Here’s my process: I go for walks in the woods. I take pictures of stuff. I bring the pictures home, pick out the ones that aren’t terrible, identify them if I don’t already know what they are, and post them on Flickr. Then I decide to write a blog post about one or more of them…
So, I consult my field guides and other plant books and then start surfing the ‘net to see what else is out there. Sometimes I think my post is going to go in one direction, but it ends up going in a completely different direction… Like today…
Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) is one of those wildflowers whose name gets erased from my brain during summer-fall-winter. I find it in the woods and think… darn! I know that flower. I know I know that flower… But alas, the name will not come to me. It happened again this year. So, I decided to write about it, in the hopes that writing about it would help the name stick in my gray matter better.
I was interested to find that the plant, which I see in many locations here in Western New York, is “listed” in several states:
Endangered: IL, ME
Special Concern: MA, CT
But what set me off on a wild goose chase that still has my head spinning was a small, seemingly innocuous phrase from the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers:
Fruit not a berry.
Hmm… Strange that the guide would make that distinction. And in italics, too.
No problem. I have no botany book here, but I can google up some definitions…
Go read them. Seriously. Then you tell me: What is the difference between a berry and a fruit? Then, just for fun, even though it has nothing to do with Barren Strawberry, try vegetable, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable. It’s as good a way as any to waste a little time…
Finally, look at the cute little critter I found on one of the plants: