Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prunus americana (not! cf. Malus)

This is a good example of the distinctive side branches of the wild plum, Prunus americana. Most of the leaves have fallen off for the season and the picture shows the side branches that are almost like thorns. This is in Celery Bog Park, September 28, 2009.

Link to Prunus americana:

Link to previous post on wild plum in Celery Bog Park:]

REVISION 11/26/2009: My mistake, this only resembles wild plum. It appears rather to be a kind of a crabapple tree with unusual short branches that look a bit like wild plum. It was probably planted by the park rather than being wild. The other posts referenced in the links are still valid.

Sassafras fall color

The sassafras trees are some of the first trees to show fall colors. Before the rest of the trees turn color you can spot groves of sassafras trees glowing red like campfire embers. The sumacs are red too by now. These sassafras trees (Sassafras albidum) are reaching out over the trail between Lindberg Road and Cherry Lane in West Lafayette. Picture taken September 28, 2009.

Link to Sassafras albidum:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hen of the woods mushroom

This hen of the woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa) was at the foot of an old oak tree near Battleground. It's in perfect condition for eating. There were a few more of these kind of mushrooms around but they were getting too old and tough to eat. Better get outside right now and get these things because the season will not last much longer.

Picture taken September 27, 2009.

Link to Grifola frondosa:

Link to Grifola frondosa:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Black squirrels of Auburn

At Auburn in DeKalb County there is a population of black squirrels. These are Sciurus carolinensis, the same species as the common grey squirrel. I saw two of them in Auburn yesterday, here are a couple of pictures of one of them. Pictures taken September 26, 2009.

Link to black squirrels:

More on black squirrels:

Wabash River at night

The Wabash River, looking downstream towards downtown Lafayette from the Harrison Bridge, about 11:30 pm Friday night, September 25, 2009. The river is low and mudflats near the west bank are exposed.

Too many people call this bridge the Harrison Street Bridge. Wrong. The bridge has nothing to do with any Harrison Street. It is the Harrison Bridge.

Link to Harrison Bridge:

Link to Wabash River levels:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Virginia creeper

This is Parthenocissus vitacea, one of the Virginia creepers. It's climbing over the fence along South River Road near the railroad viaduct.

The way the berry stems branch in this kind of Virginia creeper is different than in the other kind of Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia.

Pictures taken September 22, 2009.

Link to Parthenocissus vitacea:

Link to Parthenocissus vitacea:

Link to Parthenocissus quinquefolia:

Link to earlier post on another kind of Parthenocissus:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Soybean aphids in buckthorn tree

Yesterday the swarms of soybean aphids didn't seem quite so noticeable, I suppose they were down because of the rain. The news reports mentioned that they would be seeking out buckthorn trees, so I checked out this buckthorn tree and sure enough it was swarming with aphids. The cloud of flying aphids was noticeable a few steps away from the tree, and the leaves were covered with these bugs as you can see in the pictures. I can guess that the black winged bugs are the same ones that have been flying all over here for days but I haven't figured out how the green wingless bugs got there.

This buckthorn tree (Rhamnus cathartica) is on North University Street on the first block north of State Street (across the street from Matthews Hall). All three pictures are of this tree, all taken September 24, 2009.

Link to soybean aphids:

Link to Rhamnus cathartica:

Link to previous post on soybean aphids:

Black gum tree showing fall color

This black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica) is already showing some spectacular fall colors. You can find this tree on the Purdue campus just north of the Biochemistry Building, along South University Street. This picture was taken September 22, 2009.

Link to Nyssa sylvatica:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New England aster

The deep blue flowers you see growing wild this time of year are New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). These New England asters are at Celery Bog Park in a woods edge habitat near the east entrance to Scifres-Maier Woods. These plants are over seven feet tall. They are so tall that the stems can't support their weight and they are bending down over the underlying vegetation. Never seen New England asters this tall before. Usually they're not so tall as the goldenrods. This picture was taken September 20, 2009.

Link to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae:

Link to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae:

Link to New England asters planted at Purdue Horticulture Gardens:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chimney swifts

Chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica) by the thousands are roosting in this chimney in a warehouse at 6th and Salem streets. By day they fly high in the skies all over town catching bugs in the air and at dusk they come back to this chimney. They swarm around the chimney circling counterclockwise like a living tornado, a few birds dropping at a time into the chimney as most of them continue flying. It is quite a sight to see. I had thought that the thousands of birds in this chimney was the entire population of the area but I am told there is another roost in a chimney to a big fraternity building on Littleton St. and I have seen chimney swifts this year also at the chimney on the old Reifers building at 9th and Columbia St.

This picture was taken at about 8 pm on September 20, 2009.

In the daytime you can see chimney swifts from the pedestrian bridge. They are the little birds flying high in the sky over the Wabash River.

Link to chimney swifts:

Link to chimney swifts:

Soybean aphids

Since Monday there have been swarms of little bugs in the air getting in your face as you travel across town. I thought they might be gnats but it seems they are soybean aphids. There's nary a soybean plant in the middle of the city but there are zillions of these aphids flying around.

Link to news report on soybean aphids:

Another report on soybean aphids:

The swarms of aphids are not just around here, here is a report in Illinois:

Link to soybean aphid:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Honey locust trees turning yellow

These honey locust trees on 5th St. are turning yellow as autumn approaches. Already they are losing their leaves. Picture taken September 20, 2009.

Link to honey locust street tree (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis):

Lonicera maackii berries

The common invasive honeysuckle bush, Lonicera maackii. At Fort Quiatenon Park, near the Wabash River. September 15, 2009.

