In my 15 or so years of paying attention to important things like this, I have never seen spring ephemerals having a better year than this one. Places within the St. Louis metro area, such as Englemann Woods Natural area and Beckemeier Conservation Area are loaded with wildflowers right now. Whether this is because of the cool and mild spring we have been having so far, or some other reasons, I don’t know. Here are a few photos taken this week at Beckemeier C.A. I hope you get out to enjoy these yourself.
I was thrilled to be able to photograph this stunner of an orchid this past spring. Thanks to Casey Galvin who turned me on to this tiny population in Shannon County, MO.
The Showy Lady’s Slipper is currently ranked as S2/S3 in Missouri, meaning this species is imperiled/vulnerable. We carefully tread around these guys and hide their specific locations as this is a species that may still be poached for horticulture purposes.
Here is a series of the freshly blooming Fragrant Water Lilies (Nymphaeaceae – Nymphaea odorata) taken at Shaw Nature Reserve this past summer. I converted these to look like oil paintings using Photoshop CS6.
This plant uses an interesting pollination strategy. Insects are attracted to the flower and land on the concave tip of the ovary which contains a small amount of liquid. If the insect has visited another lily flower previously, then the pollen it is carrying gets washed off in this fluid and pollinates the flower. Often, the insect pollinator (usually small, native bees) will not be able to escape this small pool before the flower closes for the night and will therefore drown. See Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri by George Yatskievych for more details on these interesting wetland plants.
Thanks for visiting…
Another common visitor to native wildflower gardens are metallic sweat bees (Halictidae: Agapostemon sp.) such as the one posted here. Most species are quite small and are usually very active. It is best to try and photograph these guys (like most insects) at first light on a relatively cool morning.