Saturday, September 02, 2017

Tiny flowers, fat seed pods

The first week in July, I found a spreading dogbane on the shore of Lake McIvor; a large, leafy, spreading (it's in the name) plant with tiny white and pink flowers.

Last week, I found some again, and didn't recognize them at first as the same plant.

Apocynum androsaemifolium

These were small, red, straggly plants, about a foot high, and almost bare of leaves. They were growing along the highway shoulder beside Snakehead Lake, half hidden in a tangle of hardhack and grass. What leaves were still holding on were the remains of slug dinners.

Long seed pods.

Longer than the flower clusters, fatter than the red stems, were the new seed pods, in pairs. When they're ripe, they'll split open down their length, and release many seeds, each with its own cottony parachute.

The plants are perennials, growing from a rhizome. New plants have to establish themselves away from the parent, which will still be wanting its patch of soil next year. So they'll fly away. Most will be lost, drowned in the lake, or dying on the pavement. As is her habit, Ma Nature takes account of that, and favours a generous over-abundance of seeds.

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