More Summer Fun

Equisetum (top photo) is also called horsetail or scouring rush. This patch is located in and around the Troodon exhibit on the Dino Trail.

The name equisetum is Latin for “horse bristle.” The common name horsetail is usually used to describe the entire group of species within the genus Equisetum. The branched species are said to resemble a horse’s tail.

The name scouring rush comes from the fact that the rough, silica rich stems have been, and can be, used to scour such things as pots, pans, floors and whatever else might need a good scrubbing.

American sycamore is a common tree along streams, rivers and lakes. It’s the big white tree with the peeling bark.

Young sycamore leaves.

Leaves of trees and shrubs are an important platform for many insect activities. Insects eat, lay eggs on and even mate on various plant leaves.

Red milkweed beetles mate on common milkweed leaf.

Woody St. John’s Wort is native to the state but more common on the coastal plain and mountains than here in the Piedmont. The variety we have growing here at the museum is a cultivar of some sort. Whichever cultivar it might be, it certainly has an attractive flower. The plant shown here is across from the Bird Viewing Exhibit on the way to Catch the Wind.

St. John’s wort.

Magnolia is in bloom. Everyone here in North Carolina should recognize this large white flower.

A large southern magnolia flower (about 10″ across).

Swamp rose is also blooming. The flower’s pink petals and yellow pistols and stamens are an attractive addition to the wetlands. This native plant is doing well here at the museum.

Small and delicate looking swamp rose flower.

Purple coneflower is a much utilized nectaring plant for butterflies.

American lady butterfly nectaring on purple coneflower.

If you happen to be passing by a hackberry tree, chances are you’ll run into a hackberry emperor. Hackberry emperors sometimes land on people as they pass by the butterfly’s territory. The butterflies do this to suck minerals from the skin of the passersby.

Hackberry emperor butterfly.

Great blue skimmers are the largest skimmer (a family of dragonflies) in the east. The one pictured is a male. Females have brown eyes and a brown abdomen with yellow lateral markings.

Male great blue skimmer.

At the other extreme, eastern amber wings are one of the smallest dragonflies. They’re very common here in our wetlands.

Male eastern amber wing perched on small stump.

Join the fun. Come on out and have a look around.

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