Tag Archives: Differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

What A Plant Knows

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

What A Plant Knows

Can we say that plants have senses? How do plants sense their environment and how do scientists study plant senses?

These are questions I am exploring for the next few weeks in a free, online class entitled What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants). The class is taught by Tel Aviv University Professor Daniel Chamovitz, who wrote a book by the same title.

The class began last week and I am enjoying it so much I wanted to mention it here. It is not too late to start the course, offered through Coursera, a company that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Plant Swap

We finally had much-needed rain this past week and even now there is a fine mist. It is cool 68.7 °F and gray, the opposite of last weekend when we had clear blue sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s. Last Sunday I helped with a neighborhood plant swap. It was heartening to see the turnout of people (including some children) interested in sharing plants with each other.

I shared Monarda, Hedychium coronarium, and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ and in return, I could not resist some reblooming Irises of unknown color and a white peony, Paeonia Festiva Maxima. Today I found several rebloomers flowering in the garden.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

Miscellany

The Swamp Sunflower continues to tower over the back border. Today it was covered with bees. On Thursday during a cold, heavy rain I spied a hummingbird stopping in to visit along the top of this plant. The hummingbirds are gone now and no more Monarchs ever showed up, just that one.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The Sedum gradually is turning brown now. The last time I photographed it a big grasshopper was sitting on it. No way to know if this is the same one but it looks completely cushioned by the tiny flowers.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) and Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) and Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Autumn Blooms

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

There are several new notables in today’s garden. The Swamp Sunflower has grown way up into the sky, reaching ten feet or more during the past couple of months. Today, the first full day of autumn, a few of the yellow flowers finally emerged. This Helianthus is a native plant but it can spread aggressively so I try careful to watch it closely.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

This little yellow spider, perhaps a flower crab spider, may be the same one I saw a week ago on this Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower).

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

A white-flowerd Alyssum was a garden star last summer and fall but this Easter Bonnet Violet has been quite the opposite this year. Planted in late April, it is only now gaining some confidence.

Alyssum 'Easter Bonnet Violet'

Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Violet’

An unknown variety of Aster added to the garden when new, soon became unruly and spread so much I tried to remove it from the garden. It is defiant though and shows up year after year.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Salmon-hued Dianthus did well last year in the meditation circle. This year it did fine in spring, languished in summer and is now looking refreshed.

Dianthus

Dianthus

Dianthus

Dianthus

I came across an olive-green grasshopper standing firm and erect against an Echinacea stem and have tentatively identified it as a Differential grasshopper.

Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis