Old Field Meadow

I did some field work today in an upland old field meadow, with frontage onto the Chesapeake Bay.  The Anne Arundel County, Maryland site had numerous flowering plants, some of which included the following mid-August species.


Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa) is a native legume that attracts bumblebees, moths and butterflies.


This nearby senna looked different regarding the seed pods.  I read that we also have a Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica), with the main difference being that the wild usually has more flowers, and the Maryland version being less showy.  This plant used to be called Cassia, not Senna.


When I see Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), I usually think late summer and autumn, as this plant is flowering along fresh tidal and salt tidal shorelines in September and October, when I’m fishing.


Sneezeweed is a very attractive plant with a long bloom time.  It prefers open sun and moist conditions.  The plant is toxic, and is bitter to deer, thereby being graze intolerant.


Virginia Wild Rye (Elymus virginicus) likes wetland conditions, and the seedheads are eaten by mallards and mice, geese will feed on the forage.  It’s also a great forage for all manner of livestock.


Unfortunately low area of this tract were infested with Common Reed (Phragmites australis), a nuisance invasive found in every state of America.


Purpletop (Tridens flavus) has easily identifiable airy panicles that blow about in the wind.  If you pull the inflorescence with your hand, it will feel greasy, and hence another common name, being called grease grass.


I noted dozens of Wild Asparagus (Asparagus offcinalis), the plant that forms the early spring edible stems.  Don’t eat the late summer red berries, as they are toxic!


The colony-forming Shining Sumac (Rhus copallina).


Chicory (Cichorium intybus), the European naturalized species, with the look of the blue sky.


Queen Anne Lace (Daucus carota), the European naturalized species, with the look of the white clouds.  When mixed with chicory, its the meadow scene of my European ancestors.


Skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea). 


I just followed the butterflies to this Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). 


Crown Vetch (Securigera varia).


Eastern Gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) is a distant relative of corn and is a great warm-season forage for grazing wildlife.  The red “fuzzies” are the female reproductive parts, and the orange are the male.


The common legume, Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata). 


Not good.  Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) can grow upwards of 325,000 viable seeds per tree per year!  A noxious invasive of forest edges and fields.


The annual native Horseweed (Conyza canadensis).


Native Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis).


The highlight of the site was an enormous sweep (quarter acre) of Yellow-Flowered Leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalius). 


Leafcup is uncommon and has very large leaves, a key diagnostic.  It prefers open sun and damp places, and is a great pollinator for bees and wasps.

Great morning in the field, but hot and humid.