Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Miami Mist

I found myself along the banks of the Mad River in Logan County this evening. The Mad is fed by innumerable springs, and as a consequence its waters are perennially cool, even in the heat of summer. Much of the river is also buffered by extensive swaths of riparian forest, such as the locale that I visited tonight.

The stands of this delicate little wildflower, Miami mist, Phacelia purshii, were truly dazzling. There must have been acres of the stuff, all in peak bloom. Even though the fading light presented photographic challenges, I found it necessary to try and capture some of this plant's showiness with my lens.

Miami mist is a member of the waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae), and like the others in its tribe its flowers have an ornately beautiful delicateness that is hard to match among our wild plants. The petals of this species are copiously fringed, as are the sepals.

It was quite a treat to see blankets of Phacelia purshii misting the banks of the Mad River while a Rose-breasted Grosbeak sang from high overhead. Another week or two and this little annual will be done flowering for the year. Spring is rushed, and compressed - one must try and enjoy every minute.


Jason Kessler said...

Wow, that's a beaut.

Trendle Ellwood said...

I love your observations of this hardly known little delight of a flower. I can find hardly any information on it at all, as if it has always been over looked. I am trying to find information on how it ended up with Miami Mist as a name. It is so unique with the scalloped petals. I saw it referred to once as scorpion weed.

I have been watching a lovely patch of it down on the railroad tracks for years. Every year it blooms then the company that owns the track, sprays it! Then all turns brown and bare and just railroad tracks like they want. BUT Miami Mist comes back every year again. It is amazing. I brought a little start of it up to my yard last year before it got sprayed and just today I discovered it blooming and thriving.

I can imagine the huge stands of it you describe were incredible to see.
Thanks for all you share!

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