About halfway through my walk, I crossed the Mississippi River on a road bridge. Does that mean I'm officially in the East?
The vintage car of the day is a Plymouth. Something in the 1950s, I'm sure.
In the spring, I showed you the flowers and furled leaves of Blue Cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides. It is one of those plants that looks alarmingly different later in the season. Now the leaves are large, and the clusters of blue fruits are ripe. Not edible- in fact, they can be toxic, although there are reportedly medicinal uses.
At the end of the day, the trail passes through a University of Minnesota Natural Area, with unpaved trail. There were signs marking the ages of some stands of trees. These red pine are about 200 years old.
BONUS SECTION: The Mystery Plant
You might remember that on Sunday I said I found a new plant, but was having trouble identifying it. For starters, I'd never seen anything quite like it. The stems were square, which made me think it was in the Lamiaceae family- Mint and deadnettle. The pictures I took didn't focus. Bother. I asked a few people who are better than I am at botany. No responses. I looked at every plant I don't know in the Minnesota and Michigan herbariums in the Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family. No luck. I looked at the pictures again and found one little space that was in focus. Aha! The flowers looked more like snapdragons or turtlehead. So I started looking in Scrophulariaceae. Found it!
Now, you can just ignore some of that taxonomy, if you even care. All the genetic testing of plants has led to new Orders, Families, and Genera. Things that used to be grouped together because they appeared to be alike, are turning out to be more closely related to different things. It's all pretty nuts, but anyway, I did find the plant.
So, that little obsession I wanted to feed today? More botany. It was to walk back to where I found this plant, get the location and better pictures. Usually, this would be no big deal, but this epic adventure is not really a botany tour. But I decided to do it.
"All right, all right, Joan, just tell us what it is!" Well, sigh. It's alien and invasive. It's called Red Bartsia, Odontites vernus, or maybe O. vulgaris or maybe those are really both the same plant. Taxonomy is such a mess these days. It's only been reported in three locations in Minnesota (now four, because I just submitted it in an unreported county). There are two findings in Michigan, both in the UP. However, it's a real problem in Canada. It began to appear in Manitoba in the 1950s, apparently hitchhiking in crates that were shipped from West Germany to an Armed Forces Base at Gimli. Makes sense that it's moving into the northern states.
It's been moved into the Family Orobanchaceae. That seemed surprising to me. Those are broomrapes, parasitic plants. Well, it is partially parasitic, deriving part of its nutrition from the roots of grasses. So there you have it. It's not related to mints or snapdragons, but to broomrape and one-flowered cancer root!
I moved the trailer today, and Michelle headed for home. She has been a great help, and we have a lot in common, so it's been a good time together. I gave myself a break today, what with moving and botanizing, and hiked fewer miles.
Tomorrow is a day off, and there's a big treat coming. Stay tuned.
Miles today: 10.0. Total miles so far: 3240.2. (Plus about 0.8 miles botanizing and a spur to get to the parking)
|See So Long, Chip|