Sunday, May 31, 2009

Catalpa trees are flowering

The catalpa trees have started flowering. Downtown Lafayette, May 31, 2009.

Link to catalpa trees:

Carp in Wabash River

These carp are at the surface gulping up air, probably the dissolved oxygen level in the water is a bit low. This is the Wabash River, near the railroad bridge at Lafayette. May 31, 2009.

Link to carp:

The white flecks on the water are cottonwood seeds. Cottonwood seeds are blowing off the trees and are floating in the air like a light snow.

Cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides) are common along the banks of the Wabash River.

Pedestrian bridge Saturday morning

Pedestrian bridge, Saturday morning, May 30, 2009.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Indigobush (Amorpha fruticosa) is flowering now and is common on the banks of White River in Indianapolis. This is at White River State Park where the canal water falls into the river. Deam's Flora mentions indigobush being found only at the Lower Wabash and Ohio Rivers. Charles Deam published this book in 1940 and if there was indigobush in Marion County then, he would have mentioned it, so it's spread this far north up the White River since then. These pictures were taken on May 23, 2009.

Link to Amorpha fruticosa:

English plantain

This is English plantain (Plantago lanceolata). As it tolerates mowing it is a familiar plant in everybody's yard. Being untouched by the lawn mower, this one reaches its full potential size. Like other weeds it reveals its beauty when you take pause to consider it. This is at White River State Park, Indianapolis, May 23, 2009.

Link to Plantago lanceolata:

Yellow sweetclover

This is yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis), very common in open areas. This is on the flood plain of White River at White River State Park, Indianapolis, May 23, 2003. This yellow form starts flowering about mid-May. Later you start seeing sweetclover with white flowers until by mid- June all the sweetclover that you see is white. Most authorities consider the white and yellow forms to be different species but I rather suspect they are the same plants that just change their color during the season. You'd have to follow it really closely to know for sure.

Link to Melilotus officinalis:

Link to Melilotus officinalis:

Link to Melilotus officinalis:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Showy evening primrose

This is Oenothera speciosa, the showy evening primose. It's growing wild here in the flood plain of White River in Indianapolis. These pictures were taken at White River State Park between Washington and Michigan Streets, May 23, 2009. This has been growing here for several years. It's not native to Indiana, my guess is that someone scattered a can of wildflower seeds here years ago and the Oenothera speciosa took over. If you plant it in your garden you are going to have it next year whether you want it or not. You can find it in a few other places in Indy, but this is by far the best display I know of.

Link to Oenothera speciosa:

Link to Oenothera speciosa:

Oenothera speciosa covers the flood plain here at White River State Park, looking southeast toward Old Washington Street bridge.

This is the same common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) that grows everywhere in Indiana. Behind it is more of the Oenothera speciosa that are shown in the above pictures. Oenothera biennis often starts showing early the red colors that other plants reveal to us in autumn. Picture taken May 23, 2009.

Link to Oenothera biennis:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mallard pair

Some of the wildlife in the city gets plenty accustomed to the human habitants. This mallard pair is at home on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Photo May 23, 2009.

Link to Anas platyrhynchos:

Field bindweed

Both in the city and in the country you find the field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). This is in Indianapolis, along Indiana Avenue just south of Vermont. Picture taken May 23, 2009.

Link to Convolvulus arvensis:

It's a typical plant of the morning-glory family (Convolvulaceae):

Link to some Convolvulaceae:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chinquapin oak

This chinquapin oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) stands alone in the Coke field, across Georgetown Road from the bur oak in the previous post. It also has been here well over a hundred summers, maybe two hundred. Here since the days this was wild land.

The picture above taken May 10, 2009. The pictures below taken May 25, 2009.

Link to Quercus muhlenbergii:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Very old bur oak

This old bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is about 5 ft. thick and is hundreds of years old. It's in Marion County just outside the fourth turn of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was an old tree when the first Indy 500 was run in 1911. These pictures were taken May 10, 2009.

