“Maypop” is how we knew this plant that grew on a south-facing slope amidst blackberry bushes on our dairy farm in Rutherford County, North Carolina. That’s something of an odd name, since, at least in our area, the plant typically flowers in late June or early July. Based on my experience popping the hollow unripened fruit pod as a child on that North Carolina farm, my guess is that they may pop or they may not, depending on the skill of your technique and the maturity of the fruit – thus “maypop.”
But the origin of the name “Passion Flower” or “Passion Fruit” is more interesting, and is worth retelling here.
One of the southeast’s early summer wildflowers is Tennessee’s official state wildflower: Passiflora incarnata, the purple passion flower. The fruit of this species also gives this plant one of its other common names – Maypop.
Known to the Cherokees, according to Wikipedia, as “Ocoee,” this plant would then be the namesake for one of the southeast’s most famous whitewater rivers, the Ocoee River of southeastern Tennessee.
The thistle is considered by many people - probably by most people – to be a noxious weed. That’s understandable, since they are painful to handle, difficult to eradicate, and spread readily by their seeds floating on mistledown and settling in lawns and gardens. However, even the most ardent thistle-hater has to admit to the beauty of their blossom.
In the May 5 post, I mentioned that the wild hydrangea blossoms were forming their buds. Since I only had photos of prior year’s blossoms – which I think in themselves are quite beautiful – I wanted to make sure I got a chance to photograph them while in bloom. I managed to squeeze out some time (thanks for giving up work on the ceiling, Cindy!) on Saturday, June 6, and was rewarded with finding the hydrangea at peak of their blossom.
Narrowleaf Plantain – Plantago lanceolata – is one of the most common weeds around, found in every state in the United States. There is some fun way to play with the long flower stem, popping off the flower head and shooting it at your friends, but Cindy and I couldn’t remember the right technique from our childhood when we tried it a couple of days ago. As is typical, the flower becomes much more interesting when you take a closer look, especially when an insect joins the photo session. Click on the photo for a larger image.
Fire Pink – Silene virginica – is another of those wildflowers I ‘discovered’ on Big Frog Mountain during a wildflower trip on May 30, 2004, nearly 5 years to the day from when we found these blooming along the shoreline of Lake Nottely in Union County in the mountains of northeast Georgia. The photo above was taken May 29, 2009.