This morning I took Penny for a lap around the property. I brought my camera along.

In bringing the camera from the air-conditioned house to the humid, sweltering July heat, the lens fogged up. I took a few “soft” shots courtesy of this effect, but the mosquitoes were trying to carry me off. So I set the camera on the deck, went in, and grabbed some Off. After applying it liberally, I grabbed the camera and tried again. By then the lens had warmed up and the fog on it had lifted. Here are the results.

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


I finally found some dewdrop flowers that were not horribly misshapen. I am relatively pleased with this shot.

We’ve been getting a lot of rain for the past couple of weeks, and as a result, I have several pools of standing water in the woods (which explains the mosquitoes). Smack in the middle of one puddle was this blueberry bush bearing a modest amount of berries. I ate them after taking this shot.

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

The wintergreen is starting to bloom. I didn’t see any with open flowers, but they are very close. I like this shot because it shows two plants – one with flowers, and one still sporting a berry. Wintergreen hangs onto its fruit through the winter and even to the point when it flowers (as shown here).

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

I liked this mushroom. I haven’t tried to id it.

I don't do mushrooms, but here's one anyhow.

I don’t do mushrooms, but here’s one anyhow.

I was hoping to see some Indian pipe, and was not disappointed. This is the second of two clumps I found (the other clump being a solitary flower).

Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)


These plants are parasitic on the roots of other plants, and they produce no chlorophyll of their own. That’s why they are white.

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)


The loosestrife is still going strong. I thought this shot in full sun came out pretty OK!

Saint John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

As did this shot of some common Saint John’s wort.

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella)

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella)

This might be garlic mustard, or it could be some other mustard. I pulled it up after photographing it, as I don’t want it taking over.

Some kind of mustard (Brassica spp)

Some kind of mustard (Brassica spp)

There were several clumps of white campion here and there about the yard, but this one was in the shade giving a softer light more conducive to photography.

White campion (Silene latifolia)

White campion (Silene latifolia)

This one surprised me. I haven’t seen it growing on my property before. Samuel Thayer adamantly avows that these are quite edible (they have a reputation for being poisonous). However, he has eaten them many times, and they are a staple in many places (Africa, for one). Thayer thinks their reputation come from people who misidentify it and eat something else in the Solanum genus that is poisonous (but I don’t remember what). There are lots of Solanum’s out there, and many are poisonous.

Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Here’s some spreading dogbane. You can distinguish is from “regular” dogbane (A. cannabinum) by the way the petals recurve.

Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

I also found some heal-all in bloom.

Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)

Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)


It’s been in bloom for a while, but this was the first time I had time to shoot it.

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I have been busy lately. I started a new job earlier this month, and it is sure eating into my leisure time. I decided today that it was time to make time to take a few photos. I stopped at a “secret” park near my church. I call it secret because there is no sign on the road alerting the public to its presence. I had driven by it maybe a thousand times before I knew it was there, and only spotted it from satellite photos while playing around on Google Maps a few years ago.

But the park is there, and it has wildflowers. I stopped for maybe ten minutes. First up was some tower mustard. I have this growing along the south side of my house.

Tower mustard (Arabis glabra)

Tower mustard (Arabis glabra)

The yarrow is blooming now too:

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

And the king devil is out. Some people call this yellow hawkweed, but “king devil” definitely has a more adventurous ring to it.

King devil (Hieracium pratense)

King devil (Hieracium pratense)

The birdsfoot trefoil has been in bloom for a while, but I think this is my first shot of it this year.

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Then I found this unfortunate fellow.

Deer?

Deer?

This is only about half its spine. All together, I estimate that the spine was at least three feet long, and maybe more. There aren’t a lot of animals around here that are that big – deer, bear, coyote, and sometimes beaver. I think this is a deer, but I’m really only guessing. It looks like it has been picked pretty clean.

Not far from the skeleton I saw a black locust in bloom. Most people don’t know it, but these flowers are edible, and indeed, they are very sweet and quite palatable. I ate this bunch after I took its picture for you.

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

On the way back up the hill towards the car I found some white campion.

White campion (Silene latifolia)

White campion (Silene latifolia)

And then I saw this clump of yellow sorrel.

Common yellow sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

Common yellow sorrel (Oxalis stricta)


These are also good to eat. As most kids can tell you, they are very sour (in a good way). That sourness comes from oxalic acid (hence the genus name). Too much of it is said to be bad for you, but kids everywhere seem to pay that no heed whatsoever.

Then it was back to the car, and off to work.

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!

When I was walking through my woods the other day I noticed that the partridge berry (Mitchella repens) was in bloom. Today even more of it was.

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens)

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens)


I like this plant. It makes edible (though tasteless) berries. Note that the two flowers are joined at the base. Together they form a single berry which has two eyes (one from each flower). These berries remain on the plant all winter and well into spring. In fact, here’s a photo I took of one last month:
Mitchella repens berry

Mitchella repens berry


See the two eyes? Those are from the two flowers.

Another plant that has recently bloomed here is the white campion:

White Campion (Silene latifolia)

White Campion (Silene latifolia)


This one is blooming at the end of my driveway next to the road. I should have gone in the house and grabbed a tripod for this, but instead just held the camera in my hand. Thus, it’s a little bit out-of-focus. 😦

Oh well.