Link to Quercus macrocarpa

Friday, May 22, 2009

Puttyroot orchid

This is the puttyroot orchid (Aplectrum hyemale) in the Scifres-Meier woods at Celery Bog Park. Look closely and see the leaves that stay green through the winter are now dead on the ground. A single stalk rises up and the flowers are at the top.

This picture was taken May 20, 2009.

This plant isn't easy to find. So far as I know this is the only Aplectrum in this woods. Here is a link to the previous post on this orchid:

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This elderberry bush (Sambucus canadensis) is standing at the southeast entrance to the woods at Cumberland Park in West Lafayette. This picture was taken May 20, 2009.

Link to Sambucus canadensis:

False Solomon's Seal

The white terminal panicles reveal these to be the False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa) rather than the other true kind. These are in Cumberland Park in West Lafayette just a few steps inside the southeast entrance to the woods. Picture taken May 20, 2009.

Link to Smilacina racemosa:

Hydrophyllum at Cumberland Park

The spring wildflower season is just about over, inside Cumberland Park woods in West Lafayette the tree canopy is just about leafed out and much more shaded underneath than before. The most prominent wildflower in the woods here now is the waterleaf (Hydrophyllum). This is Hydrophyllum appendiculatum right at the southeast entrance to Cumberland Park woods. These are the plants that had those light green waterspots in the early spring. These pictures were taken May 20, 2009.

Link to previous post on waterleaf:

Link to Hydrophyllum appendiculatum:

Link to Hydrophyllum appendiculatum:

The trees in the background are honey locust trees (Gleditsia triacanthos). Watch out for the thorns on the trunk.

Link to Gleditsia triacanthos:

Notice the pokeweed behind the waterleaf flowers.

Link to previous pokeweed post:

Poison ivy is climbing up the tree on the left.

Link to previous post on poison ivy:

Another link to previous post on poison ivy:

Fuligo septica

Fuligo septica is enjoying the sunshine like everybody else on campus. This is yesterday, May 20, 2009, Purdue campus, just north of Loeb Theatre.

Link to Fuligo septica:

Link to Fuligo septica:


Oop, at first I had this bush pegged as Kolkwitzia, but I got that one wrong. It is Deutzia gracilis, so I corrected this post. It's planted at the east door of Lilly Hall at Purdue. It's been a few days since I took this picture, May 9, 2009, but it's still flowering nicely.

Link to Deutzia gracilis:

More on Deutzia gracilis:

Link to Kolkwitzia amabilis:

Wikipedia article on Kolkwitzia amabilis:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dame's rocket

That purple-flowered plant you are seeing in yards and vacant lots around town is dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis). Often when people start mowing their yards they encounter this nice flower blooming, it looks so much like someone intended for it to be there that they spare it from the lawn mower and the weed whacker. This dame's rocket is near 8th St. in Lafayette. The pictures were taken May 17, 2009. That was the first day I noticed any Hesperis flowering around here.

Dame's rocket has the typical form of the crucifer family of plants, four petals to each flower and farther down the stem, the siliques (seed pods) sticking out.  If your purple flower has five petals, more likely it's a phlox, it's not dame's rocket.

Link to Hesperis matronalis:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black locust flowering at pedestrian bridge

This black locust tree is flowering at the pedestrian bridge the morning of May 17, 2009. The Wabash is at moderate flood stage, cresting right about now, there has been a lot of rain the last couple days.

Link to previous post on black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia):

Link to Wabash River levels:

Lithospermum canescens

This Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon) was in back of a sand dune at Central Beach, Porter County, May 16, 2009. Lithospermum canescens was also flowering at West Beach in Porter County. Another attractive plant flowering at West Beach was blue lupine (Lupinus perennis). Lupinus perennis was also seen along the roadside at Jasper-Pulaski Game Preserve about a mile south of Tefft, and in the land between US 421 and the railroad north of Monon.

