A smorgasbord

As promised yesterday, here are some of the new blossoms in the park. Left and right both appear to be pale purple coneflower or prairie coneflower (Echinacea pallida) growing by the connection to the Oakleaf trail just south of the middle parking lot. The middle looks like common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) blossoms covered with ants and growing by the southeast corner of the same lot. That’s where I found the monarch caterpillars earlier, but there’s been no sign of them for a while.

On the left is a member of the bellflower genus (Campanula), maybe peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia), based on the written description of the leaves, growing along the Oakleaf Trail, and on the right appears to be blossoms of common mullein aka flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus), which the plant is only able to produce in its second or third year.

Meanwhile, this little guy seems to be wondering “so what’s with all the flower pictures? What’s a little bunny gotta do to get your attention? Sit up on my haunches?”

Well, yeah, that’ll work. Or be cute as ducklings, which is amply demonstrated by yet another brood of mallards, this time upriver from the falls, so I’m pretty confident these four are not part of the five we’ve seen earlier in the week downriver. Man, when they are not napping, they don’t sit still for a second. No wonder mom is always exhausted. Oh, and good luck asking the interwebs why one is yellow.

Finally, for something completely different, check out these mushrooms growing on an old log right by where the ducklings were exploring. These may be crown-tipped coral (Artomyces pyxidatus formerly Clavicorona pyxidata), and the Missouri Department of Conservation suggests that you can verify this identification “if you take a tiny taste, it will be peppery.” Be my guest. I can’t make this stuff up.

Well, that’ll do it for today. Tomorrow morning is the debut of the Shorewood Farmers’ Market in the park, so it will be interesting to see how that goes. Maybe the muskrat will finally be able to get some decent arugula, and maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one with the camera.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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