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Article: Visiting My Garden's Wild Country Cousins: Indentification

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Forum: Article: Visiting My Garden's Wild Country CousinsReplies: 12, Views: 70
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cynthiamp
London, KY

May 17, 2010
6:17 AM

Post #7800012

Wow, I envy your trip to the caves area. I have not been there since I was a child. Now that I have seen your great finds, I must make a return trip.
I have one answer in your quest for plant names. The lovely foliage you found is an orchid. The name is Downy Rattlesnake Plantain. I find the blooms to very elusive. I have dozens of these, but I have only seen one bloom.

The phlox looks like Lapham's Blue Phlox.The star burst flower reminds me of a Two Flowered Cynthia, but the cluster itself reminds of a Zizia. I'm still working on that one. If I find it I will let you know.

Keep up with the great pictures. I loved your post.
Happy Hunting!!
Cynthia Pennington

Bookerc1

Bookerc1
Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
8:13 AM

Post #7800357

Thank you for the tentative IDs! I'll have to look them up and compare pictures. I know we have a very active group of gardeners from Kentucky here on DG, so I was hoping for some suggestions! I love the name Downy Rattlesnake Plantain. What a funny contrast in images! Somehow I don't associate rattlesnakes with anything soft or downy!

The Mammoth Cave area is very beautiful! My husband is very involved with the Cave Research Foundation, and works at several of the cave restoration camps at Mammoth Cave National Park every year, so we visit the park often! I love to see how the above-ground park changes from season to season, while the cave itself doesn't seem to change at all. If you are planning a trip to the caves in the area, I'd recommend you go soon. There is a terrible fungal infection spreading across the country, White Nose Syndrome, that is killing off bats in mass quantities. Many states have closed their caves entirely to visitors, to prevent the spread of the disease. Mammoth Cave was still open this spring, but they had several stations and posters up detailing the dangers of White Nose Syndrome. It began on the east coast, and has spread to the Midwest. Illinois and Iowa, both west of Kentucky, have already closed their state-owned caves. Be sure you check their website before visiting, so you know if the cave is still open and accessible! If you do plan a trip, make sure you don't wear or carry anything that has been in another cave or mine!

Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from the readers!

Angie
sfaller
Bowling Green, KY

May 17, 2010
8:51 AM

Post #7800493

I'm from Bowling Green, KY which is about a half hour or so drive doing the back roads from Mammoth Cave. We go up regularly and walk the trails, so I know what you are talking about when you say the area is beautiful. We especially love going to Sloan's Crossing Pond in the spring at night to hear the spring peeper chorus which is so loud it sometimes hurts the ears. We unfortunately also have had plenty of experience with its ticks. You could become phobic of them if you thought too much about it. You choose a wonderful little book for identification. It's an important part of my "plant" library. Also Cedar Sink is probably the best easily accessible trail for viewing a variety of wildflowers. Another good choice! I agree with the identifications of rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens) and golden alexander (Zizia aptera). Finally, I again agree with you about the orchid's beautiful foliage, and wish I could have it as a ground cover in my shade garden. I hope you keep on having more wonderful experiences in the park just as we have.
nrandel
Dublin, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
9:05 AM

Post #7800532

Thank you for your article. It brought back good memories of moving to Virginia in 1972 from South Dakota. I became interested in wild flowers (also hiking and wild caving) through a friend of mine and the experiance was very educational as well as enjoyable, especially in the Spring when something popped up and you could say with excitement, "Oh look! There's Trailing Arbutus blooming here and a patch of Blood Root over here." With Peterson's Wildflower Guide book in hand, it was a treasure hunt, to say the least. In the Blue Ridge Mountains you can't help but get outdoors and enjoy the time with nature. My next adventure will be Geocaching.

