Category Archives: Flora

Rose of Sharon

rose_of_sharon

The last week of July finished with day after day after day of 90+ degree weather.

The Rose of Sharon has become prominent; the tall yellow sunflowers as well.

These colors are harbingers of change. The days now are around the same length as they were in April. Each one shorter; each one closer to ski season.

Meanwhile, wander over to Forest City Friday the 5th, and Saturday the 6th for “Old Home Dayz” celebration, even if you’re not from around here.

Wear a smile, say hello to as many folks as you can, and experience why so many of us so enjoy living here on the hill,  ‘far from the madding crowd’, near a city ‘so named being settled in heavy forests’.

 

Mushroom

mushroom

www.shroomery.org reports the following:

Amanita muscaria var. guessowii

Region: Eastern/northeastern North America. From northeast Canada, as far south as the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and as far west as the great plains (Michigan is the furthest west point where the subspecies has been collected).

Habitat: Mycorrhizal primarily with conifers, but can also occur with some deciduous trees.

Characteristic Features
Volval material is cream-colored
The cap ranges from orange to yellow-orange, much paler than with typical var. flavivolvata, even in young specimens

This eastern North American species is often mis-named as Amanita muscaria var. formosa, and not without good reason. It is essentially a formosa-like variant of the North American clade of the muscaria group.

DNA studies have not yet shown that all guessowii are descended from a single ancestor, and its possible that the yellow cap is simply a common polymorhism in eastern fly agarics. Therefor it’s possible that the term var. guessowii will become obsolete, and the mushroom will simply be known as the yellow form of Amanita amerimuscaria. If it can be demonstrated that this variety is monophyletic (descends from a single ancestor), then it would likely be renamed to Amanita amerimuscaria var. guessowii.

 

 

 

 

Liberal Flower

Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart

Yup, there ya have it, a bleeding heart liberal flower. In interest of equality, I had searched for an equally conservative representative from the flora world, but none came to mind.

There is a danger in labelling objects and people: once labeled, our curiosity in an object tends to diminish.  Once labeled a “liberal” one may tend to overlook that the flower is also pink and beautiful.

Particularly in these times of comparison, contrast, and debate of candidate’s values, it is good to try to remain observant and curious rather than overconfident and judgemental.

 

Spring Color

Spring Color

Spring Color

Finally some color has sprouted from the beds barely protected by such a pale winter.

Given the mild weather, one would think that the flowers are eager to sprout. However, snow drops and daffodils are no more prominent now than after a hard winter.

Near Winter cold returns for the next week, making all of us, soil, plants, animals and humans alike, just a bit uncertain as to what season it really is.

Fungi

fungus_large

A recent morning ramble through the neigborhood took me past fungus, earthworms, hawks, turkey buzzards, lily pads, cat tails, beaver dens, leaves beginning to turn – all under a spectacular September cloudless sky.

The route walked was the same followed usually in an auto, or when jogging. The slower pace of a walk allowed me to notice and savor these critters and plants.

As many of our lives are compelled to a frenetic pace, the abundance that surrounds us is often overlooked. I took the same route I usually follow, but at a much slower pace.

You might want to try something similar, taking a familiar route at an unfamiliar pace, and see if it becomes easier to notice the beauty in which we are immersed, and, of which, we are a part.

 

From: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracket_fungus

“Bracket fungi, or shelf fungi, are among the many groups of fungi that comprise the phylum Basidiomycota. Characteristically, they produce shelf- or bracket-shaped or occasionally circular fruiting bodies called conks that lie in a close planar grouping of separate or interconnected horizontal rows. Brackets can range from only a single row of a few caps, to dozens of rows of caps that can weigh several hundred pounds. They are mainly found on trees (living and dead) and coarse woody debris, and may resemble mushrooms. Some form annual fruiting bodies while others are perennial and grow larger year after year. Bracket fungi are typically tough and sturdy and produce their spores, called basidiospores, within the pores that typically make up the undersurface.”

Dinner for Two

dinner_for_two

These beings are enjoying a sweet late summer dinner, on a cozy flower for two.

Though requiring flowers and crops to be watered more often, the weather has been dry and seasonably warm; just about perfect for August.

Some of the foliage is reacting to the dry weather, and fading to a paler shade of green. Some foliage, however, is reflecting the time of season, and whether one views this as an indication of the end of Summer, or the start of Autumn, some leaves are already displaying a touch of yellow, a hint of orange.

Labor day is just about a month away – say “Yes” to any Summer activities that present – it will be a Winter away before they avail again!

 

 

Raspberries

raspberries

I imagine if I live here long enough, and pay better attention than I have been for the past quarter century, I might be able to discern why some Summers produce such an abundance of apple, pear, grape, and berries.

Some say that it’s nature’s way to provide for, and prepare the beings in the neighborhood for an impending strong Winter. Others say that the amount of Summer fruit is determined by the previous Spring.

This past Spring was fairly gentle – buds did not have to suffer much freezing; no strong storms blew blooms from the trees.

We’ll keep an eye on what happens this Autumn and Winter. Meanwhile, it’s time to gently tug on the raspberries – if they release easily from the plant, it’s time they were eaten.

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe
Indian Pipe

A recent walk on the cross-country ski trail led through Narnia-like woods abundant with fern, Indian Pipe, fungus; sunlit meadow is thick with clover, grass, and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Not quite three weeks past the solstice, already harbingers present: this morning was an Autumn morning – humidity free, clear, temperatures dipped into the 40’s before dawn. Abundances of apple and pear draw our thoughts toward harvest time.

Dog and I will walk the trail more often now, with focused intent: we’ll start to clear the path of downed branches that when half-buried in snow could deflect and twist a ski or paw, and twigs of thorns that could snag a trouser or ear.

Temperatures in the high eighties are in the immediate forecast; the Clifford picnic is next week.

From here on out, those of us who have been around here for more than a few summers know that hot, sultry, Summer days will become less and less common. Hoodies will be needed in the evenings. The grass will grow less thickly.

It’s the time of season when neighbor Penny inhales the evening, and noting the subtlety of it’s terroir, says: “The air is now changed, yet still familiar…. yes, it tastes like Frontier Days”.

 

Meadowsweet

20130718

Wikipedia reports “Filipendula ulmaria, commonly known as meadowsweet is a perennial herb in the family Rosaceae that grows in damp meadows. It is native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia (Near east and Middle east). It has been introduced and naturalised in North America.

In 1897, Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffman’s employer Bayer AG… This gave rise to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).”

Black Snakeroot

20130725

Wikipedia reports “Actaea racemosa (black cohosh, black bugbane, black snakeroot, fairy candle; syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) is a species of flowering plant of the family Ranunculaceae. It is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings. The roots and rhizomes have long been used medicinally by Native Americans. Extracts from these plant materials are thought to possess analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties.”