Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Daisy fleabane

I’m posting the Wednesday open thread early today. All topics are welcome.

Daisy fleabane is this week’s featured Iowa wildflower, but since my photos didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped, I enclosed some extras after the jump too. The first bonus picture shows fruit growing on a may apple (umbrella plant), previously seen at Bleeding Heartland in April. The last two pictures are of Dame’s rocket, a pink or light purple flower that is native to Europe but commonly found across Iowa.

Daisy fleabane grows in Iowa woodlands, meadows, and along roadsides. It starts blooming in May, and you may see these flowers all summer, into the early autumn. The plants can grow up to five feet tall. The flowers are very small, about a half-inch in diameter, with white around yellow centers. The yellow is unfortunately hard to make out in my photos. The plant with the tiny yellow blooms in the lower left part of this photo is Canadian black snakeroot. A clearer picture of that wildflower is at the end of last Wednesday’s post.

Daisy fleabane, Daisy fleabane blooming in central Iowa, May 2012

Here’s another view of daisy fleabane:

Daisy fleabane, Daisy fleabane blooming in central Iowa, May 2012

I recently went back to the patches of May apples pictured here, looking for fruit. Animals had eaten most of the fruit from those plants, but I did find a few apples developing. Here’s one:

May apple fruit growing, Fruit from a may apple (umbrella plant) growing in central Iowa, May 2012

That’s more Canadian black snakeroot growing around this umbrella plant, by the way.

Finally, I enclose two shots of Dame’s rocket. This is not an Iowa wildflower, since it originated in Europe. It has spread widely here, although unlike garlic mustard, it is not considered invasive. The Iowa Department of Transportation includes Dame’s rocket in some of its roadside plantings (see page 37 of this pdf file).

Dame's rocket, Dame's rocket blooming in central Iowa, May 2012

Dame’s rocket blooms anytime between May and August in Iowa. The flowers are usually light purple or pink. This plant somewhat resembles prairie phlox, a close relative of blue phlox. The easiest way to tell them apart is that Dame’s rocket flowers have four petals. All members of the phlox family have five petals–or more accurately, five petal-like lobes. Here’s another view of Dame’s rocket.

Dame's rocket, Dame's rocket blooming in central Iowa, May 2012

Tags: Wildflowers

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