Spring Brings ANPS “Mini Meetings” Throughout the State!

Dear ANPS Member,

Earlier this year, when ANPS board members were having yet another discussion about whether we should resume in-person meetings, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was running rampant through Arkansas and the future still seemed uncertain. So, we made the decision to cancel our traditional, three-day spring meeting once again. However, we all agreed that we should begin trying to return to normal by planning some type of in-person, all-outdoor meeting as a way to ease into getting together again. We are trying something new this spring, and we hope you will be on board with this idea!

We are planning a series of spring mini-meetings, one in a different region of the state on several Saturdays this spring. Each event will include a morning plant walk to a botanical area of interest, a potluck picnic, and an afternoon plant walk to another botanical area of interest.

Please keep reading for all the details of each mini meeting. We are excited to get together again and hope you will be able to join us at an event in your area next month!


The ANPS Board


NOTES FOR ALL WALKS: Wear sturdy boots and bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Waterproof boots are recommended for the April 30 and May 14 meetings.

NOTES FOR THE POTLUCK: Bring your own drink and a camp chair if you have one. If you contribute a potluck dish to share, please also bring a serving utensil. Plates, forks, & napkins will be provided.

RSVP IS NOT REQUIRED. Please contact the leader of each meeting if you have questions.


Meeting & Trips Leader: Eric Hunt (ANPS); ericinlr@gmail.com or text/call 415-225-6561

9:30 – 11:30 am: Fourche Bottoms Flatwoods. Directions: There is no parking at the flatwoods site; meet at Interstate Park (3900 S. Arch Street, Little Rock, AR 72206) to carpool to the site.Habitat: Mesic hardwood flatwoods with a diverse herbaceous understory. Dominant trees of shagbark and water hickory with an understory of hawthorn, false indigo and red buckeye. Copper iris, spring spider lily, swamp leatherflower, green dragon, white wild indigo are some of the showy spring bloomers we expect to see. Level of difficulty: moderate; no trails but the ground is flat with some downed wood. Waterproof hiking boots are strongly recommended.
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Potluck picnic at Vista Park. Directions: head west on Cantrell/Highway 10 from Little Rock, and the park is on the north side of Cantrell/Highway 10 right before you cross over the last bridge over Lake Maumelle. GPS for the entrance is 34.8721, -92.6533.
1:00 – 2:30 pm: Maumelle River WMA.
 Directions: There is no parking at the site; meet at Vista Park (see above) and carpool to the WMA. Habitat: Mesic mixed oak-pine forest with the highly fragrant bigleaf snowbell dominating the understory. We hope to catch it in full bloom. There are also white fringetree that should be in bloom. Level of difficulty: Moderate to strenuous; no trails and ground is gently rolling with some rocks and downed wood.

Meeting & Trips Leader: Travis Marsico (STAR Herbarium); 
tmarsico@astate.edu or text/call 870-253-1410

Address: 201 Co. Rd. 754, Wynne, AR 72396
Directions: From Wynne, take AR-284 East to CR 754 (6.9 miles), then take a slight left on CR 754 and follow for 1.1 miles. Enter the park by taking a left on CR 756. Follow CR 756 to the Lake Austell pavilion and picnic area. Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/L3H9JH9xHAMp3aXP7.

All activities will start from the Austell Trail pavilion and picnic area. Please meet there no later than 10 minutes before the start times of each walk.

Habitat: Highlights of both walks will include wildflowers associated with rich, mesic forests including Beech and Maple. We may see some of the western extent of natural Tulip-tree populations.

9:00 am: Lake Austell Trail. Level of difficulty: moderate with a few strenuous parts, but we’ll take it slow.
12:00 pm: Potluck picnic at the Lake Austell picnic area
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Lake Austell Trail (a different section). Level of difficulty: moderate with a few strenuous parts, but we’ll take it slow.


Meeting & Trips Leader: Richard Abbott (UAM Herbarium); abbottjr@uamont.edu or text/call 217-549-9625

9:00 – 11:30 am: Part of the AGFC Cane Creek Lake Trail, north of Cane Creek State Park. Location: Meet at the Star City baseball fields and we will carpool/caravan to the site. The ball field parking lot is on E. Arkansas Street, just west of the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System at 505 E. Arkansas. Directions: From Hwy 425 in Star City, head east on Hwy 114/E. Arkansas St. 0.4 miles. The parking lot is on the right. Level of difficulty: moderate – partly off-trail and potentially wet and muddy, with minor elevation changes. We will see beautiful bottomland hardwoods and upland woods off the beaten path, with the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Potluck picnic at Bayou Bartholomew River Trail (5401 S Olive St, Pine Bluff). Directions: From I-530, take exit 43 to 63 N (S. Olive St). Turn right at the stoplight, just north of Relyance Bank, take the second left toward Payless and then take the gravel road to the right.
1:00 – 4:00 pm: Byrd Lake Natural Area. Because parking is limited, we will meet at the lunch stop (see above) and carpool/caravan to the site. Level of difficulty: easy to moderate – much on ADA compliant trails. Habitat: We will see an oxbow lake with bald cypress surrounded by rich, alluvial bottomlands on the very edge of the Gulf Coastal Plain.


Meeting Leader: Virginia McDaniel (US Forest Service); virginiamcd31@yahoo.com or text/call 828-545-2062

Address: 1523 Hwy 270E, Mount Ida, AR 71957
Directions: From Mt. Ida at the intersection of Hwy 27S and Hwy 270, take Hwy 270 E 1.2 miles and turn right into the office parking area.

All activities will start at the Caddo/Womble Ranger District office. Please meet there no later than 10 minutes before the start times of each trip.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Virginia McDaniel and Susan Hooks (USFS, retired) will give a tour of the USFS’s Mt. Ida Seed Orchard, which features grasslands and open woodlands. They will also discuss the interesting history of one of the USFS’s living seedbanks for Shortleaf Pine. Virginia will also demonstrate how to properly collect and press a plant to make a herbarium voucher specimen.
12:15 – 1:30: Potluck picnic
 at the Caddo/Womble Ranger District office picnic area.
1:30 – 4:30 pm: Glade Restoration Project 
in the Caddo/Womble district, led by Virginia and Susan. Expect to see winecup, pale purple coneflower, fameflower, widow’s-cross, and Carolina larkspur in flower, to name just a few!


Meeting Leader: Jennifer Ogle (UARK Herbarium); jogle@uark.edu or text/call 479-957-6859

Address: 15930 E Hwy 62, Garfield, AR 72732
Directions: From the intersection of Hwy 94 and Hwy 62 in Rogers, take Hwy 62 East for 7.8 miles then turn left on Pea Ridge Park Entrance and continue to the Visitor Center parking area.

All activities will start at the PRNMP Visitor Center. Please meet there no later than 10 minutes before the start times for each walk/trip.

