Not what it seems…

Spanish moss adds mood o the scene. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

It is a prolific plant in Florida. Visitors are told that Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an invasive, choking pest, harming trees and other plants that it inhabits. Its dense clusters do seem to cover its hosts. The strange truth is that it is a member of the pineapple family; with tiny flowers that I have yet to see because to see them requires a microscope. I have tried zooming in on the photographs I’ve taken but have yet to find any flower; so perhaps my timing was off, and I did not capture them during their bloom time.

Truth is that Spanish Moss, aka Grandpa’s Beard, is an air plant getting its food and water from the atmosphere. Its host plants provide only a resting place though it has been known to be so dense that the host plant does not enough sunlight and therefore suffers. Folklore is that the plant, “The Meanest Man That Ever Lived”, was from an old man’s hair that grew very, very long and caught on the trees. Things are often not what they seem. But the stories are fun.

Grandpa’s Beard?! Coyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Beautiful and eerie. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Close-up Spanish Moss. Copyright 2018, Pamela Breitberg

Tree enveloped by Spanish Moss. Copyright 2018, Pamela Breitberg

When a rose is not a rose…

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
is a perennial Hibiscus species native to Illinois. This is a rose with no thorns, no arresting fragrance, but a striking presence indeed.

These images look at the subject from the side and rear which draws attention to the patterns and details of this giant blossom.

Beauty in the details. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Details of a large “Rose“. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Swamp Rose Mallow bud and flower. Copyright 207 Pamela Breitberg


Deceptive image…

True, unaltered image. But untruthful representation of a prairie. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

True, unaltered image. But untruthful representation of a prairie. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

The prairie is a favorite hangout for me. Grasses are the dominant species of the Midwest prairie. Blue skies and accompanying white fluffy Cumulus clouds are prime background to show off the vastness of the prairie. A prairie in the midst of suburban Chicago offers a treasured environs of solace. Maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis) is not to found however, in a native prairie. This Eurasian import is a perennial in this climate, and it found only in human-created landscapes.

This patch of Maidengrass occupies only about nine square feet at the parking lot curb entrance to my doctor’s office. This morning they caught my attention because of their gentle swaying against the bright autumn sky. It was a tiny piece of non-native wilds that brightened my morning.

A common northerner, or so I think…

White Pine...or so assumed, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

White Pine…or so assumed, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Best guess, is sometimes the best I can do when it comes to identifying a plant species. Snowfall challenges my abilities further. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus L.) is my best guess for this common evergreen in our neighborhood. Most trees were planted in effort to provide green accents in newly built residential sites.

Though the 48 inches of January followed by yesterday’s 4 inches are trying the patience of the heartiest around here, the temperature was well above zero yesterday. We were a balmy 30 degrees (Fahrenheit), so I ventured out for an hour-long vigorous walk. Only half of our day’s snow total had landed, so I grabbed our waterproof Nikon Coolpix camera. I don’t mind walking in active snowfall; but I respect my lenses’ care needs. It seems that White Pine seeds prefer a moist environment, so I’m assuming their needs have been met this winter.

Pinec one wrapped in fresh snow, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Pinec one wrapped in fresh snow, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg