Monday, August 18, 2014

Is it the Beginning or the End?


It was a very hot day out in the meadow today with temperatures close to the 80s. I should have brought along a water bottle, so I walked around the edge making use of the old deer beds underneath the trees in the nice shade. Tucked into the autumn-olive bushes was a little cave where deer slept and gorged on the berries around it. Now, only the mint smell remains when walking through the meadow with little to no other sign of that purple flower. Smooth Brome marks that transition in my meadow as well, the grass is dying and turning yellow by the heat of the summer sun but some new life begins to take its place. Identifying the autumn-olive last week brings me to a sense of awareness on the amount of how many silvery leafed bushes there are in that little meadow. Truly looking at my meadow I have a sense that it is inhabited by invasive or introduced species. The meadow is a look at why restoration is so crucial now a days because the areas has low biodiversity and not nearly as beautiful as it could be.

Lets Identify

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

This flower has not been spared by the sun’s rays. The top leafs have fallen off and the ones that have survived do not look like there is much life in them. One of the few flowers here that is native. He was located by himself in the middle of a pocket of meadow that was surrounded by the autumn-olive. While the remaining leafs look dead they may by the natural purple that one would expect to find on this plant. One of the largest characteristics is the deeply lobed leafs that is does have. Flowers were bright yellow and I must have found it early because the flowers have yet to go into seed which is similar to dandelions. The meadow provides a perfect place for the wild lettuce being an abandoned and field and because of the dry soils it is on and the full sun of the meadow. It is a good source of food for all insects provides nectar for adults and flowers and leafs for the larvae. Considered a weed to most people.

Hiltey, J. (2014, July 28). Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis). Retrieved August 17, 2014.

Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace, or Bird’s Nest (Daucus carota)

The highly divided leafs separate it from the common yarrow as they are more string like. One of my first memories of Queen Anne’s Lace was in the animated series of Anne of Green Gables. They identified the plant and told a fable of why it was called Queen Anne. I was afraid it was always poisonous. It has some traces of poison but I was getting it confused with poison hemlock which is very poisonous. Wild carrot many times has a purple flower in the center of the white umbel. When the flower is about to go into seed that is when it curls up given it’s common name, Bird’s nest. It has also been used as an herb but the cultivated carrot is originally from this plant. Allen, C. (n.d.). The Wild 

Carrot - Queen Annes Lace. Retrieved August 17, 2014.

Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

No wonder the flower is called daisy because that is exactly what it looks like, a daisy. They share the same taxonomic family the asteraceae have a lot of common traits but the fleabane has more rays that the common daisy. This guys was found throughout the prairie that provides it with plenty of sun. They are found in abandon fields similar to my meadow and is one of the few native species I have found in my area. They provide nectar for lots of different insects and a food source for the groundhog that only lived a couple of feet away. Since this meadow has not been restored other native plants may need help to reestablish but daisy fleabane can grow by itself. It should survive in the area for the next few years as it is a biennial. Daisy flea bane is a nice little flower that is bringing a little bit of color to the dying plants around it.

Hiltey, J. (2014, July 31). Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus). Retrieved August 18, 2014.

Timothy-grass (Phleum pratense)

Another non-native grass, Timothy grass was used for cultivation for good sources for cattle. My guess was that this meadow was an old field either for cattle or at one time had alfalfa on it. Timothy will be added to hay seed mixes because they do not over compete with legumes. The grass is found it all 50 states and is still used with seed mixes in fields as well as bugger strips. Basically, the grass exist in where every it can find a home but does not bother any native species and just likes its one little area. The head of the grass gives it’s identify feature as all of the seeds are located in a dense spike at the top of the plant. As the grass was used for cultivation it provides a great food source for the animals in my meadow such as the deer and the turkey. When I put away the guinea hens, one of them stopped for a treat of eating the grass before he finally made his way into the barn. The grass is non-native but it really isn’t hurting anyone and doesn’t want to hurt anyone, so is that bad?

Ogle, D. (2011, March 1). Plant Guide for Timothy. Retrieved August 18, 2014.

