As the summer wanes and we have not had any appreciable amount of rain in weeks, it's getting harder to find wildflowers worthy of this weekly post. Perhaps it's just that I have not had time the last few weeks to really "go looking".. but my looking this afternoon didn't turn up much. So what you're seeing today are just common ordinary "wildfower weeds"... nothing too exotic. My quest this afternoon took me up the Old Springhill Road close to where I live; it's a rural road with a wonderful view over the Saint John River, looking upriver at what locals call "The Islands" - that being Sugar Island, Eqpahak Island, Hartt's Island, Big and Little Chokey Islands and Parsnip Island. I loved the clouds - so puffy and cotton candy-like. I just thought you might like to see the "setting" for today's flower photos.
As I was snapping away, I heard the distinctive dee-dee-dee of a killdeer, a member of the plover family, common on farmland. It didn't take me long to spot him with his black breastbands and his noisy call. He kept an eye on me as I walked along the pasture fence, seeing what I could find for wildflowers.
So what did I find today? Clockwise, from lower left: Goldenrod, a very common plant in late summer fields and ditches. Did you know it belongs to the sunflower family? Historically it has been used topically for wound healing and as a diuretic, and is still used today for natural dyeing of wool. Queen Anne's Lace is not just a member of the carrot (and also parsley) family, it is the parent of our garden carrot.
No doubt this is why it is sometimes also known as "wild carrot". Queen Anne's Lace tolerates dry conditions very well which explains why it is still so abundant this year. Apparently it's name refers to Queen Anne of England who reigned during the early 1700's and was reputed to be an expert lace-maker. Purple Loosestrife which I have already written about here. Nasty plant, but I still think it's beautiful.. (guess I'm a sucker for purple... ) and lastly Cow Parsnip which is part of the parsley family. Cow parsnip looks like the big sister of Queen Anne's Lace, having a similar shaped (but considerably larger) white flowerhead. Cow Parsnip is often confused with Giant Hogweed and also Water Hemlock. The sap of Giant Hogweed on your skin can cause severe inflammation, and Water Hemlock is very toxic if ingested, so it is wise to know the differences between them. You can read an excellent comparison here.
So there you go- common ordinary plants this week, but as I've said before, there is beauty in all flowers. You don't have to be an orchid!!
"If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence." ~ George Eliot