9:00 am – 12:15 pm: A driving and walking tour of habitat restoration projects at the park. Trip Leaders: Nate Weston (ANPS President) and Nolan Moore (PRNMP Biologist). Level of difficulty: easy to moderate. We will be driving to each site and then walking off trail in flat to gently/moderately sloping grasslands and woodlands.
12:30 – 1:45pm: Potluck picnic. We’ll meet at the Visitor Center parking area and caravan to the picnic area in the park.
2:00 – 5:00 pm: Black Maple Tour. 
We will visit one of two known sites of the rare black maple in Arkansas, a mesic riparian forest in a scenic, narrow valley with several rock outcrops. We will meet at Visitor Center and carpool/caravan to the site. Along the way we’ll stop to see wildflowers growing in a dry-mesic woodland and we will also stop to see Bowman’s-root (Gillenia trifoliata), another rare species in Arkansas. Trip leaders: Jennifer Ogle and Nolan Moore. Level of difficulty: moderate; at the black maple site, we will be off trail and there is a short but steep slope to get into the site.

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Know Your Natives – Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) of the Trumpet Creeper (Bignoniaceae) family is a non-twining, tendril-free, woody vine with spectacular, large, orange to red, trumpet-shaped flowers. The genus name is Greek for “curved,” a reference to the curved stamens. The specific epithet is from Latin for “taking root” in reference to the aerial rootlets that bind the climbing plant to its host. In the U.S., Trumpet Vine is native from Oklahoma and eastern Kansas to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts as well as in scattered areas in Texas. Naturalized occurrences extend west and east across the country to as far as Washington State and Vermont. In Arkansas, the species is recorded from every county. Habitats include a wide variety of soils in sun and shade: well-drained to moist woodlands, woodland edges, fields, rights-of-way, fences and fencerows. Vines not only climb, they trail along the ground, sprawling and clambering over themselves and other plants and structures.

Mature plants in sunny sites produce two growth forms: trailing, fast-growing, limber to woody, non-flowering vines to 25+ feet long that grow along the ground and over other plants and structures, often producing terrestrial and aerial (clinging) roots at the nodes. And rigid to woody, somewhat self-supporting, arching vines to 6+ feet long that extend outward from these vegetative stems. Depending on space, sunlight, and presence of supporting objects, a plant may develop into a wide-spreading, dense, elevated groundcover and/or an aggressive liana climbing trees, fences, and even buildings. Wide-spreading woody roots may produce ascending suckers well away from a plant’s point of origin.

Photo 1: This growth form is a sucker from an established plant that will not produce a terminal inflorescence in the current year.
Photo 2: Vegetative stems, when in near-contact with soil or vertical objects, may develop aerial roots at nodes along their lower surface. (As shown, vine is inverted).
Photo 3: In this sunny site, multiple stems did not attach to surrounding rocks during their first growth-year and have become woody in their sprawled positions.
Photo 4: On this steep slope, intermixed stems form a dense ground-cover that is several feet thick.
Photo 5: The main trunks of this vine are at the back wall of the building. Thick growth has extended around the corner and onto the roof.
Photo 6: This vine has reached the top of this 70-foot Short Leaf Pine. On inset photo, asterisks indicate section of tree shown by main photo. At ground level, the single “trunk” has a diameter of 5 inches.

Old plants, established at the base of large trees, tend to have one to a few trunks which may grow to 3-5 inches in diameter. As vines age over multiple years, the bark exfoliates in narrow strips and becomes moderately fissured.

Photo 7: Aerial roots of this vine have deteriorated but the vine remains firmly fixed in a vertical position. Larger vine is 2½ inches in diameter. Leaves are those of Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), a common cohort of Trumpet Vine on the same host.
Photo 8: The four upper stem-segments, of the current growth-year, are from a 6-foot-long vine, aging from right to left. Segment at lower right is from a 20-foot long vegetative vine which had the same appearance its entire hardened length. Segment at lower left shows an axillary pair of current-year branches. (Leaf blades removed.)

Current-year vines bear widely spaced, decussate, opposite, odd-pinnately (with a single terminal leaflet) compound leaves. Leaflets are ovate to broadly lanceolate with rounded to cuneate base and long-acuminate to acute apex. Leaves have 7-13 leaflets, shiny, dark green, and glabrous above and dull, yellowish green, and minutely pubescent beneath. A 7-leaflet leaf may be 7 inches long (including a 1½ inch petiole) and 4½ inches wide with leaflets that are to 3 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Petioles may have a half-dozen tiny nectary pits along their swollen bases. Leaflet margins are coarsely serrate. Terminal leaflet blade is symmetric while lateral leaflets tend to have oblique bases.

Photo 9: Display of leaves: Upper pair from mid-vine, middle pair from beneath the terminal inflorescence, and lower pair from a short axillary branch. Upper-left leaf is 7 inches long and 4¼ inches wide.
Photo 10: Upper surface of leaves is shiny dark green, the lower surface pale green with white pubescence. Venation is pinnate. Tertiary veins form a reticulate pattern. Terminal leaflets shown.
Photo 11: Bulging bases of petioles have pores that provide nectar to ants and other insects. Petioles are slightly grooved. Dormant axillary buds are covered with brown scales.

Flowers, from June into August, first appear as small ovoid buds. The terminal, cymose inflorescence bears opposite pairs of stubby peduncles that produce pairs of short, stubby branches. Each branch bears a simple cyme of three flowers, one terminal and a pair of laterals, with the terminal flower blooming first. Often, pedicels or flower buds abscise so that compound cymes become knobby. Plants in full sun flower more profusely.

Photo 12: Early green flower buds are tightly protected by their calyxes; these become orange with approaching anthesis. Calyxes have five triangular lobes which meet in bud to form a distinct point. Ants (shown) feed on nectar from pores on the calyx.
Photo 13: Display of a single compound cyme while in bud, separated into simple cymes with 3 buds each. Buds often become dislodged or are eaten, as shown by two cymes at upper right with only 2 buds.
Photo 14: Terminal inflorescences are subtended by a pair of small leaves. Within an inflorescence, indistinct nodes at the base of peduncles, branches, and pedicels are subtended by a pair of opposite, appressed bracts.
Photo 15: A vine may have multiple compound cymes forming a single terminal cluster. Here, subtending leaf pairs have been partly removed at asterisks. Cymes become knobby as some buds and flowers drop off.

In bloom, the calyx of Trumpet Vine flowers is orange, the corolla outwardly orange to reddish. The flowers are spectacular and the vines cultivated worldwide for their decorative appeal. The corolla is slightly irregular, that is, bilaterally symmetrical. The tube measures about 3 inches long and tapers from about an inch at the tip to ¼ inch within calyx. Prominent red nectar guide-lines extend upward within the yellowish interior of the tube. Corollas remain open for a single day, after which, the entire corolla (and the stamens attached to the tube within) is shed, often littering the ground with color beneath high-climbing vines. Flowers are a favorite of bumblebees, sphinx moths, and hummingbirds.

Photo 16: Some vines have flowers that are more reddish. Flowers are oriented in various directions.

Flowers have 4 functional stamens (filament + anther) and 1 sterile, vestigial stamen or staminode, the filaments attached not to the receptacle but to the inner wall of the corolla tube. The curved, sturdy, pollen-producing stamens are in two pairs of two lengths. Just within the mouth of the corolla, anthers and stigma are pressed against the upper surface of the tube, perfectly positioned to deposit pollen on and to receive pollen from the heads and bodies of pollinators as they enter the tube for nectar.

