The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Native Plants Along the Roadside

As you drive along do you notice the blooming native plants?  I like to look at what is blooming.  In the spring you will see orange daylilies and oxeye daisies lining the ditches.  What I have seen blooming along the side of the road this week has made me start carrying the camera around with me.  There is a tall purple flower that I see near wet areas – it is Ironweed, Vernonia altissima.  Another tall purple flowering plant for this time of year is Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium maculatum.  There are a few yellow flowers I have seen – one is in part shade – near the edges of woodland areas -- Woodland Sunflower, Helianthus divaricatus.   These are tall and wiry stemmed plants.  There is another – you see it all along the side of the road and in cow pastures -- Helenium autumnale, Common Sneezeweed or Fall Sneezeweed.  Sneezeweed doesn't make you sneeze.  Well, I guess it sort of does – the name comes from its usage – the leaves of the plant were dried to make snuff that was inhaled for the purpose to cause you to sneeze and rid your body of what ailed it. Sneezeweed is also called Bitter weed.  If cows dine on Bitterweed, their milk will taste bitter.  I have never heard if the cows think it tastes bitter or even if they like to eat it.  You would think something called Bitterweed would not be something good to eat.  The Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis has just started to bloom.  Most of the really tall plants have not – but you can see the yellow peeping from the buds.  Goldenrod gets blamed for a lot of allergy symptoms this time of year.  It is not the culprit.  The pollen from Goldenrod is too large to really cause a problem.  There is another plant blooming now – it hardly gets noticed – Ragweed.   Ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia is in the aster family – just as Goldenrod.  Ragweed is a tall plant – six feet.  The blooms are six-inch clusters of tiny, greenish, bell-shaped flowers.  The stems are coarse, hairy and branched.  Your stuffy nose and itchy eyes are more than likely the result of Ragweed pollen flying about.


Twice a week I take my daughter to classes in Hampton.  We drive right by the Atlanta Speedway.  There are a couple fields there (right across the road from the racetrack) that are covered with Sneezeweed.  The field is a blanket of yellow.  Yesterday I put the camera in the car with full intent of driving over to take some shots of the fields.  By the time I arrived the sun was too high – and not in a good spot for me at all.  I snapped a few shots – but they were not good and have already be en deleted.  Perhaps I will get back over there early enough to get a good shot – or head over late in the day.   The day I was there – and the sun was not in the right place – the clouds were almost nonexistent.  It would be a much nicer photo with those light, fluffy, fair weather cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky.  The yellow field, blue sky, and white clouds would make a perfect landscape photo.  There is a section of road very near to me with a great crop of Goldenrod on the side about to bloom.  When it finally does bloom – again I am hoping for some good cloud days to add to the photos!

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