The B. W. Wells Association Holds Its Annual Meeting September 18th at Rock Cliff Farm

The 2016 Annual Meeting of the B. W. Wells Association will be held at  Rock Cliff Farm, B. W. Wells State Recreation Area, 1630 Bent Road, Wake Forest, North Carolina, on Sunday Afternoon, September 18, 2016, 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm, Rain or Shine

Barbecue lunch will be furnished by Jimmy and Alice Ray.  Our guest speaker will be Brian Bockhahn, who was formerly the Park Ranger at B. W. Wells State Recreation Area, and is now Regional Education Specialist for the NC Parks.  Brian will be speaking on The Educational Future of Rock Cliff Farm: Planning and Goals.  There will also be election of board members at a brief business meeting.  Come and bring guests and new potential members.

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Bertram Whittier Wells was a pioneer ecologist and botanist.  He was a historically important figure as a proponent of studying plants as part of a natural community rather than as isolated individuals.  His book, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, published in 1932, has become a classic work on the natural history of North Carolina.

One example of the many plants he studied is a flowering vine that Dr. Wells called “Wild Bean”.  It is a wiry, spindly vine with an odd but beautiful pink flower.   The scientific name of the vine is Strophostyles umbellata, and it is now often called Pink Fuzzybean.

Strophostyles umbellata Wild Bean Flower

Strophostyles umbellata
Wild Bean
Flower

Wild Bean is a member of the pea/bean family, the Fabaceae.  It has a very long, wiry flower stalk, and leaves typical of the bean family, with the leaf divided into three leaflets.  See below.

Strophostyles umbellata Wild Bean Plant Form

Strophostyles umbellata
Wild Bean
Plant Form

Dr. Wells mentioned that when the flower began to age, the color would gradually fade into green.   The flowers from this particular population fade into a creamy yellow first, as seen below.

Strophostyles umbellata Wild Bean Fading Flower

Strophostyles umbellata
Wild Bean
Fading Flower

Fertile flowers of Wild Bean produce pods that look a lot like green beans.

Strophostyles umbellata Wild Bean Flower and Pod

Strophostyles umbellata
Wild Bean
Flower and Pod

During his retirement years at Rock Cliff Farm, Dr. Wells compiled a list of 320 wildflowers he had found there.   That leaves many  more stories to tell.

 

Herb Amyx

 

 

 

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