Rough white lettuce

The glades at Victoria Glades Conservation Area in Jefferson County are in full late summer glory, with Solidago ridiga (stiff goldenrod) and Liatris aspera (rough blazingstar) now joining their much more abundant congeners, S. nemoralis (old field goldenrod) and L. cylindracea (cylindrical blazingstar). Unlike the latter two, which are common across the open glades, the former two are restricted to spotty occurrences near the edge of the glade where it borders dry post oak woodland. Once again, however, I found a new (to me) plant on the glade—Nabalus asper (formerly Prenanthes aspera), commonly called rough rattlesnakeroot or rough white lettuce. I found just a single plant on the upper slopes of the glade near its interface with the dry post oak woodland that surrounds the glade. I’ve never seen this plant here or anywhere before, but the WGNSS Botany Group has recorded the species from this location. It is recognized by its pale ligulate flowering heads, rough, hairy stems and leaves, and relatively narrow, almost spike-like inflorescence.

Nabalus asper (rough white lettuce) inflorescence.
Nabalus asper (rough white lettuce) stem/leaves.

Also seen was the distinctive caterpillar of Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (raspberry looper) on a flower of prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum).

Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (raspberry looper) on flower of prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum).
Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (raspberry looper) on flower of prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum).

©️ Ted C. MacRae 2021

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