What’s Blooming This Week?

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

New England Aster (photo by M.Zopp)
New England Aster (photo by M.Zopp)

New England aster is native to almost every area in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, but excluding the some of the southern United States. The plant grows up to 120 cm (47 inches) with a stout, hairy stem and lance-shaped leaves with entire margins. The flower heads are showy with yellow centers and flower petals that range from a deep purple or rose to rarely white. This species inhabits a wide variety of habitats and soil types, preferring full or partial sun over shade, and moist to average conditions. This plant can become stressed out by hot dry weather, often dropping its lower leaves in response, while the remaining leaves may turn yellow or brown

Indian Pipe(Monotropa uniflora)

Indian Pipe (photo by M.Zopp)
Indian Pipe (photo by M.Zopp)

 Indian pipe, also known as Corpse Plant or Ghost Plant, is one of the easiest plants to recognize. Unlike most plants, Indian Pipe doesn’t

have chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. Indian pipe is waxy, whitish color turning black as it ages and only grows 4-10 inches tall.  This plant can typically be found from June to September growing in shady woods in areas near dead tree stumps and decaying plant matter. Due to the lack of chlorophyll, this plant parasitizes fungus growing on decaying material (or trees) to acquire its energy.

Beechdrops (Epifagus americana)

Beech Drops (photo by M.Zopp)
Beechdrops (photo by M.Zopp)

Beechdrops are parasitic plants on beech trees. Due to the lack of chlorophyll in this plant, it finds it’s nutrients not from photosynthesis but from the roots of beech trees. The plant grows 6-20 inches and produces very small reddish brown flowers.  Bloom time for beech drops is from August to October. Beechdrops look like the dying stems of some small forest herb and are easily overlooked – especially since they only appear aboveground to flower for a few weeks in the fall.

Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Indian Grass (photo by M.Zopp)
Indian Grass            (photo by M.Zopp)

Indian grass is one of the beautiful, and often dominant, autumn grasses often seen prairie ecosystems.   This native perennial grass grows 3-7 ft. tall and displays a reddish-golden brown color.  The blooming period occurs during late summer to early fall.  Several species of grasshoppers feed on the foliage of Indian grass; these grasshoppers are an important source of food to many songbirds and upland game birds.

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