This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Convenient wildflowers

The little drainage area alongside College Avenue by the water treatment plant (where home plate of a ball field used to be) has been planted with wildflowers and many of them are blooming.
 Some of them I recognized, like the bright red Cardinal flower and the swamp milkweed. Swamp milkweed, shown below, does not have the familiar milkweed leaves, but the flowers are clearly milkweed flowers.
 There is some sneezeweed and some kind of blazing star. I have not figured out yet exactly which one it is.
I had to search to identify the cute little flower shown below. It is Monkey Flower, and after I found it, I realized that I had once before identified it. There are two species that look pretty much the same, Mimulus ringens and Mimulus alatus. My guess is that this is the former because the leaves do not have stems.
There was a striking white or pale pink flower on stalks that I had not seen before. A bit of searching identified it as Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana). This plant is often planted as an ornamental, and if it is in moist locations, it has a tendency to spread aggressively.
All the plants in this little catch pond are tolerant of wet conditions and all of them seem to be native plants. So if you need a wild flower fix every once in a while, stop by. You do not have to drive miles out into the country--there is a nice little garden in the center of Rensselaer.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next couple of years. Some of these plants will thrive and spread while others may be crowded out. There are a few non-native weeds trying to take advantage of the disturbed conditions--will they do well or will they be crowded out? And since there are a number of plants that I cannot yet identify, there is the possibility of follow up posts.

I took some of these pictures on Monday when I was on my way to check out the status of road repairs on US 231. On Friday I had driven over it and it had been torn up to prepare it for resurfacing. I expected that resurfacing to happen Monday, but it was all done on Monday. The workers must have finished it on Saturday. Also over the weekend, the public library seal-coated its parking lot.

On Monday I saw my first and so far only Monarch butterfly. I tried to get a picture of it as it was visiting some wild sunflowers, but it flitted away before I could snap the photo.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. You made my day with this photo essay.

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