Tag Archives: Wildflower

Bishop’s Cap | Clifty falls Wildflowers

One of the coolest little wildflowers that I photograph is the Bishop’s Cap (Mitrewort) this is without a doubt the smallest wildflower I have ever captured. The bloom itself is about the size of a pea and it grows on about 6 inch tall slender stems any slight air motion will cause them to sway, which makes photographing these species one of the hardest I have attempted. They bloom in early to mid April and love the deep forested canyons of Clifty falls State Park, you can also find them in the heavily forested areas that cover many parts of our county. The bloom itself is very beautiful and has a very cool structure to it.

Photographing this wildflower definitely requires a tripod and somewhat fast shutter speeds, a macro lens as well will give you the best results.  And probably the most important aspect of getting the best shot is patience and lots of it. As I said before not just wind sends this subject into a shake but any air flow at all will keep this wildflower moving for long periods of time even in what you may think are calm conditions.

Here is what I think is probably my best shot to date of this little gem, I am posting the first one as the actual plant size and the second image is a cropped version and as you can tell it is a bit soft from air movement.

I hope you enjoy the images and description and thanks for stopping by !!

 

bishop's cap 2 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

 

bishop's cap 3 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

Larkspur | Clifty Falls State Park Madison Indiana

Here are a couple more images of one of the many wildflowers that inhabit Clifty falls State Park near Madison Indiana. Clifty Falls is one of the best parks in the state of Indiana not only for wildflowers but for the outstanding hiking, wildlife viewing and views of the many waterfalls that line the canyons and gorges of this wonderful tract of land.

Today’s wildflower is the Larkspur and according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center…

The Larkspur is a slender, upright perennial, with unbranched stems from 1-2 ft. tall. White to pale blue, spurred flowers in a narrow cluster on a finely downy stalk. Pale blue to white, spurred flowers appear in a narrow, terminal spike. Leaves are divided and lobed into narrow segments. Basal leaves often form a winter rosette which withers before the flowers open. The Spanish name is Espuela del caballero from its resemblance to a horsemans spur.

When in flower, this midwestern species can carpet acres of prairie before the grasses take over. Plains Larkspur was once considered to be a separate species, D. virescens, but studies of variation in larkspurs have now classified it as a subspecies of the widespread Carolina Larkspur, D. carolinianum ssp. virescens. The species, with three subspecies, ranges from the eastern edge of the West to the southeastern United States. Some phases may be blue. Larkspurs intergrade among species, and flower color varies from white to pale or dark blue in some species, making them difficult to classify and identify. Most blue-flowered species have white-flowered variants, and a few are consistently white or very pale blue. The geographic range of the white-flowered Wooton’s Larkspur (D. wootonii) overlaps with that of Plains Larkspur on the plains of eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska, but most of its range is to the south and west, to southeastern Arizona and western Texas. Wooton’s Larkspur usually has leaves mostly at the base and reflexed sepals, whereas Plains Larkspur has leafy stems and spreading sepals. Also white-flowered are Alkali Larkspur (D. gypsophilum), found in the San Joaquin Valley and the southern Coast Ranges of California; Peacock Larkspur, a hybrid between D. menziesii subsp. pallidum and Cow Poison (D. trolliifolium), with brightly glandular-hairy petals, found in western Oregon; and Pale Larkspur (D. nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum), without glandular petals, found in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon.

And now for a couple images of the Larkspur, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

 

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larkspur 1 2014

Clifty Falls State Park Wildflowers | Wild Geranium

Three posts in a week how about that.  I am starting to get caught up again which is leaving me time to post here, problem is in mid July it will be starting again with the weddings, but hey it helps pay the bills !!

So here is another wildflower image, this time I photographed the Wild Geranium at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana.  And once again since I am too lazy a description according to Wikipedia..

Geranium maculatum, the spotted geranium, wood geranium, or wild geranium is a woodland perennial plant native to eastern North America, from southern Manitoba and southwestern Quebec south to Alabama and Georgia and west to Oklahoma and South Dakota.[1][2] It is known as Spotted Cranesbill or Wild Cranesbill in Europe, but the Wood Cranesbill is another plant, the related G. sylvatium (a European native called “Woodland Geranium” in North America). Colloquial names are Alum Root, Alum Bloom and Old Maid’s Nightcap.

