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Saturday, June 20, 2009
Three New Flowers
For me, one of the things that makes a hike extra special is if I find and identify a plant, especially if it's flowering, that I had not previously known.
In my Walter Mitty dreams, I would like to be able to stand anywhere in the NE United States, in any season, and identify every plant around me. Yeah, well, I'm not there yet, and probably won't live long enough for it to happen. But I can dream.
The picture above is of a plant that is a real surprise, because I thought I knew it. I looked at it, in fact someone asked me what it was, and said "False Starry Solomon's Seal, Smilacina stellata." Well, it is, sort of. It's a particular variety of it, crassa, noted because of the way the leaves clasp the stem and overlap. Way cool!
Here's the next one: it was growing in a bog with a whole lot of cotton grass. I'm not happy with the focus. I'm having a lot of trouble getting the new camera to focus on one plant in a whole background of plants. This is Pale Laurel, Kalmia polifolia, a relative of all the other laurels.
And finally, there were entire blankets of these white violets covering the forest floor. They are another large violet, over a foot high! The large white blossoms are held above the leaves. As the flowers die they fade to a deep magenta color. It is Canada Violet, Viola canadensis.
I also saw a new Juncus (rush), and several new Carex (sedges), but those aren't things you take time to identify in the middle of a hike. Those need serious books and keys and time. Given the mosquito level, I wouldn't have been able to ID them even if I'd had all of those things! Maybe another time...
See Two More Special Violets