Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Meadow rue


Well, it's almost Friday, so may as well do something in bloom.  The Meadow Rue right next to our patio is an elegant tall plant (5') with a spray of purplish flowers at the top.  This is a dioecious species, probably Thalictrum delavayi.  The flowers are basically either a cluster of stamens or a cluster of pistils with a whorl of several petalloid bracts below.  In another taxonomic affront to TPP's memory, Hepatica. has been placed in the genus Tahlictrum.  Some molecular study obviously nested it within the meadow rue genus and so for neatness the genus got changed.  The meadow rue generally flowers now in mid to late July, whereas Hepatica flowers in the very early spring.  It also has petalloid bracts, and unlike many spring ephemerals, its leaves do not die back but over winter above ground after turning a purplish brown, thus the liver leaf, that and it's three lobed. Oh,crap there is a weedy vine climbing the meadow rue.

Friday Fabulous Flower - bottlebrush


In late July there isn't too much flowering going on but this excellent shrub flowers in this time period. This  is the bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, even better it grows well even in a fairly shady places. Here it is part of a mixed shrubby border.  The long white spikes of flowers are the reason for the common name "bottlebrush".  This particular shrub is about 6' tall and maybe 8-10' wide, and they can get a bit bigger, but slowly.  They do tend to spread a bit via rhizomes, and so most smaller yards stay clear of this plant. An aerial shoot of mayapple can be seen at the bottom center.  Some years the flowers get attacked by Japanese beetles, but in spite of a mild winter their numbers this year have not been great.  This was planted as a seedling in 2003 and first flowered 5 years later (2008); that year this one was dug and replanted in this location.  

Friday Fabulous Flower - Prairie royalty


TPP thinks he owes everyone a FFF post, so this one is a day early because according to both Ms. Phactor and the F1 there will be no time to post a blog in the next 2-3 days.  Gad, but it's  a long list.  This is an outstanding plant.  Spotted it in bloom rising above the rest of the perennial bed from the table in our kitchen probably about 50 yds away.  And no question this plant liked the monsoonal rain even of 2 weeks ago (10.5").  This is Filipendula rubra, Queen of the prairie, or meadow sweet.  At this time of year it stands about a stately 6' tall and likes some what wetter soil (and it's present location can be a bit dry this time of year).  This is a member of the Rose family, which should be fairly obvious.  The flowers are pretty small, but form a large visible cluster.  The color can vary from this pink to a darker rose especially in cultivars (this is pretty much wild type).  And it contrasts nicely with the taller gray coneflower's yellow.  The leaves are palmately lobed leaves.