Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-08-18 – Pretty in pink

White, orange, yellow, and every shade in between, but never have I seen a PINK moon outside of a full eclipse!

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 5:46 AM
Sunrise: 6:18 AM
Daylight: 14 hrs, 56 min

Turns out, though, that when the moon looks pink it’s for the same reason as the oranges and yellows; timing, and atmospheric conditions.  Whether it’s reflected by the moon or not, the full-spectrum light of the sun has a long trip through the atmosphere to our eyes when it’s low on the horizon.  The air bends and scatters the light.  Blue spreads out faster and farther than red, so when it’s humid or hazy, only the red wavelengths are left by the time we see light bouncing off the moon.

And speaking of pink…

I’ve been watching these lovelies the past few days.  I think they’re the Slender-leafed False Foxglove (Agalinis tenuifolia).  The plant used to be named Gerardia purpurea, but was reclassified into the  Orobanchaceae family by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group because they parasitize other plants.  They have the descriptive slender opposite leaves, and the single flowers on thin stems.  And since they bloom in late summer to early fall, the timing is about right for them, too.

They’re a native annual; a wispy plant that suddenly appears amidst the rest of the grasses.  It can be mistaken for Purple False Foxglove, since the flowers are similar in shape and color and the two plants often share the same habitat.  They like the sun, but they’re also fond of moist soil, so they can be found along shores, or in wet meadows and thickets.  The flowers don’t last long – just a day or two.  But not all of the flowers bloom at the same time, so I’m looking forward to seeing these pretty pinks for a week or two to come!

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