Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do You Know My Name?

I am looking for some help in identifying some things. Any ideas?

1) Orange Daisy Plant

This plant is very exciting. It's clearly in the Compositae family (daisies, which have composite flowers), it's six feet tall, and it's growing in our back yard. I haven't found anything online that matches, although "orange daisy" is getting me a lot more useful images than when I was using "composite". Go figure...

2) Small Loud Bird

This bird has a loud raspy call (along with a more innocuous one). There have been two of them hanging out on our balcony or our neighbors', hopping from plant to plant and sometimes having a dust bath in a disused planter. May have a nest in the gutter next door. I keep thinking "wren" but don't see it in our bird identification books. (Note: once again, clicking on the photos will magnify them.)

Edit: The ledge on which the bird is standing is 3" long on top and 3.5" on the bottom. The post top next to it (which looks like a brick) is 1.5" tall.

3) Weird White Stuff

This stuff appeared some months ago on a small tree along the side of our house. I tried to cut off the branches and leaves that were occupied; got a lot off but certainly not all of it. Then much more recently after a big rain made our hydrangea's branches sag, I saw them again. I think they've changed, as though maybe something hatched from them...? Or maybe they're fungal.

4) Disturbing Vegetable Bug

This looks like a small stink bug with stripes on its legs and antennae. They're everywhere! Sunflowers, green beans, asparagus, peppers... Not sure about the tomatoes. Don't know whether they're connected to item 3.

5) Fascinating Other Plant

This is just something I saw while walking around the neighborhood. It's cool! I've never seen it before.


Becs said...

I'm not an expert on any of this, but I like a challenge...
#1 looks like a gerbera that's become naturalized.
#2 I think you're right about it being a wren.
#3 Hate to tell you but I think these may be aphids. Just a some yellow cardboard or paper, smear some Vaseline on it and put it near the plants.
#4 The disturbing vegetable bug is probably a stink bug. In South America, one of the varieties bites and the results - maybe 10, 20 years later - are bad. Look up "chagas" if you want to get scared.
I've never heard of a case of an American getting chagas in America, tho.
#5 You got me. I suggest knocking on the neighbor's door and asking. But let us know!

Jen said...

Thanks much. Here is what I have learned so far:

1) This is Tithonia rotundiflora, or Mexican Sunflower. Nif found it in a seed catalog today! And likely planted it herself as part of a "butterfly mix". What I found online matched up with my description. (Including the soft fuzz on the stem which I seem not to have mentioned.)

2) House wren, pretty sure. There is a misleading crest in the photo which my dad's discerning eye determined to be part of the wall behind.

3) Not sure yet. What I've seen about aphids so far says they have black eggs. Becs, could you please clarify your comment about the yellow cardboard? There seems to be a word missing. And what should happen as a result?

4) I'm not sure enough about the stink bug/soldier bug distinction. These bugs (and there may be several types) look different from the stink bugs we usually find. Certainly similar, though.

5) Since this was during one of a number of varied walks around the neighborhood, I'm not actually certain which neighbor goes with this plant. I'm keeping my eyes open, though.

Thanks again!

Jen said...

5) This turns out to be canna. I went the right way during yesterday's walk, and the neighbor was indeed home. Canna is sometimes called "canna lily" (perhaps through confusion with "calla lily"), though it is not in the lily family -- it has a family all to itself, in fact. (Cannaceae; no surprise there...)