Today the brownish pea-like flower clusters of Groundnut draped riverside thickets. Along the roadside, clusters of tiny greenish flowers cupped by leaf-like bracts nestled in the leaf axils of Three-seeded Mercury.
7.22.11 I'm always gratified when I find a good reason not to keep a weed-free garden; today I found three reasons! The Night-flowering Catchfly which left my fingers feeling very sticky after handling it; the Moth Mullein whose nickel-sized blossoms last but a day; and a pink Hemp-Nettle. Hemp-Nettle has white or pink blossoms, both with purple markings, protrusions from the lower petal that look like fangs, and hairy spikes on the upper petal. I don't know the name of the insect on the Hemp-Nettle, but it seemed more interested in the plant than its blossoms.
7.20.11 A few lemon-yellow Pale Touch-Me-Nots caught my eye in a wet, shady roadside today. Mary Holland, Vermont author of Naturally Curious, notes that 'the nectar of jewelweed is 40% sugar; the whole plant provides nourishment for deer and, during dry spells, black bears.'
7.19.11 Old familiar faces take on a new look when you get nose-to-nose. Hemp-Nettle and Helleborine are two such flowers. I'm amazed that there are flowers that look so robust in mid-summer heat when I'm wilting.
Thunder was rumbling and light was fast fading by the time I made it to the site of these little Spotted Wintergreen this morning. If you saw the pictures of Pipsissewa which were posted recently, you will notice the similarity of these members of the Wintergreen family.
Common polypody, the underside of whose fertile frond is pictured at upper left, were growing in abundance in a thin layer of moss over a granite boulder. To contrast, is a fertile frond of an Ebony Spleenwort which was growing in rocky woods. The shape and placement of the sori (capsules that hold spores) on the underside of the blade are important to identification of ferns.
Between rain showers this morning I got out into the world long enough to find (and take a few rather fuzzy pictures of) Water -plantain. Water -plantain has a basal rosette of 6 - 14" long stalked oval leaves. Its tiny 3 petaled flowers are "on a 3' tall, diffuse terminal panicle" to quote the field guide. To me they looked about as insubstantial and airy as mature asparagus plants. Water-plantains grow in standing water or mud.
7.17.11 More than a half-dozen Great Spangled Fritillaries looped around and around my garden this afternoon, sampling everything in bloom; they seemed to favor the echinaceas without singling out any one variety.
Today the diminutive plant called Centaury touched the roadsides with its tiny pink flowers, White Vervain waved sparse wands chest high in the thickets, and gracing one edge of a dusty dirt road Wild Sensitive plant had small yellow flowers under lacy leaves.
7.13.11 The Pale St. Johnswort (Hypericum ellipticum) is in bloom in a wet ditch; its plume of stamens above the butter- yellow petals helps to attract pollinators.
I discovered this newly-open Spotted touch-me-not (Jewelweed) yesterday. The scientific name, Impatiens capensis, was published by Meerburgh in 1775 who thought it had been introduced into Europe from the Cape of Good Hope. Although he was in error, this name stands because it was the first to be published. (from "The Secrets of Wildflowers" by Jack Sanders).
This morning Hedge Bindweed blossoms glistened palely among the tall grasses and weeds. Agrimony glowed in the woodlands. And Dogbane Beetles bathed in liquid greens and reds hung jewel-like from their host plants.
7.07.11 The Purple (or Field) Milkwort changes its appearance as the blossom matures. The petals curled up in the center continue to open until the blossom resembles the shape of a pine cone. It's beautiful at every stage.