Link to Lithospermum canescens:

Link to Lupinus perennis:

Mineral Springs Station

These plants were seen near to the parking lot at the Mineral Springs Station, Porter County, May 15, 2009:

Sambucus sp.
Glechoma hederacea
Geranium maculatum
Sinapis arvensis
Galium aparine
Sassafras albidum
Acer probably A. rubrum
Lonicera tartarica
Cirsium arvense
Taraxicum officinale
Plantago major
Plantago lanceolata
Daucus carota
Oenothera biennis
Lactuca scariola
Dactylis glomerata
Trifolium repens
Rumex crispus
Rumex obtusifolius
Onoclea sensibilis
Lonicera maackii
Salix sp.
Capsella bursa-pastoris
Andropogon gerardii (last year's dead stem, no green plant present)
Veronica peregrina
chickweed (Stellaria or Cerastium sp.)
Medicago lupulina
Thlaspi arvense

Most of these are the typical common plants of disturbed soil.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tartarian Honeysuckle

Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica).
in flower, both white and pink forms
Mineral Springs station, Porter County. May 15, 2009.

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii).
This is just beginning to flower. Amur honeysuckle flowers later than tartarian honeysuckle.
Mineral Springs station, Porter County. May 15, 2009.

Lonicera tartarica is much more prevalent in the duneland region than L. maackii. South of here it is the reverse, 99% L. maackii. The following pictures show some L. tartarica in the Lafayette area. It's not rare here but vastly outnumbered by the L. maackii which is everywhere.

Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica).
by railroad tracks near Purdue airport May 2, 2009

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii).
overgrown area east of gardens north of Purdue airport.
not flowering yet, the white flowers in the background is tartarian honeysuckle flowering. Amur honeysuckle has the larger more acuminate leaves. May 2, 2009.

Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica).
at Bishop's Woods, Lafayette.
flowers in both the pink and the white forms. Each form is on a separate plant.
May 3, 2009
Closer look at same Bishop's Woods plant as above.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Black locust trees are flowering

The black locust trees (Robinia pseudoacacia) are beginning to flower, this black locust is at Celery Bog Park. Picture taken May 14, 2009.

link to earlier post on black locust at Celery Bog:

link to Wikipedia article on black locust:

Snapping turtle

Not just people use the trails, this juvenile snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) decided to take a stroll out on the Celery Bog trail near the West Lafayette Walmart. Picture taken May 14, 2009.

link to snapping turtle:

Autumn olive

Autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata) at Ross Hills County Park, May 9, 2009. Another invasive plant, you see it everywhere over the countryside this year. Easy to spot from a distance, its lighter color stands out when it is flowering like this.

Link to autumn olive:

Link to autumn olive:

Amur honeysuckle flowering

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). It was just beginning to flower when this picture was taken at Ross Hills County Park, May 9, 2009.

Link to Lonicera maackii:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fields of gold

Right now as you drive around the rural areas some of the fields have turned a solid yellow. This is the plant that is causing most of it, Packera glabella. I call it butterweed. This field is on County Road 350 just a little west of US 52. The picture was taken May 10, 2009.

Link to Packera glabella:

Here is another view of the butterweed in that field north of County Road 350.

Another link to Packera glabella:

There's another different plant that's turning fields yellow around here too. That's one of the wild mustards, Sinapis arvensis. The picture above is Sinapis arvensis, and it's in front of the same field of Packera glabella that is pictured at the top. You see the yellow clumps of Sinapis in the urbanized areas too. If you pay attention you can tell the difference between the two plants from a distance. Pictures taken May 10, 2009.

Link to Sinapis arvensis:

Another link to Sinapis arvensis:

Here is a closer look at that same wild mustard plant (Sinapis arvensis). The yellow in the background is Packera.

This is another field turned yellow with butterweed (Packera glabella). This is along US 52 about 5 miles outside of Lafayette. This picture was taken May 10, 2009.

A third kind of plant that turns fields yellow like this at this time of year is the golden ragwort (Packera aurea). This is more often found in the wooded areas though. At Soldier's Home it turns the ground yellow between the oak trees. The Packera aurea in this picture was in the woods at Ross Hills County Park, May 9, 2009.

Link to golden ragwort: