Sunday, December 11, 2011

eastern baccharis

This is Baccharis halimifolia in the family Asteraceae:

This photo was taken in November of 2006 across from the JSU stadium in Jackson, Mississippi.  B. halimifolia is native to the United States and found along the mainly along southeastern seaboard but ranges from Texas to Massachusetts. 

This is one of the first plants I photographed.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Chinese privet

This is an example of Ligustrum sinense in the family Oleaceae:

I found this plant along the road leading into Mule Jail on April 28, 2007.  This plant is not native to the United States and according to Wikipedia, was introduced from southeast Asia as an ornamental plant.

By the by, the National Parks Service has a pdf on invasive species that is worth a look.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

beach false foxglove

Here is Agalinis fasciculata in the family of Scrophulariaceae:

This flower was found growing south of Opelika, AL, along route 51 in late September, 2011.  This plant is native to the United States and can be found throughout the southeastern states.  Though it is common here on the eastern side of Alabama I have not seen this flower in either the Jackson area nor the Delta.  I imagine it likes higher elevations (relatively speaking, Opelika is about 500 feet higher than Jackson), though this is just a guess.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

common mullein

This is Verbascum thapsus of the family Scrophulariaceae:

The above flower was photographed along AL 51 south of Opelika, Alabama in late September, 2011.  It was introduced to the United States and has been quite successful, being found as far north as Greenland. According to Wikipedia, V. thapsus is a native of Europe and has been used for medicinal purposes for the last 2000 years.  It seems to possess anti-cough and expectorant properties. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011


This is Senna obtusifolia of the family Fabaceae:

S. obtusifolia is a native of the United States and is found throughout the eastern states as far north as Wisconsin and New York.  According to Wikipedia, this plant is most celebrated in China, where it has a long history in Chinese medicine as a laxative.  There is no mention of where or how it came by the name java-bean (it also bears the monikers coffeeweed and coffee pod).  I assume that may produce a tea similar in character to coffee, though with its use as a laxative in Chinese medicine, I will not be trying this any time soon.

This particular plant was found along state road 51, south of Opelika, AL in September of 2011.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

stiff ticktrefoil

This is an example of Desmodium obtusum in the family Fabaceae:

Taken Sept. 23, 2011 south of Opelika, AL on State Road 51, D. obtusum is native to North America.  Desmodium spp. is found through out the United States and there are over 70 species in this genus.  According to Wikipedia, however, the genus is not well defined and has a tendency to gain and lose members.  Regardless of the particulars of which plant is assigned to which species, Desmodium spp. is finding use in agriculture as a natural source of bug repellant and weed killer. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carolina desert-chicory

This is an example of Pyrrhopappus carolinianus in the family Asteraceae:

Taken on December 12, 2007 in Jackson at Parham Bridges park.  This plant is native the United States and according to the USDA site, it is found largely in the Southeast.  It is unclear how it acquired the name Carolina desert-chicory, at least the Carolina desert part is unclear.  If you look at chicory, it is clear the similarities in the blooms, though the structure of the two plants are quite different. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

large yellow vetch

Here is Vicia grandiflora of the family Fabaceae:

This particular plant was found along highway 49, north of Yazoo City in the Mississippi Delta.  The photo was made on April 4th 2010. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

swamp rose

This is Rosa palustris in the family Rosaceae:

As with the last flower posted, this was taken in May of 2009, at the Brandon property.  This plant is native to the United States and Canada and can be found throughout the eastern half of the two countries.  I have seen this plant often around Mississippi and the blooms vary from the pink seen above to an almost pure white.  The blooms have a very subdued sent that must be purposefully sampled.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

sidebreak pencilflower

Here is Stylosanthes biflora of the family Fabaceae:

This plant was found on the Brandon property in May of 2009.  This plant is native to the United States and found throughout the Southeast and north through the Midwest.  Its common name is much more impressive than the plant itself, though I am not sure how it came to be called so. 

If you look close, on the left edge of this flower there is a tiny creature that looks something like a cartoon monster.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Here is Pueraria montana of the family Fabaceae:

This particular flower was photographed August 28, 2011 in Opelika, Alabama.  There are a number of species in the genus Pueraria but these are closely related and most not readily distinguished from one another.  These species all answer to the name kudzu.  As most who've been in the southeast will know, is everywhere, it was introduced from Asia as a means to control erosion and it grows like wildfire, enveloping everything. 

As it is a member of the pea family, Pueraria spp. produces pods, hairy ones.  These dangle below the stem that supports the cluster of flowers, growing ever longer, pictured below:

Despite the pestilent nature of this plant, the blooms are beautiful and have a sweet, subtle smell similar to honey suckle, the root is rich in starch and serves as an excellent grazing plant for 3 or 4 years.  There may even be medicinal properties hiding in the plant, however, most folks just want to know how to get rid of it.  Wikipedia offers quite a number of ways to control the plant, the worst being devised by a sixteen year old Jacob Schindler, which involves disgorging precious helium into the ground.

I know this is a post about plants, but most folks don't realize that helium is a precious and limited resource.  The New York Times reported in 1997 on the dismantling of the Federal Helium reserves sounding the warnings for the physics community but haven't written anything since.  The most recent news is from Cleveland, sounding the warning bells a little over a month ago: we're running out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

golden zizia

Here is Zizia aurea of the family apiaceae:

This plant is native to the United States and Canada, per the USDA plants database.  This was taken on April 11, 2009 in Mule Jail.  This plant's family, apiaceae, is named for the carrot.  It is not yet documented west of the Rocky Mountains but ranges from Florida to Manitoba.  This particular plant still bore all its blooms, though I cannot tell if they are in the bud or the wilt.  Typically, Z. aurea displays bright yellow flowers.  Within this group of flowers there where a few that had the proper color but proved poor examples of the plant:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

common yarrow

Here is Achillea millefolium of the family asteraceae:

This is another example of a highly successful invasive species.  Though A. millefolium can claim native status in parts of the United States, it has found its way throughout the continent.  This plant appears to have a colorful heritage, illuminated here, that includes extensive use as a medicinal herb, beer brewing and Neanderthal burial rites. 

The photo above was taken in June of 2009 along the I-57 corridor near an on-ramp.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

red clover

Here is Trifolium pratense in the family of fabaceae:

This example of red clover was captured in Illinois, along side an on ramp to I-57 on June 13, 2009.  It was a rather large patch of all sorts of flowers and I first took this to be Persian clover, which I have already posted, but the size of the plant wasn't quite the same.  I took a few pictures, as an afterthought, to look more closely later and too my surprise, it was a different species. 

This plant was introduced to the North American continent from Europe and has been exceedingly successful.  It can be found throughout the Lower 48, Alaska, Greenland and above the Arctic circle in Canada.  It has been proclaimed the State Flower of Vermont.  It has avoided designation as a noxious plant, but more than that, attained to the status of Wetland Indicator

I suppose T. pratense is a story of an immigrant plant that we can all admire and hold up to our friends in the Plant Kingdom as an example of how an invasive species should behave.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vasey's grass

This is Paspalum urvillei a member of the poaceae family:


Vasey's grass is not native to the U.S. or Canada.  It hails from South America and has found its way as far west as Hawaii where it is considered a noxious weed.  This particular example was photographed at Mule Jail in May of 2011. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


This is another example of the poaceae family, Sorghum halepense:

 and a close up:

These pictures were taken at Mule Jail on June 4, 2011.  S. halepense has been introduced to North America and can be found throughout the lower 48, Alaska, Hawaii and Porto Rico, as well as parts of Canada.  It is considered a noxious weed (crowds out the native species).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

late purple aster

Here is Symphyotrichum patens in the family asteraceae:

This picture was taken October 5, 2007 at the Brandon property.  S. patens is a native of the U.S. and found throughout the southeast, eastern sea board and the mid-west states.  It offers a surprising patch of purple after most flowers have gone.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

bahia grass

Here is Paspalum notatum in the family poaceae:

And here are details:


These pictures were taken May 27, 2011 at Mule Jail.  This plant is native to the southeastern United States, but has been exported to other parts of the country where it is not naturally found.  By way of anecdote, as a child, I would strip the flowers from these plants and get a inky, dark purple stain all over my hands.  I thought this was the coolest thing and imagined making my own ink from this plant.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

redring milkweed

This is Asclepias variegata in the family of asclepiadaceae:

Found at the Chapel Hill property, Mississippi, on May 7, 2011.  This particular plant was growing in a well shaded clearing, apart from the underbrush.  Native to the U.S. and Canada, this plant is found from the Gulf, up the Mississippi-Ohio River valleys and in to Ontario, Canada and from Texas to Connecticut.  However, in the norther states of Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, this plant (call white milk weed in these states) is considered endangered. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

common sweetleaf

Here is Symplocos tinctoria of the family symplocaceae:

This is a native of the United States and can be found throughout the southeast.  According to Porcher/Rayner S. tinctoria is a source of a bold yellow dye, taken from the leaves and the bark.  Though I've not tried them yet, the leaves are supposed to be both refreshing and sweet to chew on.  This particular tree grow in Mule Jail and this picture was taken on March 20, 2011.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

soft thistle

Here is Cirsium carolinianum in the asteraceae family:

This flower was found in Brandon, Mississippi down Shiloh Road on April 21, 2009.   This plant is a native of the lower 48 and found throughout the southeast from Texas to the Carolinas and as far north as Ohio. 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

crown vetch

This is the flower Securigera varia in the family of fabaceae:

I found this plant in mid June 2009 along I-57 somewhere between Cairo and Chicago.  This is not a native plant, however, it has been quite successful and can be found throughout the lower 48, Hawaii and the southern stretch of Canada from ocean to ocean. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

thicket bean

Here is the vine Phaseolus polystachios of the family fabaceae:

This was taken at Mule Jail on July 19, 2007.  This plant is native to the lower United States.  This plant carries the name wild kidney bean and is listed as special concern to the state of Connecticut.  From the USDA site, there seems to be a variant of P. polystachios that is specific to the Bible belt states.  The exact distinguishing features that differentiates these variants in unknown to me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

shaggy soldier

Here is Galinsoga quadriradiata of the family asteraceae:

This particular plant is found throughout North America and is not native to the US.  I took this picture in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while visiting my brother, Duff, and my sister-in-law, Anja in June of 2009.  This little flower has gather quite a few names for itself including: the common Peruvian daisy, fringed quickweed and hairy galinsoga. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

blunt broom sedge

This is Carex tribuloides of the family cyperaceae:

Like last week, this plant is of the genus Carex. This photo was taken in April of 2009 on the Brandon property.  C. tribuloides is also a native to North America, but the range of this species is greater than C. intumescens, being found in British Columbia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

greater bladder sedge

Here is an example of Carex intumescens in the family of cyperaceae:

This picture was taken in April 2007 at Mule Jail, very close to the Pearl River.  A North American native, this plant is found from Newfoundland to Florida and west to Wyoming.  It happens to be threatened in Illinois and those folks call it swollen sedge.  C. intumescens has some notable relatives in the family cyperaceae, according to Wikipedia, both water chestnuts and papyrus of the paper making kind call this little plant cousin.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

annual ragweed

Here is Ambrosia artemisiifolia of the family asteraceae:

This was found, as may of the flowers here, on my walk from my car to and from class during medical school.  I took this picture on October 19, 2006.  This was among the first flowers that I photographed.  It is interesting that this plant carries the name ambrosia, though few would consider ragweed to be food to the gods.  I suppose this is one of those little ironies that the scientific method produces.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

oppositeleaf spotflower

This is Acmella oppositefolia in the family asteraceae:

And I found this on the banks of the Pearl at Mule Jail in September 2009.  A native of the Southeast and found no farther north than Missouri.  The bees are of unknown species, but do not look like typical honey bees, any ideas as to what they are?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

roundleaf greenbrier

Here is the consecutive third vine, Smilax rotundifolia in the family smilacaceae:

This was also taken in the year 2007, April 28th, to be exact.  S. rotundifolia is also native to the United States.  This plant can be found from Florida to Maine and as far west as Texas and South Dakota.  This picture was taken at Mule Jail.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Guadeloupe cucumber

This is Melothria pendula in the family of cucurbitaceae:

And was taken on June 17th 2007.  This is another vine that is native to the lower 48, unlike the previous plant, this has no noxious weed status, rather is endangered in Maryland, threatened in Illinois and bit the bullet in Indiana.  M. pendula goes by a few aliases: in Maryland and Indiana it is call creeping cucumber and in Illinois it is call squirting cucumber.  I find the Illinois name funny.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


This is Ipomoea lacunosa of the family convolvulaceae:

This flower was found growing on the fence of the Veterans' Stadium parking lot fence in Jackson Mississippi in December of 2007.  This plant is native to the lower 48 though not welcome in all states.  It has the dubious distinction of noxious weed status in Arizona (I'll refrain from any puns) and Arkansas.  It is found throughout the southeast as far north as Canada.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

white crown-beard

Here is Verbesina virginica in the family of asteraceae:

This flower was found at Mule Jail in late September of 2008.  V. virginica is a native of the United States and can be found throughout the southeastern US up to the great lakes. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

so it's been a while

I've not yet taken the time to identify more flowers yet.  This month will be busy, but I hope to have the postings going again by the end of February.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

orange hawkweed

Here is Hieracium aurantiacum of the family asteraceae:

This flower was taken in Wisconsin near the small town of Honey Rock.  H. aurantiacum is an invasive species of the more terrible kind.  It is one of those plants that crowds out the native flora.  The folks over at wikipedia think that the USDA is wrong in naming this flower.  Wikipedia calls H. aurantiacum by the name Pilosella aurantiaca, oddly, though, most of the sources from the Wikipedia article reference H. aurantiacum.  I suspect this point would be lost on the editors of that page. 

Back to the plant at hand.  This plant was photographed on June 21, 2009, my mom's birthday!  I believe she had just turned 39 again.  In North America this is considered a noxious plant due to its propensity to suppress native flora and the difficult in eliminating the plant once it finds a foothold. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Chinese tallowtree

Here is a gift from Ben Franklin to the continent of North America, Sapium sebiferum in the family euphorbiaceae:

According to the USDA this tree was introduced by none other than the 100 dollar man himself in 1776.  This photo was taken 234 years later on the 1st of June in 2010.  This particular invader is flourishing in my front yard.  This tree has a marvelous scent from mid May and into early June and displays beautiful fall colors. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

alligator weed

Here is Alternanthera philoxeroides in the family amaranthaceae:

This was taken on May 11, 2010 at LeFleur's Bluff state park in Jackson.  This plant was introduced to the US and has the distinction of being a noxious weed in 7 states.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

weedy dwarfdandelion

The following plant may be identified incorrectly: Krigia caespitosa of the family asteraceae:

This plant is a bit difficult to nail down.  Granted I'm strictly using visual comparison to identify the plant on this page, which by itself leave all my efforts suspect.  However, this genus seems to offer special difficulty; even to the professionals. 

Regardless the label that we've assigned the linage of this specific plant, the above photo was taken between Flora, MS and Yazoo on Hwy 49 in March of '07 and this particular plant is a good example of the head flower arrangement. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

beaked cornsalad

The following plant is called Valerianella radiata of the family valerianaceae:

This plant was found growing at Chapel Hill on March 15, 2007.  Native to the U.S. however, it would seem that it, or it's cousin (V. locusta), was made famous by none other than King Louis the 14th's royal gardener.  It seems to have garnered favor as a garnish.  Though, if wikipedia is to be believed, the specimen above is past it's peak and better passed over.  This flower is an example of the cyme flower arrangement

Sunday, November 07, 2010

blunt spikerush

This is Eleocharis obtusa in the family cyperaceae:

This particular plant was photographed at LeFleur's Bluff state park on May 11, 2010.  This plant is a native of the Contiguous 48 States, Canada and Hawaii.  It isn't a large plant, rather, it has numerous stalks each topped with the flower picture above.  The stalks radiate from a common base that, for this specimen, was obscured by the shallow water/mud it was growing in.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

spreading hedgeparsley

Here is Torilis arvensis of the family apiaceae:

This was taken in downtown Jackson at Sterling Towers, the old apartment complex where I used to live.  This plant is native to Canada, however, it has been introduced to the lower 48.  In other words, it is a Canadian invasion. 

This picture was made on July 5, 2006, and is among the first pictures I took.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

marsh flatsedge

This is an example of Cyperus pseudovegetus in the family of cyperaceae:

This was found at LeFleur's Bluff State park here in Jackson, MS on May 11, 2010. C. pseudovegetus is a native plant found largely in the southeastern United States.  This is an example of a spike flower arrangement.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

buckwheat vine

This is Brunnichia ovata in the family of polygonaceae:

I found this flowering vine on the second gate going into Mule Jail.  This picture was taken on July 18, 2009.  B. ovata is native to the US and can be found throughout the Southeast.  It is an unremarkable plant.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

white blue-eyed grass

This is the third in the genus Sisyrinchium, Sisyrinchium albidum in the family of iridaceae:

and was found on April 4th of 2009 at the Brandon property.  A native to Canadia and the United S. of A.  S. albidum is not all that common relative to it's cousin, S. angustifolium.  White blue-eyed grass is an elegant little flower of the panicle arrangement.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


This tree is called Acer negundo in the family of aceraceae:

I found it flowering in late winter, March 11, 2007 to be precise, by a swampy channel in Mule Jail.  The boxelder is a native of these United States and of Canada.  Quite successful and has a few variants, it is this tree that produces the "helicopter" seed pods that are so much fun to play with as a child or if no one is looking.