Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…
but I would say if someone doesn’t find flowers to be beautiful then they need a reality check or a good slap in the face! I mean that mostly sarcastically and in the nicest way possible of course! Well that introduces the topic for this week… FLOWERS! Let us start with talking very briefly about flowers. Flowers are the mastermind behind most plant reproduction… without them many, many, many plants would be left helpless with no way to reproduce. So what is a flower composed of anyway? An excellent question with a somewhat simple but complex answer. However, I will only give some basic terminology. Here we go…
Calyx = all the sepals aka the often green parts under the more colorful petals
Corolla = all the petals (not a nice sedan)
Stamen = anther and filament (the male part where pollen (sperm) comes from)
Androecium = all the stamens together
Pistil = style, stigma, and ovary (the female part containing the egg where the pollen must go)
Gynoecium = all the female part(s)
Now that we know some quick terminology lets dive into some flowers and describe some of their key characteristics. You don’t need to be an expert to know or understand some of the terms mentioned above and further down, but if you are struggling then I encourage you to look it up on the companion site linked above or just enjoy the pictures of the flowers!

First, lets look at four different flowers, some wild some not and determine some key features about them.
Common name: Common Morning Glory Scientific name: Ipomoea purpurea
Morning glory is a vine plant that can often grow anywhere, has heart-shaped leaves and beautiful colorful flowers. Check them out below!

This flower was found growing wild along my driveway and often invades our small flower garden even though we do not plant it!
It is on page 324 in Newcomb’s Wildflowers (a great helpful guide to wildflowers that I use)
Corolla: composed of 5 fused petals
Calyx: composed of 5 fused sepals
Androecium: composed of 5 separate stamens
Gynoecium type: syncarpous (# of carpels = 1) (a single pistil with a several chambered ovary)
Flower type/ovary position: perigynous
Flower symmetry: actinomorphic (regular)

But before we continue lets quickly discuss a couple more terms that help to characterize flowers. The gynoecium type refers to 3 different categories that explains how the female part of the flower is set up. 1. Unicarpellate = one carpel (or basic unit of the gynoecium) with one single chambered ovary. 2. Syncarpous = one carpel that is fused but has a many chambered ovary. 3. Apocarpous = many carpels with one chambers on the same flower. Phew now that is done lets explain the flower types! 1. Hypogynous = ovary that is above where the other parts of the flower start and are fused. 2. Perigynous = ovary is also above where the other parts are fused but the ovary is surrounded by a hypanthium or floral cup. 3. Epigynous = ovary is fused to the hypanthium and below where the other parts begin. I know this is a lot of information but there is one last thing to talk about and that is symmetry! There are 2 types of symmetry but only one associated with the flowers I discuss today and that is regular symmetry also know as radial symmetry and we would call flowers with that symmetry actinomorphic. Okay I know this has been a lot of terms but know you can understand more of the differences or similarities in these flowers and maybe appreciate them a little more!

Now for number 2…
Common name: Garden Petunia Scientific name: Petunia × atkinsiana
This is a very common flower garden plant that I have just outside on the porch! They have beautiful colorful flowers and the plant is rather fuzzy and soft to the touch.
It is not found in Newcomb’s Wildflowers being a garden flower and not occurring wild!
Corolla: composed of 5 fused petals
Calyx: composed of 5 separate sepals
Androecium: composed of 5 separate stamen with 2 being taller, 1 being very short, and 2 more in between those.
Gynoecium type: unicarpellate (# of carpels = 1) (a single pistil with a single chambered ovary)
Flower type/ovary position: Hypogynous
Flower symmetry: actinomorphic (regular)
Here is a picture of my Garden Petunia!

Thirdly we have…
Common name: Jimsonweed Scientific name: Datura stramonium
This funnel shaped flower was found growing wild in the remnants of my vegetable garden! It is often vine like and is found growing just about anywhere often in disturbed sites, fields, and along roadsides, but prefers high nutrient soil. They have pointed lobed leaves and quite a scary looking spiky fruit. They are a rather beautiful plant but not so much for me given where it grows. Take a look at it below!

It is on page 214 in Newcomb’s Wildflowers
Corolla: composed of 5 fused petals
Calyx: composed of 5 fused sepals
Androecium: composed of 5 separate stamen
Gynoecium type: syncarpous (# of carpels = 1) (a single pistil with a several chambered ovary)
Flower type/ovary position: perigynous

Lastly we have…

I apologize for the blurry photo, I went to take a new one but could not find anymore flowers open so below I provided a photo I pulled from here: https://www.gardenia.net/plant/hibiscus-syriacus-rose-of-sharon
Common name: Common Hibiscus Scientific name: Hibiscus syriacus
This flowering shrub was growing next to my neighbor’s driveway! These shrubs can get rather large and produce large beautiful colorful flowers.
This species is not found in Newcomb’s Wildflowers being a common cultivated species.
Corolla: composed of 5 separate petals
Calyx: composed of 5 separate sepals
Androecium: composed of many stamen that are attached to a stem
Gynoecium type: syncarpous (# of carpels = 1) (a single pistil with a several (5) chambered ovary)
Flower type/ovary position: perigynous
Flower symmetry: actinomorphic (regular)

Now we have discussed more specifics about characteristics lets talk about four more actual wildflowers I found around my house without being as specific.
The picture below is Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

I found this little guy just simply growing in my yard and I would bet you have seen these to or even tried to look for a four leaved one of these as a kid even though it isn’t clover! Yellow Wood Sorrel grows just about anywhere and has palmate heart-shaped alternate leaves with very small beautiful yellow flowers like those above that bloom during the summer!
Learn more here: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/oxalis_stricta.shtml


The 2 pictures above is another one you all are probably familiar with! Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Mock Strawberry is a very common small ground plant. The have trifoliate lobed leaves and produce beautiful yellow flowers and a small strawberry looking fruit called a drupe! A colony of these guys often produce these drupes sparingly and focus energy on other things. I found this one just once again growing in several places in my yard closely to the wood sorrel mentioned before. They grow just about anywhere with partial sunlight and fertile soil.
Find out more here: https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/mock_strawberry.htm

The pictures below is different from the other two above because this one isn’t ground cover but rather stands tall (pun intended)!
Tall Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)

Tall Ironweed grows up to 10 feet tall and develops a red colored stem. Their flowers grow in clusters as seen above, each cluster is comprised of many smaller flowers that can be seen in the magnified photo. These guys prefer pasture like fertile soil and I found this one growing in a patch of weedy plants near my yard.
Check out more here: https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=57#:~:text=Tall%20ironweed%20is%20an%20upright,or%20fewer%20purple%20disk%20flowers.

Lastly we have Golden tickseed (Coreopsis tinctorial) pictured below!

I found this one behind my house growing on a hillside with a few other flowers you can see below. These guys grow in full sun in about all soil types. You can’t see them in the photos, but the leaves are very small and thin and often occur a distance below the flower stem. They have a preference for prarie lands and are sometimes considered North America’s most loved annuals!
Learn more here: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/coreopsis_tinctoria.shtml

I personally thank you for reading and I encourage you to go out and look for flowers and try to do research and look up and try to identify plants by their beautiful flowers! Please enjoy a couple more photos of flowers I found around my house!

-Jordan