Category Archives: Flora

Birch

This birch, too close to neighbor hemlock, grows leaning, finds sun where it can. This wet pale October shows little more color than this birch scar.

Maple splashes yellow here and faraway there. Squalls alternate sun, blue and wet across the sky. Playful youngsters now, they’ll mature as real cold sets, getting running starts from west of Erie.

Almost snow today, cold to soon come. Any last colors will present, dry and fall as seasons deepen.

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (not an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar)

This fellow made his way across the bluestone recently. I gave him a pretty wide berth – close enough to get a photograph, far enough that his spikey hairs didn’t touch me as they are somewhat poisonous and will cause irritation.

Thanks to gsmith and Carolyn King who correctly identified this critter as a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar.  The original post incorrectly identified it as an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar.

Ms. King further notes ‘This is a Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar. American Dagger would have a pair of black “whiskers” about 1/3 of the way back, and wouldn’t have that row of dark-tipped “tussocks” down the middle.’

Gratitude for the clarification!!

Wikipedia reports:
Halysidota tessellaris, also called the pale tiger moth, banded tussock moth, and tessellated halisidota, is in the family Erebidae and the tribe Arctiini, the tiger moths.

Then, I noticed that nature had copied the pattern of his yellow starlike fur in green on the forest floor.

Oak Sentinel

At the right time of year, it’s almost impossible to not notice the abundance of acorns in places near the top of Elk Mountain.

On a walk several years ago, I gathered, and planted a few in the side yard.

Now, this tree and a few of it’s kin planted nearby, conspicuous seasonal sentinels, splash the last glimpses of color as autumn fades, nods toward winter.

Dragon tongue bean

Dragon tongue bean

Curiosity got the better of me earlier this summer, when I came across a small plastic envelope labelled “Pole beans” that had hid in a kitchen drawer for the better part of a decade.

Uncertain if they were still viable, on a whim, I planted them expecting flat green beans. I became pleasantly surprised as the seeds sprouted into dramatic Dragon tongue beans.

Wikipedia reports:

Dragon tongue bean is a flavorful, juicy bean whose seeds are encased in a buffed colorful pod with mottled burgundy patterns throughout the shell’s surface. The shelled beans are pale pistachio green in color, their size, petite, and their shape, ovate and slightly curved.

Dragon tongue bean can be harvested, picked and used for their pods as well as for their seeds like a green bean (snap bean) or allowed to mature into a shell bean for using their seeds only.