The mystery plant from yesterday turned out to be False Hellebore (Veratrum viride). This one has been in my Unidentified file for a couple of years now, so it’s good to finally know what it is.

Veratrum viride

Veratrum viride


It also turns out to be a pretty interesting plant! First, it is highly toxic, so it’s a good thing I didn’t decide it was close enough to cabbage that I could eat it (I would never eat an unknown plant though, and I highly recommend that no one else do that either). It usually causes vomiting, but if it doesn’t, it will be fatal. Some Native Americans used to have potential chiefs eat the root (which contains the highest concentration of the toxin), and which ever one was last to vomit – he got to be the new chief! I wonder if they ever accidentally killed their two best men with that approach.

I took a walk through my woods again today. I was surprised to find these:

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)


I like these plants. Once those blooms open for business, they look like a little airplane, with a fuselage, propeller, and wings (thus the common name, I suppose). I’ll look for them again tomorrow to see if they’re open. This is another species that has bloomed two weeks early. Last year they bloomed on May 4.

Around 1:00 I headed over to the church. We had planned a closet clean-out for today. I set up the canopy I scored in December. I had help setting it up this time, and between forgetting the instructions at home, and having almost two sets of all the steel parts, it took a while to figure out how it went back together. A bit over two hours in fact. And that was in 70 degree, sunshiny weather (unlike the blizzard I fought when I took it down).

On the way there I stopped and took several shots of the hobblebush again. I’m still not happy with any of my pictures of this plant. Here’s the best from today, featuring some sort of insect I have not yet attempted to identify:

Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) blossoms

Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) blossoms

I might need to talk to my friend Paul about what I can do to get a better shot. Maybe I just need to bring the tripod along, I dunno.