Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wingstem and Goldenrod

Yesterday I posted a series of pictures of yellow flowers. I included the perennial sunflowers in the garden, and the wingstem and goldenrod that grows wild in the pasture. I should have included the Jerusalem artichoke that's also in my gardens, but somehow I missed taking pictures of them in bloom this year.

All of these species have lovely yellow flowers. Both the perennial sunflowers and the Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes, as my maternal grandmother called them) are members of the Helianthus genus and look very much like small versions of the annual sunflowers.

Goldenrod and wingstem are also perennials and grow abundantly in our area. Usually their flowers aren't much to look at close up, but they color the roadsides and old fields with a sunny yellow in mid-September.
If you notice, the petals are very ragged on these flowers. I assume they unfold from the buds that way as I've never seen any wingstem with nice, neat petals.



Many people consider wingstem to be a weed species in trashy areas. You can read more about wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia, and goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, on the Virginia Tech Weed ID website. Just don't tell our pollinators that these plants are weedy: wingstem and goldenrod serve as an important nectar source for many insects in late summer, including the familiar honeybee and bumblebee.



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