Readers’ wildlife photos

April 21, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today’s photos of Wisconsin plants (and two spider webs) come from reader Rik Gern of Austin Texas, whose notes and IDs are indented. Click on the screenshot to enlarge the photos.

Here are the last of my pictures from northern Wisconsin. This batch consists of wildflowers and a few odds and ends.

I’ve been visiting the Northwoods for years, but usually travel in the fall or winter, so last August’s wildflowers were a novel treat. Most of these were taken by Alma Lake in St. Germain.

The first picture is of Linaria vulgaris, commonly known as Butter and eggs. It’s also called Yellow toadflax, but honestly, why would anyone call something so pretty Toadflax!?

The pink flower growing by the side of a lake is Slenderleaf false foxglove (Agalinis tenuifolia; first photo), and the yellow flower (photo below it) growing nearby is Crowned beggarticks, or Bidens trichosperma.

Our next yellow flower is Ohio goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis). Lacking petals, the goldenrod appears more weed like than the other flowers, but its beauty can’t be denied.

Now we travel farther north, to Madeline Island by Lake Superior on the northern tip of Wisconsin. This is Castilleja coccinea, or Indian paintbrush.

Next we head back to St. Germain for two unidentified plants on the marshy shores of Moon Lake.

The whole area is dotted with lakes and you often see American white water lily (Nymphaea odorata) riding the ripples and gently undulating on the surface.

The last two pictures are examples of an extended phenotype, in this case that of the Sheet weaver spider, of the family Linyphiidae. I never saw the spiders, but in the early morning their handiwork was evident; silvery webs that looked like miniature radar dishes nestled in the needles of the pine trees.

These are the last of my Wisconsin pictures till my last visit, which I look forward to!

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Those butter and eggs (butters and eggs?) always look kind if like orchids to me. We have them here in southern Ontario. I always thought the Indian paintbrushes were strictly a Western plant (Utah),but will have to keep my eyes open here.

  2. Those are lovely pictures! I think the little moth on the Ohio goldenrod is a species that is suspected to mimic a jumping spider, with its markings that resemble legs, and then some false eyespots.

  3. Regarding the two unidentified plants, the first is some species of dock, genus Rumex. Possibly greater water dock (Rumex brittanica) based on its habitat and height.

    The second fooled me at first. I see arrowhead-shaped leaves in water and I assume arrowhead plants (genus Sagittaria), the most common of which is broadleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia). However, something looked off and I realized it was the leaf veins, which are pinnate in your plants but palmate in arrowheads. I think yours are, instead, green arrow arum (Peltandra virginica). Wisconsin is on the edge of its range.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful photos; better yet, beautiful photos of plants!
    Common names of plants are fun, but they can be confusing. There’s a wildflower called butter and eggs (or butter ‘n’ eggs) that’s native to California. It’s diminuitive compared to Linaria vulgaris
    but it can form lovely carpets in meadows
    Its Latin name is Triphysaria eriantha–not at all related to the butter and eggs in your lovely photo. Linaria vulgaris grows in California too, but it’s a problematic invasive plant here.

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