I started my search for fruits and flowers at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park. In the large prairie next to the walking paths I found three of my four flowers. I first noticed a large abundance of tall sunflowers (Helianthus giganteus).

Tall Sunflowers in a prairie

Tall Sunflowers in prairie at Blacklick Woods Metro Park.

I knew that these were Helianthus giganteus because of their purple stem and lance-shaped leaves.

Tall Sunflower stems

Purple stems and lanced-shaped leaves of the tall sunflower.

These flowers are also a classic Aster family example. They have an inflorescence that looks like a single flower that is really a head of flowers called a capitulum. The ray flowers are actinomorphic and the disk flowers are zygomorphic and have five petals fused together.

Tall sunflower capitulum cross section

Tall sunflower capitulum cross-section showing the fused stamens, stigma on the far left, and the inferior ovaries.

Tall sunflowers

Tall sunflowers, one with bloomed disk flowers and one that hasn’t bloomed yet.

 

Just across from these asters I saw a very different type of flower, a spotted-touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis). They are a part of the Balsaminaceae family.

Spotted-touch-me-not flower

Spotted-touch-me-not flower

These are zygomorphic flowers that burst open their petals in order to distribute seeds.

Spotted-touch-me-not flower

Close up of spotted-touch-me-not.

These flowers have five petals with two of them being fused. It has an inferior ovary and is apocarpus.

Field/Pasture thistle at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park.

Field/Pasture thistle at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park.

Also in the prairie were multiple field thistles (Cirsium discolor).

Field thistle plant with spiny leaves.

Field thistle plant with spiny leaves.

Alas, these are also in the Asteraceae family, but they are a great example of the variation in the family.

Up close view of field thistle with only the outer disk flowers bloomed.

Up close view of field thistle with only the outer disk flowers bloomed.

These only have disk flowers! These are 5-merous,  flowers that are fused with their inferior ovary attached to a capitulum.

This small tree was growing alongside the fence in my neighbor’s yard in Reynoldsburg. I think that this is a Halberd-leaved Rose Wallow (Hibiscus militaris).

Buds and flowers from a Hisbiscus species.

Buds and flowers from a Hisbiscus species.

Close up of the many stigma and stamens of this rose wallow.

Close up of the many stigma and 5 stamens of this rose wallow.

Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Flower

These flowers have 5 separate petals and sepals, and they are actinomorphic.

These are American Yews (Taxus canadensis).

American Yew berries in different stages.

American Yew berries in different stages.