The micro-flora of Jefferson Park

04/10/2015 8:30 AM by

by Nadya Warthen-Gibson

Jefferson Park plays host to a number of trees, small children, moon-struck couples and a great view. It also sports some lovely micro-flora, which grows largely unnoticed in the park’s neatly trimmed lawn.

While these little plants are not as showy as cherry trees or forthysia, they are quite pretty in their own right. All three of the plants listed below are non-native winter annuals that sprout in the fall, grow all winter, and bloom in the spring.

First of all, we have redstem filaree (Erodium cicutarium)(ABOVE), a cousin to other cold-hardy geraniums of Richmond. The other small plant of same order is the dovefoot geranium, which shares filaree’s habitat, but is not currently in bloom.

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field pansy (Viola bicolor)

field pansy (Viola bicolor)

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Second up is the field pansy (Viola bicolor) which is one prolific weed. It is second only to chickweed in forming large white patches amidst unsuspecting grass. While field pansies can get up to a foot tall, you will rarely see one break two inches due to the lawn mowers around here.

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bird's eye speed-well (likely Veronica persica)

bird’s eye speed-well (likely Veronica persica)

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And last but not least is the bird’s eye speed-well (likely Veronica persica). Its blooming season is already on the downswing, but it was likely responsible for any sort of blue haze you’ve been seeing over your back yard earlier this month. A lot of Veronica species are weedy, but some, such as Veronica penducularis, have been known to show up in nurseries as a ground cover.




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