Plant of the day – Agalinis skinneriana (pale false foxglove)

Agalinis skinneriana (pale false foxglove).

Continuing hot and very muggy during the last week, and today it was already in the low 90s by the time I got into the field a little before noon. Silphium terebinthinaceum (prairie dock) and old Solidago nemoralis (field goldenrod) are are in full bloom across the glade, and I noticed pre-flowering plants of what must be a different goldenrod species and a different blazing star. I suspect they will be in full bloom by the time I check the traps again at the end of next week. The plant of the day, however, was Agalinis skinneriana (pale false foxglove), not a true foxglove but rather a member of the family Orobanchaceae. Midwestern gerardia is another common name for the species, and like other members of the family it is a hemiparasitic annual forb.

Agalinis skinneriana (pale false foxglove).

This plant is relatively uncommon, both in Missouri, being found primarily in glades, upland prairies, and in the few other states in which it is found, and though I’ve not noticed this plant here previously I found at least a few individuals in both the east and the west parcels. The upward-facing flowers are a key attribute for identification in the field. The two upper corolla lobes are spreading to reflexed, and the plants are relatively slender, being fewer-branched and less bushy than the more common A. tenuifoliaand A. gattingeri.

©️ Ted C. MacRae 2021

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