The 2-chambered, superior ovary is borne on a prominent, nectar-secreting disc. The pale-green style terminates with a flat, folded stigma which, when receptive to pollen, spreads wide into 2 thin, flaplike lobes (⅛ x ⅛ inch) to expose stigmatic surfaces. In addition to outcrossing by cross-pollination, self-pollination commonly occurs. With sufficient pollen load, the active stigma flaps press together.*

Photo 17: Stamens and style/stigma are pressed against the roof of the tube. As shown, the two flaps of the active stigma (above the anthers) are closed. Anthers and stigma are not exserted beyond the corolla tube. Minute white pubescence can be seen around the orifice. Corollas are slightly irregular.
Photo 18: Flowers have 2 pairs of functional stamens, a staminode, and a single pistil. Straight red nectar guides extend up along the yellow tube interior. As shown, style (pale green) and staminode are centered between the 2 stamen pairs.
Photo 19: Within a single cyme, the terminal flower blooms first. Pistil (this one is 2¼ inches long) consists of a nectar-secreting, stump-like stalk below a superior ovary, a long style, and a bilobed, flap-like stigma.
Photo 20: These anthers sacs have dehisced and pollen has been released. The closed flap-like stigma is positioned behind the distal anthers.

Fertilized flowers produce a large, bean-like capsule, green at first and eventually tan. Of the many flowers in a large inflorescence, few flowers produce capsules. Mature capsules, to 3-6 inches long and 1 inch wide, are straight to slightly curved, with an opposite pair of prominent, longitudinal ridges that mark the sutures. Capsules open at the sutures by two valves. A septum, perpendicular to the valves, supports a pair of placentas in each of the 2 chambers at the junction of the septum to the capsule walls. Being thick-walled and packed tightly with numerous seeds, the bulging capsules are heavy and pendulous on the vine. Exterior of capsules is smooth and glabrous with a few scattered pores that provide nectar to ants. Dry, woody capsules persist well into winter as the valves slowly dehisce to release layers of thin, flat seeds. The airborne seeds with translucent wings measure about ⅝ by ¼ inch. The gaping valves of empty capsules remain on vines into spring.

Photo 21: Curved, pendulous capsules and ascending flowers often occur on the same compound cyme. Unfertilized flowers quickly drop off at the pedicel so that stubs remain. Styles of fertilized flowers persist for a short time.
Photo 22: Developing seeds are tightly packed. The septum (see arrows) is positioned perpendicular to the ridged sutures. Placentas (see asterisks) are at the junction of the septum to the capsule walls. Note pores on capsule.
Photo 23: This dry, firm, thick-walled capsule is 4¾ inches long and ¾ inch wide. Numerous thin, winged seeds are stacked within the two chambers. The now-thin, flat septum extends the length of the capsule.

Although Trumpet Vine has attractive leaves and especially showy flowers, the plant is probably too large and aggressive to be added to most gardens. With continuous pruning and removal of rooted suckers, plants have the potential to be attractive on arbors and trellises. In sunny sites, the plant’s tangled and dense growth habit can provide erosion control and nesting sites for birds as well as protection for birds and small mammals. Plants are less vigorous in more shaded sites and produce fewer flowers. Trumpet Vine is a great plant for hummingbirds. Vines attaching to walls and roofs can cause damage. For some people, sap can cause skin irritation.

The only other species in the genus Campsis is Chinese Trumpet Vine (C. grandiflora), a native of Eastern Asia––and the two species are an example of what plant geographers call the Chinese-American disjunction. (The two species worldwide of Liriodendron are another example of this intriguing distribution pattern.) In the U.S., Trumpet Vine may be confused with another, closely related, high-climbing, woody vine, Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata). However, Cross Vine has tendrils, 2-leaflet compound leaves and, typically, reddish tubular flowers with lobes that are yellow on the inside.

* For a detailed study of pollination, see: https://www.jipb.net/EN/Y2004/V46/I9/1071

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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ANPS Fall 2022 Meeting

ANPS Fall Meeting

October 7-9, 2022 in Stuttgart, Arkansas

Everyone welcome! Registration is only $10 (no pre- registration) and begins at 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 7.


The Grand Prairie Center, Salon B Philips Community College
2807 US-165, Stuttgart, AR 72160 Website: pccua.edu/community/gpc/


TRU by Hilton, 204 W 22nd St, Stuttgart, AR 72160 Website: hilton.com/en/hotels/sgtruru-tru-stuttgart Phone: 870-672-7505 ext. 0

A block of 30 rooms, a mix of singles, doubles, and ADA- accessible rooms, has been reserved at the rate of $99.99 plus tax per night, guaranteed until September 30. Rates at this hotel vary based on the flexibility for cancellation. For this block, cancellations will be allowed until 48 hours before arrival. Provide the group code “ANP” if calling to make your reservation, or enter “ANP” in the group code field if booking online.


Potluck meal Friday and Saturday evenings at the Grand Prairie Center. Bring a dish or just come and eat! There are also several dining options near the hotel.

EVENING PROGRAMS Grand Prairie Center, Salon B

Friday, October 7

7:00 p.m. – Annual NATIVE PLANT AUCTION! Bring your native plants, books, homemade jelly, jewelry, or plant art for the auction. Proceeds from the auction support ANPS scholarships, research grants, and small grants programs.

Saturday, October 8

6:00 p.m. – Membership Meeting

7:00-8:00 p.m. – Diana Soteropoulos, botanist at the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, PhD candidate at Arkansas State University, 2019 Delzie Demaree Research Grant recipient, and 2021 Aileen McWilliam Scholarship recipient will present “An exploration of the vascular flora of Pine City Natural Area, Monroe Co., Arkansas, U.S.A., in comparison to the Mississippi alluvial plain in eastern Arkansas”.


Several field trips are scheduled for Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday morning field trips will leave from the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Saturday afternoon field trips will meet at trip locations at 2:00 p.m. You must sign up for field trips on Friday evening to allow for adequate logistical planning. Bring sunscreen, water, and bug spray!

Check out anps.org for up-to-date field trip information and CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 precautions!

Contact Joe Ledvina at joeledvina@gmail.com or Nate Weston at anps.president@gmail.com with any questions.

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Fall 2022 Claytonia is now available

The Fall 2022 issue of Claytonia is now available for download! Click here to download it!

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Know Your Natives – Stalked Wild Petunia

Stalked Wild Petunia (Ruellia pedunculata ssp. pedunculata*) of the Acanthus (Acanthaceae) family has flowers with large, showy, trumpet-shaped, purplish corollas, similar to those of the unrelated Garden Petunia**. The genus name honors Jean de la Ruelle (1474-1537), a French herbalist. The specific epithet, from the Latin, refers to the prominent peduncles or flower stalks. In the U.S., the species is widespread in eastern Texas and Oklahoma, southeast Missouri, far-south Illinois, Arkansas and Louisiana, with rare occurrences from Mississippi to Georgia. In Arkansas, plants occur statewide (except for lowlands along the Mississippi River), favoring open woodlands, wood borders, and glades, on dry to mesic soils.

