Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Goat's-Beard: Pretty, introduced, and gloriously puffy

Yes, Goat’s-Beard may be an introduced wildflower on the Prairies, but I remain fascinated by its lovely symmetry in both the lemony-yellow flower phase, and the super-duper, oversized seedhead phase.

Goat's-beard seedhead - Western Salsify, Tragopogon dubius. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
To me, it's the super-sized seedhead of Goat's-beard that makes it so lovely. © SB
Goat's-beard flower - Western Salsify, Tragopogon dubius. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
The flower - a light, bright yellow - is also attractive, in its own way. © SB 
Goat's-beard flower - Western Salsify, Tragopogon dubius. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Yellow on black - a trick of light with Goat's-beard. © SB 
Goat's-beard seedhead - Western Salsify, Tragopogon dubius. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Another view of Goat's-beard, in ready-to-blow-wild seed stage.  © SB

What is this: Goat’s-Beard, an introduced plant. (Western Salsify, Tragopogon dubius)
Location: Many places around Southern Saskatchewan.
Photo Dates: June 24, 2015 (seedheads); June 10 and June 14, 2016 (flowers).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nodding Beggarticks - odd name, pretty wetlands wildflower

And now, a wildflower that has found a place to establish itself in the city of Regina, SK — Nodding Beggarticks, growing in a marshy spot along a local lake. (And, fortunately, still in its flower form, so no worries yet about its barbed seeds...)

Nodding Beggarticks. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
A close-up of a single Nodding Beggarticks flower.  © SB

Nodding Beggarticks. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Nodding Beggarticks. The flowers tend to droop and nod as they age, hence the name.  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Nodding Beggarticks 
Location: Lakeridge Park, Regina, Saskatchewan
Photo Date: September 10, 2016

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Purple Prairie-Clover at the top of a Saskatchewan butte

Purple Prairie-Clover. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
A cluster of Purple Prairie-Clover.  © SB
Today, Purple Prairie-Clover.

We drove south through the West Block of Grasslands National Park, along the Ecotour Road and across ranch land until we reached the point furthest south, the lookout over the valley towards the U.S. where the parks people have planted two of their infamous red chairs.

Near the top of that butte, the road twisted and split around a small meadow of wildflowers and a teepee ring, and we found Purple Prairie-Clover in bloom.

Several of these Prairie-Clover plants had red stems; several had green. The flowers and leaves looked identical, though, so I don't know what the difference in stem colouration means.

I'm glad we made the trek up that hill. Lovely view — and flowers.

Purple Prairie-Clover. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Not a single Prairie-Clover Flower... These compound flowers, so these are many  © SB

Purple Prairie Clover. Copyright © Purple Prairie-Clover. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved. Banks, all rights reserved.
A stand of Purple Prairie-Clover. This plant had red stems. © SB

Purple Prairie-Clover. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Purple Prairie-Clover just beginning to flower.  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Purple Prairie-Clover
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: July 25, 2016


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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Silverleaf Psoralea: What's not to love about blue blooms?

Silverleaf Psoralea. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Silverleaf Psoralea, Grasslands National Park. © SB
Few flowers are blue, which may explain my love for Silverleaf Psoralea's lovely bright blue (and sometimes purplish) flowers.

These native wildflowers are common — but also unusual in my experience, as I've only seen them in places where the land is unbroken prairie, with its rich array of growth. (And, as I live in a city, those aren't my usual surroundings.)

The flowers are small and bristle with hairs on the undersides, which look like the sepals or calyx to me, with my very faint recollections of high school botany... And the silvery leaves are also fairly hairy.

Silverleaf Psoralea grows in colonies, and the plants are quite conspicuous, with their dark flowers and pale leaves. These plants go by a range of names, including Silver-leaf Scurf-pea, which — while a much less musical name — clearly IDs the flowers as being pea-flower-shaped.

Silverleaf Psoralea. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Closer view of hairy and blue Silverleaf Psoralea, Grasslands National Park. © SB

Silverleaf Psoralea. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Sturdy stalk of Silverleaf Psoralea, Grasslands National Park. © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Silverleaf Psoralea
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: July 25, 2016

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Scarlet Mallow: Beauty with dirt, sticks and flies

Because beauty isn't restrained and contained in manicured gardens, but sometimes shows up in the midst of the dirt, sticks and flies, a couple of photos of Scarlet Mallow, from Grasslands National Park this summer.

Scarlet Mallow.Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Yes, this is the beauty-with-flies shot - Scarlet Mallow. © SB 
Scarlet Mallow.Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
And this, the beauty-with-dry-sticks in the dirt.  © SB

Scarlet Mallow is a tricky flower to photograph, because it blooms so brilliantly in full sun... But full sun is not kind to either its bright orange petals, or its soft gray-green leaves. The trick is to wait for cloud cover — but who wants that in the park? This trip, I brought a white umbrella, a trick my piano teacher shared... Not bad, apart from then having to correct for excessive shade... At least the light is even! 


