STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

I think it's time to start some Wildflower Wednesday posts again. I know I won't have one every week, but will do my best to bring you something interesting as often as I can.
It's funny how things don't always turn out the way you think they will. I had been chatting back and forth with blogger friend Pamela of Playingwithmycamera - we live about 20 miles apart and have similar interests. Anyway we have become friends through blogging and I was telling her that I was sorry to not have had the chance to get any photos of my apple blossoms due to the many days of rain. The blossoms on my trees are totally done, past, finito. And she replied that the trees on the Ridge where she lives were just coming into bloom! (Lucky me!) So we planned a get-together for today for a quick photo shoot in the orchard. We didn't know what other treasures we were going to find! So, you're going to have to wait till tomorrow to see the apple blossoms, because I'm going to share with you our "other finds" since they fit the Wildflower Wednesday meme. After all this IS Wednesday...

We drove down to the bottom section of the orchard since the owner told us that's where the best blooms were. On the other side of the road is mixed forest and both of us, cameras in hand, meandered over there for a "look-see". We quickly spotted some purple trilliums (trillium erectum). The more we looked the more we saw, but all were a bit past their best - definitely on the wane. I was (mistakenly) referring to them as red trilliums, but the red trillium (trillium sessile, aka Toadshade) has a stalkless flower which appears directly above the three whorled leaves. (Thank you, Audobon Field Guide to North American Wildfowers!!) So this is for sure "purple" trillium even though it looks more red than purple!! (Clear as mud, right?) We did not find any white or painted trilliums.. only the purple.

Next we spied some purple violets, our provincial flower, (see them in my header photo) and close by, yellow violets. I haven't seen yellow violets since I was a child! Yes that's many, many years ago....  The yellow violets are a bit smaller than the purple and seemed to have only one blossom per plant. When I consulted my wildflower guide at home, I learned there is a "smooth" yellow violet and also a "downy" yellow violet which is described as a "softly hairy plant with leaves and yellow flowers on the same stalk. Flowers are ~ 3/4" with 5 petals, the lower three with dark purple veins, the two lateral ones bearded. Heart-shaped scallop-toothed leaves." So I think I'm correct in identifying this as a downy yellow violet ( viola pubescens). Everything fits except I didn't notice that it was very hairy... But then I didn't get really up close and personal. By this time the mosquitoes had discovered us... and I have the bites to prove it..

There were some lovely small clumps of the purple violet in the dappled shade but also this paler purple one which was more in the sun. At first I thought it was the same thing - just bleached by the sun - but upon checking with Mr. Audobon (I LOVE this guide) I see that it is a different violet altogether. It is the Dog Violet (Viola conspersa) with paler bluish-violet petals, and leaves and flowers on the same stalk, like the yellow one was. (I am learning to pay attention to these small details. which makes ID'ing  a plant so much easier!)

Next we spied a Jack-in-the-Pulpit! And then another. And another. Look - we even found twins! Maybe this is Jack and Jill? I wrote at some length about Jack-in-the-Pulpit here several years ago, so I'll spare you now. But it was fun to find them. Their other fairly common name "Indian Turnip" likely results from the fact that American Indians gathered their fleshy taproots as a vegetable. (I don't suggest you try eating it though- it is poisonous due to the calcium oxalate crystals it contains.)

 Our last find before we turned our attention back to the apple orchard was this plant - it had both of us baffled. The leaves on it looked somewhat like the leaves of Astilbe, but the flower didn't. So again- I turned to my trusty wildflower guide when home and figured out that this plant is Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)  "A bushy plant with large highly divided leaves and a short thick rounded cluster of small white flowers. When in flower the clustered stamens give this plant a feathery appearance." This plant is of the Buttercup family and its red fruit is poisonous.

So there you have it. Our first Wildflower Wednesday for Summer 2013. I hope to find many more wildflower treasures to share with you. Who knows- perhaps Pam and I will team up again soon and see what we can find... What do you think Pam? I hope you'll stop by Pam's blog here for her "take" on today's adventure.



"For myself I hold no preferences among flowers. so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous..."
~ Edward Abbey 


Pamela Gordon said...

Linda, that was so much fun! You took some beautiful photos that are so clear and up close. I need a better camera!! :) I also appreciate all the information you gathered on these flowers. I'll look forward to our next time out with our cameras. Thanks again. Pam

Lavender Cottage said...

You and Pamela had a nice outing. How exciting to see Jack-in-the-pulpit growing wild and so many varieties of violets.

Vee said...

Pam sent me over. So glad that she did! I love that you were sent scurrying to "the book" to find out what each flower is. Nothing like seizing the moment of curiosity! Lovely photos, too. Truly exquisite. Now does that book mention Mayflowers and when one might find them?

Karen said...

GREAT post, Linda; I thoroughly enjoyed this. The name Dog Violets is interesting, as there are also Dog Tooth Violets (or at least that's what we called them). Can't wait to see your apple blossoms.

Linda H said...

Yes I thought the name "Dog Violet" was interesting too, because "Dogtooth Violets" are so common in these parts. Others know it as "Trout Lily"... The things you learn, eh?!!

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