Saturday, May 28, 2011

Large-flowered Valerian along the Little Miami River

...pushing up through the shadows along the Little Miami Trail, Large-flowered Valerian (Valeriana pauciflora) was putting on a spectacular show. The flower heads looked like bursts of fireworks nodding in the breeze...dotting the hillside as they slid down to the river. Upon closer inspection, I found each blossom in the "burst" was a tiny tubular-shaped flower with the corolla about 3/4" long. Three stamens extended from each corolla and added to the sparkly look of fireworks. I photographed the flower, but I didn't know what it was, and it wasn't in my two Ohio wildflower books. Andrew, from The Natural Treasures of Ohio blog, identified the delicate flower and filled me in on its role as a riparian indicator species. Just like the Acadian Flycatcher in this post, Valeriana pauciflora lets us know the riparian ecosystem along the Little Miami River is healthy and pollution free. Yeah!

...a beautiful starburst of tubular-shaped blossoms tops the long stem of this native perennial wildflower.

...an interesting arrangement of leaves, they grow in opposite pairs.

...a closeup of Large-flowered Valerian (Valeriana pauciflora) leaves. Three leaflets are showing here, but the pairs can have up to 7 leaflets on each side.

...a tiny beetle climbs among the blossoms. I couldn't find much info on what pollinates Large-flowered Valerian. The Illinois Wildflower blog reports that, "the long slender corollas suggest that the flowers are pollinated by bumblebees, butterflies, Sphinx moths, and possibly hummingbirds. The nectar of the flowers is inaccessible to most insects with short mouthparts."

...a close-up reveals the beetle is glowing yellow and white as tiny balls of pollen cling to his armor. Whether he is a pollinator or not, he seems to be doing a good job here!

16 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Fabulous shots, Kelly! That little beetle is interesting.

Michael Bartneck said...

Nice! Been looking for it and have not seen it yet at any of my spots..might have to visit the ol' powder factory!:) Maybe I'll bump into ya!Great find Kelly..ps my ham county id blog is comin along slowly if ya wanna check it out.the links at the top of my trekking blog.peace

Kelly said...

...thanks, Mona! He is cute with his pollen sparkles all over his head!

...thanks, Michael. The valerian is about 1/4 mile up the trail from the Powder Factory...walking towards Morrow. I'm on the trail a lot, so you just might!

texwisgirl said...

very pretty flower. and powdery beetle! :)

Out on the prairie said...

What lovely photos, and a wonderful flower.

Lois Evensen said...

Your images are so elegant!

Hugs,
Lois

Carol Mattingly said...

Such beautiful leaves on these flowers Kelly. I love white wildflowers. They stand bright in the contrast of the green all around them. Loved this post. Have a great holiday weekend gal. Carol

Diane Miller said...

Those are absolutely gorgeous!

Janice K said...

So lovely and delicate. Loved see the pollen sparkle on that beetle too.

Mikko Tyllinen said...

Fantastic shots! Very beautiful Kelly!

Jenny wren's nest said...

Thank you so much for this post, I was wondering what I planted last year. my tags didnt hold up and I couldnt remember which herb tis was. I think you are such a great photographer.
Jenny wren

Adrienne in Ohio said...

That's a new one for me. I particularly like the last one with the pollen-dusted beetle.

Cindy said...

Beautiful! Love the close-up of the leaf.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! I really am enjoying finding and learning about these wildflowers!

Tex...I love that powdery beetle too!

Prairie...thank you! After all the rain and storms we've had, I wonder if the little patch of them is still holding on. Hopefully i can make it to the trail today to find out.

Lois...thank you!

Carol...thanks...hope you're having a wonderful weekend too. I like the white against the green too. The shadows really help this flower stand out.

....thanks, Diane!!

Janice...I did too. I always love seeing insects dusted with pollen. They really are busy little bees (if if they aren't!)

Mikko...thank you very much! :-)

Jenny....thank you...and how cool! That's awesome. I hope to find a few more of these plants. If I do, I'll post the photos.

Adrienne...it was new as a wildflower for me too! thanks...

Cindy...thank you! When I try to ID flowers, I always take a look at the leaves. I love it when the leaf shot turns out to be kind of cool! :-)

KAT said...

these are very stunning ..remind me of fireworks!
KAT

Kelly said...

..thanks, Kat! Me too!!