"Helping Others Grow"                                                                         
 

Black-eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia Hirta)

These 2” daisy-like flowers have a cone shaped dark brown center surrounded by a single layer of yellow-orange petals.  This biennial is very prolific self-seeding annual and can be easily spotted as you drive through the countryside.  The leaves and stems are covered with little hairs that give it a rough texture.

Blazing Star
(Liatris)

This stiff single-stemmed perennial is striking with its long spikes filled with tiny flowers.  It is a showy accent to any garden and is in bloom in Morgan County area gardens right now.  One species, Liatris pycnostachya, is commonly called “Gayfeather.”  The corms of Liatris were used as food for the early American settlers. 

Bouncing Bet
(Saponaria officinalis)

Old names for this very common plant were Soapwort and Latherwort after its ability to create soapy lather.  This plant whose flower heads resemble pink phlox have natural cleaning agents.  Early settlers used this plant’s lather as a cleaner.  It was also used to give beer a foamy lather.  It is an herbal remedy for poison ivy.

Butter-and-Eggs
or Toadflax

(Linaria vulgaris)

Some members of this species resemble flax and some resemble toads thus the name Toadflax.  This 3’ plant has 1” yellow snapdragon-like flowers.  Seeds for Toadflax can germinate as soon as they are released.  In many places Toadflax is considered an unwelcome weed.

Butterfly Weed
(Asclepias tuberosa)

As you drive through the countryside in early summer the roadsides and fields are dotted with brilliant orange-flowered plant.  It is a relative of the milkweed we commonly see.  This two - three foot tall herbaceous plant is, as the name suggests, attracts butterflies.  While once used to treat asthma and bronchitis it is now known to contain toxic cardiac glycosides.

Celandine Poppy
or Wood Poppy

(Stylophorum diphyllum)

In spring lovely yellow poppy-like flowers can been seen blooming from green-blue oak leaf-like leaves in area woodland settings.  They self seed and can be added to a woodland garden.  This one to two foot plant was once used for removing warts and freckles.  It is poisonous to chickens. 

Common Blue Violet
(Viola papilionacea)

This lovely little violet blooms in profusely from March – June.  Historically used in salads, cooked as greens, in fritters, and added to soups and broths as a thickener the basal leaves of this violet contain 5X more Vitamin C per grams than the equivalent weight of oranges and 2.5X more Vitamin A than Spinach!

Common Mullein
(Verbascum thapsus)

This stately biennial with silvery-green, velvety leaves is commonly seen around Morgan County.  The tiny yellow flowers dot the top of its long spike-like stem, which was dipped in tallow and used in Roman times as a torch.  Herbalists also used this plant medicinally for respiratory conditions and inflammations.

Evening Primrose or Fever Plant
(Oenothera biennis)

This two to three foot tall biennial primrose has lovely yellow flower is pollinated by the nocturnal sphinx moth.  It blooms from early summer - fall.  The primrose was used as an herbal remedy for coughs and inflammations.  This plant is often confused with its relative the Missouri Primrose (O. missouriensis).

Goldenrod
(Solidago gigantea)

Confused with ragweed as the cause of seasonal allergies, Goldenrod has a place in history.  When the American colonist dumped tea into the Boston Harbor as a protest against English taxation there was no tea to drink until someone made “Liberty Tea” from the leaves of the American goldenrod (S. odor).

Jerusalem Artichoke
(Helianthus tuberosus)

This member of the Sunflower Family has nutritious edible tubers that can be cooked like potatoes.  Unlike potatoes they do not contain starch, but insulin. These plants can grow up to 10 feet and have 3” yellow flower heads.  “Jerusalem” comes from the Italian name “giraole” which means “turning to the sun.”

 

Obedient Plant
or False Dragonhead

(Physotegia virginiana)

This member of the Mint Family can often be seen growing along side the road and in fields.  Tall spike-like bear purple blooms from June until September.  Bent flowers tend to stay in their new position for a bit, thus the name “Obedient Plant.”  Loves acid soil.

Oswego Tea or Bee Balm
(Monarda didyma L.)

Tea can be made from the died aromatic leaves, which was also used as a substitute tea after the Boston Tea Party.  Bee Balm attracts moths, bees (pollinators), hummingbirds, and butterflies.  Herbalist once used this member of the mint family as an antibacterial and antifungal, and for nosebleeds, insomnia, and measles.

Purple Coneflower
(Echinacea purpurea)

As garden favorite and also a favorite of both butterflies and birds.  The butterflies love the sweet nectar and the birds love the large seed cones.  Often bright yellow finches can be seen eating the seeds.  The herbal Echinacea used to treat infections and build the immune system comes from this herbaceous plant. 

Queen Anne's Lace
(Daucus carota)

This common wildflower was brought to the Americas by early settlers as their carrots.  Each flower head is approximately 500 individual flowers.  A spot of red can be found in the center of its white flower and was said to represent a drop of Queen Anne’s blood when she pricked her finger making lace.

Showy Primrose or
White Primrose

(Oenothera speciosa)

This plant produces up to 3” white flowers that fade to pink as they age.  Their four-petal flowers only last a single day and open in the morning unlike their evening blooming relatives.  This hardy and drought resistant 24” plant is often grown in area gardens and blooms May – July.  

Solomon's Seal
(Polygonatum biflorum)

This fleshy rhizome from the Lily Family bears dainty tubular flowers that dangle gracefully from its unbranched stems.  By late summer the plant will bear blue-black berries eaten by birds and small mammals.  Medieval herbalist strongly believed that Solomon’s Seal helped wounds to heal. 

Spotted Joe-Pye Weed
(Eupatorium maculatum)

The Joe-Pye Weed is purportedly named for a Native American who used this plant to cure fevers.  This 6 foot plant was also used by the early American settlers to treat typhus. This wildflower has very large pink-purple flower heads atop purple or purple spotted stems and whorled leaves that can be seen blooming locally from July – September. 

Tall Ironweed
(Vernonia altissima)

This showy 7’ plant bears rich purple flower heads on tall straight stems in late summer.  Ironweed is very widespread in Morgan County and is just now starting to bloom.  They are very easily spotted along roads.  “Ironweed” refers to how tough the stem is.  The root was once used by Native Americans to treat post childbirth pain.

Coreopsis or Tall Tickseed
(Coreopsis tripteris)

This dainty daisy-like flower has bright yellow-golden petals with brown centers on long stems.  When the flowers fade this 5 - 8 foot herbaceous perennial produces seeds that resemble ticks, thus its common name - tickseed.  Coreopsis is a member of the Aster Family.   Herbalist once brewed this as a strong tea for internal pain.

Trumpet Creeper or
 Trumpet Vine

(Campsis radicans)

Sometimes seen locally around telephone poles this vigorous vine can be easily spotted once its deep rust color, trumpet-shaped blossoms appear in the summer.  Hummingbirds love this plant.  The blooms will become long 6” pods.  Some consider this a flower, but many gardeners consider it an invasive weed.

Wild Ginger
(Asarum canadense)

This small plant’s two large heart-shaped leaves often hide its tiny purple-brownish flower.  Wild Ginger only has basal leaves which smell like ginger when rubbed.  It has a rhizomes and loves shady moist habitat.  It was used medicinally to treat digestional disorders.  This plant is NOT related to the ginger you find at the grocery.