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!

Sincerely, 

The ANPS Board

ANPS SPRING 2022 MINI MEETINGS SCHEDULE

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.

SATURDAY, APRIL 30: LITTLE ROCK AREA – EASTERN OUACHITAS & MISSISSIPPI ALLUVIAL PLAIN

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.

SATURDAY, MAY 7: NORTHEAST ARKANSAS – CROWLEY’S RIDGE AT VILLAGE CREEK STATE PARK
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.

SATURDAY, MAY 14: PINE BLUFF AREA – MISSISSIPPI ALLUVIAL PLAIN & WEST GULF COASTAL PLAIN

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.

SATURDAY, MAY 21: WEST-CENTRAL ARKANSAS – OUACHITA MOUNTAINS AT CADDO/WOMBLE RANGER DISTRICT

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!

SATURDAY, MAY 28: NORTHWEST ARKANSAS – OZARK HIGHLANDS AT PEA RIDGE NATIONAL MILITARY PARK (PRNMP)

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 – Ebony Spleenwort

Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) of the Spleenwort Fern (Aspleniaceae) family is a small to medium size, once-cut, evergreen fern. The genus name is from Greek for “without a spleen” which may indicate that plants of this genus were historically thought to treat medical issues relating to the spleen. The specific epithet is from Greek words meaning wide or flattened veins. The common name refers to the dark, lustrous stipe (petiole) and rachis (midrib of blade). Its U.S. distribution is widespread, ranging from eastern Texas and Oklahoma to southeastern Minnesota, across to southern Maine, thence south along the Atlantic Coast and back to Texas. It occurs in additional scattered occurrences in the U.S. as far west as Arizona. Ebony Spleenwort is also found in subtropical and tropical southern Africa (a unique distribution not known for other North American ferns), eastern Canada, and in isolated populations in eastern Europe. In Arkansas, it is reported from all counties. Habitat preferences range from shady to partially sunny sites that may have deep, mesic to wet soils, in fields and open woodlands with a thin litter layer (terrestrial sites) to rock outcrops, rocky slopes and crevices of rocks and masonry walls. Across its broad range, variability of fronds has resulted in classification of a number of forms and varieties, but few such names are recognized today. Ebony Spleenwort hybridizes with several other Asplenium species; those occurring in Arkansas are listed at the end of this article.

Photo 1: Ebony Spleenwort growing in deep sandy soil of a flat woodland with Christmas Fern (upper right) and Blunt-Lobed Cliff Fern (Woodsia obtusa) (lower right). Photo – December 19
Photo 2: Ebony Spleenwort growing in a crevice between boulders in a deciduous woodland. Largest fertile frond is 15 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Photo – October 31.
Photo 3: Ebony Spleenwort growing naturally on the north side of a stacked-rock wall. Photo – November 25.
Photo 4: This tight clump of Ebony Spleenwort plants is on the north side of a woodland margin. Photo – December 6. (see related Photos 6 & 7)

Ferns have a two-phase life cycle: the gametophyte phase (a plant which has one set of chromosomes in each cell) and the sporophyte phase (which has two sets of chromosomes). The sporophyte phase is the most conspicuous. Most of us have probably never seen a fern in its gametophyte phase. During the sporophyte phase, a fern looks like, well, a fern. They bear clusters of sporangia called sori (aka fruit dots) on the underside of the frond or in separate fronds. Each sorus may be protected by an indusium (covering). The sporangia, attached on minute stems, produce the spores. When spores mature, the indusium, if present, shrinks back so that sporangia are exposed; they dry and split, releasing spores to the wind. When a spore lands in a favorable environment, it germinates to begin the gametophyte phase.  This plant, called a prothallus, contains both a structure called an archegonium, which makes an egg, and an antheridium, which makes sperm. Gametophytes are normally found in moist environments because the sperm need to swim to the eggs in the archegonia.  The sperm and egg (which each have one set of chromosomes, just like in humans) join to make the zygote, the first cell of the sporophyte, which actually begins growth directly on, and is briefly nourished by, the gametophyte. For some ferns, the sperm and egg necessary for new sporophyte plants to develop must be from different gametophytes (produced from two different spores). Ebony Spleenwort, however, is capable of self-fertilization whereby viable sporophytes can develop from gametes of a single gametophyte. For information specific to the sporophyte phase of Ebony Spleenwort, see below.

Photo 5: Beyond the indusia, the stemmed sporangia are exposed. Leaflets (pinnae or pinnules) are mostly glabrous with scattered, minute, filiform scales along the rachis and across undersides of leaflets. Photo – Nov 16

Ebony Spleenwort has the ability to reproduce vegetatively by “proliferating buds” that form at the base of fertile and sterile fronds. This is uncommon in ferns. These minute, spherical buds occur in limited numbers. In a favorable environment, while attached to the parent frond, a bud may develop into plantlets with its own rootlets and small fronds. Reportedly, buds that drop-off while lacking rootlets and fronds may still develop into plantlets. These clonal plants remain at the base of the parent plant so that tight clumps of variously aged plants may form. (Herein below, reference to “fertile” and “sterile” fronds relates to the presence or absence of sori, respectively.)