It grows in dry to moist woods and is normally abundant when found. It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 60 cm tall, producing upright usually unbranched stems and flowers in spring to early summer. The leaves are palmately lobed with five or seven deeply cut lobes, 10–12.5 cm broad, with a petiole up to 30 cm long arising from the rootstock. They are deeply parted into three or five divisions, each of which is again cleft and toothed. The flowers are 2.5–4 cm diameter, with five rose-purple, pale or violet-purple (rarely white) petals and ten stamens; they appear from April to June in loose clusters of two to five at the top of the stems. The fruit capsule, which springs open when ripe, consists of five cells each containing one seed joined to a long beak-like column 2–3 cm long (resembling a crane‘s bill) produced from the center of the old flower. The rhizome is long, and 5 to 10 cm thick, with numerous branches. The rhizomes are covered with scars, showing the remains of stems of previous years growth. When dry it has a somewhat purplish color internally. Plants go dormant in early summer after seed is ripe and dispersed.[2][3][4]

The plant has been used in herbal medicine, and is also grown as a garden plant. Wild Geranium is considered an astringent, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. The Mesquakie Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.[5]

Hope you like the description and the image thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

 

wild geranium 1 2014 big oaks

 

 

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Clifty Falls Wildflowers | Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is another great little blue wildflower that grows at Clifty falls State Park  in Madison Indiana. I photographed these little beauties along trail one coming down from the old watchtower that overlooks the Ohio River.

According to Friends of the Wildflower Garden….

(Greek Valerian, Spreading Jacob’s Ladder). The Polemonium genus covers a large number of plants commonly known as “Jacob’s Ladder”. Polemonium reptans, while still referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder” is more correctly named “Greek Valerian” or “Spreading Jacob’s Ladder” as it can root from the stems. Greek Valerian is a native mostly erect perennial forb growing 8 to 20 inches high on slender stems that frequently recline. There is some branching near the top. Stems are light green but can be reddish green, usually smooth, with angled sides. The leaves are alternate and pinnately-divided into 7 to 17 oblong leaflets, each leaflet up to 1-1/2 inches long. A terminal leaflet creates the odd number of leaflets, which are medium green in color, with smooth edges, usually no hair on the upper surface, and usually not stalked. The upper leaves within the the inflorescence usually have only 3 to 5 leaflets, sometimes just a simple leaf. The underside of the leaflet is paler in color with some fine hair. The inflorescence is a loosely branched panicle with just a few flowers per branch, arising at the top of the stems. The flowers are bell shaped with 5 blue-violet petals that spread slightly. The calyx is light green, sometimes with reddish tints, sometime with fine hair. Its tip has five triangular teeth. There are five stamens with whitish filaments and pale yellow anthers. There are not exerted – not longer than the petals. The single style is longer and has a 3-parted tip. Seed: Fertile flowers produce a dry 3-chambered seed capsule with about 3 seeds in each chamber.

Habitat: Spreading Jacob’s Ladder grows in the rich soils of open woods, slopes, shaded banks. While it may tolerate full sun, it will do best in light shade to dappled sun such as under a high tree canopy. For best bloom it needs soils that are moist to mesic. The stems may root if they lay on the ground. The root system is fibrous with a small crown. It also spreads by reseeding. Names: The species name Polemonium is a bit obscure but thought to have a reference back to the Greek philosopher Polemon. The species name, reptans, refers to having creeping or rooting stems. The name ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is an old biblical reference to the leaflets forming ‘a ladder to heaven’. Comparisons: Several species are similar to P. reptans. P. occidentale, and P. vanbruntiae have brighter flowers with stamens exerted beyond the petals which are wider spreading. The garden variety of Jacob’s Ladder sometimes sold with the scientific name P. caeruleum and sometimes with the other scientific names and called “Greek Valerian” or “Jacob’s Ladder” has fewer narrower leaves, blue flowers and seed capsules without stalks.

Now here is the image of the Jacob’s Ladder, hope you find the description and image helpful in your next wildflower hike or photographic endeavor.

 

 

jacob's ladder 1 2014 eagle hollow road

Clifty Falls Wildflowers| Wood Poppy

Once again I have fallen behind in posting to this site or my other Portrait  site for that matter as well.  I took a wildflower photography vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then took a family vacation down there as well.  Also five straight weekends of weddings in May didn’t help matters as well, so maybe now I can post some of the great images I was able to capture the last couple months !!

