Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July Wildflowers

Saw my first White Snakeroot of the year by Wingra creek.

There is a lot of this plant blooming by Wingra Creek. I think it is Common Sow-Thistle.

This one looks similar to the above, but I think it is Wild Lettuce.

Bull Thistle is also now blooming. This looks similar to Field Thistle, but is a little deeper purple color. Also, it is a biennial, and I usually find the lone plant by itself as opposed to Field Thistle which is a perennial, and spreads by root, so I usually find it in large clumps. The Field Thistles are now going to seed, and I see goldfinches on them a lot these days. I've read that they like the seed fluff for their nests, and in fact wait until late summer to make their nests so that they can use the Field Thistle fluff. I wonder what is so special about it that they won't make their nests without it.

I think this plant is Bouncing Bet, the roots of which contain saponin which was once used as soap. I pulled a plant and tried to see if the root was soapy. It was a little slippery, but I found it hard to see how it could be used as soap. Maybe I have the wrong plant, or maybe that's why people don't use it as soap anymore!

We found these on currant plants at Quann Community gardens. They looked like boxelder bugs to us, but I didn't know they were found on currants. Maybe they are something else?

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