I went for a walk yesterday during lunch. I was surprised twice. As I approached an intersection with a traffic signal, I noticed that there was someone waiting to cross the street – and that someone was smoking a cigarette. Ugh. Rather than standing on a street corner inhaling second-hand smoke, I took a detour. It shortened my walk by 200 yards or so, but that’s where the surprises came from.

This is the first surprise:

Forsythia

Forsythia


This is forsythia. It blooms profusely in the spring, and covers the plant with these yellow blossoms before the leaves appear. After a few weeks, the flowers fade and then fall off as the leaves come out. I have never known forsythia to bloom again in the fall, and I am almost positive that these flowers are newly formed, and not spring leftovers. They look too good for that!

The second surprise was a plant that was unknown to me. I don’t see those very often anymore, and this one was in bloom, making it a ton easier to identify.

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)


This is strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa). This evening when I downloaded my photos from my camera, I decided to take a crack at identifying it. I could not find my Wildflowers field guide, so I reached for my Edible Wild Plants field guide instead. It was there, and it is edible (or will be soon – the unripe berries are poisonous).

Psych! Here are some more shots of this specimen:

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)


Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)


The photo above shows the sheath which holds the fruit (yellow berries). The sheath is made from the flower’s sepals, and the berries usually don’t ripen until after the sheath holding them falls to the ground.
Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)

Strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa)


I cheated on this photo (above) by placing the blossom on a leaf so that the leaf would hold it in a position where I could aim the camera into the flower’s naughty bits.

Shame on me!