Sunday, August 26, 2018

Just a few pond and bog plants in late August

The plants on Caesar Pond bloom at various times, from spring through autumn. As I puttered around the pond, I took a few photos of the plants currently in flower and fruit on the little islands, as well as submerged plants.
Algae (unknown species by me) under the water.
See the air bubbles at the surface created by the algae?
My first glance around was under the water. There is algae galore. In fact, the water is quite murky due to all the algae throughout the pond.
Wild-celery, Vallisneria americana
Also, on the surface of the water was wild-celery whose long, ribbonlike leaves cover wide sections of the pond where the water is a bit shallower, often 5 feet deep or less. This plant is a very popular food source for ducks who feed on the rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) of the plant.
Water smartweed, Polygonum sp.
I was also intrigued by water smartweed which I saw in only one location on the pond. It is currently found at the border of the north cove, in shallow water. Muskrats and ducks enjoy feeding on smartweed.
Water smartweed
Here is more of a close-up of the plant. The seed heads are a good food source for birds.
Pipewort, aka button rods, Eriocaulon septangulare (with a 7-sided, leafless flower stalk)
I also find pipewort to be one of my favorite water loving plants. It can grow near the edges of the sphagnum islands, with all of its plant matter above the water surface.
Pipewort, with another common name of Hatpins
Or, pipewort can grow with its basal leaves below water and just its stalks visible above the water surface. I just love the little white, button-like flowers at the tips of the stems.
Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata
I often see pipeworts growing near water lilies in shallow water. This fragrant water lily is host to lots of insects that feed on the stems, leaves, and flowers. I think these plants attract more insects than any others on the pond. Bees, beetles, flies, and tiny thrips swarm these plants for their pollen.
They host insects that feed on them, lay eggs on them, and pollinate them.
Common Bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris (I believe)
Oooohhhh...ooohhh...Check out the bladderwort in the water to the left of the water lily. More carnivorous than insectivorous, these plants inhabit ponds, swamps, and marshes and feed on lots of tiny zooplankton. Someday, I need to net a mass and photograph it in my aquarium to get a better view.
Arrowhead, Sagittaria latifolia
As I made my way toward an island, I was pleased to find Arrowhead plants in flower. Do you see the somewhat arrow-shaped leaves on either side of the group of white flowers?
Arrowhead flowers
Here is a close-up of the flowers. These plants are found in shallow waters where they are fed upon by water snails, ducks, beavers, muskrats, and lots of insects. Their tubers can be cooked like potatoes, although some people are highly allergic when even touching the plant.
Along the edges of the sphagnum islands, I spied lots of cranberries that will soon be ready for picking! This one looks ripe to me;-)
Here is an unripe cranberry. Note the small leaves that grow alternately on the stems. These plants grow in highly acidic environments.
Cotton-grass, Eriophorum spp.
Growing on the sphagnum islands, often forming tussocks (mounded clumps) where their "feet" don't get as wet, are the cotton-grasses. They are sedges with cottony tufts of seed-heads. 
I find it relaxing to watch them swaying in the breeze. They are a sign that autumn is near.
And, lastly, the asters, which are one of the last of the flowers to bloom as we head into autumn, are adding a bit of cheeriness to the islands. This one is growing on a log that is partially submerged near the shore. It's neighbors are bog gentian, sundew, and sedges, and some plants unknown to me.

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