Swamp Rose

At this time of year when the trees’ color is just a tiny bit past peak color, the edges of the ponds still hold some amazing color.

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Not being much of a summer fan, I seem to have no photos of the blossoms.

UPDATE:  After reading this, my friend Kathleen sent me this picture of hers of Swamp Roses in summer:


(Thank’s Kathleen!)

The fruit is bristly:

Swamp Rose Hips

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris):

(Green) Stinkbug

Well, I wasn’t going for the bug.  I was going for the hips – the red fruit of the rose – in this case Multiflora Rose (Rosa Multiflora).

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As I shot through the tangle of branches attempting to capture “red” I noticed quite a few insects, including this one:

bug, true bug, nymph, insect, black with yellow and black stripes on abdomen

After a bit of searching, I decided this is a nymph phase of the Green Stinkbug (Acrosternum hilare). According to the entomology department at the University of Florida (which, by the way, lists the Latin name as Chinavia halaris (Say)), nymphs normally take about a month to grow into their adult form. From their pictures, I’d say this fellow is fifth instar, meaning it’s next molt will bring adult shape and colors. Given the cold temperatures, that may not happen until spring. Young stinkbugs at this time of year will find a place behind bark or under leaf litter to wait out the winter.

There are great pictures over at the University of Florida website of all phases of development, from egg right on through to adult. Check it out: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/green_stink_bug.htm.

They also have this cool picture of peaches that show evidence of stinkbug feeding. I always wondered what caused those weird shapes!

Catfacing on peach caused from feeding by the green stink bug, Chinavia halaris (Say). Photograph by Russell F. Mizell, III, University of Florida. (Click photo to go to website from which this photo was borrowed.)

No surprise:  The Purdue website is more concerned about the damage this bug does to soybeans:  http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/fieldcropsipm/insects/greenstinkbug.php.

Winterberry Holly

What’s all that red out there?

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Winterberry Holly
Ilex verticillata

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And wow, are they loaded with fruit this year!

Poisonous to humans, they will provide food for birds and small mammals.  Like other hollies, this one native to North America is dioecious – there are male plants and female ones.  Unlike other hollies, this one is deciduous.  After the first frost, the leaves will turn dark and drop off.  But the berries will remain through the winter.

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More information:

Celebration!

Smaller Enchanter's Nightshade

Enchanter’s Nightshade

We’ve been trying to do it for years.  Something always distracts.  A different creek to explore.  Getting lost confused bewildered.  Starting too late to finish.  Too much snow.  My camera.

Today we finally accomplished our goal.  We were determined.  We set out early.  We refreshed our memory on how to REALLY use the compass and topographic map.  Not the pretend way:  “I think we’re right about here…  That’s cool.”  And most importantly, I left my camera at home!  (The pictures in this post were taken at other times.)

The thing is, the path we hiked used to be a road.  If you look it up on Google Maps, it will show as a road.  But I’m here to tell you:  It ain’t no road!  Not any more.  Some of the sluice pipes designed to divert water away from the road are still in place.  Others are tossed about, rusted, useless.  Some parts of the old road are clear, wide open, easy to walk.  Other parts are so densely covered you can barely fight your way through them.  Or they are completely impassible due to a beaver pond that must be circumnavigated.

100% DEET kept the bugs at bay.  A 12-inch sub and a tub full of watermelon and cantaloupe kept the hunger at bay.  And away we went paying attention to the wildflowers and the beauty and the signs of  wildlife along the way.  Lack of a camera, kept distraction at bay to a minimum.

Leaves from some of my favorite spring wildflowers remained – Foamflower, Trillium, Hepatica.  I even saw leaves of flowers I DIDN’T see blooming here before – Bloodroot – and made a mental note to come back next spring to watch for their blooms.  Midsummer flowers in the woods are not as plentiful, but you can find them if you pay attention.

Enchanter’s Nightshade takes advantage of tiny pockets of sunlight that filters down through the trees.  The tiny white flowers of this native plant have bits of pink if you take the time to look closely.

Enchanter's Nightshade

According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website, the genus name, Circaea, comes from the Greek enchantress Circe who “possessed magical powers and a knowledge of poisonous herbs; she could turn men into swine.”  (Source: http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CIAL) Whether this species is magical or poisonous, I could not say.

