Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Blue-eyed Mary, en masse, with pink-flowered variant

As always, click the image to enlarge

The weekend past, Shauna and I visited Washington and Monroe counties (Ohio), primarily to engage in fish work. I'll hope to post some of our piscine captures later. Our hosts were David and Laura Hughes, indefatigable explores who have lived in rural Washington County for years now and know the natural history of the area like no others.

Sunday morning, we decided to take a backroads path to the meeting spot where we'd be doing fish work. That decision proved fortuitous. A rural lane took us into a richly wooded narrow valley that was carpeted with Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna). The image above was taken in the heart of the largest "patch", which blanketed the woods on both sides of the road, for probably the better part of a half mile.

Blue-eyed Mary is a winter annual, and as such, is one of our few annual spring wildflowers. Where it occurs, it is often present in large numbers but still, I don't think I've ever seen the numbers that we saw here.

On the wooded banks of a small stream where we were sampling fish, there were more Blue-eyed Marys. Sprinkled among their ranks were a very few pink-flowered variants. They were quite striking, and the plant above aided our comparison by growing adjacent to a "normal" color form.

While I've seen thousands of Blue-eyed Mary flowers over the years, I'd never clapped eyes on pink ones. An admittedly less than thorough internet search would indicate that it is a rare variant. I did drum up one or two references to it, but if such a thing were widespread, I'd imagine there would be far more information out there. The flowers also rarely can be completely white.

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