Photo 1: Flowers are trumpet-shaped with five flared lobes. Narrow-leaved plant in background is Evening Rain Lily (Cooperia drummondii). Photo – May 3.

Roots of a mature plant consist of a shallow, elongate rootstock with numerous, radiating, semi-succulent roots that may be a foot long. Rootstocks produce a single stem that includes below-surface nodes. At the end of the growing season, the entire stem dies back to the main rootstock, to be replaced by new stems the following year. Rootstock and roots are yellowish tan.

Photo 2: Remnants of previous years’ stems are indicated by arrows. A white bud on the main rootstock would have produced a stem in the new growth year. Entire plant is shown in Photo 4. Photo – July 16.

This herbaceous perennial, with opposite, decussate leaf pairs, grows to a height of about 1½ feet. Plants have a single main stem, with lateral, ascending, typically flowering stems growing from the leaf axils. Floral branches may be from < ¼ inch to 2 inches long, the length decreasing distally. Spacing of leaf pairs along stems may be to 2-3 inches, while spacing along branches is tighter. The pale green to reddish stems are covered evenly by short, soft to somewhat stiff hairs with the longest hairs below the swollen leaf nodes.

Leaves are dark green above and lighter below, with entire (uncut), slightly undulating margins. Small basal leaves may be ovate; larger leaves are ovate-elliptic to elliptic, to lanceolate on smaller plants. Largest stem leaves, 2¾+ inches long (including a ⅛-inch petiole) and 1⅛+ inches wide, occur at and just above mid-stem. The significantly smaller branch leaves are to 1⅛ inches long (including a ⅛-inch petiole) and ½ inch wide. Upper and lower leaf surfaces are evenly short pubescent, feeling downy to slightly rough. Venation is pinnate.

Photo 3: This 1⅛-inch first-year plant has pubescent, ovate leaves. Leaves occur in opposite, decussate pairs. This plant’s four roots were 2 inches long. Photo – July 12.
Photo 4: This 20-inch tall plant exhibits characteristic short floral branches along several straight stems. Note immature seed capsules. Photo – July 16.
Photo 5: Leaf shape varies from oval to ovate-elliptic to lanceolate. Upper leaf surfaces shown on left and lower leaf surfaces on right. Leaf margins are uncut to slightly undulating. Photo – June 19.
Photo 6: Leaves of this opposite leaf pair each subtend floral branches (arrows). The swollen node has longer hairs extending from petioles. At the node, stem is ⅛ inch wide and branches are 1/32 inch wide. Photo – July 17.

A floral branch terminates with an apical bud set between a pair of opposite leaves, each leaf with an axillary bud. The apical bud may develop into a single flower subtended by a leaf pair or it may remain vegetative and extend the branch’s length. Lateral buds may develop into secondary floral branches with their own terminal flower and pair of bracteal leaves. Axillary buds of leaf pairs at the ends of branches may not develop fully or may remain dormant.

Photo 7: This floral branch (yellow arrow) has an unopened terminal flower (red arrow) which is subtended by a pair of bracteal leaves. Subtending leaves of this terminal flower also subtend two secondary axillary branches (white arrows), which, in turn, bear a pair of bracteal leaves and a flower bud. Photo – June 24.

Flowering is mostly from late May into June. The large, rather delicate, nearly actinomorphic flowers, to 2+ inches long and 1+ inches wide, have a tubular corolla with 5 widely spreading, broad, rounded lobes attached to a flaring throat. The corolla and throat are a uniform lavender color with main veins, especially of the lower lobe, often highlighted in dark lavender. The narrow, white tube is subtended by a stubby calyx (with five ½-inch-long linear, bristle-like lobes) atop an ⅛ inch pedicel. Pedicel and exterior of calyx are finely pubescent.

Flowers have 4 white stamens (filament + anther) and one pistil (green ovary + white style + white stigma). Stamens, adnate to the floral tube, are in two pairs, of which one is slightly shorter. Anthers are positioned at the rim of the throat. The flattened stigma, positioned above the throat, has a short one-sided “arm” that extends toward center of throat. The corollas last up to a day before dropping off (with stamens attached). The thread-like style persists for a short time.

Photo 8: These flowers, on secondary branches, have dark lavender veins on lower corolla lobe. The white, delicate, angled, single-arm stigmas are positioned above the throat. Photo – May 28.
Photo 9: Five corolla lobes have about the same shape. Four white stamens are in two pairs, the filaments adnate below to the floral tube. This corolla lacks dark lavender veins on the lower lobe. Photo – June 24.
Photo 10: Corollas have lavender throats and lobes and white tubes. Flowers are subtended by variously sized opposite leaf pairs, as can be seen below the fruit (on right, brown) and spent flower (lower right). Photo – June 24.
Photo 11: The soft to hirsute pubescence of straight hairs can be seen on the branch, leaves, calyx lobes, and along the creases of the corolla. Photo – Jun 19.
Photo 12: Flowers have four stamens (in two pairs, adnate to the corolla tube) and a style with an arm-like stigma (see Photo 8). Lowermost lobe is at upper right. Tube is 1 inch long. Lobes are ½ inch long. Photo – June 24.

With fertilization, pale green, elongate, hardened capsules form, extending well beyond the calyx lobes, to about ¾ inch long and ⅛ inch wide. Capsules ripen to a light brown; calyxes remain green. Capsules contain about 10 round seeds stacked in two rows, each held by a pair of claw-like umbilical structures that wrap along the seed’s lower edge. The mature thick-walled capsules, which may remain closed for a month or more, disperse seed by dehiscing kinetically along two sutures extending from apex to base. Seeds are covered with minute, twisty lines of papillae which extend away from the hilum.

Photo 13: Developing fruits, surrounded by 5 linear calyx lobes, are uniformly puberulent. Pedicels are short. Photo – July 13.
Photo 14: Capsules contain flat, round seeds on a pair of placentas. Claw-like umbilical structures wrap along edge of seeds, near the hilum. Photo – July 19.
Photo 15: The round flat seeds are covered with minute papillae. Upper seed retains its umbilical structure. Squares are ¼ inch. Photo – July 25.

With its large flowers and open growth habit, a robust specimen plant would be of interest in a sunny to partially shaded, well drained garden. However, often plants seem to stay small and spread aggressively by seed. With below surface stem-buds and dormant rootstock-buds, manual removal of plants would require removal of the entire main rootstock. With these considerations, this species is probably best suited for a wild garden or natural area. It survives droughts very well.

In addition to Stalked Wild Petunia, three other native species occur in Arkansas: Carolina Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), Hairy Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), and Smooth Wild Petunia (Ruellia strepens), all with similar lavender flowers. Stalked Wild Petunia can be identified by its uniform short pubescence and presence of floral branches. The other three species have clusters of flowers growing directly from axils of stem leaves.

