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ORRIN MORRIS: Green and gold grows in locations from New York to Florida

The more I look for and study the wildflower kingdom, the more I am inspired by what the Psalmist wrote, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches" (Psalm 104:24).

As I have observed the spring-blooming wildflowers, there are two very interesting contrasts I have discovered. In general, the earliest white plants only appear for a few weeks. On the other hand, the yellow spring-blooming flowers, though with fewer species than the white wildflowers, hang around the longest.

Though there are exceptions like shepherd's needle, English plantain and buttonweed, many of the yellow spring wildflowers keep popping up over the summer and into the fall. The blooming season for today's wildflower extends for four months, March through June.GREEN AND GOLD

Chrysogonum virginianumGreen and gold has several distinct features that help us identify its presence, especially shape and texture.

The pale green leaves are lance-shaped with deep green veins. The leaves and stems are very hairy, a feature best seen in photographs and nearly impossible to capture in a sketch. The leaf veins create a pattern that appears as a leaf within a leaf.

Green and gold plants are found in moist woods where the soil is well-drained. It is native to the Eastern U.S., from New York to Louisiana and from Ohio to Florida. The plant stays low to the ground and rarely reaches above 6 inches, though some in the northern states have been noted at 1 foot.

The common name "green and gold" comes from the flower. It is a composite that measures - to -inch, therefore the five yellow petals are rays and the true blossoms are in the center, as noted in the illustration.

The golden rays are oval with irregular ends, alluding to a three-part structure. The tiny florets are green and lighten toward yellow as the flower ages.

The stamens are brown and protrude, as pictured. These tiny blossoms produce the fruit that contains the seeds to perpetuate the colony. It is rare to find a green and gold plant in solitude.

Another name for this wildflower is gold star. That was the common name early last century because of the five petals. As an artist, I prefer the name that reflects the dominant colors, but many gardeners also call it chrysogonum.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing our lives with such cost-free treasures.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. This column is included in a two-volume set of books of wildflower columns he has published. To purchase the books, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers.