Posts Tagged With: vaccinium elliottii

Mississippi Blueberry Flower Season Has Begun

Mississippi blueberry flower season has begun. Bees are buzzing about the fields, pollinating white-ish bell-shaped flowers that dangle delicately. Even our native Vaccinium elliottii (Elliott’s blueberry) is flowering, making it one easy way to identify this edible native out from the roadsides and wooded areas along the road.

Last week I took these photographs in a couple of locations around south Mississippi. I will be collecting data on a lot of blueberry flowers later this week. The image above shows several stages at once, typical of blueberry.

Michigan State University (GO GREEN!) provides an excellent page with full color photos to assist in identifying the floral and leaf bud stages.

The image above shows all 7 stages of floral bud development: Dormant bud/no swelling, Bud with swelling, Bud with swelling and scales separating, Bud scales separate/individual flowers view-able, closed flower, open flower, and post-corolla drop. Tools such as official bud ratings for floral and leaf parts are things I use when compiling data for my supervisor’s potential plant patents and public releases for fruit crops.

Above images Stage 3 (bud swell with scales separating, tips of flowers just noticeable) and Stage 5 (individual flowers, but flower still closed). (might be more if you look closely) The University of Georgia also has a nice page with blueberry floral bud development images.

Blueberry inflorescence and floral development stages according to Spiers (1978). (A) Stage 1 – Inflorescence enclosed by bud scales (S). (B) Stage 2 – Inflorescence partially enclosed by bud scales, flowers covered by a large bract. (C) Stage 3 – Inflorescence with some bracts removed to show underlying developing flowers. (D) Stage 4 – Individual flowers expanded beyond bracts. (E) Stage 5 – Individual pre-anthetic flowers with elongate pedicels. (F) Stage 6 – Flowers at anthesis. (G) Stage 7 – Corolla dropped and beginning of fruit development. B = Bract; C = Corolla tube; F = Flower bud; K = Calyx tube; p = pedicel. Scale bars = 5 mm.

Here above is a source image with descriptions, as mentioned, from Spiers, 1978 (that’s Dr. James Spiers, who retired as Research Leader at the USDA ARS Horticultural Research Laboratory, Poplarville, MS)

In the photo above, there are several stages that can be viewed: early tight buds (greenish yellow), later pinkish buds (both at stage 5), full opened buds (stage 6) and even one post-corolla fall at stage 7 (the soon to be fruit).

Stage 2 seen above shows floral bud swelling with scales starting to separate.

 

Now that the plants are actively growing, go ahead and fertilize with an acid-loving plant fertilizer. I’ll probably hit mine at home in the next couple of weeks. If you are not a fan of eating blueberries, consider planting an native Elliott’s blueberry for all if its ornamental attributes (simply gorgeous at flowering in winter/spring and in the fall with green stems and red leaves) and let the wildlife enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Signing off from Mississippi (the Birthplace of Blues and BLUEBERRIES!…well, sort of…or maybe we just “do em right”)

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

 

Categories: Fruit Crops, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bogue Chitto State Park, LA: plants in bloom March 2014

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-023_WEB

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-023_WEB

Bogue Chitto State Park is located in Franklinton, Louisiana (about 35 minutes north of Abita Springs, LA). I recently traveled there for a hike with my husband and two dogs. What a wonderful surprise! I am only sorry we did not know about this state park sooner. As pictured above, there was tremendous spring color to be found, including Gelsemium sempervirens, Prunus serotina, and native maple (Acer species).

Below are many images I captured during our hike, which wasn’t the ideal time for photography, but photography wasn’t the reason for our visit. I would love to elaborate more on each plant, but working with the images, researching the plants, and putting it all together has maxed out my daily limit. Where in doubt of the species, I have only indicated the Genus.

 

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Malus species in flower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The image above is likely a crabapple. Note the pale pink blossoms, indicative of the Malus genus. Below is what looks like a wild apple. Its a rather old, shaded tree, but the flowers were all white and very beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The images here (above and below) are small trees/large shrubs in the Crataegus genus. My first thought was definitely parsley hawthorn, an outstanding native. In the first image, the flowers seem to be more white, whereas in the lower image, the tree seemed to have very dominate pink anthers (pollen part). It could have been lighting I suppose, but it gave off a different feel. (don’t forget, you can double click each image to see the larger size as these are “medium”)

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Below is a Trillium! One of spring’s sweet surprises. Keep your eyes peeled on the ground for this low growing and somewhat shy native.

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The Illicium at this state park were incredible. Hurry and get up there now to see the glorious blooms. I had never seen so many Illicium floridanum in one area, and certainly not blooming!  While quite showy, their smell was somewhat along the lines of a dirty fish aquarium.  But you did have to get close to smell it. I had a variegated variety of this native growing in my yard, but it did not survive the year after planting.  I would like to try again.