* Two subspecies have been identified (sometimes they are elevated to species): Ruellia pedunculata ssp. pedunculata and R. pedunculata ssp. pinetorum. Ruellia pedunculata ssp. pedunculata has puberulent ovaries. Ruellia pedunculata ssp. pinetorum, occurring in dry to wet pine woodlands of the Gulf Coastal states and South Carolina, has glabrous or glabrate ovaries. The former occurs on dry slopes and in dry glades and woodlands.

** Petunia x atkinsiana is the classification assigned to all hybrids within the Garden Petunia complex, such as, Petunia axillaris, Petunia integrifolia and Petunia inflata. All Garden Petunias are in the Nightshade (Solanaceae) family.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Know Your Natives – Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) of the Sunflower or Composite (Asteraceae) family is an erect herbaceous perennial with large, showy, terminal flowerheads. The genus name is derived from a Greek word for “hedgehog” in reference to the spiny bracts that share the receptacle with the ray and disk florets. The specific epithet is Latin for “purple,” the color of the ray florets. In the US, the species is common in Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana with more limited occurrence in surrounding states and from Alabama into New England. In Arkansas, plants grow statewide except for the lowlands of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and West Gulf Coastal Plain. Habitat preference is sunny to partially sunny sites on moist, well drained soils of prairies, open woodlands and borders, and rights-of-way. Other common names include Eastern Purple Coneflower and Broad-Leaved Purple Coneflower.

Photo 1: Showy terminal flowerheads occur singly on main stems and axillary branches. Photo – July 4.

Mature plants develop a central knobby rootstock comprising a clump of shallow “root stubs” supported by fleshy, whitish roots. The root stubs have actively growing crowns with new growth, as well as dormant stems from previous growing seasons. Growth that does not include a stem is flattened and fan-like and produces basal leaves; growth that includes a stem is terete and reproductive, ultimately bearing one or more terminal heads.

Photo 2: This 4-year-old (?) plant has 2 dormant “root stubs” (with dead stems still attached), a stub bearing leaves only (with fan-like base) and 3 stubs (with round bases) bearing leaves and a central stem. Photo – June 25.

The pale-green, stout, erect stems to 3+ feet tall are typically hirsute, uncommonly partially or totally glabrous. Stems taper from a ¼-inch-diameter base, before flaring to the receptacle in support of the flowerhead. Robust plants produce axillary branches at mid-stem that may be 1½ feet long and overtop the main stem. Stems bear single terminal flowerheads, with that of the main stem typically the largest. Stem leaves are generally alternate, but may be sub-opposite to opposite, especially on more robust plants. The upper one-third to one-fifth of stems and branches tends to be leafless. Dead stems, branches and heads persist into the new growth-year.

Leaves vary from small, early, heart-shaped basal leaves to larger basal and stem leaves that are broadly lanceolate below to narrower above. Petioles of basal and lower stem leaves are especially long and may exceed the length of the leaf blade. Leaf bases may be rounded or tapered with the blade extending as narrow wings along the petiole. Larger leaves grow to 14 inches long, including 8-inch petioles, and to 4+ inches wide, typically widest below the middle. Blade margins tend to be entire (smooth) on smaller leaves, but jagged and irregularly serrate on larger leaves. Both upper and lower leaf surfaces may be uniformly covered with dense minute hairs, feeling equally rough, or the upper surface may be markedly less pubescent. Primary veins consist of a straight midrib and a pair of secondary veins that arch from the leaf base to the tip. Veins, including prominent tertiary veins, are recessed above and expressed below.

Photo 3: This year-old plant has broad leaves with short, winged petioles. These leaves are glabrous on their upper surface and pubescent below. Characteristic venation is enhanced by spring-time colors. Photo – March 22.
Photo 4: An older plant, later in the growing season, has ovate to lanceolate leaves with partially winged, longer petioles. Larger leaves have slight marginal serrations. Photo – April 28.
Photo 5: Upper stem leaves become narrower than those below. At this partially shaded site, the plant may not develop branches. Other plants shown include Texas Dutchman’s Pipe, Green Dragon and Nuttall’s Wild Indigo (Baptisia nuttalliana). Photo – May 11.
Photo 6: At a sunny site, mid-stem leaves have jagged, serrated margins. Primary venation consists of the midrib and a pair of arching secondary veins. Caterpillars are those of Pearl Crescents (Phyciodes tharos). Photo – May 23.

The blooming period may extend from late May through July. Early in the growth of flowerheads, buds are spherical with a full cover of hirsute, leafy, lanceolate to linear bracts (often termed phyllaries) imbricated in several series. By flowering time, the phyllaries have become spreading to recurved, resulting in a tight, leafy, saucer-shaped involucre. The longer outermost bracts expand to 1¼ inches long and ⅛ wide.

Flowerheads, 1½ to 4 inches across in bloom, have a central disk of numerous, closely packed disk florets surrounded by 10 to 20 large and prominant ray florets. As in all Composites, bloom sequence is centripetal––from the perimeter toward the center. Disks may be 1½+ inches wide and 1¼+ inches tall, having matured from a flat-topped head at bud-stage to a rounded cone as the final disk florets develop.

Photo 7: Flowerheads initially appear as spherical buds with a full cover of leafy phyllaries. As the central disk expands and becomes more conic, phyllaries are positioned below the flowerhead, forming a saucer-like involucre; this one is 1⅛ inches wide. Photo – June 18.
Photo 8: Final height of branches may exceed the height of the main stem. Solitary flowerheads are terminal. Young flowerheads are rather flat but become conic with age. Photo – June 16.

Ray florets have pink to pale purple, oblong ligules––the showy portion of the ray floret–– that are spreading to recurved and even drooping. Ligules vary from 1¼-3¼ inches long and ¼-¾ inch wide, with a rounded, notched tip. Ray flowers are infertile.

Disk florets have tubular corollas with 5 triangular stubby lobes, 5 stamens (filaments + anthers), and a single pistil (inferior ovary + style + stigma). Corollas are to 3/16 inch long and 1/32 inch wide. The elongate, dark anthers are fused into a ring surrounding the style. With the anther ring exserted above the corolla, the style pushes through the ring moving pollen from inside the anthers to above the corolla. With pollen dispersed, anthers wither back into the corolla and the now-exserted style bifurcates and recurves to expose linear stigmatic surfaces. At anthesis, corolla lobes, anther ring and stigma are typically reddish purple, but may trend toward green. Pollen is yellow.

Each disk floret is subtended by a sharply pointed, spike-like receptacular bract, to ⅝ inch long and 1/32 wide. The green boat-shaped lower portion of the bract clasps the developing disk floret. The orange, spike-like upper portion gives the central disk a golden glow. Corollas, stamens and styles all remain below the tips of the bracts. The central disk is very prickly during anthesis and remains prickly as a dried head.