Photo 6: A proliferating bud on this “sterile” frond (white arrow) has developed rootlets and a frond. This bud has a width of 1/32 inch. Length of its frond is ⅜ inch. Red arrows point to a second plantlet that has become detached from the parent plant. Parent fern and plantlets are all from clump shown in Photo 4.
Photo 7: These young plants, probably clonal, came from the tight clump shown in Photo 4.

This non-rhizomatous fern may occur singly, in scattered groups, or clonal colonies (see Photos 1-4). Size of ferns varies considerably depending on moisture, soil depth and sunlight. A terete, mostly vertical, central rootstock elongates year-by-year as new growth emerges from the rootstock’s crown. The rootstock, base rounded, is roughened by the spiky bases of previous years’ fronds. Rootstocks are supported by a dense mass of long, tangled, equal-sized, well-spread, fibrous roots growing from all around the central rootstock.

Photo 8: This plant was in a shady, deep-soil site. It has a stubby central rootstock (⅜ inch wide) with a mass of fibrous roots to 6¾ inch long. Photo – November 9.
Photo 9: This plant was in a crevice between large rocks in a woodland. Central rootstock, shown with mass of rootlets removed, is 2 inches long (as measured between the 2 arrows) and ¼ inch wide. Photo – December 28.

Fertile and sterile fronds are different in size, shape and leaflet shape, thus a dimorphic fern. New fertile fronds emerge in spring as curled-up fiddleheads while the previous year’s sterile fronds remain viable. New sterile fronds emerge in early summer. Erect fertile fronds are to 16 inches long (plus a 2-inch stipe) and 2 inches wide. The smaller, low-arching to prostrate sterile fronds are to 6 inches long (plus a ½-inch stipe) and 1 inch wide. Both fertile and sterile fronds have a narrowing base and apex. Fertile fronds may have an overall equal width except for the apex (oblong-lanceolate) or be widened at mid- or upper-frond (elliptic to oblanceolate). Sterile fronds may be linear to oblanceolate and may be laterally curved. Initially green, the stipe and rachis quickly become a lustrous dark purplish to reddish brown. With winter temperatures, the brittle fertile fronds tend to become broken and mostly die off while the later growing, ground-hugging sterile fronds remain green into spring.

Photo 10: These fertile-frond fiddleheads are poised for springtime emergence. Length of central rootstock is ⅜ inch. Same plant shown in Photo 8.
Photo 11: This springtime plant has three new fertile fronds with apexes still in fiddleheads. Several erect to reclined, old fertile fronds remain along with several low-arching to prostrate old sterile fronds. Photo – April 18.

Fertile fonds may have up to 50 pairs of alternate leaflets while the shorter sterile fronds may have up to 30 pairs. Initially triangular, most leaflets of fertile fronds become oblong to linear-oblong with leaflets near the base remaining smaller and retaining a triangular shape. Leaflets of fertile fronds may be to about 1 inch long and ⅜ inch wide. Leaflets of sterile fronds are to about ¼ inch long and 3/16 inch wide.

The evenly spaced medium to dark green leaflets have stubby, green petiolules (stalks of leaflets) and straight midribs set perpendicular to the terete rachis. Leaflets of fertile and sterile fronds have an ear-like extension (auricle) on the distal side of leaflet base. Leaflets of sterile fronds are more rounded and more closely spaced than those of fertile fronds so that rachises of sterile fronds are mostly hidden, when viewed from above. At the apex, leaflets decrease in size and merge to form an acute to obtuse apex. Rachises are mostly glabrous except for a few scattered, small to minute filiform scales along the stipe and rachis, increasing somewhat toward the stipes’ bases, and continuing onto the undersides of leaflets. Pinnate veins are obscure on the upper leaflet surface and, on the lower surface, the flattened secondary veins are only slightly visible. Secondary veins, without noticeable branching, are free (they do not reach leaflet margins).

On the lower sides of fertile frond leaflets are a double row of straight, elongate-oblong sori (the clusters of sporangia), to 1/16 inch long. Sori are positioned obliquely to either side of the central vein. Sori, aligned with the secondary-vein pattern, are positioned between the leaflet’s central vein and the low-points of the serrate to dentate margins. The number of sori on any particular leaflet varies from few to about 15 alternate-pairs. Sori are initially covered by a translucent to silvery indusium attached to the leaflet along one side – the side away from the central vein. Within each sorus, minute, spherical sporangia are atop minute stalks. In late summer into fall, indusia split to expose these tannish sporangia so that, upon drying, the dust-like spores can be released and dispersed by wind. With spores having been released, the sporangia have a frazzled appearance.

