PRAIRIE BLAZING STAR Liatris pycnostachya
The above picture is what ecosystem restoration is all about: the rescue of our vanishing biodiversity. What a payback to see that actually unfold over the years—biodiversity increases before your eyes!
Prairie Blazing Star is a member of the Sunflower family and also the tallgrass prairie. It’s a perennial corm (bulb) plant and is an important contributor to its ecosystem as all the blazing stars are excellent nectar producing species for insects and humming birds. Bees and wasps, and many others, love it. The butterfly in this picture is a Silver-Spotted Skipper. It’s only one of numerous great butterfly species that visit these plants.
Since it’s a plant that isn’t tightly lodged in the ground I have to be very careful in the winter when I strip the seeds that I don’t pull up the plant—defeats the purpose, right? My granddaughter Tullie and I gathered seed from local specimens within the range of our ecotype. We gathered the seed from neighboring off-site locations because Wafer Creek Ranch (WCR) had none remaining in its own seed/bud bank from the old days when it would have flourished in its own tallgrass prairie ground cover within the shortleaf pine-oak-hickory woodland. Over the years of gathering the seed from the plants on WCR and redistributing them, there are now many more plants on WCR.
Next to the plant in this image you will see the tall culms of Little Bluestem Grass, the flagship species of almost all tallgrass prairie systems.
Check out the wiki link for more info about this species growing on Wafer Creek Ranch (WCR). JA
Johnny Armstrong, Author
Now that my 42-year career as a pathologist (which I like to think of as being Columbo behind a microscope), is a story for another time, I’m focusing more time and energy on my long-time passion for and commitment to critical conservation issues. As a first-time published novelist, I’m also discovering the new and sometimes exciting, sometimes baffling world of book promotion. Shadowshine is my first novel.
“Up there on your bookshelf between Tolkien and Watership Down is where this book belongs. As an anthropomorphic adventure that winds through the realm of animals possessing courage, savagery, perseverance, and ultimately wisdom in the face of mounting evil threats – humans disconnected from the natural world – the tale is relevant, if not necessary.”
Kelby Ouchley, author of Bayou Diversity: Nature & People in the Louisiana Bayou Country
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Shadowshine, An Animal Adventure
by Johnny Armstrong
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