Loading...
BYH Zoning Commission. Take your chairs and sit in the field by Bostic Sugg in morning or afternoon and tell the...

Mystery plant: As summer fades, this plant starts to bloom

090818mysteryplant

This towering show-stopper likes to grow along roadsides or in moist meadows or thickets, sometimes reaching an impressive height of 10 feet.

Loading…

John Nelson

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty...

— Gerard Manley Hopkins

Summer’s decline into autumn, once again, is being slow and gradual, but far from imperceptible. I remember thinking the other day, while letting the dog out in the morning, how much later the sun seems to be rising. Never mind that school has started back up, and that football again seems to be dictating the tenets of our daily social fabric. But there are the other signs, too: black and yellow garden spiders in the yard, russet hickory nuts on the ground, and the first few goldenrods and blue lobelias along the roadsides.

Of course, there are various other plants that start blooming in the early autumn. This is one of them. (You might think that the common name “Farewell-to-summer” would be a good common name for it. That name is, in fact, a common name you may have heard of, but it’s usually applied to a much different plant. )

This towering show-stopper likes to grow along roadsides or in moist meadows or thickets, sometimes reaching an impressive height of 10 feet, and forming big patches. (It’s not only impressive where it grows in the wild, but it makes a spectacular addition to a garden.) You’ll find it growing from New England into the Midwest and all the way to Texas and central Florida. (You might be able to relocate the patch featured in this photo, which was shot recently along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Pisgah, not far from Asheville.)

This is one of several closely related American wildflower species, whose taxonomic disposition is somewhat controversial. Their relationships seem to lie with other genera such as blazing-stars (Liatris), ironweeds (Vernonia), mist flowers (Ageratum) and the true “bone-sets” (Eupatorium); research continues on their accurate placement.

The stems are conspicuously hollow (the scientific epithet refers to this feature) and smoothish, sometimes ridged. Dark green leaves appear on short stalks, four to six at once at each node. The leaf blades are narrowly elliptic and somewhat toothy, with plenty of tiny, shining glands on the lower surface; use your hand-lens to see them.

The inflorescence is always at the top end of the plant, much-branched and rounded or dome-shaped. This being a member of the sunflower family, the individual flowers are quite small, each of these with a tubular, pink corolla. Three to eight flowers are crowded into a head, each head surrounded by several purplish bracts. Each flower produces a single one-seeded, slightly angled achene at its base. Atop each achene will be a tuft of furry, pinkish-purple hairs (this would be the pappus) which produces something of a downy effect.

Now with several hundred heads (thousands?) on a single plant, the effect is very colorful, and this is therefore one of more attractive wildflowers. Quite a spectacle, especially when visited by lots of bees and large butterflies. Look for it now on one of these warm, late summer days. 

[Answer “Joe-pye weed,” Eutrochium fistulosum]

John Nelson is the curator of the A.C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina’s Department of Biological Sciences in Columbia, S.C. As a public service, the Herbarium offers free plant identifications. For more information, call 803-777-8196, visit www.herbarium.org or email nelson@sc.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

February 17, 2019

The pulse of the universe beats in the air of Pluto.

Pluto, the famous dwarf planet in our Solar System, is cold, extremely cold, year round. It is especially cold during its 124-year long winter, when it is so frigid that its wan atmosphere freezes to the icy surface. Then, in summer, the ice…

Pluto

February 17, 2019

In recognition of Black History Month, The Daily Reflector is excerpting the following NCPedia article by Steven A. Hill, a teacher at J.H. Rose High School who has been working to chronicle a history of Pitt County’s Schools. Visit www.ncpedia.org/eppes-charles-montgomery for the…

eppes.jpg

February 17, 2019

One Father's Day, when I was 6 years old, I asked my dad why there was no such thing as "Kids' Day," and he said, "Because every day is kids' day." And that's my feeling about Presidents Day. Every day is Presidents Day. Besides, I'm not quite sure if not getting my mail is going to make me think…

JimMullen

February 17, 2019

One of the surest signs of middle age is a Facebook feed full of friends detailing their medical ailments.

Just this week, I counted not one, not two, but three pals who were undergoing knee replacement surgery. One proudly posted a post-op X-ray showing what looked like a spring in her leg.…

bionicman

February 16, 2019

Although we’ve had some warm weather, it's still winter. But as a tease, paper-whites are opening up in the yard, and red maples are already showing their bright flowers. Fragrant Daphnes and a few withering winter-sweets are scattered around the neighborhood, and this afternoon we had a…

021619mystery.JPG

February 15, 2019

There have been plenty of movies about tough women. In fact, picking the Top 10 is harder than you might think. But here goes, the ones I picked and the ones I didn’t.

10) Trinity, “The Matrix” — Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity was hacker chic before the hacker chic of…

Sigourney Weaver

February 13, 2019

If you’re hungry and seeking more authentic flavor for your next meal, why not and take a trip to India without leaving Greenville. Go beyond steak & potatoes, dive into a new culture, expand your culinary palate and you’ll be sure to add Cinnamon Indian Cuisine to your top…

20190206_123537.jpg

February 13, 2019

Q: My girlfriend is a health nut, but I really want to give her some chocolate for Valentines. Is it ok? MK, Greenville

A: Kathryn Clary, a Brody medical student, suggests that dark chocolate really can prevent a broken heart with its benefits to the cardiovascular system. Here is what she wants…

Kolasa, Kathy

February 10, 2019

You're from out of town going 65 mph down the highway heading west, and you want to catch another highway going north. What do you think the exit sign should say in 3-foot-tall letters?

A) Gophertown

B) Exit 42

C) Gov. Tiddwilly Memorial Highway

D) Pinewood Mall

Quick, you've got nanoseconds to…

JimMullen

February 10, 2019

I was thinking recently about all the fallout from the removal of the Confederate soldier statue, “Silent Sam,” at UNC-Chapel Hill.

That, in turn, led me to remember the deafening silence of UNC’s first African American cheerleader, Jimmy Womack, during the football season of 1966…

Bob Garner
125 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»