Photo 12: Ferns are dimorphic. A 15½-inch-long fertile frond on left (in 2 sections) is displayed to show upper and lower surfaces. Sterile fronds on right are displayed to show upper surface. Photo – December 19.
Photo 13: Display shows lower sides of sterile fronds. Along with sterile fronds being smaller, prostrate, and sometimes laterally curved, leaflets are more round and more closely spaced. Frond at lower left is 2 inches long. Photo – December 6.
Photo 14: Sori are positioned diagonally between the central vein and the low-points of the serrate to dentate leaflet margins. Sori are protected by translucent covers, called indusia (see arrow). Photo – November 16.
Photo 15: A pair of fertile fronds – lower side shown on left and upper side on right. Auricles are on the distal margin of leaflets; arrows indicate direction of frond apex. Photo – November 9.
Photo 16: With spores dispersed, sporangia have a frazzled appearance. Photo – December 15.

Ebony Spleenwort hybridizes naturally with several other species of the genus – some recorded in Arkansas. A sterile hybrid with Walking Fern (A. rhizophyllum) is Scott’s Spleenwort (A. x ebenoides). A sterile hybrid with Lobed Spleenwort (A. pinnatifidum) is Kentucky Spleenwort (A. x kentuckiense). Both hybrids are of conservation concern. Hybridization between Ebony Spleenwort and Mountain Spleenwort (A. montanum), along with a back-cross, has resulted in a fertile species – Bradley’s Spleenwort (A. bradleyi).

This small to medium sized, evergreen fern has delicate fronds which add fine-detail to a garden setting. It contrasts nicely with broad-leaf plants as well as with other ferns. This non-aggressive fern is suitable for fern gardens, rock gardens, and natural areas in sandy to loamy soils as well as rocky areas. Partial sun to dappled shade is acceptable where soils are typically moist and drainage is good. It may occur naturally in stacked-rock and masonry walls.

As many as nine additional species and four hybrids of Asplenium have been reported to occur in Arkansas.* These other species and hybrids are mostly limited to rocky outcrops; whereas Ebony Spleenwort is also found in terrestrial habitats. Additionally, characteristics that separate Ebony Spleenwort from the other Arkansas spleenworts include: 1) More obvious dimorphic fronds, 2) Alternate leaflets with basal auricles, 3) Leaflets of sterile fronds rather oval-shaped and closely spaced and 4) Dark purplish to reddish brown stipe/rachis throughout. It is most similar to Black Stem Spleenwort (aka Little Ebony Spleenwort) (Aspelnium resiliens). However, both the fertile and sterile fronds of the smaller Black Stem Spleenwort are erect and about the same size and shape, and its leaflets are opposite.


*Spleenwort species and hybrids reported to occur in Arkansas:

Bradley’s Spleenwort – Asplenium bradleyi
Scott’s / Dragon Tail Spleenwort – Asplenium x ebenoides
Graves’ Spleenwort – Asplenium x gravesii
Kentucky Spleenwort – Asplenium x kentuckiense
Mountain Spleenwort – Asplenium montanum
Lobed Spleenwort – Asplenium pinnatifidum
Ebony Spleenwort – Asplenium platyneuron
Black Stem / Little Ebony Spleenwort – Asplenium resiliens
Walking Fern – Asplenium rhizophyllum
Wall-rue – Asplenium ruta-muraria
Northern / Forked Spleenwort – Asplenium septentrionale
Maidenhair Spleenwort – Asplenium trichomanes
Trudell’s Spleenwort – Asplenium x trudellii

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Know Your Natives – Rough Leaf Dogwood

Rough Leaf Dogwood (Cornus drummondii) of the Dogwood (Cornaceae) family is a small, deciduous tree with opposite leaves, open clusters of small white flowers, and striking, decorative white fruit. The genus name derives from the Latin for “horn” in apparent reference to the hardness of the wood. The specific epithet recognizes Scottish botanist Thomas Drummond (1790-1835) who collected plant specimens from the western and southern U.S. The species occurs from eastern Texas to southeast South Dakota, east to Alabama and Ohio. In Arkansas, occurrence is mostly statewide with a notable gap in the counties of the Gulf Coastal Plain––perhaps explained by undercollecting. Habitats include various dry to wet soils on sunny and shaded sites, such as woodlands, woodland openings and borders, stream banks, fence rows and abandoned fields. Rough Leaf Dogwood is abundant along the Arkansas River.

Trees grow to 15-20+ feet tall from shallow, spreading roots that sucker to produce clonal trees. Spacing of trees in a colony may be tight or open, as determined by the age of the colony, shading, and rockiness of soil. Trees on more sunny sites develop a dense, broad, leafy crown, while crowded or shaded trees become tall with only a few erect branches. Some branches may exhibit a fast rate of growth (1+ feet per year) reaching for light. Epicormic branches may sprout directly from the trunk.

Photo 1: Trees on sunny sites have dense leafy twigs. To maintain a single trunk, suckers of this tree are removed. Yellow flowers at lower right are those of Yellow Crownbeard.

New twigs, initially pale green with dense, short pubescence, become reddish on their sunny side over several years before becoming gray and glabrous with small white lenticels that roughen with age. Twigs are straight. As they mature, the thin bark becomes shallowly fissured, splitting into small rectangular plates aligned along the branch. Fissuring becomes more pronounced on expanding trunks, with plates remaining relatively small and fairly tight. Lenticels eventually become lost on the rough texture of the bark.

Photo 2: Trunks of a colony are of various ages and sizes. New suckers may add trees beyond the perimeter of a colony or within a colony. These fissured trunks have characteristic small rectangular plates aligned with the trunk.

Overwintering, short, slender twigs (1-2 inches long) have small, valvate (2 scales in a praying-hand position) buds. With spring, twigs develop a terminal pair of opposite leaves and one to several pairs of lateral leaves. Most new-twig growth, both vegetative and reproductive, originates from terminal buds. Lateral buds often remain dormant or produce short-lived, stubby twigs. A reproductive twig’s terminal leaves subtend a floral cluster, as well as axillary buds. Vegetative twigs’ terminal pair of leaves subtend a single terminal bud. On sunnier sites, tips of robust twigs become congested with branches and inflorescence peduncles, making this architecture rather obscure.

Photo 3: Pairs of opposite twigs grow from the tips of the previous year’s fertile twigs, forming a Y-shape. Fertile and vegetative twigs become reddish on their sunny side over several years before becoming gray. Photo – November 19.
Photo 4: As paired twigs develop into branches, the branch on the upper side tends to become dominant. With the aging of branches, lenticels become less noticeable. Lowest branches in this photo are 6 feet above ground. (See lenticels in Photo 15.)
Photo 5: These trees, on a steep rocky slope, are in the understory. When falling oaks bent some trees, adventitious buds sprouted along the trunks and developed into erect stems.

The opposite, simple, ovate to elliptic leaves are about 4-6 inches long (including a 1-inch petiole) and 2-3 inches wide, with wedge-shaped (cuneate) to rounded or oblique bases and acuminate to abruptly acuminate tips. Leaves are green above and lighter below, with the sunny side of petioles becoming reddish. Pinnate venation is recessed above and expressed below, the secondary veins arching toward, but not reaching, the leaf apex. Both surfaces are pubescent, with moderately scabrous hairs above and softer hairs beneath––the upper surface feels slightly rough. Twigs and petioles are also hairy. In fall, leaves become orangish to purplish with distal leaves somewhat persistent.

Photo 6: Sunny sides of the pubescent twigs and petioles become reddish. A single terminal axillary bud occurs on the vegetative twig (left) and a pair occurs on the fertile twig (right) after the inflorescence has been shed. Bud scales are valvate. Photo – September 20.
Photo 7: Bases of the ovate to elliptic leaves may be oblique and apexes may be acuminate to abruptly acuminate. Veins are prominent on upper and lower surfaces. Well-spaced secondary veins are arcuate. Photo – September 29.
Photo 8: Dense, softly scabrous pubescence of upper surface (left) feels slightly rough, while villous hairs on lower side (right) feel soft. Hairs are not tightly appressed (as compared to Gray Dogwood – see below). Photo – November 5.

The inflorescence, from May to June, to 4 inches wide and 2 inches long, comprises a broad, rather flat-topped panicle on one or a few floral stalks. Fifty to eighty small white to creamy white flowers terminate the twigs of the current year. The pubescent branching stalks and pedicels redden as the fruits mature to white.

Photo 9: Long-stalked flower clusters are terminal on current year’s twigs. At upper left, with vigorous growth, short infertile secondary twigs may grow from the base of the inflorescence. Photo – May 10.

Flowers, about ¼ inch wide, have 4 sepals, 4 petals, 4 stamens (filament + anthers), and one pistil (ovary + style + stigma). Sepals, petals (about 3/16 inch long), and stamens (also about 3/16 inch long) are attached at the summit of the inferior ovary. The oblong anthers, set see-saw fashion at the narrowing tip of the filaments, are elevated higher than petals and stigma. The flattened stigma is at the apex of the erect style. A prominent nectary encircles the base of the style.

Photo 10: The firm oblong-lanceolate petals are wide-spreading to the point of being down-flexed. Straight filaments position anthers above the post-like style. Photo – May 15.
Photo 11: Flower clusters, terminal on current year twigs, are flat-topped to slightly domed. Anthers, stigma and nectary ring are a slightly darker color than petals. Stamens drop as flowers begin to fade.
Photo 12: All flowers of panicles bloom and fade at the same rate. Panicles are wider than long. Leaves are loosely folded along their midribs. Photo – May 25.

