Neat Plant Alert – Copper Iris

Today I pulled out my waterproof boots and went in search of Copper Iris (Iris fulva) in Little Rock. Mid-April is bloom season for Copper Iris, and I knew there was a population in the Fouche Creek bottomlands owned by the City of Little Rock in the area south of the I-30/440/530.

Lucky for me it was in bloom just a few dozen yards off the access road!

Iris fulva

Copper iris growing in a seasonally wet bottomland forest in south Little Rock

The species is more common in counties closer to the Mississippi River and can be sometimes spotted growing in ditches along backroads in those counties.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Eric Hunt

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Know Your Natives – Wood-betony

One of our more showy spring wildflowers is wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis) in the Broomrape (Orobanchaceae) family.

Wood-betony can be found across much of eastern North America with some isolated populations in Colorado and New Mexico. In Arkansas it is found in most counties except those directly along the Mississippi River.

The foliage is hairy and lobed, almost resembling a fern but thicker, especially in early spring before the inflorescence emerges. It can sometimes have an attractive red tint to it.

Wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis)

Photographed in Boyle Park, Little Rock

Flowers are produced at the top of a short inflorescence. They are usually clear yellow but some populations are bicolored purple/white or yellow/white.

Wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis)

Photographed along the Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River, Newton County

Wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis)

Photographed along the Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River, Newton County

Wood-betony grows in a variety of habitats, generally preferring woodlands, prairies, savannahs and riparian areas. It can become established in the artificial ‘prairies’ created next to roads where it takes advantage of abundant water runoff and no competition for light.

Wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis)

Photographed along Highway 9 in the Ouachita National Forest, Perry County

Long-tongued bees such as bumblebees and mason bees are a major visitor to the flowers.

Wood-betony (Pedicularis canadensis)

Photographed along Highway 9 in the Ouachita National Forest, Perry County

Article and photographs by ANPS member Eric Hunt

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Native Plant Report – Ouachita National Trail – Perry County

Spring is in full swing in the Ouachita Mountains! The first ANPS Native Plant hike of 2015 was on April 11. Seven enthusiastic participants enjoyed a spectacular spring day in the forest.

A full hike report will appear in the Fall 2015 Claytonia. Today’s post is a quick visual taste of what was seen along the Ouachita National Trail in Perry County.

Hike participants were leaders Virginia McDaniel & Eric Hunt along with Don Ford, Mary McDaniel, Lynna Schoenert, and John Simpson.

Perfoliate bellwort - Uvularia perfoliata

Perfoliate bellwort – Uvularia perfoliata

Iris cristata

Dwarf Crested Iris – Iris cristata

Halesia carolina

Silverbells – Halesia carolina

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Early Azalea – Rhododendron prinophyllum

Osmundastrum cinnamomeum

Cinnamon fern – Osmundastrum cinnamomeum

Hamamelistes spinosus

Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphid – Hamamelistes spinosus – Growing on Common Witch Hazel – Hamamelis virginiana

Article and photographs by ANPS member Eric Hunt

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