The Osage Indians called September "The Moon of Yellow Flowers." It's October now, but I thought I'd share some photos from last week which demonstrate how appropriate the name is. These were taken Sept. 28th at Melvern Reservoir in Osage County, Kansas, and Sept. 30th at the Prairie Center in Johnson County.
Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). Notice how their faces are turned toward the sun - they didn't even realize I'd snuck up on them to shoot pictures.
Tall goldenrod (Solidago canadensis). There are several species of goldenrod, but this is the one most of us are familiar with; it occurs not just in prairie settings but in meadows and roadsides across much of the continent. The blooms cause grief for people with allergies, but they also have a wonderful scent.
Seed pods of prairie milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Not all the September wildflowers are yellow. Here is snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) - the flower heads of this plant are less showy than the white and green striped leaves.
I couldn't identify this one. It resembles false fascicled foxglove (Agalinis fasciculata) but the stamens are wrong.
Broomweed (Gutierrezia dranunculoides)
A box turtle. When I was a kid I saw these all the time, but this was the first one I'd encountered in several years.
Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus). This species has long been used in agriculture, and hundreds of varieties are now cultivated worldwide for their oil and seeds.
Sunflower close-up with three little bugs
Large-flowered gaura (Gaura longiflora)
Blue sage (Salvia azurea)
A spider climbs into the sky. Her web was across the path, and when I tried to get a close-up shot she took off up a strand like she was flying.
Jersualem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus). The roots of this sunflower were a valuable food source for Native Americans.
Rose hips on prairie wild rose (Rosa arkansana). These are larger than most rose hips, about the size of a cherry.
Leavenworth eryngo (Eryngo leavenworthii). I love the metallic purple color of these fierce-looking flowers.
A wasp feeding on stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
Rose vervain (Glandularia canadensis) or, as it used to be called, rose verbena (Verbena canadensis). I have no idea why they changed the name - in growth habit, foliage, and blossom it's nearly identical to the verbenas commonly used in horticulture. Whatever the taxonomists call it, rose verbena has one of the loveliest scents of any wildflower.
False boneset (Brickellia eupatorioides)
Willow-leaved sunflower (Helianthus salicifolia) with a bumblebee
all images © 2011 by nanatehay