May was definitely a lady’s slippers month. My friends and I found four species within a week (three in MO, 1 in AR). Of the three species found in Missouri, two are species of conservation concern within the state – Cypripedium candidum, small white lady-slipper (S1) and C. reginae, showy lady-slipper (S2S3). I’ve shared photos of C. reginae on this blog before and a C. candidum post will be coming shortly.
I’ve posted photos of C. parviflorum (yellow lady’s slipper) here before as well but these accompanying photos were taken at a new location for me in St. Francois County. Some taxonomists, books and keys have this species split into two varieties – C.parviflorum var. pubescens, or the “greater” yellow lady’s slipper and C.parviflorum var. makasin, the “small” yellow lady’s slipper. Some authors have even split these two into specific status while even others have argued there is no basis in splitting these into varieties. From my limited experiences with these in Missouri and the taxonomic descriptions I have read, I have not seen ample evidence to suggest these should be split into varietal forms. There seems to be a lot of variation in the characteristics that are supposed to describe these two varieties and until someone shows me better proof that these should be treated as two separate forms, all I can say is that, “I’m from Missouri” and I will not be including these as two in my “master list” of the Missouri orchids.
If you are knowledgeable in this area and wish to argue, by all means, please let me know.
I have shared photos of Platanthera ciliaris taken last year. But it is such a special occasion to find these guys at peak bloom, I wanted to share these taken this past summer.
Looking closely at the raceme featured above, you might notice another beauty pictured. Here lies a gorgeous orchard spider (Leucauge venusta) waiting for a likely pollinator or other insect perhaps looking for shelter within the blooms.
Today I’m sharing a couple of plants that Casey introduced me to that have a preference for growing in dry, sandy places. The first is a monarda that I did not know existed and has since become my favorite of the beebalms for certain.
Next up is Callirhoe triangulata, the clustered poppymallow. This supremely saturated flower strongly prefers, dry sandy soils. A stunner of a plant! We looked for compositions that allowed us to feature not only the flower, but the triangular-shaped leaf as well, which is indicative of this species. This species is very rare to possibly extirpated in Missouri.
We found this equally striking Rufous-banded Crambid moth (Mimoschinia rufofascialis) on an open flower. This moth uses these mallows as a host plant, feeding on the immature seeds. I’m not sure, but I doubt the adults feed; this one was likely just using the flower for shelter.
Rising from the alluvial plain that the Mississippi River carved in eastern Missouri and Arkansas is the geological feature known as Crowley’s Ridge. This ridge, composed of sedimentary soil known as loess, is populated with flora and fauna that are more-closely related to ecosystems of the Appalachians then they are to the closer, mountainous regions of the Ozarks to the North and West. One of the uniquely eastern species that is commonly found along Crowley’s Ridge is the devil’s walking stick, Aralia spinosa. This image was taken at Morris State Park in South-eastern Missouri.
Technical details: Canon EOS 50D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 160, f/11, 1/4 sec