Question of the Week

Climate change has been the talk for most of my life. The reason it is such a huge topic is that is affects every single human. We are not really prepared for what is going to happen and we do not know the results of our mistake. Indiana is experiencing extreme changes in its weather which should be a warning of what is happening. JR’s/Mulder’s Meadow has gone through a dry season from what I have observed and I believe that is going to continue. As the years go one the meadow will be in times of draughts or maybe experience years of flooding. The species that can survive this large differences are the ones that will take over the meadow. Sadly, I believe most of those species already dominate the landscape of the meadow. Autumn-olive will take over because it can survive in many different areas, biennials will also have a chance of survival with their long tap roots. Biennials will continue to dominate my meadow but I think the succession between forest and meadow may be slowed keeping it in a meadow longer. It is really difficult to say what will happen but it can provide a warning.

Great Plains Impacts & Adaptation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2014.


Transition of Time

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Will to Survive


I missed the rain by only a few hours. But, it was humid and in the mid-70s. Bea Balm is almost all gone but the few spots within the meadow. There were still familiar signs of the animals that I have seen there before. The groundhog’s hole was still there with many small trails leading out, as well as the flattened grass that must have been used by deer for their beds. The butterflies and moths were not out as much but still could be seen. But, the will to survive was in full swing. Each species today had an adaptation to survive by plants having rots that emitting a toxin or caterpillars eating plants to make them toxic. The meadow has begun to change over this last few weeks and I am not interested in the way that it will change through the seasons.
I would have thought my meadow would have seen more changes since the beginning. The largest changes I saw were the increase in goldenrods, the death of the bergamot but the grasses have not changed and the bushes and trees have stayed the same. Colors will be the biggest change in the autumn than covered with snow back to green leaves.

Lets Identify

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

The tail of the Tall Goldenrod seems to look like the tail of many other goldenrods. It is really difficult to distinguish between lots of the common species especially around this area. I have decided that the one species that I looked at was the Tall species but it very well could be Canada Goldenrod or something similar. The reason I believe it is Tall is because of the smooth steam and the slightly rough leafs on top but the biggest clue was the three main veins running through leafs. Canada also has the three vein structure. I like the golden rod family because of the type of flowers being disk and ray. Both Canada and Tall are found in roadsides but Tall prefers drier sandier areas and that is where I found it on top of the hill. The hill was extremely dry and since we are near the esker, I believe, the soil is more gravelly and sandy. The plant can also be toxic because they release toxins from their roots that discourage other plants from growing around it.
Taylor, D. (2012, January 1). Plant of the Week. Retrieved August 12, 2014.

Sessile-leaved Tick Trefoil (Desmodium sessilifolium)

Taking my advice from last week, I was looking down and the plant hit me in the face. We have identified one tick trefoil in class but this one varies in the way leafs look. Leafs are heavily divided with a short petiole connecting it to the base of the stem. Leafs are lancelet being longer that they are wide. The flower I ran to must be the tallest the plant gets as the usually only grow to be 3 feet tall. The flower was found in its favorite spot in full sun and at the top of the hill where rocky soil is found. Unlike the goldenrod the plant adds nitrogen to the soil. The bumblebees that have been swarming the Bea Balm will now like the Sessile-Leaved Tick Trefoil. My turkeys and the deer that I see around the meadow eat the seeds.
Hilty, J. (2014, July 28). Sessile-Leaved Tick Trefoil (Desmodium sessilifolium). Retrieved August 12, 2014.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar (Danaus plexippus)

I have finally seen my favorite insect. As a kid I remember going around in the diches and looking for the favorite plant of the Monarch Caterpillar. After I finally found the little yellow, green and black caterpillar I would bring it back to my house and watch it change into a butterfly. That is exactly what I did here. The caterpillar was on its favorite food in my meadow which was dominating the top of the hill. But, sadly some kids may never have my same experience growing a butterfly watching it transform in from of you. Monarchs are known for their migration down south but their habitat is being destroyed as well as their food source around here is being killed by herbicides. The butterflies go through three to four generations in a season until the last generation starts to make its journey south. I like them because both the caterpillar and butterfly are bright colored. They are able to be so bright because they are toxic from the milkweeds they eat.
Monarch Butterflies, Monarch Butterfly Pictures, Monarch Butterfly Facts - National Geographic. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2014.

