Today, I finally found the first One-flowered Cancerroot (Orobanche uniflora) of the season. Last year I saw the first on on May 26. May 25 is pretty close I’d say. I’ve been checking the spot where I saw it last year every day for about the past two weeks, and finally today – there it was. I took three pictures, but none of them are post-worthy. I’ll try again (with a tripod) tomorrow.

This plant is a parasite and lacks the capacity to make chlorophyll. That’s why it’s white. The other plant I know that’s similar is Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora). I find it curious that they both have the specific epithet of uniflora, meaning “one flower.” They even look similar, but they are pretty easy to tell apart. The Indian Pipe looks more like a fungus than a flower, will bloom late next month, and stay in flower until September. The Cancerroot will only be in bloom for a week or two (if that). It looks more like a flower than a fungus.

I didn’t really have time to take a good picture today – Va and I needed to hustle off to a church board meeting. But I did take a few minutes outside before leaving for the meeting to poke around the yard. While I was trying to get a decent photo of the Cancerroot, I heard an awful raucous noise out front. It sound like crows, only louder and… more eerie. So I abandoned the flowers and mosied over the the road. It was a pair of crows, and they were fighting! First they’d yell at one another. They were in adjacent trees. Then they’d take flight with the smaller one chasing the larger one. They’d land again and yell some more. Then they’d repeat the whole thing, working their way up and down the road as they battled it out. I don’t know who won, because I had a meeting to go to.

When we got to the meeting, I checked in on a bird’s nest the kids found at school today (and which Va told me about). It had two eggs in it when school got out, but in the two and a half hours between school and when I checked it, one of the eggs disappeared.
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Maybe our stoat had an early supper.

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