Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Floral Interlude

Autumn just around the corner and brings with it a last rush of flowers. This is the favoured blooming season for many composites.

A nectaring Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti) adds a splash of color to this field of Goldenrod. There are over one hundred species of Goldenrod (Solidago sp.), a member of the Aster family, on this continent.

White Asters ... not sure about these. Maybe Panicled Asters (Aster lanceolatus)?

Flat-topped White Asters (Aster umbellatus)

The delicate flowers of the Spitting Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) ...

... and the not so delicate fruit. Salad, anyone?

The leaves, flowers and seed pod of the Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)

Leaves and beautiful blossoms of Nightshade (Solanum sp.)

Don't toss this fruit in your salad. Many members of the family Solanaceae, such as the potato and tomato, are edible. Other species are decorative. The fruit of Nightshade contains alkaloids that are toxic.

Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia), a member of the Legume family ... the flowers very much resemble those of clover.

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare): this member of the Aster family can be toxic if taken internally and can cause dermatitis in some people.

A close-up of a Cardinal Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis).

Last but not least ... this looks like a New England Aster and quite possibly is but the flowers are magenta rather than the usual deep blue.

Here's a close-up of the flower with a nectaring Halictid Bee.