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

In a recent post about what’s blooming in my yard, I included a note about Vaccinium elliottii, Elliott’s blueberry. There were several plants still blooming along the trails at Bogue Chitto.

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I could not have been more surprised to find a flowering dogwood along the trails. Some of the trails lead you up hills with overlooks of the ravines below. This higher level of well-drained soil provided the perfect niche for a dogwood. This tree was relatively old and the flowers were about twenty feet high into the canopy. They were not white, but a creamy light yellow.

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I spotted a couple of little violets, some that were white tinged with purple and this lovely lavender colored specimen below.

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright-2014

Often seen popping up in lawns, species of the genus Hedyotis could be found along the trails in sunnier locations.

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Last week I photographed Nothoscordum in my own yard and have since found huge swaths of it blooming in unmowed roadsides. The image below was a specimen along the trails we hiked.

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Certainly I was impressed with all the native blooming plants at Bogue Chitto, including several Halesia, I believe H. diptera. Similar to the flowers of Elliott’s blueberry, Halesia diptera have cute little bell-like flowers that hang daintily from their slender stems.

Halesia diptera. Silverbell.  TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Halesia diptera. Silverbell. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Its always fun to identify a plant that you never remember seeing or learning before. Such was the case with the small tree below: Symplocos tinctoria (common sweet leaf)! Getting up close and personal with the flowers was a special treat.

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The genus Senecio is large and at the moment I don’t have time to key out the two yellow-orange spring wildflowers. They are members of the family Asteraceae and as best as I can tell, are both in the genus Senecio. They were blooming side by side along the shadier areas of the trail, particularly the lower, wetter areas.

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

 

You can find a great resource from Louisiana State University Ag Center in their Native Tree Guide.

The bathrooms were clean, stocked, and plentiful. Our dogs had a great time hiking the trails with us and we can’t wait to go back. There were hills to climb, streams, lakes and a river to to explore. Many folks were camping, running trails, hiking, biking, fishing  and walking with families and friends.  It was a very safe and well-maintained park. Kudos to LA State Parks!

 

Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-360_WEB

Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

We recommend ending a day of hiking with some tasty, fresh, local microbrews and grub at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs. Their patio is also leashed-dog friendly!

Keep on Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blooming in My Yard: March 8-14, 2014

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Often times (and sadly so) pulled out or sprayed with herbicide by many folks, this pink-flowering Oxalis wildflower pops up all over my patio garden each spring. I wouldn’t dream of spraying it out (of course I don’t like to spray anything except poison ivy), but I have occasionally moved it to a better home. And guess what? Its edible! I love the blog post on Oxalis written on Eat The Weeds. At any rate, it just started blooming in my garden this week! But in a couple of weeks there will be a plethora of pink flowers. The benefits are that it is very low maintenance, low growing, and will grow in cracks or other hard-to-plant areas.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The very first blooms of my rhododendrons have opened. They are a couple of weeks from peak (the perfect time for a garden party), but these blossoms will tease me until then. Remember, if in doubt, just call it a rhododendron, because “All azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.” This is because their genus is Rhodendron. Read more about their classification on www.rhododendron.org.  I am so lucky that in times past someone did a wonderful job of planting trees, shrubs, and perennials in my yard. I repay the kindness by planting more as I am able for future homeowners to admire and love.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The wild, native Prunus pictured above, likely Prunus serotina (black cherry) is blooming now too. Although this tree is growing on adjacent property, it is full evolved onto my property. However, there are seedlings that pop up everywhere, so I may be inclined this year to dig up a couple and plant out in my yard. Otherwise, they usually end up chopped up with the lawnmower or victim to the compost.  Read Dr. Eric Stafne’s blog post on wild prunus. Look for this tree blooming in the woods on your spring hikes!

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Last week I showed images from my fruiting pear and one of the pollinator pears. The pollinator image above is my second pollinator pear and just started flowering this week. It is likely a different species, although it does get a bit more shade, both factors that can affect timing of flowering. As with the other pear used for pollinating, it flowers first, then the leaves will emerge.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The blueberries are blooming! Both native, such as Vaccinium elliottii, and the cultivated blueberries (above) are flowering. I love their dainty, hanging, bell-like flowers that seem to shimmer in the morning sun. Both are edible! If you are interested in fruit and nut crop information, considering following Dr. Stafne’s blog, which includes information on blueberries. Be on the look for this native blueberry blooming this month if you are out hiking.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Whew! Can you smell it? Okay, okay, so its not your typical “flower”, but this final gem pictured above is a fungi that emerged near my raised bed. Known commonly as a stinkhorn, I am pretty sure it is of the genus Clathrus. ? Some good information with images can be found on East Tennessee Wildflowers: Fantastic Fungi! This is the second one in my yard this spring.

Its a beautiful day outside and I have a ton of work to do and now half the day is gone from me!

Have a great weekend and try to enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day parades!

Keep Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
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