Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Trip to Magee Marsh...Part 2

In the spring we look for birds when we visit Magee Marsh, but this time I was interested in seeing the Swamp Rose-Mallow (Hibiscus palustris according to Newcomb's Wildflower Guide).  The wetlands where we see waterfowl in the spring are covered with the beautiful pink blooms in late summer.

The flowers are large and showy.

We decided to brave the boardwalk even though we knew our blood would be siphoned off by female mosquitoes seeking it to insure healthy off-spring. We lathered ourselves with insect repellent which helped a lot. Tom was found by the pesky insects a few times when he stopped a bit long because he wanted a perfect photo.

This is the way the boardwalk looked. We were the only people on it. In spring there are so many people looking for birds, particularly warblers, that it is hard to move.

We saw a few Swamp Rose-Mallows beside the railing so Tom took this photo. The huge sepals covering the unopened blooms look like balloons.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources encourages gardeners to plant the native Swamp Rose-Mallow instead of  Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)  which is an invasive species.

There were common buttonbushes along much of the boardwalk. (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Buttonbush is found in most wetlands in Ohio and is used for wetland restoration. This was the first time I have seen it in bloom.  Another name for buttonbush is Honey-bells.  Insects and hummingbirds take the nectar.  Bees use it to make honey.

The blooms were interesting, round like Sycamore balls. Below is a closer view. The bloom to the left is not yet open.

The photo below shows an aging bloom. I like the orange pink color.

We saw a lot of Jewelweed bushes but only four blooms. I know there will be more because this is the beginning of the blooming season for them. The Jewelweed blooms we saw were Pale Jewelweed, also called Pale Touch-me-not(Impatiens pallida). I don't know if the Spotted Touch-me-not(Impatiens capensis) is also found at Magee Marsh. I often see both in the same area. Tom took several photos here and received several mosquito bites for his efforts to get a picture he liked.

Some people say the plant is called Jewelweed because dew or raindrops sit on the leaves like jewels. Other say it is because the seeds inside the pods look like pearls.

The mature Jewelweed seedpods are shaped like fat minature peapods. If the end is touched, the pod bursts open. This gives the plant its other common name, Touch-me-not.

And I spotted another variety of Milkweed. This one is Ascleplas incarnata, Swamp Milkweed. I recognized it by the distinctive milkweed type flowers.

1 comment:

  1. The swamp mallow is beautiful. Mallows are mostly annuals up here, I have grown a few, they produce very beautiful flowers.
    We are going to try and mix some Jewel weed liquid from the stems, olive oil and beeswax and see if we can make a salve for Poison ivy..I will have to keep it in the fridge:)