Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

We have a number of white, umbrella like flowers in our area and keying them out is difficult and a real pain. This is Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) and it's easy to ID by eye as it has a single, very tiny red to violet floret in the center. This is said to be a tiny drop of blood from Queen Anne's finger that she pricked with a needle making the lace although it was probably her hand maid's blood as it's unlikely the Queen would make her own lace. :o)

Often called "Wild Carrot", this flower is common in roadside ditches (dear to my heart!) and fields. The last photo shows the miniscule size of the central floret compared to the tip of a ball point pen. At this magnification, it's very difficult to get both the pen and flower in focus.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cardinal FLower

This is commonly called "Cardinal Flower" (Lobella cardinalis) and is one you have to see to believe! It is beyond gorgeous! The late naturalist Roger Peterson called it "America's Favorite. I found a patch of it several years ago about a mile from home along a dirt road in a swampy area. Not a common flower.

The individual flowers are about 1" tall grow on a spike similar to a Gladiolas. The red is intense and appears as scarlet velvet. The color reproduction here doesn't do it justice. It generally grows on stream banks, swamp edges etc and other non handicapped accessible areas and blooms in late August-Sept. This one was about 6' away from me in a wet ditch (where else!) full of briers, chiggers, snakes, poison ivy and who knows what else. I used my 300 mm hummingbird lens with a 1.4X teleconverter and extension tube to get it to close focus.