Feeling Moody

I’ve had a lot of fun the last few weeks shooting with the 70-200mm lens and the 105mm macro. A lot of pictures failed (that first lens is a beast if I’m shooting handheld in low light or a breeze), but I enjoy playing with light and shadows and I think I got some decent shots.

 

wild pinks (Silene caroliniana ssp. pensylvanica)

 

 

 

 

wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)

 

 

 

 

plantain-leaved pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)

 

 

 

 

early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum), staminate flowers

 

 

 

smooth rockcress (Boechera laevigata, formerly Arabis laevigata)

 

 

 

 

early saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis, formerly Saxifraga virginiensis)

 

 

 

 

azure bluets (Houstonia caerulea)

 

 

 

 

leatherwood (Dirca palustris)

 

 

 

 

lyre-leaved rockcress (Arabidopsis lyrata)

 

 

sessile bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia)

The Aster Family (part 5): Odds and Ends

Did you know that there’s a word for the study of the Asteraceae? It’s synantherology. And, a person who studies the Asteraceae is a synantherologist.

I was going to write a post about the lower orders of classification within the aster family. But it ends up being unusually complicated, with various authors positing sub-families, super-tribes, tribes, sub-tribes, and even sub-genera as ranks between family and species. If you’re really interested, check out the Asteraceae page at the Tree of Life Web Project, or Classification of Compositae from the International Compositae Alliance.

So rather than another detour into taxonomy, here’s a gallery of aster family oddballs: flowers that might not look like composites at first glance.

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Anaphalis margaritacea
pearly everlasting

Maryland Biodiversity Project has only 2 records for this plant, including one in the piedmont, so it’s unlikely you’ll see it in this area. But you’ll see it often in floral arrangements. The yellow-ish centers are the disk florets, and the white outer parts are bracts; there are no ray florets.20140915-DSC_0024


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Antennaria plantaginifolia
plantain-leaved pussytoes

This plant is found throughout the Maryland piedmont. White disk florets only, surrounded by green phyllaries. Look at those little seeds!
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Elephantopus carolinianus
Carolina elephant’s foot

Found throughout the Maryland piedmont. Click on the image and then zoom in to see the details: this head is showing four individual disk florets, each with a five-lobed corolla. There are no ray florets.

 

 


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Erechtites hieraciifolius var. hieraciifolius
pilewort; fireweed; burnweed

Found throughout the Maryland piedmont. My apologies for not having a clearer picture. The flower heads contain disk florets only (no ray florets).


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Conoclinium coelestinum
blue mistflower
(with eastern tailed-blue butterfly)

Found throughout the Maryland piedmont. Disk florets only.

 

 


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Eutrochium purpureum
sweet joe-pye weed
(with eastern swallowtail butterfly)

Found in most of the Maryland piedmont.  Disk florets only.
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Pussytoes!

I’ve always been fond of tiny flowers, and ephemeral things (like dewdrops and shadows), so I’m always trying to get the camera lens right in there, to get the closest possible shot, or at least a different perspective.  As a benefit, I’ve come to appreciate things in a new way.
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plantain-leaved pussy toes
Antennaria plantaginifolia
Asteraceae

 

 

 

 

Things like pussytoes, which have never been a favorite.  I’d spent some time trying to get good pictures of them, without much success, then one day last week I spotted a stand of pussytoes that looked… strange.

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Like the flower heads were coated in spiderwebs.

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It wasn’t ’til I got the lens closer that I saw what was really happening – they were going to seed. Quickly. A light breeze was pushing the seeds away as I worked.

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This plant is a low-grower, a small basal rosette of gray-green foliage coming up in dry, rocky soils in full sun, with an inflorescence that might stand as much as two feet tall; the flower heads are small, and clustered tightly together.  About three dozen species of Antennaria grow across the US, six of which can be found in the mid-Atlantic.

Another common name for this species is woman’s tobacco.  I have no idea why.