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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watercress-Nasturtium officinale

There are a lot of Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) nonnatives, and today we're going to add another one, watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Watercress grows on water, and  in fact requires it--the presence of watercress shows that the water is present year-round. Most of the year only the leaves are present, but right now it is producing some four-petaled flowers.

Watercress is a common food for ducks and deer. It can even be eaten by humans, although due to parasites, you should either disinfect it or eat the watercress you can buy at the grocery store.

For more information about watercress, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hoary Groundsel-Packera werneriifolia

This is a high elevation plant, hoary groundsel (Packera werneriifolia). It's a member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). I took this photo early in the season (June 2009), so the ray flowers still hadn't emerged. The plant doesn't grow particularly tall due to the harsher alpine climate conditions.

For more information about hoary groundsel, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prickly Lettuce-Lactuca serriola

Another common weed around my house is prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola), a member of the Aster Family. It is native to Europe but now found through much of North America. It reproduces by seeds.

The flowers are yellow, with indentations on the ray flowers.

Each plant can have many flowers and even more seeds.

For more information about prickly lettuce, click here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Field Bindweed-Convolvulus arvensis

Continuing with the theme of weeds around my yard, today we've got field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), also called morning glory. It's a member of the Morning Glory Family (Convolvulaceae), and although it's common throughout North America, it is not native and many states consider it a noxious weed. The pretty flowers that open daily grow along a vine that quickly entangles itself around other vegetation, fences, and whatever gets in its way.

For more information about field bindweed, click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Curly Dock-Rumex crispus

Standing erect with seed pods that become more obvious during the summer as they turn browner is curly dock (Rumex crispus), a member of the Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae). It's native to Eurasia, but is now common throughout North America.

The leaves of curly dock can be used as a remedy if you get into stinging nettle, and both conveniently grow often in the same moist habitats.

As the seed pods age, they turn from green to pink.

And then to an orangish-brown.

For more information about curly dock, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Common Mallow-Malva neglecta

One of the weeds that I find all too frequently in my garden is common mallow (Malva neglecta), a member of the Mallow Family (Malvaceae). It has deep roots, so I have to pull hard to remove it.

Each stem supports multiple leaves and some rather pretty flowers. It is native to Europe but has become a weed in most of North America.

For more information about common mallow, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Time Out

Desert Boy and I are off for a few days to visit some family, and somehow I just didn't get the Plant a Day posts ready for when we're gone. It's funny how it gets so busy this time of year! Anyway, we'll be back soon, and in the meantime I encourage you to try some of the links in the sidebar.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Flatbud Pricklypoppy-Argemone munita

This long-blooming white flower with the papery thin flower petals and the prickly stems and leaves is flatbud pricklypoppy (Argemone munita), the only member of the Poppy Family (Papaveraceae) in this area. It is native to the western United States and grows often in disturbed areas, such as along roadsides.
Nestled among the white petals is a yellow clump of 150-200 stamens, with a maroon stigma appearing right in the middle. 

The flower buds are also prickly.

Here's a closeup of some of those prickles on the stems and leaves. They deter animals from eating this plant.

For more information about flatbud pricklypoppy, click here.