Last weekend was another where I had no set plan and just rambled here and there to places I had seen wildflowers in the past.
One of the places I went to was a beaver swamp. I call these swamps because “pond” isn’t really accurate in this instance. Though we have plenty of beaver ponds, this land is more like a flooded forest than anything else, and the water is quite shallow.
Many ferns also like boggy ground. Here are some fiddleheads just out of the soil. Fiddleheads from the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), which are considered a spring delicacy by many, are the only ferns safe to eat. They like to grow on river banks, pond edges, and other wet places and are often completely under water in early spring.
Most Willows (Salix) prefer moist places and I regularly see them growing in water. Here pussy willows grow along with Vinca in the background. Vinca will grow just about anywhere and doesn’t mind moist soil.Once I left the swamps and found some dry ground I also found bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). Bloodroot doesn’t mind moist soil but it doesn’t like it saturated. This one has shed a lot of pollen and I think its blooming season is just about over. Even with a touch of color blindness I could tell that this trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens) was pink instead of the white that I had been seeing. A couple of posts ago the blogger from Plants Amaze Me asked why they had pink trailing arbutus in Michigan and we had white here in New Hampshire. We talked about how certain minerals in the soil can have an effect on color as it does with pink and blue hydrangeas. I wasn’t sure then if that’s what caused the color variation in trailing arbutus and I’m still not sure, but these pink ones were growing in the center of a large colony of white ones so I doubt that the soil is the cause. One more thing: If you aren’t reading the blog by Plants Amaze Me you’re missing out on a treat-they post some of the most beautiful and varied wild flower and landscape pictures that I’ve seen.
One day I came across a small group of dried Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora) plants from last year on the side of a trail. I have since looked at several other pictures of Indian pipes in this stage and they all show the cups (or “bowls” of the pipe) upright, but every time I see them growing the cups point downward. I wonder what makes the cups point skyward as the plants dry out.
I had to stand in the bed of my truck with one hand holding onto the branch and the other snapping pictures on a day with what seemed like hurricane force winds to get this picture of staminate (male) Norway maple (Acer platanoides) flowers. If the photo isn’t quite as sharp as it should be, that’s why. We’ve had strong winds here every day for over a week. The European Norway maple is considered an invasive species in many states. The easiest way to check for Norway Maple is to break a leaf stem (petiole). Norway maple is the only one that will show white, milky sap in broken leaf petioles.Our native wild raspberries are just starting to leaf out. It’s going to be awhile before we see fruit, but I’m anxious to taste them again.I found hundreds of these tiny violas growing in a local park. These are the smallest I’ve ever seen; each flower was smaller than a pencil eraser. I have since learned that a viola known as the dwarf or field pansy (Viola kitaibeliana) is quite tiny and thought to be a native of North America, but I don’t know if that is the same plant that is shown here. I had to lay flat on the ground with my chin in the grass to get a picture of this tiny plant that wasn’t more than a half inch high.I love Scilla (Scilla siberica) so last year I planted quite a few of the small bulbs. This is my return on that investment-beautiful color! There are over 100 species of scilla and some are called wood hyacinth or wild hyacinth. They spread quite quickly so before too long I expect to have large drifts of them. The best part is they need no care whatsoever. They do need to be planted in a spot where their leaves can mature in the sun without being mowed off.
This is just a bit of last weekend’s journey. Thanks for stopping by.