Please note the change of identification from 7:00 a.m. to 3:11 p.m. I thought you might like the changing process of classification.
Composed at ca. 7:00 a.m. this morning, before field trip
The hunt is on again for identifying a wildflower, but this time the plant in question falls outside the ranchito and does not fit into my project of cataloging wildflowers on my land.
Yesterday afternoon at about Mile Marker 352 on the south side of Interstate 20, I saw a bush-clump of brilliant orange-scarlet flowers. I have never seen such brilliance. Hurrying to the ranchito and my office, I combed page-by-page my wildflower identification books and at least five websites that classify flowers. I may have found the answer, but I cannot with a lot of confidence conclude the flowers to be the Caliche globemallow or Scarlet globemallow and I have had to reverse my classifications before — I once identified the Wine Cup as a Desert Mariposa — so, I must go up the hills to my west tomorrow and find the flowers again. Elaine Lee and her mother have recently seen ‘neon-orange flowers’ near Putnam, Texas, on Interstate 20.
In reflecting on the Scarlet globemallow (?), I may have seen a family’s roadside memorial marker with orange plastic flowers wrapped around a cross?
Composed at ca. 3:11 p.m. after field trip to photograph
I combined a trip to the First National Bank of Santo at Mingus, Texas, with a field excursion up on top of Ranger Hill (Mile Marker 352) to photograph this flower. I thought I had it down as a Scarlet globemallow even though I flew by the plant at 70 m.p.h. I made two trips by the flower before I turned into the grass along side Interstate 20. There was no access road nearby so I turned on my emergency blinkers. I discovered five clumps of the plant and its blossoms as trucks shot by.
Of course, I am self-conscious at the side of an Interstate taking pictures of wildflowers: What the hey am I doing here? A few truckers blow their horn.
I admit I am so curious about this plant and flower that I spend $8.00 in diesel fuel going up the hill from where I live to get close to this flower and photograph. That’s ‘What the hey am I doing there.’ Secondly, what the hey is that flower doing there? Too many questions with not enough answers, so I drive back to the ranchito, eat a ham sandwich and upload the pics and begin to compare the blossoms with Scarlet globemallow. Totally different blossoms, totally different plants.
This search, I think, is going to go on for a long, long time. So, I pick up my first manual, and on page 16 of Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller’s Texas Wildflowers is the Orange milkweed also known as Butterflyweed, Butterfly milkweed, Orange milkweed or Pleurisy root. That was fast.
I have Green milkweed on the ranchito, but no Orange milkweed. I am curious as to the medicinal properties of the Orange milkweed. And, what is pleurisy? I remember hearing it as a boy: I’ve got some pleurisy this morning, Little Jack. I think it must be some sort of joint pain? In any case, I am confident as to the classification and it is a brilliant, showy blossom known as Orange milkweed.
Many county roads meander about my area. I think my next trip will be up the road for 15 miles or so where my mail carrier habitually sees a bobcat cross the road. There be things to discover and photograph up the road, up the hill and into nature’s wonders. I do believe it so.
- Northern Arizona Area Wildflower Updates 2/20/12 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)