Photo 9: Ray florets surround a central disk composed of numerous disk florets. Pollen is extruded from anther rings as the style pushes through. Tips of ligules are notched or slit. Photo – July 4.
Photo 10: Green unopened disk florets can be seen toward the center of the head. Florets in early bloom bear clumps of yellow pollen pushed upward by the styles. Bifurcated, recurved stigmas are reddish purple. Upper portion of receptacular bracts is sharply pointed. Photo – July 4.
Photo 11: This involucre, 1 inch wide and ½ inch tall, is composed of various sizes of lanceolate phyllaries in several imbricated series. Phyllaries have minute, dense pubescence on their outer surface and margins. Photo – June 25.
Photo 12: This head, with a conic receptacle, is 1½ inches tall by 1⅜ inches wide. Disk florets remain below tips of the bracts. Photo June – 27.
Photo 13: Ray florets are infertile. The ligule of the lower ray floret is 2⅛ inches long and ⅜ inch wide. Single separated disk floret (lower right) is 9/16 inch long and its bract (farther right) is ⅜ inch long.

In late summer into fall, the prickly heads, stems and branches become brown to black and persist into the next growing season. The flattened, four-sided, one-seeded achenes are mostly glabrous with a concave crown tipped with several short teeth. Achenes are less than ¼ inch long. They are dispersed by birds, small mammals and surface water flow.

Photo 14: The prickly heads persist into the next growing season. Inset shows achenes. Squares = ¼ inch. Photos – August 19.

Purple Coneflower, with its large and colorful flowerheads, is an excellent perennial for a formal or informal garden. This long-blooming, mostly erect, sturdy plant prefers a sunny area with well-drained mesic soil, but will also bloom nicely in partial shade. It works well as a specimen plant, in mass plantings or as a companion plant with other summer-blooming perennials. It may self-seed too freely in some sites, but plants are easily removed (shallow rootstock). Vegetative growth, flowers and seeds provide food for many insects, birds and small mammals––plants are a favorite of Pearl Crescent butterflies and Goldfinches. Excellent for arrangements when in bloom or dried.

Photo 15: Purple Coneflower is an excellent choice for a mixed perennial bed. Photo – May 30.

Four other species of Echinacea occur in Arkansas: Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida), Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa var. paradoxa), Sanguine Purple Coneflower (Echinacea sanguinea), and Glade Coneflower (Echinacea simulata). Pale Purple Coneflower, Sanguine Purple Coneflower, and Glade Coneflower all have narrow leaves and strap-like pink to pale purple drooping ligules. Purple Coneflower is readily distinguished by its broad petiolate leaves and wider, more spreading ligules.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Cherokee Prairie Wildflower Walk for 6/25/2022 – CANCELED


The heat is going to be too much tomorrow to hold the Cherokee Prairie Wildflower walk on June 25, 2022. We are going to cancel. Stay cool!

-Arkansas Native Plant Society

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Know Your Natives – Pale Purple Coneflower

Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida) of the Aster or Composite (Asteraceae) family is a heavily pubescent herbaceous perennial with long lanceolate leaves and large, spectacular flowerheads. The genus name is derived from a Greek word for “hedgehog” in reference to the spiny bracts covering the head. The specific epithet is Latin for “pale” in reference to the color of the showy ray florets. In the U.S., the species occurs primarily from western Louisiana and eastern Oklahoma, east and north to Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. Additionally, it is widely scattered in nearby states as well as farther to the east, possibly from introductions. In Arkansas, except for eastern portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, plants grow statewide. Habitat preference is sunny sites with well drained soil: prairies, open woodlands, and rights-of-way.

Photo 1: Long, pubescent, lanceolate leaves are characteristic of the species. Photo – April 28.
Photo 2: These plants are on a well-drained, south-facing slope of a highway right-of-way. Blue flowers in background are Carolina Larkspur. Photo – May 14.

Plants have a stout vertical rootstock with one or more, near-surface, lateral to ascending “root stubs” that develop leafy crowns. Stubs are encircled by thin scars of dropped leaves. A rootstock may produce a half-dozen or more compact flowering stems. Mature plants, with rootstocks to 2+ feet long, are drought tolerant.

Photo 3: Vertical rootstocks develop near-surface “root stubs.” Crowns produce a rosette of leaves which may include a central flowering stem. Plant at right also shown in Photo 1 (after being replanted). The growing root stubs are encircled by leaf scars. Photo – June 30.
Photo 4: This plant grew on an unstable shale slope (see Photo 7) so that this 9½-inch rootstock (asterisk to asterisk) became curved, and its single stub trended upslope. Photo – May 15.

Basal and cauline (stem) leaves are oblong-lanceolate, to 10+ inches long and to ⅜+ inch wide, the basal longer than the cauline, and the cauline gradually shortening distally. They are shiny above and dull below, folded along the midrib, their margins entire (without teeth). Venation is parallel, with a pair of distinct secondary veins on either side of the midvein. Tertiary veins are obscure. The stem leaves are alternate.

Plants have erect rigid flowering stems, 3-4 feet tall, that terminate in a flowerhead. They may bear lateral branches, the longer ones terminating in a flowerhead of reduced size. The upper one-third to one-half of the stems are leafless or bear only a leaf or two. Dead stems and heads persist into the new growth-year.

Photo 5: Each rosette of leaves, with or without a central stem, grows from a separate root crown. Flowerheads are terminal on main stems and axillary branches. Plant at upper right is American Ipecac. Photo – April 14.

Conspicuous bristly white pubescence occurs on all surfaces, sparse to moderate along the stems, somewhat denser on the leaves. Pustular based hairs, to 1/16 inch long, are stiff and spreading. Surfaces feel rough.

Photo 6: Stems and leaves have bristly hairs. Short axillary branch, at center of photo, has several leaves. Photo – May 14.

The inflorescence, in May into June, consists of single terminal flower heads that are to 6¾ inches across with a central dome, the disk, to 1¼ inches wide and ¾ inch tall. Heads comprise closely packed fertile disk florets surrounded by up to 20+ infertile ray florets. Heads are subtended by a saucer-shaped involucre of 3 series of lanceolate bracts with acute tips. Bracts, to ½ inch long and ⅛ wide, are bristly pubescent on their outer surface. Bloom sequence of the disk florets, as with all composites, is centripetal––from the flowerheads’ perimeter toward the center. Flowers have a faint, pleasant scent.

Photo 7: This plant shows the characteristic erect stems with single terminal flowerheads and the lack of leaves along its upper-stem. Tallest stem is 41 inches. Plant at left-center is Downy Ragged Goldenrod. Photo – May 6.

Ray florets have long, drooping, strap-like, spectacular ligules attached to infertile ovaries. Initially erect, they become descending to fully drooped at anthesis. They are pink to pale purple (occasionally white), to 3 inches long and ¼ inch wide, with parallel sides and fringed tips. The outer surface has long, scattered hairs.

Photo 8: Slightly ridged stems are noticeably fluted below the inflorescence. Ligules, to 3 inches long and ¼ inch wide, have fringed tips. Photo – May 22.

Disk florets have tubular corollas about 1/4 inch long, with 5 triangular lobes, 5 stamens (filaments + anthers), and a single pistil (an inferior ovary + style + stigma). Each disk floret is subtended by a stout, hardened, spiny bract longer than the floret, so that the dome of the disk is prickly. The elongate, dark anthers are fused into a ring surrounding the style. With the anther ring exserted above the corolla and bract, the style elongates through the ring moving the pollen from the anthers to above the corolla for ready access by pollinators. With pollen dispersed, anthers wither back into the corolla and the now-exserted style bifurcates and recurves to expose linear stigmatic surfaces. Pollen is white.

