Monday, June 29, 2009

Calling all flower detectives

This post is for all the plant lovers, botanists and Science Chimps out there. I've got a mystery that needs solvin'!

UPDATE: Mystery has been solved thanks to help from my blogging friends. The flower is Leather Flower, also called Vase Vine and Bluebill (Clematis viorna), a type of Clematis, member of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). Thanks to botanist Tom Arbour of the Ohio Nature Blog for the specifics. Turns out I was on the right track with the Virgin's Bower similarity, as that is a type of Clematis, too. Just needed to dig deeper.

Every year I come across at least one flower that I've never seen before and cannot find in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers (Eastern Region). It frustrates me to no end when I can't find something in an ID book. Sometimes it's because I'm looking in the wrong place, but most of the time it's because it's just not in there (as was the case with the Carolina Cranesbill in my Lunchtime Nature Walk post , which was kindly ID'd by Jim McCormac - thanks, Jim!).

And so here I am again, left scratching my head about another flower. At least with the Cranesbill I knew it was something in the Geranium family, but this one... I have no clue. Can anyone help me here?

Whatever it is, the honeybees like it.

Clockwise from upper left: tiny flower bud; bigger flower bud, not yet opened; view of flower from below.

And these are the leaves.

I'm guessing this is the fruit of the flower. This part reminds me a whole lot of Virgin's Bower, but it is not similar in any other way (well, other than the fact that it seems like it might be a vine).

The flower as it matures and goes to seed. I love the deep purple color, and how the texture has changed from something shiny to something more like sandpaper.

And here's a nice close-up look. It's a very "girly" looking flower, don't you think?

I'd appreciate any help I can get on this one. Thanks in advance!


Tom said...

Leather flower, vaseline, Clematis viorna.

NW Nature Nut said...

I second that it is a clematis too. They get those weird seed heads.

Nature As Is said...

Tom is right Heather definately from the Clamatis family...the only reason I know is because of the's seeds exactly like my clamitis's here at home. Beautiful speices you found Heather good eye!!

Kelly said...

...I'm just along for the ride to learn more about wildflowers. It's beautiful and your photos of it are spectacular.

Heather said...

Thanks to all of you for your help. I knew I could count on my blogging friends! Tom, thanks for the latin name.

Even though this flower is pretty and showy, it's kind of subtle and small. It grows along the edge of our road, but I wouldn't notice it just driving by. It took a walk down the road for it to catch my eye.

Andy said...

I thought I left a comment on the last visit. Hmm...anyway, the top photo is fantastic!

Heather said...

Hi Andy - You did leave a comment over on my Picasa web album, so you're not dreaming! Thank you so much. It was really interesting watching that bee pop in and out of the flower, but most of the time it had its head stuck way up inside, so I was lucky to actually get a photo of it in that position.