Prairie Wildflower: Scarlet Mallow. 
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: June 13, 2016. 
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Rabbitbrush in bloom in Grasslands National Park

Rabbitbrush, Grasslands National Park. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Stalk of Rabbitbrush, with flowers. © SB
Time for a late summer hit of yellow, with the Rabbitbrush that blooms in late summer.

We saw an early stand in a very dry, sunny area, south of the West Block of Grasslands National Park, aka, the Badlands.

Rabbitbrush, or Rubber Rabbitbrush it's also called, stands out not only because of its late flowering, but also its pale whitish stems, narrow furry leaves, and woody base that seems disproportionately large.

Tough to see, until you get down on hands and knees, but each flower head within the densely packed yellows clusters is actually comprised of five tiny tubular, star-tipped flowers.

(No, I didn't count — and yes, in my pix, this is less than obvious, but I read it on the USDA Forest Service wildflower site, linked above.)

Rabbitbrush, Grasslands National Park. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Rabbitbrush in the Badlands, Grasslands National Park.
(This was the only Rabbitbush plant in bloom, although we saw several others in the area.)  © SB

Rabbitbrush, Grasslands National Park. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Closer view of the Rabbitbrush flowers. Vibrant yellow! © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Rabbitbrush
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: July 25, 2016



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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cut-leaved Anemone: Small crimson wildflowers

Cut-leaved Anemone. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
Bright crimson flower of the Cut-leaved Anemone © SB
A few years ago, I found a few Cut-leaved Anemone plants growing in a stretch of wildflowers along a railway track through a small Saskatchewan town.

Every time I've visited there in summer since, I've walked that route to see what's in flower, and in early July, have always been happy to find more small, crimson Cut-leaved Anemone flowers.

The tiny flowers are a vibrant contrast to the downy white Cut-leaved Anemone seed heads, which I first photographed in the glowing light of sunrise and sunset, several years ago in the Cypress Hills.

And, like many wildflowers, these are small.

Not showy flowers that call your attention, but ones that whisper to you to slow down, to watch for what else you might be missing if you continue rushing by.


Cut-leaved Anemone. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
Seedheads and paler pink Cut-leaved Anemone flowers.  © SB
Cut-leaved Anemone. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
Cut-leaved Anemone flower, also showing the leaves  © SB
Cut-leaved Anemone. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
Seed head and seeds, Cut-leaved Anemone  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Cut-leaved Anemone
Location: Near Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: Top two: July 6, 2014; bottom two: July 6, 2015.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lilac-flowered Beardtongue: Delicate and new

Lilac-flowered Beardtongue is a delicate wildflower that's new to me — though as a native plant, it's far from new to the land it grows on. This summer, I found a small stand of these plants at Grasslands National Park, and was happy to add one more Beardtongue to my list.

Lilac-flowered Beardtongue. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Lilac-flowered Beardtongue,
with its yellow bearded tongue. © SB

Lilac-flowered Beardtongue. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Lilac-flowered Beardtongue © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Lilac-flowered Beardtongue
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: June 13, 2016

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Woolly Plantain: Look carefully, or you'll miss it

Woolly Plantain flowers fall into the class of teeny blooms that you will miss if you blink or sneeze (for those of us with hay fever) as you walk by. But look closely, and those feathery stalks are tipped with clearly defined flowers.

Woolly Plantain. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
A stalk of Woolly Plantain flowers.
From a distance, white fuzz. Up close, delicate wild flowers. © SB


But don't trust your eyes... 

There may be flowers where you don't see them at first — and what looks real, may not belong. 

(Like those lovely rosettes of leaves, below... They do not form the base of these two stalks of Woolly Plantain. The pairs of slim, elongated leaves beside the stalks belong to the Woolly Plantain, instead. But the symmetry was so lovely, I couldn't resist this shot.) 

Woolly Plantain. Copyright © Shelley Banks. All Rights Reserved.
Woolly Plantain, Grasslands National Park.
(The rosettes are not the leaves - the two pairs of thin leaves belong, instead.) © SB 

Prairie Wildflower: Woolly Plantain, or Pursh's Plantain
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: June 14, 2016



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Monday, June 27, 2016

White Beardtongue: Delicate spring prairie flowers


In the eerie light of afternoon, before a major prairie storm rolled through, I set out to find prairie wildflowers and found White Beardtongue at the edge of our Grasslands National Park campground.

White Beardtongue, Grasslands National Park. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Close-up of White Beardtongue  © SB
White Beardtongue, Grasslands National Park. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Stalk of White Beardtongue flowers  © SB

Despite the efforts of the mowers — who were likely hoping to keep mosquitoes and other bugs in check — several stands of wildflowers blossomed on the hill and along the fence lines, far off from our tent.


Prairie Wildflower: White Beardtongue 
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: June 13, 2016

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