Enjoy from a distance…


Emerging Musk Thistle (Carduus Nutans) found along the Grant’s Trail in St. Louis during a morning walk. Beautiful, but untouchable for all its bristles.

Musk Thistle bloom with bud in background. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Opening Musk Thistle flower. Copyright 2017, Pamela Breitberg

For more details see: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/ipm1015

Eye-level insights…


Getting down to a child’s eye level is the best way to appreciate them. Children are less intimidated when you’re at their level inviting an opportunity for them to open up to new ideas and share their thinking. This learned lesson from years as a teacher, is similarly applicable when photographing wildlife.

An eye level view with spring wild flowers is worth a little dirt on the knees. Tip One: wear long pants to avoid irritations and be careful to not crush your subjects. The forest floor is plentiful with blooms this spring. I’m unsure if it is a result of restoration in this area, or if the temperatures and precipitation were perfect for such abundance.

These images of the native White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
show a top and inside view of its flower. The inside view of the flower is only possible from a ground level perspective because the plant is only 5-6 inches tall and the flower faces downward when open. Tip Two: spend a few extra minutes getting to know other low growing (and moving) wildlife while at your new vantage point.

See “It’s Complicated” posted October 2013 for more information about the White Trout Lily.

White Trout Lily in bloom, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

White Trout Lily in bloom, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Top down view of Trout Lily, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Top down view of Trout Lily, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

White Trout Lily on forest floor, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

White Trout Lily on forest floor, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Respectfully impressed …


Rattlesnake Master copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Rattlesnake Master copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg


Whether your first encounter with this plant is physical or visual, “respect” will be your first impression. The early morning sun back-lights the flowers accenting the numerous pointed miniature spears. It has been aptly named Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium).
“Eryngium is Greek for “prickly plant” and yuccifolium is Greek for “yucca leaves” (from plants.usda.gov.), ) Does that mean it is Master over Rattlesnakes? The Native American Indians thought so; they used the roots medicinally to counteract Rattlesnake bites. I’m respectfully impressed.

Rattlesnake Master 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Rattlesnake Master 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

For more images and information on Rattlesnake Master is my post 7/7/2012 “Native survivors”.

For the facts about Rattlesnake Master check out this site: http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_eryu.pdf

Delicate wild beauty…


Queen Anne's Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

    Queen Anne’s Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne's Lace 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne’s Lace 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

                                                               “Wild” versus “Lace”; these words bring completely different impressions to mind. Descriptors make a difference on one’s impression. Both words describe this non-native prairie plant, Queen Anne’s Lace (daucus carota), aka Wild Carrot. Both names fit this subject perfectly. The name you choose to call it depends on your perspective. Though it is an invasive Eurasian weed I find it hard not to appreciate the delicate floral arrangement on each stem. Even the seed head is amazingly intricate and delicate in design.

So if I creeped you out too much with the last post, enjoy some of nature’s beauty.

Seed head of Queen Anne's Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Seed head of Queen Anne’s Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne's Lace in bloom copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne’s Lace in bloom copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg


More than a prairie guide…


Mesic prairie copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Mesic prairie copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie Dock leaves copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie Dock leaves copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Robustly built, it bends little in the prairie wind. The flower is one of many yellow sun-like prairie species, yet the plant’s superior stature is prominent among even the tallest grasses. Pioneers thought its large, deeply incised leaves pointed the way; always pointing north and south, consequently named Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum). The direct lighting found shortly after sunrise brought attention to the dense hairy stalks. Prolific plant life is prime habitat for animal life so it was not surprising to find these beetles inside the flower; the surprise was their quantity.

Prairie Dock leaf copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie Dock leaf copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

 

 

Prairie Dock flower habitat copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie Dock flower habitat copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

 

 

 

For more information on the Compass Plant see my blog posts on 11/6/2011, “One Last Bloom” and 7/4/2012 “Soaking Up the Sun”.

Naturalized nuisance…


Cutleaf Teasel copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cutleaf Teasel copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

First impressions are that this plant is a native of the Midwest prairie. It’s sturdy, upright; six foot presence seems to echo the perennial strength of native prairie plants. Yet, Cutleaf Teasel is one of many invasive species, whose homeland is Europe.

Cutleaf teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) is one of the non-native plants in this restored prairie. This land, adjacent to Cook County Forest Preserve’s Linne Woods, was reclaimed by the CCFP after use by the Deep Tunnel project which created pipeline for Lake Michigan water use by western suburbs of Chicago.

Teasel in bud copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Teasel in bud copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cutleaf Teasel 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cutleaf Teasel 2 copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg