Possibly during one of the many cool evenings forecasted for the rest of the week, you may decide to walk the Deible or Acorn trails through the City of Rolla.
While out for a stroll, keep an eye out for some of the beautiful wildflowers in bloom on the edges of the trail.
Spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis):
The spotted touch-me-not is an interesting wildflower found in Missouri. A great native plant to attract hummingbirds, from May through October it produces orange, red spotted cornucopia shaped flowers.
This plant gets its common name from how it disperses its seeds. When ripe, its seed pods, at the slightest touch or disturbance from wind, violently pop as they curl inside out, throwing their seeds far away in all directions.
Growing up to 5 feet tall, it prefers to grow along the banks of a moist wooded stream and is often found growing in swampy, water saturated soil conditions.
If growing spotted touch-me-not at home from a local native plant nursery, this plant is perfect for low moist rain garden.
Producing an abundance of seeds which are dispersed far from the original plant, it can become weedy initially in the spring, but each unwanted seedling develops a shallow root system that is easy to remove.
Brown-Eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia triloba):
Brown-eyed-susans produce a beautiful display of abundant yellow flowers with brownish black center cones from June through November in Missouri.
What appears to be an individual flower actually is a composite flower, made up of many small inconspicuous "disk" flowers clustered together to form the brown cone surrounded by eight to 12 yellow rays produced by outer ray flowers. (The ray flowers appear to be the "flower petals").
Depending on its location, soil moisture and nutrient content, this plant can grow up to 5 feet tall, with multiple branches spreading out from the stem.
Although brown-eyed susans are naturally found along open wooded streams and moist edges of woodlands, they can tolerate moderate drought and full sun conditions and are great wildflowers for a home naturalized prairie garden.
A brown-eyed susan is a biennial or short lived perennial from my experience. If soil is annually disturbed or the leaf litter is removed in the wildflower garden, it readily re-seeds itself.
Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia):
One of the most abundant wildflowers blooming along the Acorn Trail, wingstem, also known as yellow ironweed, is a common perennial wildflower which blooms from August through October in Missouri.
It grows up to 8 feet tall and produces an abundance of yellow composite flowers each with two to eight rays. At home growing on the edges of rich moist woodlands or along the edges of streams, wingstem gets its name from the distinctive leaf tissue found running down the sides of its stems.
Page 2 of 2 - Because of its large untamed weedy nature, wingstem is not often planted as an ornamental but can be used in the back of a naturalized wildflower garden.
Next week's column:
After what seemed like a never-ending period of cool, rainy weather, there were bound to be garden fungi diseases making their presence known in vegetable gardens throughout the region.
Sure enough, a few plant disease specimens were brought to my office for diagnosis. Next week, my column will discuss controlling fungi diseases of tomatoes.