Category Archives: Wildflower Identification

Wildflower Identification: Clitoria Mariana vs Centrosema virginianum

Outside of a very few states, Clitoria mariana (Butterfly Pea) and Centrosema virginianum (Spurred Butterfly Pea) are the only species in their respective genera most of in the United States.  The Clitoria and Centrosema genera share a characteristic that is rare in Fabaceae – a twist in the pedicel turns the flower “upside down” – the largest petal – the “standard” is below the other petals (keel and wings) rather than above them as is the case with the rest of the family.  These two species appear quite similar, so any confusion in the U.S. with identification is usually between these two species.  There are a couple of key characteristics that can help.

Butterfly Pea – Clitoria mariana or Centrosema virginianum?

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#Wildflower Identification Help Needed – Vaccaria

I’ve been trying to identify this wildflower, photographed on the Kleinschmidt Grade in Adams County, ID, for nearly two years.  I photographed it in June, 2011.  Anyone able to help me out, here?  Update 03/05/2013: @TheLifeBotanic (Twitter) identified it for me as a Vaccaria.

Vaccaria hispanica by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Vaccaria hispanica on the Kleinschmidt Grade in Adams County, ID – June 2011

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Correction to Low Hop Clover Photo Identification

The photo I have been using as the main image for Low Hop Clover – Trifolium campestre – was actually a photograph of Black Medick – Medicago lupulina.  While there are differences in the shape of the individual blossoms and of the overall plant, a key identifier is the small tooth at the end of the terminal leaflet on Black Medick.

Black Medic - Medicago lupulina

The photo I had incorrectly identified as Trifolium campestre – this is actually Medicago lupulina

Low-Hop Clover – Trifolium campestre

This is my replacement photo for Trifolium campestre

 

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Red-osier Dogwood (Western Dogwood) Fruit #Nativeplants

In early September I did a Boundary Waters canoe trip with a couple of friends – great time with them, and great to get back after several years of absence.  One of the plants I photographed was a large shrub with white berries.  I hadn’t been able to identify it until recently, when I was browsing my copy of Idaho Mountain Wildflowers – A. Scott Earle and saw those white berries in a photo.  Slapped my forehead – Dogwood!  Red-osier Dogwood has WHITE berries!  A bit more research on what Cornus species were found in Minnesota ensured that this was Cornus sericea.  I like reducing that list of “Unidentified” in my photo catalog.

Red-osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, American Dogwood - Cornus sericea Berries

Red-osier Dogwood (Western Dogwood, American Dogwood) Berries

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Mariposa Lily Identification Correction #Wildflowers

When I photographed this wildflower in Idaho I identified it a Calochortus eurycarpus, White Mariposa Lily.   I now think that was an incorrect ID; I believe this is Calochortus bruneaunis – Bruneau Mariposa Lily.   Read on for an explanation of how I changed my mind…

Bruneau Mariposa Lily- Calochortus bruneaunis

Bruneau Mariposa Lily- Calochortus bruneaunis

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Hepatica – A Slightly Deeper Dive

My Twitter friend OurLittleAcre tweeted for an assist in a species identification on a Hepatica photo a day or so ago.  As we tweeted back and forth a few times about the species and color variation, it became clear that the subject was going to be difficult to discuss in 140-character messages, and since I wanted to record my thoughts and what I was learning as I researched the subjects, a post here on the USWildflowers Journal seemed to be in order.

Sharp-lobed Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis var acuta

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

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False Solomon Seal Classification Updated to Maianthemum racemosum

False Solomon’s Seal, which has the “official” national common name of Feather False Solomon Seal, was listed in my old wildflower guide, the one I used when I first photographed and identified this plant five years ago, as Smilacina racemosa.   I’ve subsequently discovered that classification has changed.

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An Exemplary Member of Asteraceae

Cutleaf Rosinweed

Cutleaf Rosinweed

I love this photograph of a cutleaf rosinweed blossom.  As a nature photographer, I’m not an artist - I’m a reporter.  The art is God’s business- “Nature is the art of God” (Dante.)  My hope is that my photographs attractively portray God’s art.  Initially I liked this photograph because it attractively portrays the beauty of a lovely bright yellow flower.  But since I’ve been using it as my computer display background for about a month now and staring at it daily, I’ve also come to appreciate it for something else…

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Wildflower Identification: Philadelphia Fleabane

 If you’ll recall something I said in a previous article, you’ll be able to guess that the above flower is a member of the Aster family.  Most folks have seen fleabane along roadsides and in fields.  This small, daisy-like flower is very common, spread throughout Canada and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.  This photo is of Philadelphia fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus, growing on our lot in northwest Georgia. 

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Wildflower Identification: Persian Speedwell

Persian SpeedwellLow-growing plant with single tiny blue flowers in my backyard, amidst all the other weeds that crowd out any real grass.  One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.  My personal definition of “wildflower” is “A flowering plant that grows without cultivation.”  This weed is flowering, and we certainly aren’t cultivating it, although it’s growing more profusely than anything we are cultivating.  The flower, when you look closely, is really quite pretty, and so warrants a photo and identification. Continue reading

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Bellwort Identification Change

Large-Flowered Bellwort

Large-Flowered Bellwort

I’m no wildflower expert, but all the information on the Internet, plus several identification guides, allow me to make educated guesses as to the specific species of many wildflowers I photograph.  Sometimes I’m more sure than at other times, but it’s not particularly unusual for me to change my mind.  I’ve done that now on the flower that I had previously identified as Perfoliate Bellwort. Continue reading

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