Friday, August 15, 2008

Another volunteer

Violet ruellia
Ruellia nudiflora

In my past life, I often yanked plants from the yard and flower beds that weren't placed there with purpose and on purpose. In other words, GET RID OF THE "WEEDS!" Now I think a bit differently. Now I look at what's growing there naturally with curiosity. I want to KNOW common names and how they fit in the habitat.

"Silverleaf nightshade, see them? That's what they are!" I told my daughter when we visited Inks Lake State Park this week. We'd passed a smattering of the purple-blooming plants by the roadside, and it just felt GREAT to call them by name. I knew because just recently I'd photographed one across the street here at home.

Yesterday, James pointed out a different purple flower in The Sanctuary. Another volunteer. Before I'd considered the scrawny plant a weed. Now I went to my wildflower book and searched for its name: violet ruellia, also known as the common wild petunia. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, "Flowers are lavender to purple, trumpet-shaped, deeply lobed at the flared rim, and open about sunrise, falling from plant in early afternoon, lasting only one day. This genus Ruellia is not the petunia common as potted plants which are in the Solanaceae (potato family). This genus of wild petunias is in the Acanthaceae (Ancanthus) family."

What's more, this plant is a larval host for at least four butterflies: Cuban crescent, common buckeye, white peacock and malachite. How cool is THAT??!

Moral of this post: Research before you yank.

1 comment:

Andreina Fabiola said...

Hi !!!
i like the nature too, i love the life.
your pics are beautiful, because they reflect the nature`s magic.

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