Shinleaf in the Grass

Shinleaf

Also plentiful on the forest floor were Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica or maybe it was P. americana… See: I should have brought my camera).  According to the Lady Bird Johnson website, “The Pyrolas yield a drug closely related to aspirin; the leaves have been used on bruises and wounds to reduce pain. Such a leaf plaster has been referred to as a shin plaster, which accounts for the common name of this plant.” (Source:  http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PYEL)

Shinleaf Closeup

At the far end of the road, we emerged from the woods and in the open spot were all the sun-loving roadside flowers – Crown Vetch, Oxeye Daisy, Day Lilies and more.

Lolli scared up a turkey that turned to feign attack.  I wonder if she could be sitting a second clutch of eggs?  We were most impressed by signs of bear activity.  A large puddle in the middle of the road had recently been stirred up, the mud not yet settled.  The grass around the puddle was spattered with fresh mud from what must have been a delightful wallow!  There was a perfect bear track in the mud of the road, and the grasses and plants off the road were beaten down, showing the direction of the bear’s travel.  We couldn’t have missed him by more than an hour.  A few steps beyond the bathtub puddle was a patch of grass and plants that was completely beaten down.  We wondered if the bear had slept there, or even just rolled around.

It was a great day of hiking and exploring.  I want to go back and enter from the other end of the road – WITH my camera this time!

 

 

 

No, It’s Not

You’re driving along the road and marvel at the large patches of Queen Anne’s Lace.  Except… no.  It isn’t.

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It’s actually “Wild Chervil” (Anthriscus sylvestris). It’s also in the Parsley family, like Queen Anne’s Lace, but when you get up close, you can tell the difference! Read more about it by clicking here.

And then your head is turned by large patches of pale to deep fuscia pink and you are sure it is Wild Phlox. Except… no. It isn’t.

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It’s actually Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), a member of the mustard family. I munched on a flower yesterday and it wasn’t half bad! Read more about it by clicking here.

Blacksnake Mountain Wildflowers

Could not wipe the smile off my face all day.  The wildflowers were riotous!  Thank you to Patty, Bonnie, Bob, and Lolli for being my hiking buddies.

These were all blooming:

  1. Painted Trillium
  2. White Trillium
  3. Red Trillium
  4. Spring Beauties
  5. Dwarf Ginseng
  6. Barren Strawberries
  7. Common Strawberries
  8. Foamflower
  9. Mayflower
  10. Toothwort
  11. Common Blue Violet
  12. Sweet White Violet
  13. Round-leafed Violet
  14. Yellow Violet
  15. Canada Violet
  16. Long-spurred Violet
  17. Kidney-leafed Buttercup
  18. Squirrel corn
  19. Yellow Mandarin
  20. Rosy Bells
  21. Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  22. Dandelion
  23. Speedwell
  24. Cuckoo Flower
  25. Common Mustard
  26. Solomon’s Seal
  27. False Solomon’s Seal
  28. Golden Ragwort
  29. Miterwort
  30. Polygala
  31. Wild Oats
  32. Wild Geranium
  33. Perfoliate Bellwort
  34. Cress (I don’t know what kind)
  35. Bugle
  36. Forget-me-not
  37. Wild Blueberries
  38. Blue-eyed Grass
  39. Bluets
  40. Broad-leafed Sedge
  41. Sarsaparilla (buds)
  42. Red Elder (buds)
  43. Hobblebush
  44. Pin Cherry
  45. Canada Mayflower
  46. English Daisies
  47. Swamp Buttercup

    In addition, there were these either already bloomed, or not yet blooming:

  48. Colt’s Foot
  49. False Hellebore
  50. Leeks
  51. Bedstraw
  52. Red Elder
  53. Herb Robert
  54. Virginia Waterleaf
  55. Wood Sorrel
  56. Indian Cucumber Root
  57. Trout Lily
  58. Partridge Berries
  59. Dutchman’s Breeches
  60. Hepatica
  61. Jewelweed
  62. Mayapple
  63. Yellow Clintonia
  64. Blue Cohosh
  65. Round-leafed orchid

And of course there were ferns!

  1. Interrupted
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Sensitive
  4. Christmas
  5. Lady
  6. Maidenhair
  7. And others I wasn’t sure about…