A closer look at our discovery (Part One) reveals the details of this sea of tiny blue flowers, details easily missed from a distance to those too busy for a bugs-eye view. It means getting down on your knees in the wet sand–a small price to pay for such a visual memory.And among the details of form and color in this closer view of Myosotis scorpiodes is the inflorescence type. A flowering plant’s “inflorescence” is the way it holds its flowers on the main and secondary stems. (Great page about flower types is at Wayne’s World) This flower (and in fact the flower family to which it belongs) is characterized by this unusual type of flower growth form called a helicoid or scorpoid cyme. (More about that tomorrow in Part Three.) Getting an uncluttered shot to show this took some doing, so I’m especially pleased with this shot.
What I wasn’t pleased to learn, however, is that this plant is considered an INVASIVE, primarily of wetlands. As a plant brought here (for aesthetic reasons, most likely) and escaped from cultivation, it spreads readily in places like our sandy creek. Ann spotted it yesterday downstream on her drive to town.
Next Thursday I’ll be participating in (and photographing and writing about) a workday on the Blue Ridge Parkway to remove invasives from a parkway wetland area near the VA-NC line. More about that then, of course.
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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.