Autumn-Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)

The bush that has been bothering me the whole summer has finally been identified but sadly it had been one of the first plants we identified in class. This is defiantly one of the invasive species of the meadow. Like the goldenrod it releases some toxins that prevent other plants from growing around it adding to its invasive properties. No surprise that the shrub is in my meadow because it likes the full sun that it is getting as well as it distributes many seeds. The silvery leafs make the bush shine in the sun but it is also has yellow leafs that must have been sun burnt.

Autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata. (2012, February 1). Retrieved August 12, 2014.

 Question of the Week

  The largest non-native species I have found is defiantly the Autumn-Olive. Smooth Brome is both non-native and it can become invasive in some areas. But, Autumn-olive take as many advantages it can I clamming an area (Autumn olive). It thrives in open areas such as my meadow but can also survive in shade tolerant regions. It reproduces by producing thousands of red berries that are distributed by animals and by the birds that feed upon. If that isn't enough it also produces a toxin in its roots that decreases the growth of other native plants. Originally brought in for bank control and livestock feeding it know has taking over. I don’t know why they didn't find something native but what are you to do. They are hard to get rid of with a lot of times chemicals being the only way to truly get rid of them.
  Smooth brome says to be invasive which can be true (Bush). The non-native species native to Europe has taken root in the same types of environment. The root systems make the grass able to survive in many habitats but it can be easily controlled with proper controlled burning but rarely happens. The grass loves ditches and is so commonly seen that it is not recognized as a problem for most but can be a problem if trying to restore an area.

Autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata. (2012, February 1). Retrieved August 12, 2014.
Bush, T. (2002, February 1). Plant Fact Sheet for Smooth Brome. . Retrieved July 24, 2014, from

Creative Piece

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Heat


  After being here for about a month, summer heat has finally reached northern Indiana. JR's Meadow has also felt the heat in the past couple of days because it has started turning yellow. Patches of Bea Balm have survived by the there is plenty of evidence of the passed residents. The sun was bright and making the temperatures rise into the 80s but, that didn't stop the birds from singing their song. The meadows edge was a great place to sit under the shade and listen to the constant hum of the bees although the mosquitoes also were enjoying the shade.
  The turkeys have now become a common sight or sound. I will either hear their call back and forth or if I wonder into a different area a scurry of plants and feathers alert me of their presence. Like the turkeys, I am seeing a lot of the same things and maybe need to look closer at the ground I am steeping on because looking down can bring as much information as looking ahead.

Let's Identify

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

  Located near the edge of the meadow, I took liberty in saying that it was in my meadow. This can be a very valuable tree if it is located naturally in the forest but sadly the tree has also be maybe over harvested because of its wood. I think the black walnut found its perfect spot near the bottom of the hill. It loves well drained soil and is native to this region. Being an old field the meadow provides great soil for the tree to grow. I also found it on the north facing slope that it loves. Most Black Walnuts are found in mixed forest but are commonly seen with both American elm and Red Oak.
Williams, R. (n.d.). Juglans ntdra L. Juglans ntdra L. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Gray headed Cone-flower (Ratibida pinnata)

  I do not believe that this species would be normally found in this spot but because of the amount of Cone-flowers in the prairie right next to it, it is no surprise that it made its self at home in my little meadow. They do love the sun and they had plenty of it in the spot they occupied. It is nice seeing this native plant in an area where they were not naturally introduced.
  The flower is one of the more interesting flowering plants in the meadow mostly because it is new and not Wild Bergamot. Some people say it looks shaggy because of the dropping flowers but it has a long bloom and is a nice contrast to the green grasses in the meadow.

Henry, J. (n.d.). Plant Fact Sheet for Gray-headed Coneflower. . Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Those little brown bird (LBB) are so hard to get a look at but you can hear them from almost where ever you are. And this LBB made sure I heard him when I game into the meadow. I never got a picture of him or actually saw him, so I guess you will have to take my word that he was here. But, he loves the habitat of my little meadow. Cornell says that the Field Sparrow loves "old-fields" and that is exactly what my meadow is. There are tons of shrubs and small trees like the Red maple and the Black walnut tree that the LBB can make its home in.
Showing affection is not a strong suite of the birds as males will attach females sometimes chasing them to the ground but the females don't reject them because they let them stick around. Sadly the birds have felt the pressure of urban development because they don't live in suburbs but their population has remained stable.

Field Sparrow. (n.d.). , Identification, All About Birds. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor)

  A tall thistle standing on top of the hill that was overlooking the rest of the meadow. Identifying it as a thistle wasn't difficult but the differences the thistles was the difficulty. The head of plant was not yet in bloom but the height was one of the greatest give away. Underneath its leaves it had almost a white felt feeling. The plant stood at to above my shoulder level making it an intimidating plant, but it was not surrounded by thousands of needles. Bill commented on native species not being as prickle as invasive ones, making me believe that it is native ruling out the Bull thistle and picking the Field Thistle.
  Like all plants in my meadow you can easily find this guy growing in the ditches of the road. Because my meadow has lots of sun light on top of the field and it was located in a place where it was not fighting against a lot of other vegetation. The dryness of the site is not an issue because it has a large tap root gathering its water from deep in the earth.
Ugiansky, R. J., & Pheobus, R. (2010, September 1). Plant Fact Sheet for Field Thistle. . Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Creative Piece

Acrostic Poem

Beautiful purple little flower 
Every where I look I see it
Rarely seen without a insect around
Growing tall in the meadow
Always smelling nice
Moving in the breeze
Only here for a short time
Timeless flower

Question of the Week?

  My meadow is engulfed with grasses and biennial plants. They both have their different strategies in winterizing. Grasses, such as the Smooth Brome and Timothy,  are the most dominant species within the meadow and they are mostly annual plants completing their life-cycle in one growing season. Grasses put all of their energy into seed production, and this is how they make sure the next generation survives. The plants will pollinate producing hundreds to thousands of seeds, most of them being wind distributed.
  Biennials make up the other portion of the meadow such as the Common Yarrow and Field Thistle. This guys take a bit of a different strategy. In their first year of growth they put all of their growth in their root systems making a long tap root. Second year consists of the plant focusing in on reproduction. They than produce seeds that are distributed either by wind or by animals that have eating the seeds. 

Jennings, J. (2008, May 5). Grass. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
Seasonal Growth Cycles: Perennial, Annual and Biennial Plants. (20014, January 1). Retrieved August 6, 2014.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014



July has been a cold month and today most have been the coldest at around 60. One of the trees creaked as I walked by it, making me aware of the strong wind that blew through the meadow. The sun’s rays barely made it to the ground through the cloud soaked sky. Bee Balm has lost its radiance and the goldenrod has now become more pronounce but not yet come into bloom.

The focus, today, is on trees of the meadow and what is living in it. The meadow is surrounded by different types of tress and it has slowly started being taken over by different shrubs. I still can’t identify one of the main shrubs in the meadow but I hope to have it identified by the end of the summer.

Walking through my ecosystem the brush it thick and at the beginning of the meadow the grasses were blown down or were they trampled by an animal? The two trees that I looked at had to be at least 10 to 15 years old, standing 15 to 20 feet tall. The Red Maple had lots of bushes around it that must have been from the birds reliving themselves.

Let us identity

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

This tree is highly valued by its medicinal uses and traditional uses. Bark was used for rope for baskets and other storage baskets. Almost each tribe had their own uses for the tree from sores eyes to helping with childbirth. Today the tree is still found in herb stores and used for throat relief. It is also used in commercial furniture but may be better for its medicinal uses.

