Today Jonathan and I went to a deli a couple of blocks from the office for lunch. We walked back via the back allies. I wasn’t intentionally looking for blooms, but once you’ve trained your eye to do that, it’s hard to shut it off. I found an American nightshade (Solanum americanum).

American nightshade (Solanum americanum)

American nightshade (Solanum americanum)


I had always thought this plant to be deadly poisonous, but a new book I received this week – Nature’s Garden, by Samuel Thayer, says otherwise. Thayer holds that the ripe berries and the leaves are both edible and quite palatable. I will have to test his assertion later this year!

We soon ran out of alley and went back onto Main Street which has a row of Basswood (Tilia americana) trees. They were in bloom, so I stopped and snapped a shot.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood (Tilia americana)

We finished off the day, and then headed home. Penny was very excited (as she always is) and was more than ready to go outside and chase sticks and/or balls. I put down my laptop and headed out the back door with my camera bag still slung over my shoulder.

First I went to the woods in the back where I found that the partridge berry (Michella repens) had bloomed sometime during the past several days of rain.

Partridge berry (Michella repens)

Partridge berry (Michella repens)


I took several shots. It was still very cloudy out so the light was dim. This is not normally a problem except that the tripod mount on my camera is stripped. I packed it full of Quicksteel (a steel-infused epoxy) so that I could drill that out and re-tap it later. But later hasn’t come yet! Also, I’m not sure where I put my set of taps. As a result of this shameful state of disorganization, I had to take these photos with the camera either held in my hand, or sitting on a rock. Some of them turned out pretty OK:
Partridge berry (Michella repens)

Partridge berry (Michella repens)

I also checked in on the Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata). The flowers have still not opened for me, but they must soon!

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

These unripe blackberries are growing at the end of my driveway.

Blackberry (Rubus spp)

Blackberry (Rubus spp)


Then Beth called out to me with an irresistible question, “Dad! What’s this flower?” I rushed right over and saw my first Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) bloom of the year:
Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)

Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)


While I was taking that shot, she also found some birdsfoot trefoil, but I’ve already taken shots of that this summer. I may even have posted them. Instead, I spotted some white campion (Silene latifolia) growing amongst the sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina):
White campion (Silene latifolia)

White campion (Silene latifolia)


and some sort of wild mustard (Brassica spp):
Wild mustard (Brassica spp)

Wild mustard (Brassica spp)


These are supposed to be good to eat as well, and mustard can indeed be made from the seeds. I’ll have to try that one of these days.

I then looked for some cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare) that has a habit of growing nearby. I’ve been looking for it already this summer, but hadn’t seen any until today:

Cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare)

Cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare)

And just for good measure, I took another picture of some whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia):

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)


By then Penny had chased her ball into the catchment pond (which is quite full again, thank you). When she saw that I was not going in after it, she did. And even though she was good and wet, I was ready to come in.

Luckily, she was just wet and not too muddy!

Advertisements