Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Flora Blanca

I don't speak Spanish, so I may have butchered that title, but what I intended to say was White Flowers. In the fall, most of the white flowers that we see are asters, so you can imagine my surprise last night to stumble across a white heal-all (Prunella vulgaris).

Normally this flower sports purple flowers, but apparently this one dared to be different and bloomed in white.

In the world of plant nuts, I recently came across an article about how there are some native heal-all plants, which is a shocker because we've pretty much relagated this "weed" of lawns and roadsides into the naturalized non-native group.
One of the things to look for on the native variety (P. v. elongata) is white hairs along the four ridges of the square stem (yes, it is in the mint family). Zooming in on the stem, it looks like there are white hairs on the ridges, doesn't it?

I wonder now if this is one of the native Prunellas. Hm.
Meanwhile, in the roadside ditch, "my" nodding ladies tresses (Spiranthes cernua) are blooming in quantity.

Lovely white dragon heads. If you can click on the photo and zoom right in, it looks like the petals are all a-glisten with moisture. Do they absorb the humidity from the air, or is it a trick of the light?

Okay, this one isn't white, but sometimes my camera washes out the purple color so the point where it practically looks white. It's eyebright (Euphrasia americana), a native (!) plant found all over the place up here, mostly in "waste" areas.

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: there's great stuff in roadside ditches. Check out a ditch near you today.

1 comment:

  1. That's exciting news about the Heal-all, and then you found a WHITE one! Just last week I found a white Common Mullein. Very pretty. So the Eyebright is common up there in Newcomb's "waste places." Sure wish I could find it in Saratoga.