The biggest identifying feature of the tree are leafs that are sharply toothed and leafs that are rough on top and hairy on the bottom. “Slippery” comes from the inner bark. Slippery Elms loves the Great Lakes region and the Midwest, which is where Indiana is located. The elm also is a pioneer species especially after fires. While my meadow may not have been hit by fire it is located in the Midwest and the meadow was in a state of being occupied by pioneer species.
Caldecott, T. (n.d.). Slippery Elm. toddcaldecott. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

One of the largest trees in my meadow is, what I believe, is a Red Maple that was easy to identify within the maple family but was more difficult in determining the species of maple. One of the biggest indicators that I found was that the twigs were red. Most other maples have the characteristic of having 5 lobes while the Red Maple only has three pronounce lobes. Like all maples, the fruits are the helicopters spreading by wind making it one of the first trees to be spread into the meadow.

I cannot wait for fall to come to see the bright foliage of the red leafs that it will display. The maple also love dry slopes. The tree can be used in low quality wood but also can have some medicinal uses. Bark can be used for relief and treatment of sores eyes.
Maples. (n.d.). A Modern Herbal. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from
Red Maple Tree. (n.d.). Red Maple Tree. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

I am surprised that the gray catbird has not been heard earlier. The first sign of my little visitor was the distinct cry that sounds like a cat meowing. At first I was afraid of something attacking me but after a while the gray bird flew to the top of the tree about ten feet from me. It has an impressive voice for both the way it sounds like a cat and that it can last up to 10 minutes.

Dumetella, its genus, means “small thicket” and that is exactly where I found it. I was near the edge of the meadow where the bushes and the smaller trees have started creeping in and has started to look like a young forest. They live in clearings, roadsides, and abandoned farmland which is what the meadow use to be.

You can also see the Catbirds during the winter months protecting their habitat which is unusual for most species. They will even destroy nests of other birds making them a very territorial bird. But, gray catbirds are common in much of the U.S. making it no surprise in me hearing and finally seeing it.
Gray Catbird. (n.d.). , Life History, All About Birds. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from

Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

Most of what I have learned about Black Raspberries has come from the professors at Merry Lea. I do not know if I had Black Raspberries before coming to M.L. because I thought they were Blackberries. But, they love to invade into areas near forests and take over meadows in succession. They can become so bad that the process of succession can be halted for a few years.

I still am afraid that leafs were poison ivy but the thorns on the stems and the black berries are a giveaway that it is Black Raspberries. The fruits are delicious to eat and make a great snack. The plant has begun to creep into the meadow and can be seen near the edge of the meadow and other shrubs located in the meadow.
Rubus occidentalis Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Rubus occidentalis Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from



1st Stanza

The grasses grow tall, swaying in the strong, cold wind

Trees are scattered across the dry old field

The suns make the field be revealed

Walking in the meadow gives me a better presence of mind

I look around for the loud called of the car bird that I finally find

You never know what you are going to see so keep your eyes peeled

I will identify many trees and I will not yield

The meadow is a place that I can unwind

2nd Stanza

When I walk away, I still smell the Bee Balm

The sun continues to shine bright

The birds continue to sing

I know why David wrote a psalm

Because he could see the light

Especially when the meadow in spring

Question of the week?

Ecotone is the transition between different ecosystems. The meadow is already in a transition between prairie and forest making the transition between the two is convoluted. Shrubs have started dominating the landscape but a few areas have long strips of grass growing all the way to the edge of the forest. While, shrubs and trees are invading the landscape there is a distinct change between the large trees near the border, where vines and undergrowth are running rampant.
Graves, R. (2011, March 13). Ecology Theory-Ecotone. . Retrieved July 29, 2014, from
There is a distinct separation between the grasses and than the trees in the foreground while the picture bellow shows a lot of shrubs and smaller trees before the transition into forest 

The picture above shows the way that the meadow goes down into the forest but also has edges that are creeping into the meadow. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Passing By


It was a cooler day out in the meadow. The breeze would bend the heads of the grasses down but they would always resume their full upright attention. Clouds were blocking the sun making the temperate stay in the upper 60s. Wild bergamot is still in blossom but has begun to lose the life that it use to have. A woodchuck hole devoured my foot as I stepped into the grass covered field but I continued on to the edge of the meadow collecting my thoughts and adjusting my senses to the natural world.
On the way out to my meadow, I had an encounter with a flock of poults and the two parents trying to gather up their children. Three of the poults were cut off while I was walking, so the mother came back to get her children. I was afraid that the she was going to attack but she walked back and kept an eye on where I was. Soon the poults took off and flew into the trees, so I left them alone and thanking God for the new interaction that I had.

Lets Identify

Yellow (Orange)-Collared Scape Moth (Cisseps fulvicollis)

While most moths are seen at night, drawn to the lights of porches, the scape moth can been seen during the day flying between flowering plants collecting their nectar. They are taking a risk flying during the day but predators are turned away because of their warning orange color, that make predators afraid of a potential toxicity.
It is no surprise seeing the moth here where their favorite plants of goldenrod and milkweed are abundant as well as their young love to feed on the grasses that are dominant in the meadow. The moth is black bodied and a black head but it has an orange (or yellow) neck. It is a common moth ranging over the Midwest and most of the U.S.
Arthropod Museum, Dept. of Entomology, University of Arkansas. (n.d.). Arthropod Museum, Dept. of Entomology, University of Arkansas. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from 

Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis)

Considered to be an invasive species to some, this grass is very common in old fields and ditches. It is a favorite to livestock that feed on it for its high protein content, maybe that is the reason it is found in this meadow, that may have had held livestock. But, it has taken over in many areas where other valued grasses are sought after.
The meadow is a great place for the Brome because it is in a cooler climate and able to live in different moisture levels. Smooth Brome was raised for grazing purposes, spreading outside of the field into exposed areas. While it can offer a lot of protection and potential food source, it has started to invade into other areas.
Bush, T. (2002, February 1). Plant Fact Sheet for Smooth Brome. . Retrieved July 24, 2014, from

Crescentspots (Family Nymphalidae, Genus Phyciodes)

Most likely the butterfly that I spotted was the Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) because of its normal range but, it is very difficult in telling them apart. Adults feed on any type of nectar they can find but prefer asters and swamp milkweed. The young will feed on leafs of the true asters. This butterfly love my meadow because of the open field. They live almost anywhere in the U.S. even going into Canada. I found him flying in the middle of the meadow gathering nectar and enjoying the nice day.
Attributes of Phyciodes tharos. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 23, 2014, from

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

I have to admit, I did not see them directly in the meadow but I saw them on my way to my spot and it would not be uncommon to see them in my meadow. My meadow also provides a lot of what the turkeys are looking for. They love open woodlands, that is what the meadow is turning into, as well as plenty of food of bugs and berries. Turkeys are one of the only domesticated native birds in the States. I thought the poults were following a female and a male but two females formed a group of their poults. Turkeys do fly! The young turkeys flew into the tree to hide from me but they will also roost in trees at night. The male court by gobbling and fan out his tail. After breeding, the male turkeys will from all-male flocks. They are important within the food system hunted by eagles, owls, large cats and they also make a great Thanksgiving Feast.

Wild Turkey. (n.d.). , Identification, All About Birds. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from



The poult followed its parents’ tail
But I got to close, so it began to wail
I’ve never had turkey
That was made into jerky
But they had escaped down the trail

Question of the week?

The only way that I have been distinguishing a meadow and a prairie apart from themselves is that prairies have been maintained by fire while meadows continue through successions. The meadow is already showing the change between grasses and forbs to a forest. JR’s meadow is already well on its way to the forest that surrounds it with the woody bushes and trees in the middle of the meadow. Soon the field will be taking over by back-raspberry vines that love the sunlight with other shade-intolerant species (Oaks) that will start too dominant the canopy. More shrubs will grow as well as more tree saplings such as sassafras, till they are the dominant species. It will continue to change till the shade-tolerant species see their opportunity and take it. Animals will transport more and more seeds into the meadow and species A will be replaced by species B that is adapted to that situation, soon bringing it to the maple, hickory forest that is a sign of an old growth forest.
Plant Succession. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 23, 2014, from
Succession. (2013, October 14). Succession. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Dance of the Insects


   The trek into the meadow was through a dense matt of grasses and, the ever lovely, poison ivy creeped up to meet the sun. Although the weeds and flowers were not the concern of the day. The bees were in full buzz on the warm eighty degree day hoping from one flower to the next, lowering their heads into the bright colors in blossom around them. But, they never stopped to enjoy the sun, the sights, and the sounds around them, but I tried to use all my senses in order to more appreciate what was around me.
   It is a new experience searching threw this meadow near the Goodrich property. Other than the bees and grasses the field can be seen as in the latter stages of succession because of the amounts of bushes and small trees inhabiting the landscape.

Lets Identify

Butterfly Weed (Asclepia tuberosa)

  A proud orange flower in the middle of the meadow makes it, it's home because of the dry soils and the bright sunlight that it gets. The plant is related to the milkweed family, especially looking at the flowers that it produces. But, the plant produces a clear substance unlike its cousins.
  While being a very show plant, they are difficult in establishing. They rely on their long tap root to hold them in place and will disperse their seeds in the air to make sure the next generations appears within the next 2 to 3 years.
  They survive in many different landscapes, adapted to whatever comes their way. Monarchs use the plant to nurture their young but also adult butterflies take advantage of the nectar in the plants.
Asclepias tuberosa - Plant Finder. (n.d.). Asclepias tuberosa - Plant Finder. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum)

   One of the hardest species that was floating around the meadow was the little guy who would finally took a load off for me to take a picture. He is very similar to the ruby-faced, and white-faced meadowhawk. 
   I am slightly confused on why he was fly around the meadow because he is more into moving water (which there was none around). But, he made his appearance with his red abdomen and large clear wings. The dragonfly begins to fly in July and will continue to fly until October. The species is a common one that is seen and it should be admired for its bright colors that it displays.

Lung, M., & Sommer, S. (2001, January 1). Sympetrum internum (Cherry-faced Meadowhawk). Cherry-faced Meadowhawk. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from

Box Elder/Ash-leaf maple (Acer negundo L.)

   The tree was located almost in the central part of the meadow where it was getting plenty of light. Commonly know as Box Elder the tree is actually a maple but not with its typical leaf shape. The leafs are compound opposite with having 3 to up to 7 leaflets, almost looking like poison ivy. The younger branches seemed to have more leafs have up to 7 leaflets. It resembles a maple but the production of its "helicopter" fruits. But, the tree has spread rapidly causing it to be a weed in some cases because of its rapid growth. 
Lytle, M. (2007, September 4). Acer negundo. . Retrieved July 15, 2014, from

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa L.)

   Is one of the dominant species of the small meadow. This has been recognized by the distinct smell that it has when disturbed and the square stem that places it into the mint family. The pink/purple flower is in a tube like form that is a great butterfly and bee plant. The plant spreads by both rhizomes and the seeds that it distributes into the soil. The bergamot survives in many different habitats but doesn't mind the extra bit of rain. 
Anderson, K. (2003, May 21). Plant Guide for Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa L.). . Retrieved July 15, 2014, from


Little red dragonfly
Flying around my meadow
My new insect friend

Question of the week?

   Looking around my prairie I see large patches of the purple flower of Wild Bergamot, as well as many different grasses that are the definite dominant species. My grass identification is not at the best so judging by the land and a few features I think it it Timothy Grass that has current hold of the meadow. The meadow is a dry and in a transitional stage of prairie to forest.
   The seeds from the grasses were most likely one of the first species in the meadow. The seeds remained dormant until the had the exposed soil to grow. They were most likely wind dispersed as well from the other grasses surrounding the meadow.
Meadow Plants. (n.d.). Meadow Plants. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from