In August and September, the immature green drupes become white and fleshy as the floral stalks, floral branches, and pedicels become reddish. Each drupe, a slightly flattened sphere about ¼ inch across, contains a single, smooth stone. A dark, rimmed depression with persistent sepals at the fruit’s apex marks the former attachment point of the petals and stamens.

Photo 13: Fruits have a central apical scar that persists from the base of the petals and stamens. Stalks and branches of the inflorescence become red as fruits mature. Photo – July 29.
Photo 14: Mature white, flattened-spherical fruits contrast with the reddish floral branches and green leaves. Tiny persistent sepals can be seen on the rim of the scar. Photo – August 22.
Photo 15: Fruits are a favorite of many song birds as well as ground-dwelling birds. Light colored lenticels can be seen on the twig extending to right. Photo – September 14.
Photo 16: If fruits are not taken by birds, stalks dry and fruits shrivel. Fruits contain a single spherical stone. Minute sepals persist on some fruits (see red arrow). Photo – October 17.

In regard to gardens, Rough Leaf Dogwood has a strong suckering tendency and, for a single-trunk tree, would need continual sucker control. It will grow in the understory, but, depending on degree of shading, its structure may be sparse and flowering and fruiting may be limited. This small tree is ideal for a larger naturalized area, for property barriers, and bank stabilization. Its leafy growth, flower clusters, fruits and fall foliage can be showy. Fruits are highly prized by a wide variety of birds and mammals.

Photo 17: Fall foliage can be colorful with leaves at the ends of twigs persisting for up to a month. White arrow (lower left) points to the apex of a fertile twig where the infructescence has dropped off and a pair of axillary buds are present. Photo – November 8.

Five other dogwoods occur in Arkansas: 1) Alternate Leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) with alternate or whorled leaves and twigs as well as panicles of small white flowers and blue fruits, 2) Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) with showy white bracts surrounding a densely clustered flower head and red fruits, 3) Stiff Dogwood (Cornus foemina) with panicles of small white flowers and blue fruits, 4) Silky Dogwood (Cornus obliqua) with panicles of small white flowers and blue fruits, and 5) Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) with panicles of small white flowers and white fruits. Of these, Rough Leaf Dogwood is most likely to be confused with Gray Dogwood which has a similar growth habit and inflorescence. However, Gray Dogwood is more shrub-like, has panicles that are about as tall as wide, and its leaves are less pubescent, with smooth upper adaxial surfaces and abaxial hairs being appressed.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Know Your Natives – Downy Lobelia

Downy Lobelia (Lobelia puberula) of the Bellflower (Campanulaceae) family is a pubescent, herbaceous perennial bearing showy racemes of blue to lavender flowers. The genus name recognizes Matthias de l’Obel, a Flemish 16th-century physician and botanist who is credited with being the first to attempt to classify plants by attributes other than their medicinal uses. The specific epithet is the diminutive of the Latin puber, downy. In the U.S., Downy Lobelia occurs in a northeast-trending swath from eastern Texas and Oklahoma to the Atlantic Coast. In Arkansas, the species occurs across most of the state except for the northernmost counties and eastern portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Habitats vary from sunny to partially shaded bottomlands and mesic uplands: deciduous and pine woodlands, forest borders, meadows, ditches, and rights-of-way.

In early spring, an erect stem grows from the fibrous-rooted crown, the diameter of the root crown only slightly larger than that of the stem. Stems are slender, pale green to reddish, to ⅛ inch at base, growing to 3 feet tall. They are unbranched (unless their tips are damaged) and covered with dense, short, soft pubescence. Dry, naked stems may persist into the next growth-year.

Photo 1: A new stem grows from the crown of the stubby, erect, elongated main root. Photo – July 14
Photo 2: When damaged, several axillary stems may develop below the damage. Stems are densely pubescent. Photo – September 19.

Alternate simple stem leaves decrease in size upwards into the racemose inflorescence where they become floral bracts. Leaf shape varies: from ovate to elliptic and oblanceolate below the raceme, triangular to short-lanceolate within the raceme. Leaves are narrowed to short-petiolate, sessile or even clasping bases. Leaf margins vary from entire to finely and even coarsely serrate with sharp (mucronate) tips. Tips of leaves and bracts may bear white calluses due to transpiration of the plant’s white sap. Dense pubescence of leaf surfaces is similar to that of stems. Pinnate venation is obscure on the upper surface, but well expressed on the lower surface. Midribs of both surfaces are raised. Largest leaves may be 4+ inches long and 1½+ inches wide.

Photo 3: Dense pubescence covers the stem and upper and lower leaf surfaces. The crinkled leaf margins are not ciliate, but become highlighted in red in more sunny settings. Leaf-size diminishes upwards.
Photo 4: These sessile leaves, from a single stem, vary from ovate to broadly triangular to lanceolate and bear entire to slightly serrate margins. Upper surface displayed on left, lower surface right. Pinnate veins are obscure on upper surface. Photo – September 19.
Photo 5: These sessile leaves, from a single stem, are oblanceolate to deltoid with margins that have fine to coarse serrations. Upper surface displayed on left, lower surface right. Lower-left leaf is 2 inches long. Photo – October 17.

