Here are some flowers that are in bloom for Mother’s Day:

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Colt's foot (Tussilago farfara)

Colt’s foot (Tussilago farfara)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Penny is such a funny dog. When Jonathan and I got home from work, she dashed out to greet me. I threw her a stick and headed to the front door. She fetched the stick and got to the door before I did, frantically pawing at the door to get in so that I could let her out the back door where I might throw sticks for her. Silly dog! We’re already outside! But no, she wanted to go outside, not just be outside.

I indulged her (and myself). Camera in hand, I did a lap around the woods looking for blooms. The trailing arbutus is still about the only thing in bloom, but there are others that will be in bloom very soon. Here’s one:

Canada Maylily (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada Maylily (Maianthemum canadense)


Another name for this is false lily-of-the-valley, but I have never been enamored with the idea of a plant being “false.” Yeah, it’s not lily-of-the-valley, but it is a Canada lily, so why not just go with that name?

I was looking for some goldthread, when I found this instead:

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)


Cool. This is another I had been looking for ,and truth be told, there is a little goldthread leaf there in the lower center “photo-bombing” my dwarf ginseng shot (as well as another Canada may-lily right behind it).

But there we also a few goldthread plants here and there – none in bloom yet though.

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

And the whole time I was looking for blooms, Penny was looking for sticks. She found a few:

Penny (Canis lupus domesticus)

Penny (Canis lupus domesticus)


Which I dutifully threw for her. It wasn’t long after this that she found a vernal pool and plopped down in it to cool off. I guess gathering and chasing sticks is hot work even on a cool day.

Even though this blog is mostly about nature, I sometimes take a tangent. Sometimes for a while. It has been a little while since I’ve done any nature posts, so today I hope to set things right.

I took a lap around my property today and was surprised to see so many plants in bloom.

First up was goldthread.

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)


This plant is also called canker root because it was reputedly a cure for mouth sores. I don’t know how efficacious it was, but that didn’t stop the colonials. The rhizome is a bright gold color, which is where its other name comes from. The white “petals” are really sepals. The actual
petals are those yellow-orange club-shaped things in the center.

I turned off my trail to look for some ferns, but instead found this:

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)


Blueberries! This was the only plant (out of hundreds) on my property that I found to be in bloom. It borders the neighbor’s land where he cleared all the trees in preparation for building a house. Maybe the added sunlight made them bloom sooner.

I went looking for this one too:

Pink Ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule)


It’s not in bloom yet, but I wasn’t expecting it to be. I looked for these last week (in this very spot) and didn’t find even a hint of it. I conclude therefore, that this is one week’s work for Lady Slipper.

I was in the middle of my woods looking for some trillium when I found this.

Sessile bellwort, or wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Sessile bellwort, or wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)


I did not sow them. They grew here by themselves. I didn’t find any trilliums either, but I’ll be camping with the Pathfinders this weekend, so maybe I’ll see some then.

This is one of my very favorites (though I say that about several plants).

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)


This morning I found a batch of them just exposing their petals, but the petals had not opened. This evening I found another batch with petals unfurled. This is such a fascinating looking flower. I know of nothing else even remotely similar.

Finally, there’s the dwarf ginseng.

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)


This plant has edible tubers, but it’s best to dig them after it goes to seed (because then the plant diverts its energy into the tuber for next year). The only problem is that the above-ground parts of the plant completely vanish, making these a lot more difficult to find. I have eaten them before, but not in quantity. I never harvest more than a plant colony can sustain, which in the case of this plant on my property is about four tubers per year. Not enough for a meal, but enough for a taste.

Saturday afternoon I took a walk around my woods to look for (and photograph) wildflowers. I found some.

I was looking specifically for some wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia), so I went to the places where I have found it in previous years. Yup. Found some in bloom.

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

This is another one I went looking specifically for.

Pink lady Slipper (Cypripedium acuale)

Pink lady Slipper (Cypripedium acuale)


This is not the same one I posted last week. I looked for that one too, but couldn’t find any sign of it. I have no idea what happened to it, but I guess that’s the way nature goes sometimes.

When I go out looking for blossoms, I look everywhere for surprises too. This was one of those:

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)


This will become a Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) flower. I don’t know that I’ve ever caught one in this stage before. I have dug up the roots of this plant and brewed it into a tea. I don’t think it was worth the effort though, so it’s not something I am likely to repeat.

This is one I was looking for. I saw a few when we went camping last week, and they do grow on my property too. So I looked in the usual places and found a few. I suspect I will find even more this week. I was fairly pleased with this photo, so bonus!

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Here’s another three-leaf plant (trifolius) but with a different Latin conjugation. If I knew Latin, I would probably understand the difference between trifolia and trifolius.

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)


I posted an image of one of these last week too, but liked this one enough to repeat it. I do that sometimes.

Here’s another repeat. I set out to get a really nice photo of this one, and it turned out OK – not stunning, but OK. I suppose the light was a bit too harsh. It was mid-afternoon when I took the shot, and this one wasn’t in as shady an area as most of the others.

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Right after shooting the gaywings, this fly alighted on my thumb. I haven’t tried to identify it yet, but I did think the photo came out pretty well. Better than the gaywings anyhow (even if it’s not as nice a subject).

Unidentified fly

Unidentified fly

The wild strawberries are still going gang busters.

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)


It’s another repeat, but I think it’s worth repeating.

I still don’t have any bluets on my place, but I have seen vast swaths of them in fields from the car this week (and last). I might have to stop and get some photos soon. I’ve also been looking for wood anemones and hobblebush from the car, but no luck so far. I have yet to see a trillium this year either, and I know those are almost finished now. Maybe I’ll find some in Maine this weekend. I know I will be looking for them anyhow!