Photo of the Week – September 28, 2012

During the last couple of weeks, the weather and prairies have both made full transitions to autumn.  I’ve been able to grab a little time here and there to snap some portraits of the fall prairie.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis) stands out against a backdrop of gold and green prairie.

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A jumping spider peers at me from the stem of a beggarstick flower in a restored wetland.

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Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) – long since done flowering – is still an attractive flower in the autumn prairie.

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Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) contributes strongly to the cacophany of yellow flowers in autumn prairies.

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Heath aster (Aster ericoides) is super-abundant this year in some of our prairies, and many pollinators – including this fly – appear to appreciate it.

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False boneset (Brickellia eupatorioides) is one of the deepest rooted plants in the prairie, which allowed it to flower and produce abundant seed even in this very dry year.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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3 Responses to Photo of the Week – September 28, 2012

  1. Tracy Tucker says:

    Great photos as always. I need to make a trip to your prairie so you can teach me Asters 101 — I can’t tell mine apart! I’ve tried counting petals but it’s been no help!

    • Chris Helzer says:

      Asters are not a strong point for me either. I even use the outdated latin names! Fortunately, we only have 4 species in our Platte River Prairies. I can tell two of them apart easily and just lump the other two into the same species!

  2. Pingback: Best of Prairie Ecologist Photos – 2012 | The Prairie Ecologist

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