Intense Blue

Here's another flower that blooms in the fall.

Bottle Gentian or Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) is found in moist meadows in the southern half of Pennsylvania.  I usually find it near the lake at Moraine State Park. This one is from Marcy Cunkelman's garden last month.

The flower is fascinating because it's closed so tightly that small insects can't get inside.  Only bumblebees can force their way in to sip the nectar.

Occasionally an insect will bypass the closed tips by drilling straight into the base of the flower.  Alas.  This mars its intense blue petals.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

4 thoughts on “Intense Blue

  1. It’s still blooming thanks to all the rain and cooler temps…beautiful shade of blue and I got this plant from Beechwood native plant sale…It may be covered in leaves as strong as the wind is blowing…peak color was this past week in the yard.

  2. Kate,

    My boyfriend and I were out walking tonight, and as we watched some bunnies on the field by the Pete, we wondered whether there are many owls here in Oakland. Do you know if there are any species that live around Pittsburgh? Do they like the city, or just the parks, or just the suburbs?

    Thanks,
    Caitlin

  3. Caitlin, I’m sure Kate can give you a more complete list, but I thought I’d share that just last Saturday morning I was down in Schenley and heard a barred owl. I followed the hooting around off and on for over 90 minutes but never did track it down. So there’s a barred owl nearby at least!

  4. Caitlin, as you’ve guessed owl’s are a bit picky about where they’ll hang out. Eastern screech-owls like woodland edges and are often found in parks and neighborhoods… but they’re too small to eat rabbits. Peter mentioned the barred owl in Schenley Park (I hadn’t heard/seen him all summer so I wonder if he visits only in winter). And I know there are great-horned owls in the big city parks — in Frick Park for instance.

    Is there a great-horned owl up near the Petersen Center? That I don’t know. The two species that would tip us off to the presence of a great-horned owl are the crows and the peregrines because this owl is their mortal enemy. The crows will mob the owl and the peregrines will attack. Since there are so many crows in Oakland in winter and the peregrines are in Oakland all the time I’d think we would have noticed an owl by now. Maybe there is one and I haven’t paid attention. You might be the first to see it by watching the crows’ behavior.

    Meanwhile, the red-tailed hawks eat the rabbits.

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