But first here is another wildflower image I was able to capture at Clifty Falls State Park here in Madison Indiana. This wonderful specimen is a Wood Poppy and according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia…

Stylophorum diphyllum (celandine-poppy, wood poppy, poppywort) is a herbaceous perennial native to moist woodland in eastern North America, valued for its yellow flowers. The common name is derived from greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), a closely related European plant with similarly shaped leaves and similarly coloured and shaped flowers.

Plants grow about 1.5 feet tall from rhizomes. Leaves are pinnately cut and lobed. They grow from the base and off the flowering stems. Apart from its normal sap, Stylophorum diphyllum produces a yellow-orange latex that stains.

In spring, the deep yellow flowers of the Wood Poppy appear as a brilliant display on the forest floor. It comes as no surprise that the other common names of this plant are “Yellow Poppy” and “Celandine Poppy”. Members of the Poppy Family are characterized by their production of latex, which in the case of the Wood Poppy is yellow. The flowers have 4 yellow petals, two soon falling sepals, many yellow-orange stamens, and a single knobby stigma. They appear in umbels of one or more flowers from early spring to early summer.

After fertilization, a bristly blue-green pod hangs below the leaves. Seeds with white elaiosomes ripen in midsummer and the pod opens by four flaps.

Plants are relatively long lived and readily self-seed under garden conditions, where they are grown under full to part shade.

The Wood Poppy is a beautiful wildflower but they are extremely hard to photograph at times, the bloom is so big it tends to make the plant droop over making it hard to focus on the inside of the bloom. I captured this one right as it bloomed from the bud and hadn’t gotten a chance to fall over.

So here is the image and I hope you like it and I also hope you take the opportunity to get out and photograph or just observe the many different variates of wildflowers that grow here in Southern Indiana ad in your neck of the woods as well !!

 

 

wood poppy 1 clifty falls state park madison indiana 2014

Blue-Eyed Mary | Madison Indiana

Here are a couple more shots of one of the many varieties  of wildflowers that cover the landscape here in Southern Indiana, the Blue-Eyed Mary is another one of the beautiful blue colored wildflowers that are a favorite to view and photograph !!

According to Wikipedia…

Collinsia parviflora is a species of flowering plant in the Plantaginaceae known by the common names maiden blue eyed Mary and small-flowered collinsia. This tiny wildflower is a common plant throughout much of western and northern North America, where it grows in moist, shady mountain forests. This is an annual plant with a spindly reddish stem and narrow lance-shaped green leaves with edges that curl under. The minuscule flowers grow singly or in loose clusters of several. Each flower has five lobes, the lower deep blue to purple and the upper white. The whole corolla is only a few millimeters across.

I  find Clifty Falls State Park is a favorite place to find them in mass colonies along the bottom part of trail 8 leading down onto the gorge, this specimen  grows along rocky stream beds and along old road beds as well.

They are just another one of the great wildflowers that grow here and are a fantastic subject to capture, hope you enjoy the pics and thanks for taking a look !!

 

 

blue eyed mary 2 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

blue eyed mary 1 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

Virginia Bluebells | Clifty Falls State Park Madison Indiana

Sorry for the absence on posting wildflowers this spring but I am right in the middle of a stretch of weddings that is keeping me busy.  So this morning I have a minute and thought I might share some images of one of my favorite wildflowers from here in Southern Indiana and that is the Virginia Bluebell.

The Virginia Bluebell is a erect plant with smooth gray-green foliage and nodding clusters of pink buds that open into light blue trumpet-shaped flowers. The 1-2 ft. branched and arching stems of Virginia bluebells bear large drooping, terminal clusters of lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers. Large, gray-green, oval leaves line the stems of this perennial.

When it grows in masses, this species makes a spectacular show, especially in the Midwest.  I tend to find them growing along stream banks and steep hillsides here in Southern Indiana.

I have found colonies of this plant that covered entire hillsides in some of the gorges that line the Ohio River near Madison Indiana, I especially enjoy photographing one colony that grows at Clifty Falls State Park.

Virginia Bluebells are one of the most amazing wildflowers to view and photograph and I could never imagine a wildflower season without taking the time to stop and enjoy this wonderful little wildflower. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look and I hope you enjoy the pics I have included with this post !!

 

 

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