Blooming from late August into October, the inflorescence, along the upper third to half of the stems, is a raceme. Flowers in bloom are congested near the tip of the raceme but become spread out in fruit as the rachis elongates. Flowers are secund––aligned on the sunny side of the stems––and disposed spreading to ascending from the rachis on short, ascending pedicels, ⅛-¼ inch long. They are subtended by single bracts that decrease in size distally.

Photo 6: Developing flowers are amply spaced; flowers in bloom are congested near the tip of the inflorescence. Appearing to be sessile, flowers have short pedicels that hug the rachis.

Corolla morphology is complex and best understood from pictures rather than description. Suffice it to say that the showy, blue to lavender, tubular corollas are bilabiate, or 2-lipped. The upper lip is narrowly and deeply split into 2 lobes, the lower lip prominently 3-lobed, forming a landing pad for pollinating insects. Exterior of the entire corolla is uniformly pubescent, the interior glabrous.

Photo 7: Flowers are secund along the rachis. Central lobe of lower lip may be variably white. Note change of leaf size and shape along stem (below) and rachis (above). Photo – September 25.
Photo 8: The tubular flowers are 2-lipped. The upper lip is split, comprising 2 lanceolate lobes; the lower lip divides distally into 3 broad, spreading lobes.

Flowers, to about ¾ inch long, have 5 white to lavender stamens (filament + anther) that are disposed around the style and stigma––the ovary is inferior. The slightly pubescent filaments, standing free along most of their length, become fused near their tips where they bear elongate, pubescent, gray anthers that are also fused, into a ring. At early-anthesis, the style is surrounded by the filaments with the stigma enveloped by the anther ring. After pollen is shed, style growth protrudes the rounded stigmas beyond the ring, where the pollen is available to forgaging insects. The anther ring remains in the throat of the corolla.

Corollas are surrounded by a short calyx tube and 5 prominent, linear-lanceolate lobes. Calyx is medium green to reddish in sunny areas, with ciliate lobe margins. The inferior ovary is densely pubescent.

Photo 9: The knobby stigma becomes exserted while the anther ring remains within the throat (see flower at upper right-center). Note ciliate calyx lobes.
Photo 10: Calyx lobes are linear-lanceolate from a broad base. Lobe margins, with ciliate pubescence, are typically entire but may be serrated. (Photo taken down-rachis.)
Photo 11: Display shows 1) pale green receptacle with reddish calyx lobes, 2) pale green style with knobby stigma, 3) two lanceolate lobes of the upper lip, 4) lower lip with three broad lobes, and 5) filaments joined distally and topped with the anther ring.

After flowers fade, the shriveled brown corolla, stamens and style/stigmas remain attached at the summit of the ovary. The inferior ovary below the calyx enlarges into a conic capsule at maturity. Tightly packed ovules develop into minute, yellow-brown seeds. When the glabrous capsules dry, the tips of the 2 valves dehisce separately so that a pair of gaping pores appears, side-by-side. Dry capsules quickly disintegrate. Each capsule may produce hundreds of seeds. Surface of seeds is tuberculate. Seed dispersal is by wind and surface water.

Photo 12: Drying flower parts remain attached to developing capsules. The leathery calyx lobes hide and protect the capsule. These floral bracts have coarse serrations. Photo – October 17.
Photo 13: With calyx lobes and dry flower parts removed, the exterior of the developing capsules can be seen. The short pedicels (¼ inch long), hugging the rachis, have several appressed, tiny, linear bracteoles.
Photo 14: The conic capsules have axile placentas attached to a partition separating the 2 valves. This capsule is ¼ inch long and 3/16 inch wide. Ovoid seeds are tuberculate (see uppermost seed on left).
Photo 15: The apex (as shown) of this dry capsule (3/16 inch wide), having dehisced, has 2 gaping pores separated by the partition (see arrows). Seeds shown in inset photo are about a third of the seeds in this particular capsule. Squares = ¼ inch. Main Photo – October 14. Inset Photo – October 30

An additional 5 species of Lobelia occur in Arkansas: Pale Lobelia (L. appendiculata), Cardinal Flower (L. cardinalis), Indian Tobacco (L. inflata), Great Blue Lobelia (L. siphilitica), and Pale Spike Lobelia (L. spicata). Downy Lobelia is distinguished by its dense pubescence on stems, leaves/bracts, rachis, and exterior of corollas. Unlike the somewhat similar Great Blue Lobelia, flowers of the smaller Downy Lobelia are more loosely spaced and oriented to the sunny side of the raceme.

