Nature Notes

A Day on the Prairie

By Boak Wiesner

With the flies buzzing around my head, I was glad of a Twelve-spotted Skimmer as my companion along my walk. This one perched on a Lead plant for a bit before continuing to circle me as it hunted.

DSC_0160I was struck by how many of the plants flowering right now produced yellow flowers. Common Mullein grows tall spikes of flowers. It’s rather a nuisance as it’s an invasive exotic from across the pond, i.e., it was carried, most likely inadvertently, from Europe. Goldfinches can eat the seeds.

DSC_0183Feelin’ down? St. John’s Wort can help with that in a variety of ways, one of which is just to revel in its glowing yellow flowers. Extracts of St. John’s Wort, of course, have been used to treat depression for centuries.

DSC_0172A little Skipper of was nectaring on some Oxeyes. Nectar is secreted in specialized cells called nectaries that are usually found deep at the base of flowers.

DSC_0193Black-eyed Susans are a commonly found splash of yellow in many open areas. Think botanical thoughts when you see these – Linneus named them after one of his professors.

DSC_0187Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist volunteer.

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