Yesterday I had an errand to run during lunch, and I did not take the direct route back to the office. I wanted to check in on this guy.
This is the same plant I found back in December. I picked one then so I could let it ripen, but all I could get it to do was mold. 😦 You’re not supposed to eat them until they ripen as they contain alkaloids (which are toxic if ingested). Ripening eliminates the alkaloids, but alas! Mine molded and ripened at the same time, so I still don’t know if these are any good. I may never find out.
Closer to the office there is a little street corner park (complete with benches). There is a bush growing in there that has the strangest fruits. I had no idea what sort of bush it was until I saw it today in flower.
Dogwood! I don’t know what kind of dogwood, but it certainly is some sort. Here’s a closeup of the petals (those white things are bracts, not petals).
The fruit looks a lot like this. Sort of an extraterrestrial basketball or something.
Today when I got home, I stepped into my woods and found one (and only one!) of these:
This is the flower that taught me to use a camera. A few years ago I was trying to get a decent shot of this one, but having no luck. I learned the following:
- Press the macro button for flowers. There’s a reason its icon is a flower.
- Don’t use flash.
- Do use a tripod
- Use a long shutter time.
- Max out the F-stop for more depth of field
- Set the ISO as low as it goes
- Make the shutter delay a couple seconds after pressing the button so the camera has a chance to stop shaking from the button press.
My camera simply cannot get this flower (or many others) in the Auto mode. Especially not a white flower in the dark woods. Nope. The earliest I have ever seen this one in bloom is June 23, so it’s ten days earlier than ever this year (according to my records).
After I took several shots of this one today, I went looking in all the other places in my woods where I have seen it growing. None of the other stands had any flowers. This stand might have another tomorrow.
These flowers are infertile. The fertile ones are inconspicuous and stay beneath the leaves. I may have seen a fertile one last year, but I could not be certain. I can’t find any photos of the fertile flowers online or in any of my books.
My tripod mount is still in deplorable shape, but I used the tripod anyway. I have to hold the camera on, and it’s not good to be touching it during a long exposure. But it’s still better than a handheld shot.
While I was in the balance-the-camera-on-the-tripod mode, I took a few shots of the partridge berry. More of them are in bloom today than yesterday.
Not too shabby. Note how the two blossoms are joined at their base. They will fuse together and turn into a berry with two eyes later on. Check it out.
I took that one today. See the two eyes? Some people call these snake eyes. The berries persist through the winter, and won’t come off the plant until it flowers again. And since they are edible (and I really like them), they can provide a source of fresh berries almost year-round. Thy only time you can’t get them is between the flowering and the ripening. And as this photo shows, you can even get them for a little while at least after they have flowered.
They remind me a bit of apples. They are not too sweet, but just sweet enough. And those two flowers and two eyes? They make two seeds.