Sand loving plants!

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) found at Sand Ridge State Forest, IL.

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.

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) found at Sand Ridge State Forest, IL.

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.

Callirhoe triangulata (clustered poppymallow)

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.

Callirhoe triangulata (clustered poppymallow) with adult Mimoschinia rufofascialis (Rufous-banded Crambid)

-OZB

Fragrant Water Lilies

Fragrant Water Lilies - 1
Fragrant Water Lilies – 1

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.

Fragrant Water Lilies - 2
Fragrant Water Lilies – 2

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.

Water Lilies - 3
Fragrant Water Lilies – 3

Thanks for visiting…
-OZB