October 26 and the flowers are still blooming

Since we’re supposed to get a soaking nor’easter tomorrow i switched Y days and went to Deep Hollow. At least six flowers still blooming. pretty cool for Oct. 26.
Spotted knapweed.

UPDATE: I wanted to post five flowers and descriptions but Word Press is making it extremely difficult, so I’ll have to skip it until I learn better how to use this site. So what we have here, in order, are a description of spotted knapweed, followed by a photo of a willow pine tree gall, followed by a description of the gall, followed by a picture of the knapweed.  Got it?  Good, because I don’t.

Species distinguishing characteristics:

•Pinkish-purple flowers with grayish-green stem and leaves
•Rigid bracts below flower heads have brown, triangular tips with comb-like fringe
•Grayish-green basal and lower stem leaves have deeply lobed segments
•Seed head from previous year persists

Family Characteristics:

•Multiple layers of bracts beneath the flowers
•Flower heads composed of many smaller (often tiny) flowers, each of which produces an individual seed
•Flowers may contain disk florets, such as those in the yellow center of a daisy, and/or petal-like ray florets

gallWillow Pine Cone Gall

This gall in the shape of a pine cone, appears on willow stems and confuses many because of its resemblance to a pine cone. In the summer a small fly called a gall gnat midge (Rabdophaga strobiloides) deposits an egg on the stem. The new larva secretes a substance on the stem which causes the willow to go into overdrive building a multi-layered chamber composed of hardened material that would have been leaves had stem growth not been arrested.

The development of the gall is seen in the photos below. Inside snugly resides the wintering larva, which will metamorphose into a gnat when warm weather comes again.

If you split one of these cones open (photos below) you will find the small pink larva resting inside, unless some of its wasp-like parasites have invaded the chamber.

knapweed

Author: luzerne2112

As I get older -- and I'm 70 now -- I seem to find more and more that nature is the true source of peace, inspiration and, most of all, the truth the passeth understanding. Though my knowledge is sketchy and superficial, I wanted to share it while I can.

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