Link to Lonicera maackii:


Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) flowering on the bank of the Wabash River at Fort Quiatenon, September 15, 2009.

Link to Helenium autumnale:

Link to Helenium autumnale:

Link to Helenium autumnale:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wabash River at Fort Quiatenon

Wabash River looking downstream at Fort Quiatenon Park, near the boat ramp, September 15, 2009.

Link to Wabash River levels at Lafayette:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fruits of the Japanese Pagodatree

This Japanese pagodatree (Styphnolobium japonicum) is along State St. in front of Stone Hall on the Purdue campus. Picture taken September 16, 2009.

Link to Styphnolobium japonicum:

Link to Japanese pagoda tree in Indianapolis:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bur oak acorns

The acorns of the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) have caps that cover much of the seed. This bur oak is planted along 9th st. hill. Picture taken August 23, 2009.

Link to previous post on bur oak:

Link to Quercus macrocarpa:

Link to Quercus macrocarpa:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cornelian cherry tree

The first picture shows fruit on a Cornelian cherry tree on the Purdue campus. Not a true cherry, it's actually a dogwood tree, Cornus mas. But the fruits are good to eat like cherries. This picture was taken September 8, 2009. These trees are planted for their flowers in very early spring, here is a link to a previous post featuring this very same tree. The big tree trunk in the background is not the Cornus mas, but rather an old oak tree (Quercus).

Link to Cornelian cherry:

Link to Quercus:

Link to Cornelian cherries:

The second picture shows another Cornelian cherry tree. This one is in Armstrong Park along Beck Lane in Lafayette. Picture taken September 6, 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wabash River, September 5, 2009

The Wabash River, looking upstream from the pedestrian bridge at Lafayette, September 5, 2009.

Link to Wabash River levels:


Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), planted at Perrin Avenue. There is obedient plant here too. Picture taken September 3, 2009.

Link to Cosmos:

You can also find Cosmos and obedient plant at the Horticulture Gardens at Purdue, here is a link to Cosmos:

Here is a link to obedient plant:

Monday, September 7, 2009


The red fruits of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Picture taken September 5, 2009, in deep woods in Tippecanoe County. Overcollection of ginseng through the years has made it hard to find.

Link to ginseng:

Link to ginseng:


The big plants you are seeing around town with the evil-looking red stems and purple berries are pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). This pokeweed shows a lot of ripe berries, good food for birds. It's at the west end of the pedestrian bridge in West Lafayette. Picture taken September 5, 2009.

Link to pokeweed:

Link to previous post on pokeweed:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Autumn Joy Sedum

This is Autumn Joy Sedum used for landscaping at the corner of 9th St. and Beck Lane in Lafayette.

Technically this plant is either Hylotelephium telephium or a hybrid of Hylotelephium telephium.

You can also find Autumn Joy Sedum at Purdue Horticulture Gardens on the Purdue campus, here is a link:

This picture was taken September 4, 2009.

Ramp seeds

The ramps (Allium tricoccum) have gone to seed. This is in Stewart Woods, August 29, 2009.

Link to Allium tricoccum seeds:

Link to previous post on Allium tricoccum:

Link to another post on Allium tricoccum:

Link to another post on Allium tricoccum:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jack-in-the-Pulpit berries

The Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) which flowered in spring has left these red berries. This is in Stewart Woods, west of Purdue campus. Picture taken August 29, 2009.

Link to Jack-in-the-pulpit:

Link to previous post on Jack-in-the-pulpit:

Link to another previous post on Jack-in-the-pulpit:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Softshell turtles in the Wabash River

A female and a male softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) practice their synchronized swimming routine in the Wabash River. This view is looking directly down at the river from the pedestrian bridge at Lafayette, September 1, 2009.

Link to Apalone spinifera:

Link to previous post on softshell turtle:

Link to another previous post on softshell turtle:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bird's nest fungus

Bird's nest fungi can be found growing in the mulch in landscapings around the Purdue campus. This particular picture shows bird's nest fungi at the foot of the same ash tree mentioned in the cicada post of August 26.

This picture was taken September 1, 2009. Click on the picture for an enlargement.

Link to bird's nest fungus:

Black maple

This black maple twig (Acer nigrum) fell from the forest canopy and landed on the ground right next to me as I was standing on the trail. This is in Stewart Woods just west of Purdue campus. Picture taken August 29, 2009.

Link to Acer nigrum:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Great blue lobelia

This great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is in Martell Forest along the main trail. Presumably growing wild, this patch was the only Lobelia siphilitica that I noticed at Martell. Picture taken August 22, 2009.

Link to Lobelia siphilitica:

Link to Lobelia siphilitica:

Link to Lobelia siphilitica:

You can find blue lobelia planted on the Purdue campus at Horticulture Gardens,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) is a common sight on the edges of woods this time of year. This wingstem is at Martell Forest, west of West Lafayette. Picture taken August 22, 2009.

Link to wingstem:

Link to wingstem:

Begonia and Chamaesyce on 4th St.

The red flowers in this pot are Begonia. The tiny white flowers are Chamaesyce.

4th St., Lafayette, August 29, 2009.

Link to Begonia:

Link to Chamaesyce:

Allium in alley

This allium is growing wild in the alley behind the Lafayette Farmers' Market. Probably it escaped from somebody's garden long ago. Looks to me like it could be Allium nigrum (black onion). Picture taken August 29, 2009.

Link to Allium nigrum:

Link to Allium nigrum: