Another New Flower

I probably would have walked right by if it hadn’t been for the bees.  They were buzzing and making quite a fuss around this flower.

Tall White Lettuce Flower   Tall White Lettuce Leaves
Tall White Lettuce

Once I looked it up, I realized I had “learned” it before.  I guess the name didn’t stick because I had to learn it again.  It was hard to photograph because the slightest breeze would send the blooms swaying.  I may have to go back on a still morning with a tripod and try again.  This plant has extremely variable leaves – some heart-shaped, others deeply lobed.  Even though it is called “lettuce” I didn’t find it in the Peterson Guide to wild edibles…

Red and Green

I’m drinking coffee out of a white mug that is decorated in patterns of red and green.  My house is dark green with a redwood porch.  My diningroom wallpaper is red and green, as is the upholstry on the dining room chairs.  Apparently I like red and green.  Or pink and green.  Or mauve and teal…  You get the idea!

TurtleheadI’ve had a hard time getting a nice photo of Turtlehead.  It seems I only find the white ones that have already turned brown – and those only on rainy days.  The last time I was at Camp Timbercrest, I got lucky!  This turtlehead blushed pink in the sun… just for me… just for you.

Indian Cucumber Root was blushing red and sporting a little green berry.  (If you click on the photo below, you’ll see this photo again – paired with the flower that produced the fruit.)
Indian Cucumber Root Fruit

Even though I’m in a slight state of denial about the coming autumn, I couldn’t resist this closeup of a Maple leaf starting to turn.  I’ll pair it with Marsh St Johnswort with unopened buds reminding me of spring…

Maple Leaf   Marsh St Johnswort

And just two more, even though they are repeats from recent posts.  Staghorn Sumac and Cardinal Flower:

Girl Sumac   Cardinal Flower

What is your favorite color pairing?

Staff Relaxation Day

Ruth Sails - Sarah RelaxesOne of the nicest things our boss did for us was heed our suggestion that we could really use a Staff Relaxation Day each summer when Day Camp was over and before the school season got underway.  Yesterday was our third or fourth (we can’t quite remember) annual.  At my suggestion, we went out to Camp Timbercrest where each could of us partake in whatever activity we found most relaxing.  Some brought books.  Some cameras.  We all brought food.  Some sat and soaked up the sun.  Others enjoyed the cool shade.  Some hiked.  Some went boating.  We had perfect weather and we all got the chance to relax.

JeffIf you haven’t figured it out, one of my favorite ways to relax is to hike with my camera.  After boating a bit in the morning and eating a delicious potluck lunch, I took a hike around the lake with Jeff who taught me a few new flowers and a fern.

I’ll start with the fern, because it was so little and cute.  It’s called Lance-leaved Grape Fern:

Lance-leaved Grape Fern

Nodding Smartweed
I knew it was a smartweed.  Now I know it is Nodding Smartweed.

White Snakeroot Closeup
White Snakeroot is a tall edge-of-the-woods plant.  It reminds you a little of Boneset.  Below is a picture of the whole plant, next to a small picture of Dewdrop.

White Snakeroot   Dewdrop

Dewdrop and moss and hemlock
Dewdrop – mixed in with moss and a little Hemlock sapling…

Yeah so, nothing new here:  Jennifer relaxes by hiking and taking pictures… and she’s always learning new flowers…

What do you do to relax?

What’s Your Favorite Word?

I have lots of favorite words.  In the tree world, my favorite word is dioecious.  If a tree species is dioecious, there are boy individuals and girl individuals.  Long before I knew about this phenomenon, I remember hiking with a friend and finding Staghorn Sumac with branch tips that were all bare and curled.  It wasn’t until years later that I learned why:  These were the boy trees.  Their flowers shrivel up after the pollination job is done.  The girl flowers become the dark red fuzzy berries.

Boy Sumac   Girl Sumac
Staghorn Sumac – left male, right female

Dioecious.  Die-AY-shus.  It’s just fun to say it.  It’s fun to say deciduous, too.  My favorite deciduous tree is one that is sort of an anomaly.  It’s a conifer, but it isn’t an evergreen.  It actually loses it’s needles each winter and grows new ones the following spring.  Have you guessed yet?

American Tamarack-Last Year's Cones
American Tamarack

Another all-time favorite word of mine is actually a two-word phrase:  Autumnal Recrudesence.  Naturalists use this phrase to describe the behaviors of animals in fall that normally take place only in spring.  For example, today while walking the dog at College Park, I heard the Spring Peepers singing their mating songs.  Last week at camp, the chickadees were singing their “fee-bee mating song.  These are both examples of autumnal recrudescence.  Scientists thing the behavior may be triggered by the balance of light and dark in autumn – which is not unlike the balance in spring.

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

Spring Peeper by Jeremy Martin
Spring Peeper – by Jeremy Martin

OK, so there are a few of my favorite words.  Now tell me one of yours!


Beaver Pond Near Titus RoadWhat an incredibly beautiful day it was yesterday.  I hiked a 4.5 mile stretch of the Westside Overland Trail – and back…  I’ve really improved my time.  You may recall that the 6-hour Beehunter Trail in Allegany State Park took me 8 hours to hike.  This 9-mile jaunt took me about 9 hours.  Speedy!

The section I hiked takes you through Mount Pleasant State Forest between Route 430 just outside of Mayville New York to Titus Road in Sherman.   Most of the trail is cool and somewhat dark – so I didn’t take a whole lot of photos.  In the spots that did open up to sunlight, I got rather distracted by the raspberries and blackberries that were deliciously ripe.   When I reached the Beaver Pond which is very near Titus Road, I took the following shots:

Dogwood Berries   Cardinal Flower

Mint   Sneezeweed

Ooh.  I wish you could smell that mint.  Or better yet – taste it!  Delicious!

What a Birthday!

Monarch Butterfly CaterpillarJacob got to spend his birthday at Audubon Day Camp.  What a lucky kid!  AND, it was insect day!  In addition to dragonflies, crickets, grasshoppers, and more, we hit the jackpot on the Orange Milkweed in the Herb and Butterfly Garden:  Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars… plus some Milkweed Bugs – which got away before I could photograph them.
Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Monarch Mama has been hanging out at Audubon quite a bit this summer helping us with gardens, displays for our next exhibit, and raising Monarchs for our annual Butterfly House on August 18th.  She brought us the cutest Chrysalis Tree.  The Day Camp kids have been enjoying watching one Monarch after another emerge as adults.  Here’s Jacob, watching his birthday present:

Jacob   Monarch Butterfly

It’s my Emily’s birthday today, too.  We celebrated last night.  Happy Birthday, Jacob!  And Happy Birthday to my very own Emily.

Season Straddlers

Blue Vervain with Goldenrod Bokeh

I have photographed several flowers that I have refused to post.  They signal fall to me, and I’m not quite ready to give up summer.  Here’s a hint at one.  What do you suppose is causing that golden bokeh behind this midsummer Blue Vervain?

Silly, I suppose.  I have, after all, posted plenty of berries and seed heads…  early indicators of a season coming to a close.  Still, to post Goldenrod would be to say, “Autumn is here.”  And I won’t do it…  not just yet… even though I’ve been seeing it in the fields since July*.


Spotted JewelweedIt has been a joy to walk the fields and woods and munch on berries while discovering a host of plants that seem to straddle two seasons – beginning in mid-summer and ending in late summer or early fall… the July-September crowd.  Blue Vervain is one.  So is Spotted Jewelweed.


Square-stemmed Monkey Flower CloseupHere’s another – a new one for me this year, though when I see it now, I can’t believe I never noticed it before.  It is tall and the flower is anything but inconspicuous.  How could I have walked by it and been oblivious?  And it has such a great name, too!  Square-stemmed Monkey Flower.  I tried to find out how the monkey flowers got their name…  there are several species.  I haven’t been able to find out.  Do you know?

Boneset Closeup

The fluffy white tufts of Boneset are coming on.  They’ll be with us a bit longer, blooming from July – October.  Boneset has traditionally been used to treat a wide variety of fever-producing illnesses and as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis.

Rough Avens Seed HeadRough Avens blooms June through August.  I did find a blossom yesterday in the woods, but mostly I’m seeing the seedheads.

What’s your favorite mid-summer flower?

* Actually… there are dozens of species of Goldenrod, and some of them have bloom times of July-September…. Here’s one… Reluctantly… I’m not sure of the species.  I didn’t look carefully enough at the leaves.