Closely related to cultivated varieties of foxglove, this attractive annual wildflower lives free, eking out an existence in remnant prairie and glade sites such as old fields, abandoned roadbeds and forest edges. The uppermost leaves of the plant have lobes—called auricles—at their bases. It flowers from mid-August through early October, sometimes topping 30 inches tall. Auriculate false foxglove is known to occur in 15 Missouri counties. Most of these are in the northwestern part of the state. Its range also includes parts of Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. Small remnant populations are scattered as far west as Oklahoma and as far east as Pennsylvania. Auriculate false foxglove is a prairie plant, and its decline is related to the conversion of fertile prairie land to agriculture in the 20th century. For more information, see the links listed below.
Eagle admirers will be thrilled to learn that the United States Mint is issuing three commemorative coins, all bearing the images of America’s national symbol. The mint is issuing 100,000 gold $5 coins featuring two young eagles on the obverse, or “head” of the coin. It is producing 500,000 silver dollars depicting a mature bald eagle in flight. Finally, the mint is issuing 750,000 clad half-dollar coins showing a pair of 2-day-old eaglets. Visit www.usmint.gov, or call 800-872-6468 to order.
Pawpaw trees are small, sometimes little more than shrubs, that grow in moist, fertile, shaded areas. Their fruits can weigh as much as a pound each. The flesh resembles custard in color and consistency and has a heady aroma reminiscent of tropical fruit.
Persimmon trees are bigger and grow in more open, sunny locations. Their fruit is not ready to eat until after the first hard frost. Persimmons are good straight from the tree or in sweet bread recipes.
Puffballs appear in meadows when the nights turn cool. These globe-shaped fungi can grow as large as bowling balls. Their white, fluffy flesh is fantastic sautéed in butter.
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