Sunday, May 18, 2014

wading back into amateur night

We have a boatload of Solomon’s Seal down here, which feels like an embarrassment of riches. This one poked up through some construction crap on the side of the road (there are a couple of developments going in just down the road).


One set of twins and a bunch of singlets. The next one I saw had four sets of twins, which led me to wonder if it was a more mature plant. (It didn’t occur to me at the time that another explanation might be different species.)


Maybe, I wondered, Solomon’s Seal has a hammerlock on super-efficient photosynthesis, and is able to store extra bueno in tubers or something. So that the bigger the plant, or the more robust its seed bits are, the “older” it is. (Isn’t there such a thing as annuals and perennials? For all I’ve stared at wildflowers, there’s much I don’t know about how they actually go about living.) Newcomb’s doesn’t mention this – it just describes physical characteristics. Wikipedia, on the other hand, mentions their rhizomes – apparently they’re eaten in China, and used in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine – so I may be on to something. I CAN tell you, there is nothing above the surface come winter, so anything persistent would HAVE to be underground.

At any rate, the second plant I saw, according to my theory, would be a year or two older than the first. It’s got the aforementioned twins...


...and at the end of the stalk, three or four singlets.


Later in the walk, I came across the biggest mama of them all:


Triplets, baby. And the rest all twins. And good lord, they’re like miniature watermelons.



Other discoveries: skunk cabbage gets HUGE. Here’s the local vernal (?) pool. (“?” because I don’t know how persistent it is. Stay tuned, I guess.)


That thing is a couple of feet tall at least.

I came across what looks like an awfully cute wild rose.


And then, o happy day, bluets!


Such friendly little buggers.

I found something that has me totally stumped.




psssshhhh, no idea. mustardy-cress cousin?

Later, I found something I do know: golden alexander:for when you absolutely, positively, must have yellow, STAT:


Last but not least, there were two sets of Romeo and Juliet:


Romeo. And a foot away, his Juliet:


A little while later, another Romeo...

P1230397 to another Juliet:


I see the Lumix focused on his leaf, instead of on Juliet.

I really shouldn’t anthropomorphize so much – my brain is half dreamy mystic fairy-land, but also half amateur naturalist. Which usually amounts to asking question after question, only occasionally figuring something out more-or-less definitively. In the case of jack-in-the-pulpits, I am pretty sure they must have some kind of piggy bank going on, some ability to get bigger and bigger year after year, because I’ve seen these guys both small and HUGE. The cool thing about living down here will be the opportunity to watch particular spots over more than a year or two, and maybe find out more. (We had a hard time sustaining them in our little neck of the woods in VT – one year, a single night’s hard rain destroyed the four plants along the shared driveway – so  I didn’t make much progress there.) I WILL say, Newcomb’s gives an alternate name of Indian Turnip. So, victory, right? I could dig one up to investigate, but you know? That seems a bit rude.

No comments:

Post a Comment