Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wildflower Weekend Day Two

On Saturday September 22, day two of the Kansas Native Plant Society Annual Wildflower Weekend (AWW) began at Southwestern University here in Wifield, Kansas. The annual membership meeting began with donuts, coffee, a photography contest, and a silent auction on all sorts of native plant stuff. The emcee of the meeting was the newly elected president Michael J Haddock (author of 'Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas'). Normal business matters took place, appreciation of those officers who served the previous year and welcoming new officers. Speakers spoke on the current state native grass Little Bluestem and programs/resources available from the society to speak and introduce the prairie to schools or groups. The photo contest winners were presented, followed by our main speaker Jim Mason of the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, Kansas. Jim's topic was 'Flying Flowers' which of course is our native butterflies, many images and facts were presented and afterwards we recieved a free copy of his Pocket Guide of Kansas Butterflies. Nice gift.
 We finished our catered lunch and headed south to our second AWW field trip, Chaplin Nature Center. This preserve, owned and operated by the Wichita Audubon Society is situated on 200 acres of diverse native habitat adjacent to the Arkansas River.
Arkansas River near Chaplin Nature Center
To begin we capooled to the Center building located on the upper hills overlooking the river. We hiked throught native hardwoods, a tallgrass praire and them the river itself. Many enjoyed wading in the shallow current and others enjoyed watching butterfly taggers capture Monarchs and adding tag information.
No this doesn't harm the butterfly and provides information for Monarch Watch.
Alien Life Form?
I originally thought the plant above was some variety of Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium) but I was incorrect.
It is Verbesina virginica  L. - Frostweed or White Crownbeard.
Flowers: July-September
Height: 2-8'
Comments: The common name frostweed comes from the plant's behavior when there is a hard frost. The stem splits near the base and the sap that seeps out freezes in conspicuous ribbons of ice. Helianthemum bicknellii is another Kansas plant that goes by the common name "frostweed".*
 Doesn't it look like Joe Pye here? I didn't take a lot of images at the Center which is disappointing now. However on my way home through a shortcut I happened upon this choice mass of Eriogonum annuum  Nutt.- Annual Buckwheat. Very impressive image of blooms in a very sandy location.
Wow, how impressive for a weed native plant. Surely there are improved varieties of Buckwheat.
Flowers: July-September
Height: 1-3.5 ft.
Comments: Native Americans boiled the plant and used the resulting liquid as a lotion to treat ant bites and mouth sores. They sometimes rubbed the fresh leaves on bison and deer hides to help tan them. The sparse foliage and dense hairs of annual Eriogonum help it tolerate droughts.

Day Three to come.





12 comments:

  1. Great pictures, Greg. Mike Haddock and I were high school classmates at Beloit High School!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Sarah. I remember Beloit as a child.

      Delete
  2. Great post...love the Frostweed (I would have though Eupatorium too). The Buckwheat is stunning...love it! There area a bunch of ornamental Buckwheats available...not sure of the hardiness of the ones i've seen for sale, though...most of them were California natives :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott I think your right about the commercially grown Buckwheats.

      Delete
  3. Enjoyed these posts very much, the frostweed is beautiful We have it here in the fall as well and I did not know why it is called frostweed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shirley, I had no idea it grew there.

      Delete
  4. That buckwheat looks fantastic en masse like that. Gail (clay and limestone) has featured frostweed on her blog before. After seeing her pictures I've been wanting to get my hands on some seed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the buckwheat was amazing, the photos didn't do it justice. I should get some seed...

      Delete
  5. The Frostweed and the Buckwheat en masse are definitely pleasing to the eye. I always find plant medicinal uses fascinating--many of them were probably more effective than modern medicines, although some also carried nasty side effects. Thanks for the info. Great post! I'm enjoying this series.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like a great event. That photo where the buckwheat almost fills the frame is great. They're a favorite of mine lately. We have a lot of varieties out in California that are popular.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Greggo, Annie's Annuals sells a few varieties of Buckwheat. I purchased a dark pink variety but it was too tender to survive the winter--very disappointing.

    What a fun trip. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The buckwheat is interesting. I don't think I have ever seen it before. It looks like that frost weed is around 2-3 feet tall? Mine easily get over 6 feet tall by the end of the summer. If you ever plant it, be sure not to let the flowers go to seed or it will live up to the weed part of the name an pop up everywhere. Ask me how I know.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,