Downy Lobelia, although not especially eye-catching, should be welcomed in a natural area or practically any garden with mesic to wet soil and partial to full sun. It is a small, erect, non-aggressive herbaceous plant which can be attractive throughout the growing season. Plants in wet, sunny habitats are stouter with more flowers and healthier fruits. Great nectar sources for swallowtails and hummingbirds. May be grazed by deer.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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Know Your Natives – Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) of the Dogbane (Apocynaceae) family has clear sap (not milky) and showy orange (reddish orange to uncommonly yellow) flowers. The genus name honors the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. The specific epithet is Latin for “swollen,” a reference to the roots. The species is widespread and common from eastern Texas to Minnesota, east to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Disjunct populations occur in the Four-Corner States. In Arkansas, plants grow statewide. Other common names include Butterfly Milkweed, Orange Milkweed, and Pleurisy Root (historically used to treat pleurisy). Preferred habitats are open areas with dry to mesic, well-drained soils: rocky uplands and slopes, open woodlands, prairies, fields, and rights-of-way.

Photo 1: Butterfly Weed has clear sap and nectar that attracts swallowtails and other butterflies. This is the summer form of Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus).

Butterfly Weed typically occurs as an erect, perennial herb, 1-2½ feet tall, from a large, tough, knobby crown. Descending taproots may be 1-1½ feet long. Around the first of April, one or more densely pubescent stems sprout directly from the rootstock. With sufficient, late-season soil moisture, spring-like shoots sprout from both the rootstock and mature stems. Plants survive droughts well, but as soils dry out, stems may straggle or die to the rootstock. At the end of the growth year, stems quickly disintegrate.

Photo 2: These mid-April stems, with prominent pubescence, are most likely from a single rootstock. Old stems, as seen, disintegrate over winter.
Photo 3: The erect, pale green spring-time stems are not branched. In early May, most stems of this plant terminate with developing inflorescences.
Photo 4: After a dry period, this plant (may be two plants) ceased growth; some stems died and surviving stems became scraggly (one bearing seed pods). With improved soil moisture, new stems sprouted from the rootstock, but died again with further drying of soil.

Leaves are alternate, oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, sessile or short-petiolate, 3½ inches long and 1 inch wide. At first crowded together, leaves become well-spaced as stems elongate, gradually decreasing in size upwards. Leaf pubescence is dense on both surfaces, that of the lower surface longer, especially on the midvein––the lower surface feels fuzzy. Margins are narrowly revolute.

Photo 5: Alternate leaves are oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate with narrowly revolute margins. Caterpillar is Unexpected Tiger Moth (Cycnia inopinatus).
Photo 6: Leaves have pubescent surfaces––the lower surface more so. The sessile to short-petiolate leaves have rounded, truncate, or cordate bases. Venation is weakly pinnate. Lower leaf of inset is 1⅞ inches long and ½ inch wide.

Plants produce terminal clusters of flowers in spring and, often, again in summer after rainfall. Clusters consist of multiple umbels that are from 1-2½ inches wide with 8-25 closely spaced flowers per umbel. A loose calyx with 5 light green lobes encloses the flower bud. As buds enlarge, the green color transitions to orange. Within a flower cluster (2-6 inches across), together with a central umbel, several diverging, spreading, floral branches bear a few to a half-dozen additional umbels, in straight-line sequence. Central umbels and innermost umbels on floral branches bloom first, with all flowers of an umbel blooming at the same time.

Photo 7: In uppermost flower cluster, flower bud development of the central umbel (topmost) is more advanced than that of the umbels immediately below––the emerging corollas have grown beyond the tips of the calyx lobes. Monarch caterpillars prefer to forage on the freshest growth.
Photo 8: This terminal inflorescence has a central umbel and two floral branches with the umbels on the branches in a straight-line sequence. All flowers of an umbel bloom at the same time.

Umbels are rounded in outline (as seen from above) and nearly flat (as seen from the side). Peduncles (½–2½ inches long) grow directly from floral branches, often opposite a leaf. Pedicels are about 1 inch long. Peduncles, pedicels and calyx lobes are pubescent, with hairs of peduncles longer and those of the calyx lobes on the exterior only.

Photo 9: The sturdy, pubescent peduncles grow directly from the stem, often opposite a leaf. Straight, slender, less hairy pedicels, attach at the tip of the peduncle to form the umbels.
Photo 10: This dense inflorescence combines that of several, closely spaced stems. Umbel at upper center has begun to fade. Leaves darken with age.

Flowers in bloom consist of a calyx with 5 strongly reflexed lobes hidden by a corolla with 5 strongly reflexed lobes––a perianth typical of many angiosperm flowers. The distinctive structure of the complex milkweed flower is the corona or crown, here comprising 5 erect hoods, each with an exserted, curved horn. An additional morphological anomaly of the milkweed flower is a central column or anther head formed by the fusion of the 5 anthers to the style tip. The petal-like hoods (to ¼ inch long) extend from the base of a tube formed by the fusion of the staminal filaments. The hoods hold the nectar attractive to pollinating insects, in this species, mostly butterflies and bumblebees. A longitudinal section of a flower reveals yet a third unusual structure: the pistil is compound, comprising two carpels, however, they are fused together only above the ovaries to form a single style. Each ovary is separate from its partner.

