Author: Father Pitt

  • Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria), Yellow and White Forms

    White form of Verbascum blattaria

    It seems that the yellow form is the more common form in most of this species’ range, but in Pittsburgh it is rare compared to the white form, which is everywhere. We found both colors growing in a recently cleared site along the Monongahela on the South Side.

    For a fuller description, see the Verbascum blattaria reference page.

    Yellow form of Verbascum blattaria
    White form again
    Yellow again
  • Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

    Penstemon digitalis

    A beautiful native flower, prized by gardeners, that is surprisingly common around here. This plant was growing in recently disturbed ground near a construction site—always a good place to look for interesting plants—along the Monongahela on the South Side. The pictures were taken on June 10.

    For a fuller description, see the Penstemon digitalis reference page.

    In the close-up picture below, we can see the hairy tongue, inside the tube of the flower, that gives “beardtongues” their name.

    Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)

    Also classified in the genus Lysimachia. These are unmistakable flowers, little bursts of scarlet popping out of sidewalk cracks and dry banks. They open only in fine weather and close, apparently in response to a drop in barometric pressure, if a storm is coming: thus another common name, “Poor Man’s Weatherglass.” These pictures were taken June 10 along the Mon on the South Side—in fine weather, as the flowers are happy to tell you.

    Baroness Orczy’s crusading fop took his name from these flowers.

    For a fuller description, see the Anagallis arvensis reference page.

  • Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina)

    Wool-covered leaves delight children and make a decorative accent all year, so these are popular garden plants. But the purple flowers produce a good crop of small seeds that wash downhill easily, so patches of Lamb’s Ears often pop up in the city where no one has planted them. These were photographed June 8 in Beechview.

    For a fuller description, see the Stachys byzantina reference page.

  • Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

    Convolvulus arvensis

    A delicate-looking wild morning glory that can survive mowing to light up lawns. These were photographed June 8 on a hillside in Beechview.

    For a fuller description, see the Convolvulus arvensis reference page.

    Field Bindweed
    Convolvulus arvensis