Where the Wild Things Are- Goldenrod

Lets start with the most obvious plant out there these days....Goldenrod! It is easy to dismiss it. It seems to be everywhere. How interesting can it be? Well, the more I learn the more interesting life gets. I have found out that there are 12 different species of Goldenrod in Todd County. When you start actually looking at them, there are differences. The flowers themselves vary in size and number. The leaves vary widely. Most live in dry areas, but three species only grow in wet areas. They vary from 1 foot to 5 feet tall (Even taller in a good growing year like this!). There is something to be said for walking through Goldenrod and Joe Pye Weed over your head and listening to the buzz of bees all around you. They are difficult to tell apart without actually taking the time to look at them. I have found at least 5 species on Camphill land. From the Showy to the Grass leaved, they are worth taking the time to look at as you go about your day. 

As you look at them you will find small white flowers, some blue, some purple sharing the same ground. These are the Asters. They too come in many varieties, 14 to be exact. They belong to the same family as the goldenrod, and one of the goldenrod actually has white flowers an looks just like an Aster! They only found out that it was a goldenrod when they discovered that it could cross with the goldenrods. 

Besides the golden grasslands, are the swampy areas. I found Narrow Leaved Cattails in abundance. These are an introduced species which are now widespread. There is a hybrid between them and the Broad leaved Cattail which is the native species. Since both abound in Camphill, the hybrids are no doubt there also. 

Hidden behind grass and cattail I found a bog that I didn't know existed! To me there is no joy quite like bouncing up and down on a mat of floating vegetation and watching the ripples go out across the pond! In this little corner of wetland, I found Nodding Bur Marigold, Swamp Smartweed, and Arum Leaf Arrowhead, all new to my list! I must make a note to check out this spot next summer and see if it holds even more surprises earlier in the year!