Photo 9: The white pollen of the outer disk florets has been moved out of the anther rings and above the spiny subtending bracts by the emerging styles. Lower surfaces of ligules have scattered hairs. Photo – May 17.
Photo 10: The dark exserted anther rings wither back into the corollas as styles become exserted and then recurve to expose stigmatic surfaces. Closed buds of the disk florets can be seen on flowerhead on left and open flowers can be seen on head on right. Photo – June 2.
Photo 11: Same flowerheads as in previous photo. Flowerhead on right shows its saucer-shaped, 3-series, pubescent involucre. Photo – June 2.
Photo 12: Tubular disk florets with inferior ovaries and “chaffy” spine-tipped bracts are closely packed. Disk floret ovaries are fertile, those of ray florets sterile. Stems become hollow and fluted near the flowerheads. Photo – May 14.

In mid-summer, with florets dried, the spiny heads become brown to black and persist on erect hardened stems into the next growing season. Achenes, lacking hairs for wind dispersal, are dispersed by birds, small mammals, and surface water flow. The flattened, shield-shaped achenes are mostly glabrous. Once bracts and achenes have dropped, the conical shape of the receptacle becomes apparent.

Photo 13: The tan, four-sided, shield-shaped achenes are somewhat flattened. The receptacle has a conical shape: thus, “cone flower.” Photo – August 20.

In a garden, Pale Purple Coneflower can serve as a tall, airy, accent plant or be intermixed with other plants in a naturalistic setting. Plants are not aggressive self-seeders and remain compact over the years. Once established, plants do well in sunny, rocky areas in various well drained mesic to dry soils. Great for butterflies, bees, and birds. Long lasting as cut flowers; fall stems can last for years in dried arrangements.

Photo 14: American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) feeding on Pale Purple Coneflower. The final florets to reach anthesis are at center of flowerhead. Photo – May 26.

Four other species of the genus occur in Arkansas: Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa var. paradoxa), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Sanguine Purple Coneflower (Echinacea sanguinea), and Glade Coneflower (Echinacea simulata). Of these, Sanguine Purple Coneflower and Glade Coneflower have flowerheads of similar shape and color as Pale Purple Coneflower. Sanguine Purple Coneflower, as compared to Pale Purple Coneflower, has shorter, wider leaves and stems and its involucral bracts tend to have purplish stalks and tips. Its pollen is yellow (instead of white). Sanguine Purple Coneflower is known in Arkansas only from sandhills in Miller County in the southwestern corner of the state. Visually, Glade Coneflower and Pale Purple Coneflower have the same appearance, except ligules of Glade Coneflower droop less and are usually deeper pink in color and its pollen is bright yellow (instead of white). Glade Coneflower occurs in Arkansas in dolomite glades of the Ozark Highlands.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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ANPS/OCANPS Hike at Ninestone

Ninestone is hosting an ANPS/OCANPS Hike on Sunday, June 5 at 11:00 am.

We will gather with members, friends, contributors to recent fund-raising for habitat restoration, and it is Ninestone’s policy to require that the participants in our field trips have been vaccinated and boosted against covid.

Judy Griffith will lead the hike to the Sandstone Bluff Glade to view Barbara’s Buttons, Tall Pink Glade Onions, and Fame Flowers that do not open until afternoon, along with Little Bluestem, native forbs, lichens and mosses.

We’ll return to the cabin, enjoy a sack lunch on the deck with a view of the waterfall, and if the water isn’t too high we can cross the creek to the falls that cascade through sandstone pools in the West Glade.
There is a native plant demonstration garden originally created for ANPS, and a savanna with native grasses and locally sourced forbs.

Both sandstone glades and the savanna are being restored with removal of invasives and Rx burns by Ninestone with the help of Ozark Ecological Restoration, Inc.

Bring a sack lunch, whatever you use for ticks, for sun, and footwear appropriate for hiking and possibly crossing Piney Creek.

It is also possible that prior to the June 5th field trip we will have re-introduced Eastern Collared Lizards to the bluff glade with the assistance of Dr. Casey Brewster. https://www1.usgs.gov/…/project/192960845824/bdegregorio

Directions to Ninestone:

Coming from Fayetteville or south:
Take hwy 412 east to hwy 21 north. Turn LEFT onto hwy 21 north and go a little over 7 miles. You will go past the Metalton sign and across the Piney Creek Bridge and the Cedar Creek bridge. IMMEDIATELY after crossing the Cedar Creek bridge turn LEFT onto CR 512. On CR 512 travel for almost one mile always staying to the LEFT at any forks or driveways. Near the end of the mile take the LEFT fork. Go past a big blue mailbox and a yellow “watch for dogs” sign. This is our driveway. Come on down the drive to our house, park on the right of the drive. See you there!

Coming from north:
Take hwy 62 east of Berryville. Turn RIGHT/south onto hwy 21 south. Go about 10 miles south on hwy 21 and look for a CR 512 sign on right. Turn RIGHT onto CR 512, a gravel road, just past dog kennels, and just before Cedar Creek bridge. DO NOT CROSS the Cedar Creek bridge. On CR 512 travel for almost one mile always staying to the LEFT at any forks or driveways. Near the end of the mile take the LEFT fork. Go past a big blue mailbox and a yellow “watch for dogs” sign. This is our driveway. Come on down the drive to our house, park on the right of the drive. See you there!

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Know Your Natives – Showy Evening Primrose

Showy Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) of the Evening-Primrose family (Onagraceae) is a colonial perennial with large pink to white flowers. The etymology of the genus name, used by Linnaeus, is ambiguous: It is apparently from a Greek word for wine seeker or sleep inducer or, quite on the other hand, for ass catcher; originally, it was the name of a species of Epilobium or willow-herb, a related plant in the Onagraceae. The specific epithet is from the Latin for beautiful or showy. In the US, Showy Evening-Primrose occurs, as a native element, from south Texas (extending into Mexico) north into Nebraska and Missouri, east to Mississippi, and west to portions of Arizona and New Mexico. Additionally, naturalized populations are found eastward to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, as well as in southern California and a few sites in central California and Utah. In Arkansas, it now occurs statewide but likely was originally native principally to the Blackland Prairie region of the southwestern portion of the state and perhaps to the glades and prairies of western and northern Arkansas. It has since been spread by extensive cultivation and roadside plantings. Sunny habitats include sandy to rocky, dry to well-drained upland prairies, woodland glades, disturbed areas, and rights-of-way. Other common names include Pinkladies, Mexican Evening Primrose, and Pink Buttercups.

Plants have twisty tough taproots and, at various depths, wide-spreading lateral roots from which clonal shoots emerge. In favorable sites and where competition is not intense, a clonal plant may cover an area of several square feet.

Photo 1: Plant on left has a clonal stem (at center of photo). Root-runner at right (not connected to plant on left) has produced 5 stems. All stems bore flowers. Photo – April 23.

Plants have green basal leaves in late winter. New stem growth becomes evident in early spring. Branches develop from axillary buds along the lower half of the stems, while distal buds, especially on sunny sites, develop into flowers. Stems are weakly erect and, without support, tend to sprawl as they mature to a length of 2+ feet. They are covered with a dense, appressed, minute pubescence. With new shoots growing annually from crowns and runners, individual plants may have 100+ stems that may be tightly clustered or well-spread, depending on the presence of competing plants.

Photo 2: On this south-facing slope of a road right-of-way, new stems began to develop in late winter. Cold weather caused some leaves to be red. Photo – March 10.
Photo 3: New erect stems grow quickly. Photo shows the same colony as in in Photo 2. Photo – April 3.
Photo 4: This leafy group of stems has grown from a single root crown. A previous year’s dead stem is still attached on left (dead stems are typically absent).

Alternate stem leaves, to 2-3 inches long and ¾ inch wide, are elliptic to oblanceolate below, grading to lanceolate––and decreasing in length––above. Blades of the lower leaves tend to be pinnately lobed proximally, unlobed distally. Petiole length, like leaf blade outline, varies with leaf position: to 1 inch long below, while the upper leaves subtending the flowers may be sessile. With a hand lens, appressed pubescence can be seen on the upper surface.

Photo 5: Lower leaves (shown individually and on stem) are elliptical to oblanceolate in outline. Lower surface of 3 leaves shown on right. Lower leaf on left is 2½ inches long. Photo – March 13.
Photo 6: Lower leaves of this stem mostly lack lobes. Smaller, toothed, lanceolate leaves can be seen at top of photo. These lanceolate leaves are subtending seed capsules. Photo – May 18

Primary bloom-period is April into May with occasional flowers later during the growing season, as allowed by weather conditions. Single flowers, with a prominent inferior ovary, grow directly from the upper leaf axils. In Arkansas, flowers open in the morning for one day* as the previous day’s flowers drop off. With a single flower in bloom per stem on a nodding stem apex, flowers give the false appearance of being terminal. The inflorescence, to about a dozen flowers, is racemose. Flower pedicels grow to about the same length as the inferior ovaries.

Photo 7: Each blooming flower is on a separate stem. As a flower opens around sunrise, the previous day’s flower on the same stem quickly wilts. Photo – April 25.
Photo 8: Flowers of this multi-stemmed plant are nearly white. Flower color is plant specific.

Pale green flower buds consist of tightly rolled petals, enclosed by a tight-fitting calyx, above a floral tube attached at the apex of an inferior ovary. The spindle-shaped, 8-ribbed ovary, measuring ½ inch long and about ⅛ inch wide, tapers to a stalklike (pedicellate) base. Ovaries may be highlighted with red between their ribs.

Photo 9: In this early morning scene, some flowers have opened as the previous day’s flowers wilt. Two buds at right are poised to open. Flower at upper right is 2⅝ inches wide.
Photo 10: Stems, stalked ovaries, floral tube, and exterior of calyx are minutely pubescent. Note ovary ribs and, on right, inverted calyx and lack of reddish color along margins of sepals.

The cylindrical floral tube––requiring a pollinator with a relatively long proboscis––has a diameter of about ⅛ inch. With anthesis, sepals separate along one or more of their fused margins, and their bases invert to fully expose the rolled-up corolla. The overlapping broadly rounded petals, to 1½ inches long and 2 inches wide, have slightly indented tips and wide-cuneate bases. They may be white to pale pink between dark pink primary veins. The pink coloration tends to become more intense toward the petal’s apical margin. Near the floral tube, petals are colored with bands of vibrant yellow and green. Each plant or colony has the same flower color.

Flowers have 8 stamens (filaments + anthers) and 1 pistil (ovary + style + stigma). Slender stamens (¾ inch long) have long delicate filaments to which slender anthers (⅜ inch long) are attached in see-saw fashion. Stamens are about half as long as the petals. The style (1 inch long), extends from the floral tube, disposing the 4 stigmatic lobes (each to 5/16 inch long) well beyond the anthers. Anthers split longitudinally to release pale yellow pollen.

Photo 11: The stigma (above, left of center) of this 3-inch pink flower has not yet divided. Anthers are releasing pale yellow pollen. Knobbed bases of filaments form a ring around entrance to floral tube.
Photo 12: Abaxial side of same flower as shown in Photo 11. Margins of sepals may be reddish. Growing stem extends off lower side of photo.
Photo 13: This split flower retains the pistil, 5 stamens, and 2 petals. Style extends from the summit of the inferior ovary, through the floral tube, to well beyond the long-exerted anthers. Note the manner in which the calyx has become inverted.
Photo 14: These stems, at or near the end of the blooming period, show the racemose character of the inflorescence. Branched stem at center is 26 inches long. Photo – May 18.

With fertilization, the corolla quickly drops off as ovaries enlarge into fruiting capsules. Initially, capsules may be totally green or may be highlighted with red between the ribs. Mature capsules to ¾ inch long (including the short stalks) become dark brown and dehisce along the angles. Capsules produce numerous ovoid brown seeds. Placentation is axile.

Photo 15: Stalked capsules are axillary to lanceolate leaves. On this plant, the zone between the 4 angles is red. Photo – May 16.
Photo 16: Capsule has been split to show tightly packed developing seeds. Placentation is axile, i.e., seeds attached to a central placenta. The longest appressed minute hairs of the plant are on the stalked ovary/capsule.
Photo 17: Capsules, containing numerous seeds, split along seams and gradually disintegrate. Some leaves have already dropped. (Squares equal ¼ inch.) Photo – June 19.

Showy Evening Primrose has a showy floral display and is fairly easy to establish from root cuttings or seed. It will grow in almost any soil that is not too wet or too dry. Where competition is limited, it may develop into a dense colony with numerous spreading root-runners. Plants may form a leafy groundcover overwinter and into spring. A sunny site is necessary for flowering. Best use may be in a sunny confined space or a prairie-like setting.

At least seventeen species or subspecies of the genus Oenothera (as traditionally and narrowly circumscribed––excluding members traditionally treated in the genera Gaura and Stenosiphon) are reported to occur in Arkansas. The large white to pink flowers of Showy Evening Primrose are the species’ most distinguishing characteristic; all other Oenothera species in the state (excluding the Gaura and Stenosiphon species, which are also white to pinkish, but smaller) have yellow flowers. One member of the genus that has been previously addressed in this series of articles is Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa).

*Farther north, flowers open in the evening and fade the next morning. In Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, author George Yatskievych states that plants with pink corollas open in the morning, those with white corollas at dusk.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Spring 2022 Claytonia

Hello ANPS Members,

We are pleased to announce the Spring Claytonia is now available online:

A huge shout out to Jennifer Ogle for taking on the Editor duties when Brian Lockhart had to resign his position. Thank you, Jennifer, for ensuring our members continue to get an informative and colorful Claytonia!

Nate Weston

ANPS President

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