Two Years Old


Happy 2nd Birthday to my blog! I’m celebrating by changing the look. Also by upgrading the account. OK, actually it’s not celebrating; I’ve uploaded so many pictures that I ran out of space, so I had to upgrade.

young fronds of ebony spleenwort


I’m also celebrating by re-posting some favorite photos.  Enjoy.



wild stonecrop












flowering dogwood






enchanter’s nightshade

















cranefly orchid





purple-headed sneezeweed





bee leaving goldenrod



Back to regular blog posts tomorrow!

Enchanter’s Nightshade, When the Petals Have Fallen


Circaea lutetiana; Onagraceae

As I’ve written before, there’s a lot of beauty and interest up close.  And it isn’t just about the flowers.  Pictured above is a section of the raceme* with the ovaries left after the petals drop, all covered in tiny hairs.  Isn’t that neat?


*a raceme is an unbranched stem bearing flowers that are attached by pedicels

Flower of the Day: Enchanter’s Nightshade


Circaea lutetiana
aka Circaea quadrisulcata


Standing one to three feet tall, this woodland forb has tiny, white, two-petaled flowers. The petals are so deeply cleft that you’d think there are four.


Enchanter’s nightshade’s native range is from the Great Plains east to the Atlantic, north into Canada, and all the way south (except Florida).

The USDA Plants database shows two other species of Circaea in North America; one (C. alpina) is a much shorter plant found throughout much of the US (not the southern Mid-West or deep South) that is endangered or extirpated in several states; the other (C. x intermedia) is a naturally-occurring cross between C. lutetiana and C. alpina.

I spent awhile surfing the internet looking for some interesting facts or trivia about this plant, and came up with nothing, other than confirmation of my observation that summer-flowering woodland plants tend to have very small white flowers.  Enchanter’s nightshade isn’t going to knock your socks off with its beauty, unless you pause long enough to get a good, close look at the flowers.


I actually do find it enchanting.

ps – look closely at the upper sepal in the top photo; see the aphids?

Flower of the Day: Common Evening Primrose

Oenothera biennis; Onagraceae (evening primrose family)


Sixty six species of Oenothera are found across the US, all but five of which are native. This one is the most widespread; it can be found everywhere except the arid West.  Some authorities list it as a problematic weed.


The plant can grow to six feet tall, though three feet is more typical.  Flowers open in the evening and close in the morning, though they may stay open longer if the skies are overcast.  I found this plant mid-morning on one of those weedy low rocky bluffs that jut into the river. Those areas are often covered in poison ivy and alien invasives, but I almost always find something really interesting there, too.

Enchanter’s nightshade (fotd 6/23) is another plant in the evening primrose family.  So is this weedy looking thing:


That’s seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia).