False Sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides Right now, in August, bold yellow flowers are lighting up our summer fields, roadsides and streambanks. Among them, Green-headed coneflower, wingstem, yellow crownbeard, and black-eyed susans, are competing for late-summer sun. A variety of sunflowers are also part of the show. July and August is the peak of their flowering period. Sunflowers are composites with yellow ray flowers and…

Gray-Headed Coneflower

Ratibida pinnata Here’s another native coneflower with a thimble-shaped head and drooping petals, but this time the head is gray to brown in color and the pale yellow, drooping “petals” (or ray flowers) number only 5 to 10.  This is Gray-Headed Coneflower, and like the Green-Headed Coneflower, the leaves of this plant are alternate. The gray-headed…

Knapweed

Centaurea Imagine a genus with 500+ species in it… Then imagine how intimidating it is to name a flower in this group to species! So in the interest of avoiding an error, I’ll stop at the genus level on this one. The folks at Wikipedia report that all the members of the genus Centaurea share…

Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea When you see the word Echinacea, you probably think “cold remedy”.  Of all the native plants that have made their way from the field to the medicine cabinet, this one is probably one of the most famous. The roots and leaves of Purple Coneflower, whose genus name is Echinacea, have long been used to treat…

Basil Bee Balm

Monarda clinopdia This tall, native mint can be found right now, in July, growing in fields and along roadsides. The tubular-shaped flowers are massed in a compact head at the top of the plant; each flower is white with red flecks.  The leaves are simple, opposite, and gently toothed. Like all the bee balms, the fragrant flowers are frequented…

Queen Anne’s Lace

Daucus carota Here she is in all her loveliness– Queen Anne’s Lace, named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lacemaker! This umbrella-shaped flower is made up of many tiny white flowers; together they form the “lacy” pattern characteristic of the wildflower’s inflorescence. Below the umbel of flowers is a spray of finely…

Yarrow

Considering how long I’ve been at this flower blog, it is a wonder that I haven’t posted a portrait of yarrow yet! It is so ubiquitous that it practically goes unnoticed in summer fields and roadsides. And yet, there is something very special about this simple white flower. Achillea millefolium Of course you know by now…