Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From Jewelweed to Bindweed ....

The occasional inventory of what's blooming at Pin Oak Marsh just goes on and on. This is a sample of what I found without looking very hard on Monday evening, beginning with Orange Jewelweed, so called for obvious reasons --- tiny pendants of color standing out among the greenery in places where the parent plant can keep its feet wet.

The best stand of Ironweed actually is in the shallow ditch that runs along the south edge of the marsh parking lot, where it dominates as the tallest plant around (there's considerably more competition elsewhere).

Out on the spit that you can reach by walking due east from the parking lot (this is the north lot, not the lodge parking lot), I found the best examples of Blue Vervain spotted so far at Pin Oak. Elsewhere, it has more competition, too.

Just off in the water south of the spit, Arrowhead was in bloom.

And Swamp (or Water) Smartweed has started to bloom, too. This is a member of the buckwheat family, beloved by waterfowl after its seedheads mature. Eating it will not increase your intelligence --- but will make your mouth "smart" so don't try it unless you know what you're getting yourself into (it's not poison, just intensely peppery; very, very hot).

Along the trails, pasture thistles have started to bloom --- pretty but prickly.

And Bindweed, pesky but pretty --- a member of the Morning Glory family. All of these plants, save Bindweed (an import), are native to Iowa's marshes and prairies.

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