Great Things About August

It’s 6:44 am as I put the finishing touches on this post, 77°F already and 94% humidity, and yet I love August. It isn’t quite as hot as July; fresh, local peaches and tomatoes are everywhere; and half the DC area population is on vacation, so traffic is better and restaurants are easier to get into.

And it’s the time for big, showy wildflowers along the Potomac River.

The river has been running unusually high for this time of year, but last Monday it had finally dropped enough that I was able to explore the banks. Worth it in this weather? You bet. Here’s what I saw blooming.

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed), one of the latest-blooming milkweed species. More on milkweeds in an upcoming post. This particular stand had several monarch butterflies feeding on it.



Conoclinium coelestinum (mistflower)





Eutrochium species (joe-pye weed)

I’m cheating a little. Out on the trail I found E. purpureum, but they were kind of ratty looking. Pictured here is E. fistulosum in my garden, with a spicebush swallowtail.


Helianthus decapetalus (thin-leaved sunflower)




Hibiscus laevis (halberd-leaved rosemallow)





Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rosemallow)

Look for more about rosemallows in an upcoming post.



Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower). I can never get over that lurid red.





Here’s a closeup of one in my garden. This is a true wetland plant that can’t survive in dry soils. I had to give this one plant about 2 gallons of water each day during our July dry spell, and that was barely enough.


Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)




Persicaria coccineum (scarlet smartweed)


 I had a lively discussion going about this one on-line recently. The Polygonaceae is a difficult family. I’ll save the details for a future post.


Senna hebecarpa (wild senna)



Smallanthus uvedalia (large-flowered leafcup) [below]

Solidago simplex var. racemosa (racemose goldenrod) [left]

Verbesina alternifolia (wingstem)


Also seen (no pictures):
Commelina virginica (Virginia dayflower)
Cynanchum laeve (honeyvine, a type of milkweed)
Eupatorium serotinum (late-flowering thoroughwort)
Ipomoea pandurata (wild potato vine)
Mimulus alatus (winged monkeyflower)
Persicaria virginiana (jumpseed)
Phyla lanceolata (fogfruit)
Rudbeckia laciniata (cut-leaved coneflower)
Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root)

2 thoughts on “Great Things About August

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