My friend Karoline came back to the museum pretty enthused Saturday after stalking rose mallow, a fishing heron and other wildlife with her camera at Pin Oak Marsh --- and served as a reminder that it had been a week or two since I'd been down.
This turned into a two-day operation because by the time I finally got to the marsh Saturday evening the mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) blossoms already had closed for the day. So I went back early Sunday afternoon when they were open for business.
Although widely cultivated, rose mallow is a native plant and not one of those pesky intruders. It's nearing the end of its bloom cycle right now --- time to head out if you want to take a look.
Also among the Sunday highlights was this iridescent green beetle. He kept turning his back to me as we played tag atop the remains of a wild carrot blossom, then grew bored and flew away.
Rounding a curve in the trail I met a father and young son out for a walk --- nice to see. But Dad was warning the young man to stay away from the "purple cattails" because they were poison. Well ....
So I had to explain that this was a clump of prairie blazing star growing conveniently near the trail --- nothing poisonous about it.
Then, rarely willing to leave a stone unturned, went on to show the pair some nearby water hemlock, which indeed is poisonous (every bit of it) ...
... and to explain that the many big flat heads of Queen Anne's Lace (or wild carrot) growing nearby, which some (not me) say appear to be similar, weren't.
By that time my audience's eyes were beginning to glaze over and we both moved along.
I spotted some rattlesnake master, blooming unobtrusively a short distance off the trail.
Also blooming in pink bunches at the marsh right now is swamp milkweed.
And if you look carefully at the shoreline in several places you'll see arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) with its feet in the water and blooming white right now.