Monday, September 19, 2011

Tall Yellows

One way a study of plants benefits overall thinking is the way they offer exercise in making distinctions. For minds that like to lazily leap to generalizations, plants offer a case for taking a closer look.

In a field of lanky yellow flowers, it's easy to say "they all look the same" until one looks.

Helenium autumnale has a yellow head and short petals.

Greenheaded (cutleaf) coneflower has green heads and long petals that flare back like a cone.

Cup plant has yet another assortment of distinguishing characters,

and characteristically distinct flower buds. The "cup" can be seen where the pairs of leaves surround the stem and form a container that holds rainwater. Though I've never seen cupplant in the wild, it's a native that has been planted most notably in NY's Central Park along the lakefronts as part of their habitat restoration.

Those shown here in the photos were a discrete propagation from a fine stand found growing next to the dumpster in the parking lot of Mark Twain's house in Hartford, CN.

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