Europe. It supposedly is named for Queen Anne of England who was also a lacemaker. In North America, it can go quite wild and take over a field, but you humans probably see it most often lining rural roads.

The ‘jewel’ in the crown of flowers is simply another flower, but along with the naming story from Queen Anne, people say it’s a drop of blood she shed when she pricked herself!

G is for Green and Gold

Lol, that’s one plant with two G names!

Unfortunately, neither of the Green and Gold plants in our neighborhood are blooming quite yet. And once we poked our noses closer, we discovered they are two different species, though Miz Flora assures us they are both Chrysogonum virginianum, and the non-fuzzy one is a subspecies. Hickory isn’t so sure, and that’s getting too detailed for me.

At any rate, this second one is fuzzier.

Green and Gold–sometimes called Golden Star–is a shade-loving ground cover that spreads, though not as fast as some of your human ornamentals. It’s a native aster with five petals that blooms fairly early, so that’s a help to the bees. And that it likes shady, moist soil is a help to lots of gardeners.

C is for Chicory

Usually we feature plants and animals that we’re seeing right now in nature, but after six years of participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, we decided to branch out from only spring plants.

Common Chicory is an often over-looked roadside wildflower in the aster family that blooms the summer. It was brought to North America from Europe and was planted for livestock. It has many uses, perhaps the most popular for you humans was baking the roots for coffee.

The flowers can be blue, and sometimes white or pink, and usually open only in the morning.

Pokeweed, leave it or weed it?

American Pokeweed

The berries of American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, are poisonous. And oh-so tempting to you humans, especially when they are in full ripeness –and at their most toxic!–this time of year.

Pokeweed in late summer

The plant is big and weedy and produces many berries. No wonder it can take over a farmer’s field!

Yet there are birds who will eat them with no harmful effects, like the Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Gray catbird and Brown Thrasher.

 

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

It’s fall, and plants are doing what they do…

mystery #163

And idea what this is from?

Post your guesses in the comments and I’ll check back later!

~~~

These are the seedpods of a common wildflower that grows throughout North America. After we did some research, we squirrels can guess why you humans might avoid this rather invasive plant–its scientific name, Apocynum, means ‘Away dog’! Indian Hemp or Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum, is poisonous to dogs and livestock if ingested. We squirrels are staying away from it and suggest you humans  do the same.

indian hemp, dogbane

The leaves are opposite and simple little lobes, the flowers are whitish-green (not the purple flowers in the background!) and attract butterflies in late summer. We thought we might have photos of the tiny blossoms, but we don’t so perhaps you’d like to see them on this Primitive Ways website, which also shows how you can gather the stalks and make cord from them.