January 8, 2022
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on October 23, 2020.
Yesterday, we looked at goldenrod, so today, let's look at a plant that I mistakenly thought was goldenrod until fairly recently! This is wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia), also known as yellow ironweed. Like goldenrod, it also belongs to the family Asteraceae, but the blooms look quite different.
Wingstem gets its name from the ridges that run along the stem, which project out far enough that they apparently resemble wings. If you zoom in on the photo, you can see the flange-like ridges running vertically down the stem. These "wings" add a great deal of rigidity to the plant and also help it to grow to great heights; under the right conditions, it can reach as much as ten feet tall!
Wingstem can be found in damp, sunny areas near woodlands, and it often grows in dense colonies. It's resistant to deer and an important plant for pollinators. It begins blooming in August and continues through the fall. In my neck of the woods, the wingstem is starting to die off, but you just might spot some still in bloom on your property!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!