Thursday, August 8, 2013

Field Sparrow

This Field Sparrow stood at attention among the profusion of yellow Compass Plants and purple Bee Balm of the Carleton College arboretum prairie. Although declining in other parts of its range, Field Sparrows are abundant in the grasslands of southern Minnesota.

I have previously blogged about Bee Balm. Compass Plants are common in southern Minnesota and elsewhere in the eastern United States. They are long-lived, up to a century (Minnesota Seasons.com). Their leaves orient away from the sun, thus often face north and south—thus the origin of the common name. Although I suspect its a good way to get lost, explorers can orient by examining the leaves. Compass Plants do not withstand heavy grazing. Native Americans used this wildflower as a tea and as a tooth paste (USDA). The species is commercially cultivated and are usally grown from seed, needing a few years to mature.

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