Family: Fabaceae (Pea)
Species: T. fragiferum
Common Name: Strawberry Clover
Habitat: Growing just behind the intertidal zone of a beach. Nearby species included Hyoscyamus niger, Geranium pratense and Echium vulgare.
Determiner: Dr. Richard Milne
Parasitism in plants is a spectrum. What I mean by this is that the ways in which plants have evolved a parasitic lifestyle ranges from somewhat parasitic to entirely parasitic. The lines are blurred and as time goes by I am sure that research will reveal even more examples. However, since I already talked about a plant that was fully reliant on a parasitic lifestyle, I would like to discuss some that are only partially parasitic.
Meet Pedicularis groenlandica or, as the flowers may suggest, elephant’s head! This is probably one of my favorite western species. Seeing it in person is quite an experience. It is native to the western U.S. and most of Canada. This member of the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae, is what we call a hemiparasite. Hemiparasitism is a type of partial parasitism. The plant does produce fern-like leaves that do undergo photosynthesis but by using specialized root structures called haustoria that grow into the roots of other plants, hemiparasites can obtain nutrients that way.
Houstoria do not grow into the cells of other plants, instead they weave their way in between the cells, which, to me, is quite interesting. It is worth noting that, to the best of my knowledge, all members of the broomrape family are parasites on some level. Many take it to the fullest and do not produce any of their own chlorophyll while many other genera are hemiparasites like elephant’s head.
Parasitism in the plant world is a fascinating topic of study. How and why the varied strategies evolved separately over many different families is a fun mystery. Enjoy these plants in the wild as the are incredibly difficult to establish from seed in a garden setting. If anyone has had success in germinating and growing these species, please chime in!
Scientific Name: Melampyrum sylvaticum
English Name: Small Cow-Wheat
Swedish Name: Skogskovall
In comparison to M. pratense, which has yellow and white flowers, the small cow-wheat has completely yellow (and smaller) flowers. The plant can be found throughout Sweden and prefers open, moist, and nutrient-rich forests.
The small cow-wheat seed is dispersed by insects, primarily ants. Read more here: x.
Spiderlilies (genus Hymenocallis)
… are native flowers occurring in damp habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Their distinctive spidery flowers, which give them their common name, are often fragrant. Some species may bloom as early as March in the southern parts of their range. They grow from bulbs, and may occasionally be found for sale among other bulb-grown species like tulips or daffodils.
They are members of the Amaryllis Family (Amaryllidaceae), which also contains other familiar spring bulbs like daffodils or snowdrops (both native to Europe). The most widespread is Northern Spiderlily (H. occidentalis), which grows as far north as southwestern Indiana. This image is of Spring Spiderlily (H. liriosme), found through the central southeast.
photo by Sweetbay (sweetbay103.blogspot.ca)
(via: Peterson Field Guides)
The florid crown of Utricularia vulgaris, who by means of creating a negative pressure region within tiny sacks in the water, via active osmosis, sucks in prey in under a 100th of a second. One of the most successful plants within the carnivorous flora niche. Quite beautiful flowers for us to look at, but if your a Daphnia (water flea) or Caenorhabditis elegans (nematode) then watch out.
Syn.: Pedilonum sulphureum
April 14, 2014