Friday, August 29, 2008

Scary Looking Insects

I was taking pictures of this plant, and this scary looking insect came flying over. It backed me up a bit, but since I'm The Everyday Adventurer, I decided to take pictures of it. Pretty brave of me, wouldn't you say? It looks like a wasp of some kind. But I did some research, and now I'm not so sure. I found out it might be something called a Stem Sawfly(Cephidae). They are either related to, or are a type of wasp; the information I found wasn't clear. There wasn't a lot of information on these, but everything I read says they are non-aggressive, and they don't have stingers. It also might be a Great Black Wasp which is also non-aggressive. This bug in the picture was about one inch long, so you can see why I was cautious. Even if I think it can't hurt me, I'll show it some respect just in case. These insects and their larvae bore holes in plants, which is what this one might just be doing. As I was watching this one, two more flew over. I watched them all for about a minute, and then focused my attention back on the plant. The plant appears to be White Baneberry, but I'll save more information about that for another time.

WiseAcre from WiseAcre Gardens pointed out that there are actually two plants there. The plant the Stem Sawfly is on is Wild Clematis. He identified that right away for me. Check out the link for his excellent pictures of more. The plant I thought was Baneberry, I think is actually Gray Dogwood. I'll have a post up about that soon.


  1. The flowers look like wild Clematis.

    I don't have any good pics of it up yet (still sitting on my hard drive waiting)

    Viewing the large size image I saw the leaves (upper right) and the flowers match the clematis.

    Baneberry doesn't have flowers and berries at the same time. I'm not sure if those are baneberry berries. They look like some type of shrub (another field guide I need to get)

    But you're doing a lot better than I ever will with the insect. I wouldn't have gottn past 'bug' / wasp. It looks just like one I caught a pic of the other day on some wild aster - it was going from one flower cluster to another.

  2. I'll do some research on Clematis, and make a future post all about it. I'm still developing an eye for plants, and appreciate all the help I can get. I just found these same plants all over the place at another nature park. Thanks for the tip.

  3. The wild clematis (Virgin's Bower) have been in bloom a couple weeks now in this area. We share the same climate and growing conditions pretty much so I would imaging you can find some now.

    Make a note where you find some and go back later and look at the seed pods. You'll see why it's also called 'Old Man's Beard'

  4. What about Red Osier Dogwood? I just stumbled across pictures of this while doing a Google search for Wild Clematis. It has similar red stems as the Baneberry and the plants in my pictures. It was the red stems that fooled me about the Baneberry.

    I looked at Wild Clematis, but so far haven't found anything quite similar to my plants. I'll keep looking though. You know your stuff about these plants. The plants in my picture do look like a shrub, just like you said.

    I will go back later. It'll be interesting to see the changes in these plants.

  5. I couldn't say with any sense of certainty but off hand I would say those berries are Red Osier Dogwood.

    I haven't paid too much attention to shrubs. My plate is full of perennials. But I do have a couple of Field Guides on my wish list after this summer.


    I need to work on a web page for the Clematis so I can get the flower photos on-line. But there's no mistaking yours. Our photos match.

  6. I just found my error, WiseAcre. I was so interested in those berries that I didn't even see the Wild Clematis. I looked today, and there it was right in front of me.

    Your help finally got through to me.
    Thanks again. :)

  7. It was fun and it got me off my duff to post another page on the web site. I'll be going out to get better photos now that my camera arrived. This winter I plan on updating the wildflower section. But for now I have the page created.

    Wild Clematis

    Not the best photos of the leaves and plant but they should do for now :)

  8. You're being modest. The photos look pretty good to me.

    They gave me a much better look at a wild clematis plant, and helped me see the one in my picture a lot more clearly.

    Now that I actually learned to see two different plants together, I'm going to start looking for wild clematis when I'm out.

    It'll be one of the first plants I actually know something about before I take the picture.