Thursday, August 30, 2012

Purple Prose

Following the theme of last week’s post, let’s look at more late summer wildflowers –  blooms for this group are all  in the purple family, color-wise – Eryngo, Obedient Plant, and Gregg’s Mistflower,

First, Eryngo: Eryngium leavenworthii Torr. & Gray.  As described by Native Plant Information Network, (NPIN),  the Native Plant Database for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Eryngo is a prickly, showy annual with a leafy stem, blue or purple bloom in late summer, in fact almost the whole plant, which stands 1’ – 3’ tall, shows color (photo by Wayne Meyer).  Watch for it now in fields at HagermanNational Wildlife Refuge and along the roadsides in the area, striking against a backdrop of Snow-on-the Prairie or contrasting with Sunflowers. Eryngo looks like a thistle but is not; it is in the Carrot family.  The plants are deer resistant, for those whose gardens have unwanted deer visitors, and provide nectar for insects and seed for birds.

Obedient Plant:  Physostegia virginiana (L.) Benth.  Also called False Dragonhead and Fall Obedient Plant, NPIN says this plant is a perennial, with the typical square stems of the Mint family.  Visitors to the Refuge can see it blooming lavender, in the Native Plant Garden (photo by Sue Malnory).  Blooms may also be white to purple. This is a great plant to interest children in gardening, as the flowers can be turned on the stem and will stay in the new position for some time, hence the name, Obedient plant.  The plants are a nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies and are deer resistant.

Gregg’s Mistflower:  Conoclinium greggii (Gray) Small.  Also in the Aster family, this plant can be seen in the Native Plant Garden (photo by Becky Goodman) at the Refuge and is a butterfly magnet. It is documented by NPIN as attracting Queen butterflies in Fall and as a larval food source for Rawsons Metalmark.  It has puffy lavender flowers heads, grows from 1’ – 3’ tall, blooms from spring to fall, spreads easily and unlike the others described above, provides deer browse. Mistflower may also be known as Palmleaf thoroughwort, Palm-leaf mistflower, Palm-leaf thoroughwort, Purple palmleaf mistflower, Purple palmleaf eupatorium.



No comments:

Post a Comment