Bookerc1

Bookerc1
Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
9:16 AM

Post #7800566

So pleased to hear from other people who enjoy spending time outdoors!

sfaller, I'll have to look up Sloan's Crossing Pond next time we are at the park. It sounds lovely! We attended a night program, put on at a little theater area near the Visitor Center, and the frogs were so loud, I was glad the ranger had a microphone! It was hard convincing my kids that they really were frogs making all that racket. I think they associate frogs more with the deep throaty bullfrogs we hear in our river valley.

nrandel, geocaching is lots of fun! We've only done a few, but it is very rewarding! I'll have to look for Peterson's Wildflower Guide, and bring it along on our next outdoor adventure. I'm always torn on which reference books to take along on our hikes. My kids are always finding odd insects that they want to ID, and I'm always finding wildflowers that intrigue me. Thank goodness for digital cameras, so we can take a picture and look it up later!
nrandel
Dublin, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
9:55 AM

Post #7800700

I concure with Cynthiamp and Sfaller on the Rattlesnake Plantain; however, knowing the species is difficult without examining the whole plant w/flower. The Peterson Guide to Wildflowers lists 5 species of Rattlesnake Plantain but they have hit the popular name and it is in the orchid family. I cannot ID the yellow petal plant because the pix doesn't show the leaf or how the flower stems are arranged. Folks, I can't agree that it is Golden Alexander because it has a clustered flower. Look for a plant that has 8-9 yellow petals, in a cyme array. Dang - sure wished we could see a leaf. Also, it appears the flower stems are bare of leaflets. I love a mystery! Thanks.

Bookerc1

Bookerc1
Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
10:14 AM

Post #7800778

My picture that shows foliage didn't come out very clearly, which was why I didn't include it. See if this helps!

Thumbnail by Bookerc1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Aphthona
Fargo, ND
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2010
1:18 PM

Post #7801356

Looking at the leaves, I an thinking it could be a ragwort (Senecio) possibly Senecio aureus but there are more than 15 species in North America. They are composites. The small flowers have usually 8-12 rays. They are among the few composites to bloom early in the year
Aphthona
Fargo, ND
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2010
1:25 PM

Post #7801375

I forgot to add that it is not Zizia. I grow Zizia in my yard and currently have too much of it, so I am very familiar with what it looks like
nrandel
Dublin, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
7:14 PM

Post #7802428

Aphthona, I believe you hit the nail right on the head. Bookerc1, your pix was a great help. It is Golden Ragwort, 'Senecio' of the Daisy family and look at the distinct leaf structure of the bottom leaves (heat shaped) and the heavily surrated and lightly surrated leaf tip in the mid section of the stem. The flower stems coming off a common point (umbel) and the shape of the leaves is a dead give away. Mystery solved. I have a paperclip on this page in the Peterson Guide To Wildflowers and wonder if I've ever run across this plant myself.
nrandel
Dublin, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
7:27 PM

Post #7802476

It should say heart shaped not heat shaped. I guess you could figure that out anyway but just wanted to let you know that I was too hasty and hit send before proof reading. I've sent a picture of the Golden Ragwort out of the Peterson Guide. I can't wait to open it up myself to see what it looks like. It can be a hit and miss when one sends pix's. Wouldn't you agree?


Click the image for an enlarged view.

nrandel
Dublin, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
7:42 PM

Post #7802541

Yip, that one was a miss. I've tried again.

Thumbnail by nrandel
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Bookerc1

Bookerc1
Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
7:55 PM

Post #7802594

Wow, great detective work! And to think I almost didn't include the pictures that I couldn't ID. Thanks for the great conversation!

Angie

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Other Article: Visiting My Garden's Wild Country Cousins Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Au naturel lortay 1 May 17, 2010 8:01 AM
unidentified plan with lovely foliage sandskl 6 May 17, 2010 3:44 PM
Something I've Thought About Igrowinpa 5 May 18, 2010 2:45 PM
Welcome to the wildflowers of KY postmandug 2 May 17, 2010 7:45 PM


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