Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Roadside flowers 2009

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The road-trip season is winding down. I have one more road trip planned for this year, a trek down the National Road in eastern Indiana this coming weekend. The rain we’ve had in the past week has removed much of the excellent fall color we’ve had this season – I hope the remaining color hangs on a few more days for our trip.

As autumn wraps up, however, the wildflower season seems to as well. I paid almost no attention to wildflowers until I started making road trips a few years ago. Their color and variety make them hard to ignore when I’m exploring an old bridge or walking the edge of an old alignment! So I slow down and take them in – and photograph them – when I see them.

Roadside flowersYet I know so little about them. I try to look them up online to identify them, but often my search comes up empty. I’d love it if somebody would perfect reverse image search. I’d like to upload my flower photo and have the Internet tell me what it is!

And so I did not find out what these pretty yellow flowers are. Theywere plentiful along a forgotten alignment of US 40 and the National Road in Indianapolis near the Hendricks County line, growing among some Queen Anne’s lace and chicory.

Roadside flowers

Roadside flowersI also couldn’t identify these white flowers, which I found growing in vines last May near an abandoned bridge on old US 50 near Clay City, Illinois.

I’ve known the weed below all my life; they grow all over Indiana. I remember they were especially prolific at my grandparents’ palatial retirement estate in rural southwestern Michigan. I think it’s an ox-eye daisy. I found this resourceful one actually growing out of the deck of that abandoned bridge. Its root system can’t be very deep – the deck is only a few inches thick. I gather that the ox-eye daisy is considered a noxious weed in several states – it tends to take over wherever it grows.

Roadside flowers

Clumps of these purple flowers, which I think are phlox, grew along a 1919 bridge on the National Road just east of the Illinois border. The sun was very bright that afternoon.

Purple wildflowers

I have no idea what this is, but bunches of it were growing along the Marshall County road on which the Chief Menominee monument stands.

Roadside flowers

The prolific black-eyed Susan really pops along the roadside all summer. I shot these along a gravel alignment of the National Road near Reelsville. While I shot all the other flowers in this post with my Kodak Z730, I shot this on film with my Minolta X-700. It reminds me of four pupils attentive to the teacher, with one in the back row daydreaming.

Black-eyed Susans

If you can identify any of the flowers I can’t, please enlighten me in the comments!

ReadMoreThis is my second annual post about roadside flowers. Check out last year’s flowers!

11 thoughts on “Roadside flowers 2009

  1. Lone Primate

    I remember hearing that U.S. Grant said he could only recognize two tunes… one was Yankee Doodle, and the other one wasn’t. I’m kind of like that with flowers and trees. :)

    But very satisfying work. I like to stop and lomographically smell the flowers myself every once in a while.

    1. Jim Post author

      I recognize maples and oaks, but other than that a tree’s a tree to me!

      A tree is growing next to a median strip on 96th St. on my way to work — I’ve got to photograph it before it’s removed!

  2. Bernie Kasper

    These are all great Jim, I think the second one from the bottom is an aster, and I think you are right about the phlox and black eyed susan as well.

    Not sure about the other ones, very nice shots though, hope your well !

  3. EB

    Somehow I wound up being very good at identifying flowers and plants.

    The first one is a buttercup. The white one is morning glory.

    Yes, those are asters, black-eyed Susans (which, I’ve discovered, are very prolific and tolerant of drought), and phlox.

  4. Mark

    The one you call the Ox-eyed Daisey I’m pretty sure is Chickweed. I haven’t looked it up though.
    I have a question about something I found growing by the road close to my home. It’s a vine that has opposing leaves that are smallish maybe 1/2 inch and look fern-like. The flowers are a beautiful shade of Lavender and grow on stalks and are tiny little tubular blossoms that hang down in about 6 inch clumps. The ends of the leaf stems have tendrils that wind around adjacent stems and fronds and form a fairly tight mat. The entire area where it appears is one large dense clump climbing a field fence and is about 3 to 4 feet deep. It tears off easily and doesn’t seem the least bit woody. The flowers appear at the upper crown of the plant and form a beautiful purple misty haze along the fence and roadside. I would say that this is something new in the area as I have never seen it around here before. I looked in several places online and can’t find a picture of it anywhere. Any idea what I’m looking at?

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