Friday, September 30, 2011

Another First for Me: Lobelia Siphilitica

   I was just out minding my own business, looking for some Jewelweed to collect some seeds from. Earlier in the day, during a bike ride, I saw some growing in a creek along the side of a quiet road. It's hard to find some that isn't surround by poison ivy. That afternoon, as I turned up the road in my car, I looked for a place to pull over, but I had some one behind me and the only place to park off the street was in front of a No Trespassing sign. So, I kept going, hoping the guy behind me would turn into a driveway. In the process, I went further up the street than I had planned, and stumbled upon a section of the creek even better than the first. I knew it as soon as I saw it, Great Blue Lobelia!

   I have never seen any growing in the wild before, and there was a lot of it! The pollinators were all over it! It was such a magical little spot, growing amongst the Lobelia was Swamp Milkweed (also first time seen in the wild, not a garden), Jewelweed, Wingstem, several Asters, some unidentified sedges, Boneset, PawPaw trees and a couple non natives, Polygonum persicaria, and something that looks like a helenium, but I'm not sure. The color combinations were simply stunning. Roanoke is typically such a dry place, I'm not accustomed to seeing these moisture loving plants.

Spotted Jewelweed

Polygonum persicaria (I think)

   I found this spot totally by accident, and yes, I did manage to collect some Jewelweed seeds, despite half of them "popping" into the creek before I perfected my technique, hence the other name Touch-Me-Not. The source of this little creek full of magic is a spring at the base of a mountain. Here's a picture of what I assume is some kind of community springhouse, it was one of the few places not to have a No Trespassing sign. Water was coming out of a pipe and seeping out of the corner of the foundation.

   The diversity and richness of this random spot along a nondescript country road will have me coming back to see what's blooming for a long time. 


  1. It might help to identify that yellow one if you take a picture of the back of the flower.

    What a wonderful place! Go back later and collects from the Lobelia too.

    And that smartweed might be Polygonum pensylvanicum, a native.

  2. Hi Julie. For you picture with the caption "unknown", I'm pretty sure it's a Yellow Crab Spider.

  3. Ellen, thanks for the tip on the Smartweed! It makes me feel better to think it's native because there's a lot of it in that area and it's really quite attractive.

    Marsha, thanks! ;)

  4. What a great find. Sounds like a nice stretch of the creek.