Roadside plant?

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cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03
Roadside plant?

I seem to run into something like this plant occasionally--seems to be around this stage-(not even sure if this is in seed, or still flowering- maybe that's why I never see it 'in flower' it is!)- I should have looked more closely rather than just taking a photo! This is an open medium/dry area (hard call on roadside ditches- plants could be up a bank where it looks dry, but might have roots down to the moister bottom) and the plant could be native or could easily be an agricultural weed.. I can do a closer view from the same shot if its helpful, but I don't have any other angles..

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

I'm going to add another plant growing on the same road... This one I think is an Erigeron, but have not found one that quite matches, so maybe something else-- an Aster? It's about 30 cm tall in flowers, flat clumps of rosettes of leaves that persist through flowering and seed (I'll add a seed head photo later) Flowers are a bit pinker than they appear in the photos, and are all the same colour, not whitish as some of the photos appear.. growing on medium to dryish (the soil is moist in these photos, but I think could be dry in dry years)..
more images here:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=591.msg14524#msg14524

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

AmyO
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Joined: 2009-12-06

cohan wrote:

I seem to run into something like this plant occasionally--seems to be around this stage-(not even sure if this is in seed, or still flowering- maybe that's why I never see it 'in flower' it is!)- I should have looked more closely rather than just taking a photo! This is an open medium/dry area (hard call on roadside ditches- plants could be up a bank where it looks dry, but might have roots down to the moister bottom) and the plant could be native or could easily be an agricultural weed.. I can do a closer view from the same shot if its helpful, but I don't have any other angles..

This one looks alot like Sweet William...Dianthus barbatus....but it's hard to tell. It looks like it has gone to seed. I wonder what others will say about it?

Amy Olmsted
Hubbardton, VT, Zone 4

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Amy, that's a good guess... just scoured through photos of Dianthus barbatus (of course, they are all of flowering plants and not drying plants in seed), leaves look close, although I notice in some photos that the Dianthus has leaves that narrow to a short petiole (leaf stalk), whereas in Cohan's photo they look stemless, almost as if the leaves are just barely clasping. Based on the spikey looking dried bracts, my first instinct was to guess its a foreign Centaurea species.  Then I looked at the USDA plant profile of Dianthus barbatus, a drawing on that link shows leaves nearly sessile or clasping, and in the USDA distribution map, it is found throughout most of North American.  It too makes lots of bracts among the flower heads, so possibly... Dianthus barbatus. :D

The bottom one such smacks of Erigeron for me, could be Erigeron philadelphicus; in spite of its name it is found throughout North America.  It is variable, forms of it seem here are quite pale lavender, Cohan's plants looks very nice indeed.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERPH&mapType=nativity&photoID...

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I'm not seeing the opposite leaves on the first plant that I'd expect to see if it was Dianthus barbatus... or is it just me?  The branching of the inflorescense looks a bit "off" to me too.  If you look at the plant again, Cohan, or post more pictures, can you confirm if it has opposite leaves?

Edit: Here's a pic of Dianthus barbatus seedheads, according to the text at the site it's from - not sure how helpful it is.

http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/fallphotos/falldiant.jpg

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Thanks for the comments-- Dianthus is an interesting suggestion, and the resemblance could be part of why it looks familiar- we have D barbatus around the property .. however, I don't think that could be it-- Lori mentions opposite leaves- I don't have any other photos offhand, but can give an uncropped version of the same one-- you can see leaves are not opposite.. besides that, I was at the same site in mid-summer, and while I don't seem to have seen/shot this plant at that time, that means it cannot be anything with colourful/showy flowers..
I took a glance at Centaurea in the province, and it did not fit any of those- actually scanned through the whole invasive plants gallery, and nothing there...
I was thinking maybe Labiatae? Scrophulariaceae also, but unless it is not that far along, does not seem to have capsules like Pedicularis, Castilleja, Rhinanthus...

As to the Erigeron- I think we probably have E philadelphicus here, but I think it is taller with leafier stems and less noticeable basal leaves.. I scanned through the other spp found in the province again,  (24)-many are quickly eliminated as alpine spp, many others as annual/biennial, having non-persistent basal leaves (this sp must be perennial with a strong branched caudex- having in fact more basal leaves at time of fruiting)  

.. based on leafiness of stems (quite reduced upward) and number of ray flowers (many on these plants), and the map (likely to be in my area, if anything, it should be more common, this is the only place I've seen it) it seems likely to be E glabellus.. pererinus seemed similar, but leafier stems and fewer rays....

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Hmm, I dunno... are you sure the first one couldn't be Castilleja?

Edit:  By the way, as I was searching for your plant, I finally figured out the ID of a montane forest plant that's been driving me nuts forever... Antennaria racemosa.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Nope, not sure of anything about that plant..lol- Scrophulariaceae was my first thought..of course it doesn't help only having this image at one stage of its development (I will try to hunt down a shot I'm sure I took of something that may or may not be the same thing, growing much closer to home).. I had it in my mind that there was some similar Pedicularis, but they seem to have mostly divided or toothed leaves, and should have flowers sticking out of those heads! I haven't gone through the less familiar Castilleja, or any other cousins .. hmm
What about Melampyrum lineare ?then again, don't think it looks quite right after all... (and if so, I've never seen them when those flowers were there, but that's not why I rejected it).....
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dryoptera/3128955277/
So far no luck in Scrophulariaceae..

I'm not sure about Antennarias-- I guess the 'racemosa' refers to the branched inflorescence? We have a very common sp here with green upper leaf surfaces, one of my very favourites; not sure if its the same or not- don't see any other green ones in the flora, but I just scanned quickly...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I haven't seen Melampyrum lineare either, but it also has opposite leaves and I don't believe the seedheads would look like the plant in question, from googling photos of it in bloom (I mean the structure of the inflorescence).  Dianthus also tend to have more-or-less distinct and often shiny seed capsules that open at the end, if I recall correctly.  
My money's still on Castilleja - seems to me to fit re. structure, leaf arrangement and shape, and the form of the seedheads. 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Which Castilleja would you be thinking of? I can't find any that have a flat top like that-- the ones I usually see around here have a string/stack  of capsules when in seed.. let me dig for a photo... Also, although its possible I could have missed it in bloom when visiting the site earlier, I doubt I would have missed anything with any colour in this ditch....
I thought for a bit that the mass of bracts at the top in some images of Melampyrum looked similar to this plant, but the flowers seem to come out from axils and not from a flat inflorescence, as with all the other Scrophulariaceae I've looked at so far..

The Castilleja's I know (no great variety!) look like this in seed (actually not positive about the 3rd, but they make a nice set ;):

   

And if 'going over' but not quite in seed, look more like this:

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Yes, I must be just forgetting what they look like!  I have no idea then.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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