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