Tuesday, June 30, 2009

White vervain

This white vervain (Verbena urticifolia) is growing wild at Columbia St. near North River Road in West Lafayette. Picture taken June 27, 2009.

Link to Verbena urticifolia:

Link to Verbena urticifolia:

Link to Verbena:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Soybean on bridge

This soybean (Glycine max) is on the motor vehicle bridge at Lafayette. The seed maybe fell off a truck coming out of the Cargill plant on Wabash Avenue after delivering a load of soybeans, then sprouted here. This is about the freshest post ever, about a half hour after I got the picture, June 27, 2009. I didn't notice the trolley coming, but it got into the picture just about perfectly. These things you just can't create on your own. The second picture is of the same soybean plant taken about an hour before the first picture.

Link to soybean:

Link to Glycine max:

Link to trolley:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Swamp milkweed

The swamp milkweeds have been flowering (Asclepias incarnata). This is Celery Bog Park, June 24, 2009. Lindberg Road is in the background. Along the fence there is a trail you can use to get here from the east. The trail turns south here towards McCormick's Woods.

Celery Bog is poorly named. It's neither a bog nor is there celery there.

Link to Asclepias incarnata:

Link to Asclepias incarnata:

Link to Asclepias incarnata:

The green stuff floating on the surface of the water is duckweed (Lemna or Wolffia or maybe both)

This page shows some pictures of the trail near this spot:

Link to trails:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wild raspberries are ripe

Wild raspberries (Rubus sp.) are ripening. These raspberries are beside the trail at Celery Bog Park near Lindberg Road. Picture taken June 24, 2009.

Link to raspberries:

Wabash at Lafayette after sunset

June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sonchus oleraceus

This is sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus), outside of Von's Book Shop. The first two pictures were taken about 10 am solar time on June 22, 2009. The plant is in the bright sun and the yellow flowers are open. The third picture is the same plant at about 1 pm solar time the same day. The plant is in the shade of the bookstore and the flowers are closed and the seedheads are out.

Link to Sonchus oleraceus:
Link to Sonchus:
Link to Asteraceae:

Fallen Juneberries

Juneberries litter the ground. This is the pathway along the west side of the White River at White River State Park in Indianapolis. So many juneberry trees are planted here that even the birds and squirrels do not eat them all. Juneberries are good for people to eat too, come here next June and get all you want.

Pictures taken June 21, 2009.

Link to juneberry trees:

Another link to juneberry trees:

This pathway has been named the River Promenade but I think that name implies a yang quality and this itself is rather yin. The thing itself is very good but it needs a better name.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Softshell turtles

These softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) are basking in the sun at White River at Indianapolis. This is a log jam on the upstream side of the old Washington St. bridge at White River State Park. Often there are dozens of turtles here, softshell and otherwise. Pictures taken June 21, 2009.

Link to Apalone spinifera:

Link to Apalone spinifera:

The full scientific name of the spiny softshell turtle is Apalone spinifera Lesueur. Charles Alexandre Lesueur, who named this turtle, came to Indiana on the Boatload of Knowledge.

Link to Charles Alexandre Lesueur:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Golden Raintree

Two golden raintrees (Koelreutaria paniculata) are standing at the south entrance to the Purdue Memorial Union building.

Picture taken June 18, 2009.

Link to Koelreutaria paniculata:

Picture taken June 19, 2009.

Link to more raintree photos:

Another link to raintree:

Silver linden on Purdue campus

This old silver linden tree (Tilia tomentosa) is on the Purdue campus next to the Purdue Union building. Our native basswood trees (Tilia americana) are similar but without the silvery undersides to the leaves. This silver linden tree is #12 on the Purdue tree tour:

Link to Purdue tree tour:

Picture taken June 18, 2009.

Link to Tilia tomentosa:


The elderberry bushes (Sambucus canadensis) are flowering now. They have clusters of tiny white flowers, the clusters are about six inches wide. Here is an elderberry that is easy to find, it's growing in the space between the west end of the pedestrian bridge and the state highway bridge. The Taste of Tippecanoe thing is tonight, if you go to that you can look for this elderberry. The view in the background is about where the west Jumbotron is located on this map:

Link to map:

Link to elderberry:

Pictures taken June 19, 2009.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vicia villosa

This is Vicia villosa. You often find this vetch spread like this over the top of tall grasses on roadsides. Often it will be these purple flowers stretching for hundreds of feet. Once I stopped at a stand of this vetch in Vermillion County and tried to find where the stem was rooted in the ground, I couldn't find it. It just seems to grow out of the air. The Vicia villosa in this picture is along a roadside near Fox Island near Fort Wayne. Picture taken June 17, 2009.

Link to Vicia villosa:

Link to Vicia villosa:

Link to Vicia villosa:

Link to Vicia villosa:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blue Cross Tree

The three blue crosses painted on this tree have been there for many years. This is in White River State Park in Indianapolis, on the river trail, behind the track and field stadium. Thirty years ago, this was a mean and dangerous neighborhood, and this tree and the blue crosses were here then. Since that time Indianapolis has changed radically but this tree remains as a relic of the past.

Why were blue crosses painted on this tree? That's something I don't know. If you know the story please post it here.

The blue cross tree is a Japanese pagodatree (Styphnolobium japonicum). It will be flowering later in the summer.

These pictures were taken June 13, 2009.

Link to Styphnolobium japonicum:

Link to Styphnolobium japonicum:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Butterfly weed

This is butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). The above picture is at White River State Park, Indianapolis, June 13, 2009. The picture below is at Lafayette on the trail between South 9th St. and Beck Lane, June 14, 2009.

Butterfly weed is native to Indiana, but these plants in the photos are there because someone decided to put them there. At White River, the original flora has been radically altered by the moving of earth and the building of levees and other urban activity over the last couple hundred years. Someone decided this would be a nice place to see butterfly weed, so some seed was scattered here and the plants successfully grew. At the trail in Lafayette, growing with the butterfly weed are other plants that inhabit Indiana prairies, but these were put there by some official decision to create a new flora there. There are dandelions there, and they are true wildflowers, and this butterfly weed is not a wildflower. The water willow pictured in the previous post is a true wildflower, nobody put it there, it got there to its right habitat on its own.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Water willow

This is water willow (Justicia americana). It's a familiar plant to those who canoe on Indiana streams. It grows in streams where the water is a couple inches deep. These pictures were taken at White River State Park in Indianapolis, at the place where the canal water falls into White River, June 13, 2009.

Link to Justicia americana:

Link to Justicia americana:

Goodyera pubescens

This is Goodyera pubescens, an orchid, along the trail at Pine Hills Nature Preserve in Montgomery County. Even though there are no flowers when the picture was taken it's still easy to know what it is from the white veins in the leaves. Picture taken June 13, 2009.

Link to Goodyera pubescens:

Link to Pine Hills Nature Preserve:

Mulberries are ripe

Mulberries are ripe. Not the best fruit to eat but plenty edible and good for a snack. Easiest way to find these in the city is to notice where the ground is stained from mulberries fallen out of the tree. Mulberry trees are common in the city and in the country, nobody plants them, they just sprout up on their own.

This mulberry tree is along the river trail at White River State Park, Indianapolis. picture taken June 13, 2009.

This mulberry tree is in a fencerow in Shelby County, picture taken June 11, 2009.

This mulberry tree is on a roadside in Montgomery County, picture taken June 13, 2009.

These mulberry trees are Morus, probably Morus alba.

Link to Morus sp.:

Link to Morus alba:

Sometimes you find a mulberry tree with white fruits; they look like maggots but they taste better than the more common purple fruits.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Juneberries are ripe

This is a juneberry tree (Amelanchier) at Neil Armstrong Park in Lafayette, June 11, 2009. Dozens of juneberry trees were planted in this park and they are now all full of fruit.

Link to Neil Armstrong Park:

Link to juneberries on Purdue campus:

Another link to juneberries:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Birdsfoot trefoil and white campion

These are common plants, you can find them flowering now. These pictures were taken June 10, 2009. This is at Cumberland Park in West Lafayette. It's at the edge of the pond just north of the park woods. The paved trail goes right alongside this.

The yellow flowers are birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculata). Easy to spot from a distance as you drive around the Lafayette area. It lays low near the ground under the taller grasses.

Link to birdsfoot trefoil:

Link to birdsfoot trefoil:

These white flowers are bladder campion (Silene latifolia alba).

Link to bladder campion:

Link to bladder campion:

This grass is smooth brome grass (Bromus inermis). It's very common along roadsides and easy to spot.

Link to Bromus inermis

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crown Vetch

Crown vetch (Securigera varia), near Wabash Landing area in West Lafayette. Pictures taken June 8, 2009. A synonym is Coronilla varia.

Link to crown vetch:

Link to crown vetch:

Link to crown vetch:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Moth Mullein

Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria). West Lafayette near Wabash Landing area. Pictures taken June 7, 2009.

Link to Verbascum blattaria:

Link to moth mullein:

The bank of white flowers in the background is hemlock (Conium maculatum).

The green flowerless plant to the left of the moth mullein is teasel (Dipsaucus fullonum).  It will be flowering soon.

The pink flowers to the left of the moth mullein is crown vetch (Securigera varia).

The brown dried plant to the right of the moth mullein is field pennycress (Thalaspi arvense).  A cool season plant, it is done with its life cycle and gone to seed.

There are two kinds of thistle that are visible to the right of the moth mullein.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Violet sage

This is violet sage, a common landscaping plant that they use around here. The picture above is at the downtown Lafayette post office. The picture below is in front of the Lafayette Holiday Inn. It's Salvia nemorosa or the closely related hybrid Salvia x superba. Or maybe another Salvia cultivar. Above picture taken June 3, 2009. Picture below taken June 6, 2009.

Link to violet sage at Purdue Horticulture Gardens:

Another link to violet sage:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chicken of the Woods mushroom

This chicken of the woods mushroom (Laetiporus cincinnatus) is at Ross Hills County Park. Picture taken May 30, 2009.

Link to Laetiporus cincinnatus:

Link to Laetiporus cincinnatus:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Varsity Apartments in the West Lafayette village is covered with Parthenocissus tricuspidata. If a drunk stumbles out of Harry's and gets lost in the ivy it is called a ground rule double. Pictures taken June 2, 2009.

Link to Parthenocissus tricuspidata:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This cottonwood tree (Populus deltoides) stands next to the pedestrian bridge at the Wabash. Early morning, May 30, 2009.