Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bumbling Around

Yesterday was a spectacular example for perfection in fall days. Everybody seemed to be on task. The Grackles were migrating, the fall flowers were blooming and pollinators were working over-time to get the job done.

A roadside seep offered a generous display of Closed Bottle Gentians, Gentiana andrewsii. This is not a flower you'll see with 40 MPH botanizing- unlike the splashy Great Blue Lobelia. For this subdued little number, you'll have to get out of the car!

Closed Bottle Gentian is a wetland obligate; it is most often found by walking along a ditch, or small seep. Usually it well concealed by other foliage, but this unpretentious plant is worth a second look.

Its blue flowers are "closed" at the top, and hence the name of this species. There are other, showier members of the Gentian family, but this one cleverly protects its nectar and really puts it pollinators to work.

Notice how the flower is undulating and vibrating, due to the presence of a bumblebee. It takes one of these full sized native bees to "git-r-done."
Wimpy little European Honey bees need not apply.

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl,

    The other day I was walking along a country road (as I often do) looking to see what was growing (searching for natives)...when I spotted something different that the rest of the roadside mix: closed gentian! I was amazed and thrilled. Maybe I don't get out much, but I've never encountered it in the wild before--not that the roadside is quite what I'd call wild.

    I just did an image search and ended up here at your blog. Glad that I did. I, too, share a childhood interest in wildflowers and it continues today as I'm trying to restore our two acres in the country. I look forward to exploring your blog.