The adaptive significance of these floral novelties is fascinating. Pollen grains are not granular but cemented together into packets called pollinia––a departure from the norm found only in the milkweed subfamily of the dogbanes and in the unrelated orchid family. There are two pollinia in each anther. As the flower matures, pollinia of adjacent anther-halves become connected by threadlike translator arms to a small secretion of the anther head called a corpusculum or gland. A corpusculum is positioned directly above each of 5 slits––vertical openings that form between the 5 adjacent anthers. When a pollinating insect collects nectar, a leg may inadvertently enter a slit and become snagged by the notched base of the corpusculum. As the insect flies away with an attached corpusculum, the adjacent pair of translator arms with their pollinia is pulled out. The unique contraption––one corpusculum, 2 translator arms, and 2 pollinia––is called a translator. As the insect feeds on other flowers, the translator arms dry and rotate the pollinia, orienting them for a perfect fit into the stigmatic slit of another flower. If a pollinium is then accidentally inserted into a slit, the pollen grains within the pollinium germinate, produce pollen tubes that grow down the style into the ovary, and fertilization of more than 100 eggs is consummated. The stigmatic slits provide both a site where insects can most easily snag a corpusculum as well as an opening into the stigmatic surface of the style, where the pollinium can effect pollination.

Photo 11: Petal-like hoods, forming the corona, are appendages of the staminal filaments, and the exserted horns are appendages of the hoods. Tiny black spots (one at white arrow) between the hoods are the corpusculums that sit above the stigmatic slits.
Photo 12: With corolla and crown hoods removed (#1 and #6, respectively), the following structures can be seen: the anthers (#3) and anther wings (#2) that form the stigmatic slits, stigma head (#4), and stigmatic slit with corpusculum (#5) directly above it.

Typically, only one flower of an umbel develops fruit and only one of the two ovaries of a fertilized flower matures. Fruits are spindle-shaped, single-suture pods (follicles) that stand erect on descending stalks (pedicels). They are smoothly short-pubescent, to 6 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, with seeds along a placenta attached at the suture. When mature and dry, the light tan, papery pods split along the suture from tip to base so that the placenta becomes free-standing. The ⅛-inch, flat, ovate, brown seeds are stacked in the lower part of the pod with long silky, white, apical hairs (1½ inches long) extending toward the narrowing pod tip. As pods gradually open wide on sunny days, breezes tug out the hairs with attached seeds for short- to long-distance dispersal. (Dispersed seeds may not be viable due to predation of ovules by milkweed bugs or dry soil conditions.)

Photo 13: Pods are double-walled when green and feel spongy. Stalks of the pubescent pods are twisted below the somewhat persistent calyx. This pod is 3¼ inches long.
Photo 14: In early October, these Monarch caterpillars eat the freshest leaves. The erect pods are thickened along their lower portion where developing seeds are located.
Photo 15: Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus), both nymphs and adults, feed destructively on developing seeds by inserting their proboscis through the pod wall (see adult on right).
Photo 16: Dry follicles split along their one suture so that the placenta becomes free-standing (see upper pod). Pod on left did not develop fully.

The showy Butterfly Milkweed is a “must have” for well-drained soils of natural areas and most gardens, especially if soil moisture is consistent. The hardy species has outstanding aesthetic appeal with its erect stems and prominent flowers and pods. A nectar source for hummingbirds, swallowtails, fritillaries and the Monarch. Although the sap is considered toxic, the plant hosts caterpillars of the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) and the Unexpected Tiger Moth (Cycnia inopinatus). Ovules within green pods are consumed, from the outside, by adults and nymphs of the Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) and Small Milkweed Bugs (Lygaeus kalmii). Aphid infestations can stop fresh growth. With drying soils and summer heat, stems become ragged or die back to the ground, but renewed fresh growth may occur with improved moisture. Dry, empty pods can last for years in dry arrangements.

Photo 17: In early June, these Butterfly Weeds blend with other native species in a garden setting including Dittany (Cunila origanoides), Hairy Blazing Star (Liatris hirsuta) and Rattleweed (Astragalus canadensis).

Butterfly Weed, one of 14 species of Asclepias that occur in Arkansas, is readily distinguished by its orange flowers, lack of milky sap, alternate leaves, and pubescence. Four species have been featured previously in this series of articles: Four-Leaved Milkweed (A. quadrifolia), White or Red-ring Milkweed (A. variegata), Whorled Milkweed (A. verticillata), and Green Milkweed (A. viridiflora).

Article and photographs by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl

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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.

MEETING LOCATION

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

LODGING LOCATION

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.

DINING OPTIONS

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”.

FIELD TRIPS

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

Folks,

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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