Saturday, November 27, 2010

thorny mysteries

Yesterday morning there was a sheen of ice on branches & twigs. So soon?



By the time I dragged myself out of bed, it was already melting.  Today, it’s snowing. Snowing! 




See the layer of snow resting on the surface of the pond? Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t really complain – we’ve had it easy, so far, with temps in the 50’s on a regular basis.

You wouldn’t know that by listening to the cats, though.


This morning, I had barely sat down for a minute before they were both heading toward me. Kevin had started up the woodstove, but the floor in front of it – their usual afternoon spot – was not yet sufficiently warm. I would have to do, as an alternative. I have cropped this photo rather than risk revealing what I look like when I first wake up.

Speaking of things which are prickly in the morning, let’s move on to today’s project: unraveling the riddle of things with thorns.

This is probably Rubus allegheniensis  or common blackberry. Note that the twigs are not round in cross-section. It could also be R. canadensis, but who knows. I can’t tell. Either way: tasty.




Next up: Rubus occidentalis – black raspberry. Note the blue-ish cast to surface – these almost look purple from a few feet away.




Next we have purple-flowering raspberry – Rubus odoratus. Remember my crisis of mid-identification, when I completely botched keying this out?


At any rate, these guys have the purple flowers, and completely different leaves (hence, the mis-identification travesty, which became only obvious when those pretty flowers turned into tasty raspberries.) And, bless their little hearts, they only have bristles, not screamingly mean thorns, like everybody else around.

And finally, somebody else entirely: Rosa multiflora. These guys put out white flowers that smell heavenly.



And here are their wee little rosehips:




And now, for some late-afternoon sky stuff:


Random young birch – both gray and yellow – probably a bunch of ash, there’s an apple in there somewhere, and presumably a slew of young red and sugar maple, plus throw in some poplar for good measure. I should know – this is right where we park our cars.


These are black locusts.


This is that butternut (Juglans cinerea) with the really cute buds.


  1. Hey sarah! I have a question for you about a thorny mystery i came across lately.
    My mom likes to plant weird stuff and lately she bought a plant from a nursery that had a name tag: Spanish Bean variegated.

    A day after she planted it, she started having fever and lymphadenitis (inflammation of the lymph nodes, most commonly around the neck).
    apparently, she accidentally pricked her finger more than once with the thorny leaves and stalk of this plant.

    so my question is, do you know of any plant or flower which has a stalk very similar to the Rubus odoratus picture you have there, with purpule buds and furry/thorny leaves, and is known for causing allergic reactions or poisoning?


  2. Hey Rodom - sorry I can't access your profile to email you - I hope you see this - quick answer? I don't know! Good luck!