Friday, June 17, 2011

old friends and new

I occasionally find myself oddly mildly depressed here in the midst of a beautiful late spring, because “there are no more wildflowers”. Well, there ARE new flowers, all the time, and even the old ones have new things going on. To wit: remember the lilacs? They just disappeared from the blog one day. Did you notice? It was May 27th.
One day, the flowers started turning brown. It wasn’t a heat stroke (it happened at the tail end of three cloudy, overcast, partly rainy days). I was worried that we wouldn’t have any lilac seeds, but it turns out we have some after all:
New life, in the midst of what I had thought was a complete tragedy. That’s encouraging, is it not?
Lily-of-the-valley berries are doing what the Solomon Seal berries have already done: they are getting fat and bursting through their papery skins.
White baneberry berries never had those skins. They’re coming along nicely. Eventually the stalks will turn red, and the berries white. We have two white baneberry plants, and even though they’re not exciting to look at this point, I’ve been tracking them for so long that when I see them, I light up like I’ve just encountered a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Maybe I should get out more. One more berry story, and then we’ll move on.
May 28
Today, June 17
This is a dogwood. Not the tree kind with four, big petals – the round-leaved dogwood kind. More of a shrub. Those are the stigmas from the flowers poking up out of the top of each berry.
The campion flowers still going strong. The…um…the puffy part, below the petals – that used to be reddish, but it’s all green and a lot FATTER.
Oooh, I love this picture.
OK, time for fern spore goodness:
If I ate caviar, maybe I’d find this appetizing-looking.
This one particular jack-in-the-pulpit looks gross. The spathe (the overhanging petal part) has just melted on top of the spadix (the jack, in the pulpit).
P1090519 P1090707
Tuesday (three days ago) Today
I don’t want to go poking around with it, on the assumption that all is happening as nature intends. But I’ll keep checking, since for all I know, this flower got properly fertilized and whatnot. If so, it will produce a whole handful of red berries. I’ve seen the end product before – it’s this whole middle part of how it evolves, that I find fascinating.
As for new flowers: bittersweet nightshade is here. This gets the “NO WAY!” prize.
Not bad, huh?
Onwards. I’m tackling the whole grass/sedge/rush/forb thing now. (Forb, you ask? a forb is apparently not-a-grass-rush-or-sedge. Gosh, that’s a helpful definition!) Anyhoo. Diving in:
The two green things might be timothy grass.
No clue.
The next three pictures are all the same thing.
Believe it or not, it took me a handful of photographs before I saw that spider.
This next plant is also a complete mystery to me. A few feet tall, and utterly STUDDED with flowers many of which have somehow already set seed. Even though I walk by it every day, I somehow missed it until now. Here’s the big picture:
It has quite a stem shape.
Each of the ‘branches’ is studded at regular intervals with a cluster of long-stemmed flowers. They look like the type of flower that doesn’t have petals, per se; or at least, irregular flowers (like violets, or orchids).
I did find this ‘branch’ in which the flowers hadn’t opened up yet, so I’ll check them tomorrow and see what I can learn.
Then I found another one a few hundred yards away that was a little further along – already little seedlets have formed.
I know what the seeds will look like come October, from last year…
Oh – a new flower entirely. Tiny, easy to miss, lurking under all the goldenrod and mystery grass thingies down by the mailboxes
It keys out as rose coreopsis (pink tickseed) (Coreopsis rosea) but the google shows entirely different looking flowers. Who knows. [Editor's Note: Lesser Stitchwort - Stellaria graminea. Live and learn.] Back to the grasses and sedges.
And the reward for this walk to the mailbox?
Why thanks, fairy godmother! (aka, MOM!)


  1. Sweet book from mom. Looks like you will put it straight to use. Then maybe I can hit you up for some grass ID's.

    The mystery plant reminds of curly dock, but I don't think I've ever looked so intensely at it (like you just did) to say definitively. Definitely seen some roadside in New York City.

  2. Where would I be without you? I would NEVER have figured out what that is. I think you're right. THANK YOU!!!