Saturday, July 23, 2011

four new species, and burgeoning ripening all around.

For someone who delights so much in spending time outside, I’m something of an agoraphobe. Whenever I come home from a trip, even as one as brief as a couple of days, it takes a crowbar to get me out of the house. I like to stay close to home after I’ve traveled because I’m waiting for my soul to catch up. (My soul dawdles and does not make good time.) Nonetheless, I ventured forth three times today. First was my run. That was interrupted by a 5:30 am lightning storm. Let’s try that one again tomorrow!
Then I went blueberry picking for the second time, and came home with 13 pounds, bringing the current season’s haul to 18 pounds. (Twelve more to go and I’ll call it good.)
And THEN…THEN…I went to check up on my friends. Because of the recent heat wave, travelling, and other excuses, I hadn’t actually checked up on these guys for ten – whole – days – which is like a lifetime for some of these species.
The purple-flowered raspberries are still flowering, although not as many of them. I’ve covered raspberry flower development before, but every so often, I happen across another half-stage that I feel compelled to capture:
does this not look appetizing? no? Well, right next door to that one, we have…
This one. That looks more like food, right? None of these have ripened all the way to tasting, unlike the nearby black raspberries.
The first Queen Anne’s Lace plant to jump up along the edge of the driveway is also the first to collapse in a bird’s nest of mystery. The rest are still opening up or are hanging out at the flat disk stage:

The sarsaparilla [Editor's Note: previously incorrectly identified as wild ginseng - this is probably actually wild sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis] at the base of our driveway has taken advantage of the heat wave to ripen:
The tall anemone, commonly known as thimbleberry, has largely gotten to this stage of tall – up to an inch and a bit – flowerheads:
I had fun trying to get a good shot of a little red bug on one of these:
Probably not a good enough shot to submit to bugguide, so we’ll just leave it at “little red bug” for now.
New Species #1: Helleborine (Epipactis helloborine)
I first spotted this ten days ago, but the flowers hadn’t opened up yet…
…so I couldn’t ID it. I was surprised to see that it’s an irregular flower:
This is the orchid family, of all things. And as usual for shots taken in this shady spot in the driveway, my apologies for slight blurriness…
New Species #2: flat-topped aster (Aster umbellatus)
Sneaky question: how many petals does this have?
Answer: five. The petals are the little yellow things…
The white things are rays, not petals.
Here’s one that’s just opening. This reminds me of the black-eyed susan I was so enamored of the other day, whose rays were similarly tubular as they opened up>
New Species #3: Enchanter’s Nightshade
…and prizewinner for the coolest name.
Another trick question: how many petals, this time?
I thought “four” at first – when I looked at it with just my eyeballs. It’s really two.
The seeds of this plant are another candidate for something Charlie the Wonder Cat gets covered in each summer.
Actually, come to think of it, my curiosity about just what that boy rolls around in is one of the inspirations behind this whole project of mine to document each and every naturally-occurring plant on or near our property…
New species #4: Eastern Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium dubium)
On July 7th, when this plant was still flagged with a question mark, this is where things stood:
and today…


  1. I have never seen the fruit of the maybe-ginseng :-). Time to go back up to Pelham Bay (Bronx) to check on the flowers I saw in the spring...

  2. Yay for new ID's. Love that Anemone. Now I want to see it too!

  3. Yay for readers who comment! This is very much a solo hobby, but sharing it and reading others' blogs makes it more of a social happening. =)