Thursday, May 19, 2011

spot the bugs

Day lily leaves, showing how the weather’s been lately. Hey, does anyone else remember print ads for Bausch and Lomb contact lenses from the ‘80’s?
Ode to a Dandelion, Part Deux:
And yesterday’s patch of coltsfoot…
…today, almost every one of these is a dirty gray puffball. I missed it! Rats! I guess it happens pretty quickly.
Other flowers open more slowly, so we can enjoy ‘em at our leisure. To wit: the lilacs.
The apple trees in our yard are starting to open up.  When I visited my friend Craig over the weekend – here’s another shameless plug for Half Crown Hill Orchard – he and his wife explained how apples generate a cluster bomb of five buds at a go, with the “king” blossom in the center. They might not have used the phrase “cluster bomb” – that sounds like something I might have made up. I’d never noticed that before, so imagine my delight when I saw this:

Still no luck identifying Random Lawn Weed:
Thin, skinny, alternating leaves; behaves kind of like a vine. Anybody have a clue?
And now for something truly exciting. I think I may have found some wild ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) today. Or possibly red baneberry (Actaea rubra). It’s exciting – well, it’s exciting to me, either way – but it’s theoretically additionally exciting if it’s ginseng, as mean people have been known to poach ginseng for sale on the herbal market.
Ignore the sensitive fern at lower left. (It won’t mind, despite its name. That’s actually its name – “sensitive fern”). What you want to see here is – one long stalk, that splits into three, with compound (more-than-one-leaf-per-stem) leaves on each of the three stems. And you also want to notice the separate stalk, coming up seemingly from at-or-below-ground-level, that similarly splits three ways, with a cluster of flowers at the tip of each one.
Here’s the flower stalk action.
Cute, eh?
I tried and failed to get a look at the emerging flower.
[Editor's Note: this is probably actually wild sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis)
Oh, we’re not NEARLY done yet. Let’s have a look at fern naughty bits spores.

The solomon’s seal flowers are finally finally finally starting to pop.

Here’s some more on the decline and fall of the magnolia blossoms (sob!)
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Just in time for the azalea nearby to start blooming:
And now for the macabre. Have you been watching for bugs so far, in this post? Because there have been three so far. This next one is hard to miss. We’re on a fern.
She’s embalming her victim in a cocoon. Don’t believe me?
Moving right along!
We have a great boulder on the edge of the lawn. It’s a whole planet unto itself.
I keep spotting new jack-in-the-pulpits. I’m just as thrilled as I was the first time I ever saw one. I mean, who INVENTS this stuff?

Miterwort (Mitella dyphilla). These are hard to photograph – they’re TINY (maybe at most a quarter inch wide?) and, the mosquitos are out in this spot of the woods. I make a lot of sacrifices for this blog…I sure hope y’all appreciate it.
As for the bugs…here they are (minus the dining spider)…

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