Photo of the Week – December 16, 2011

I was in the mood for something green today.  Our snow has mostly melted (after a couple days of rain and above-freezing temps), leaving most of the landscape a drab brown color. 

The red stripe and hairs along the margin of this leaf would go unnoticed from further away.

This photo was taken in Illinois.  It looks like a studio shot because of the simple black background, but that’s actually due to the limitations of a camera’s sensor to capture the complete range of light tones in the scene.  The leaf had bright sunlight coming through it toward the camera, so it was strongly lit.  The camera could either capture the details in that bright leaf or the details in the shadows behind it – but not both.  I chose the leaf, making the background black.

Can you guess the plant species of the leaf?  A few hints:  The species is not native to Nebraska, but is a well-known prairie plant in eastern tallgrass prairies.  The leaf is very large, and this photo shows only a small portion of it.  I’ll put the species name in the comments section below, so you can guess to yourself and then check to see if you’re right.

Enjoy the weekend!