Beth and I took Penny to Sandogardy Pond today. I wanted to look for the late summer aquatics, and though we were able to find quite a few, I didn’t find all the ones I was looking for.

Before we got to the pond we found some Indian tobacco.

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


This is also called “puke weed” and I think that’s what I’m going to call it from now on. I suspect that “Indian tobacco” is a racial slur, as many plants with “Indian” in the name are. As in, “tobacco only good enough for Indians.”

Not far from the puke weed, we came across some hazel cuttings.

Beaked Hazels

Beaked Hazels


These are the shells from beaked hazels (Corylus cornuta) which were growing nearby. I have a lot of them on my property too, but have never really been able to harvest any. The squirrels and chipmunks tend to harvest them before they ripen. You have to be careful when gathering them too, because those husks are full of fine spines which have a tendency to stick in your skin and break off. Just imagine shelling one with your lips and teeth!

We got to the pond, and the first blooming plant I noticed was this spotted water hemlock.

Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)


It is important to be aware of this plant if you plan to eat wild carrots, because they are superficially similar, and spotted water hemlock is the most toxic plant in North America. One taste can kill.

Just offshore from the water hemlock, I could see the floating heart in bloom. I took off my shoes and waded out to it.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)


You have to be careful when photographing these, because the tiniest waves you make tend to wet the flowers, and when that happens, they turn from white to transparent. I have dozens of photos of transparent floating heart blossoms. I managed to avoid that this time.

Down the beach a little ways I found some Marsh St Johnswort.

Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


I always have a hard time remembering the name of this one, because I keep wanting to put the “Virginia” part of the binominal name into the common name. Virginia St Johnswort? Nope. Virginia Swamp St Johnswort? Nope. Someday I might be able to remember without the aid of the Internet.

I had already put my shoes back on when I found some seven-angled pipewort. I didn’t want to take them off again, so I leaned way out and snapped this shot.

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)


Leaning out doesn’t make the greatest photos, and we can see that here. I looked for these earlier this summer but could find no sign of them. But today, here they are.

A little farther down I found some square-stemmed monkey flower.

Square-temmed Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens)

Square-temmed Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens)


This plant got me into a little trouble once. A friend of mine breeds poodles and typically names them after flowers. Knowing that I was a plant-guy, she asked me to suggest a name for her next “keeper” dog. She was not pleased when I proposed square-stemmed monkey flower. I guess it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

“Here, Square-stemmed Monkey Flower! Here girl!”

Nope.

Advertisements

This morning when we got to church I poked my head outside to see if the forked bluecurls has come up yet. They had:

Forked bluecurls (Tricostema dichotomum)

Forked bluecurls (Tricostema dichotomum)


This is one of my favorites. I love the stamens. Apparently, so did the person who name the plant “forked bluecurls”, because that’s what the name is talking about.

After church, and a nap, I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. I wanted to see if the Pipewort was out yet. I think it’s too late now for the floating heart, so I’ve missed them this year. Oh well.

When we got there Penny went straight into the pond to cool down and get a drink. The ducks were nonplussed. They didn’t fly away, but they did back off. I took a few shots.

Ducks!

Ducks!


Not being a bird expert, I will not even try to id these. Wood ducks? Female mallard & young? I have no idea.

While looking for the pipewort, I found some Virginia marsh St Johnswort:

Virginia marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


These will be in bloom for pretty much the rest of the summer. They add a welcome splash of color to the beach.

Then I saw the pipewort. This one was close to short so I didn’t have to wade in after it.

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

But while I was setting up to take its photo, I saw the water lobelia a little farther out. I knew I wanted a photo of one, but I didn’t want to wade, so I went farther down the beach. Not finding more, I returned, took off my boots, rolled up the pants, and went after them.

Water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)


I should have worn swimming trunks so I could have knelt down to get a steady shot. The light was perfect, but I was bent over trying to hold the camera steady while not going in so deep as to soak my pant legs. So the shot could have been better, but I really like the soft background!

Today we had our Investiture service for Pathfinders and Adventurers. This is a ceremony during which we award insignia to everyone. The highlight is always the slideshow that Melissa puts together for us. It was 22 minutes long, and she had set it to music. She was up until 7:00am working on it. After 22 minutes of watching that, my mouth was sore from the ear-to-ear grin I maintained throughout. I couldn’t help it.

We got home a little after 4:00pm and had some supper. It had been raining all day, as it was when I finished eating, and as it is even now at nearly midnight. But I have rain gear.

Penny was thrilled at the prospect of a walk in the rain, and I figured she was the only one in the house who was crazy enough about walking to take me up on the offer of a hike. We went down to Sandogardy Pond.

I cut through the cut-down forest. This is one of the nicer places there now. The trail has reappeared, and it’s growing a nice carpet of grass.

Penny waits for me to throw a stick

Penny waits for me to throw a stick

We made it to the pond without incident. The water (including the puddles along the way) were thick with yellow pollen. I don’t know what plant makes this stuff, but it sure makes a lot.

Sandogardy Beach

Sandogardy Beach

I don’t know what this is growing at the edge of the pond. I might recognize it in a few weeks, but right now I just don’t know. But look at all that pollen!

Mystery plants

Mystery plants

But this is one I do know:

Virginia marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


I think this may be the only St Johnswort with pink flowers. Not that it has bloomed yet. We’ll check in again after it does.

It continued to pour the whole time I was out there.

Alder in the rain

Alder in the rain


This is some sort of alder bush. It grows all along the edge of the pond. One of these days I will id it down to the species level, but not during a rainstorm.

Penny didn’t go into the pond during this hike. Maybe she didn’t want to get wet 😉 or maybe she wasn’t overheated since the rain did a thorough job on her coat. She would also not have been thirsty since the sticks she was fetching were also quite wet.

I do enjoy walking in a rain like this, even when it’s heavy like it was today. It’s an iron-clad guarantee of having the outdoors to myself.

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)


I took a picture of this wood frog (Rana sylvatica) on Tuesday. It apparently has an injured right eye, but I didn’t notice that until I downloaded the photo to my computer and zoomed in on the detail (I do that the assess image quality). Poor little guy!
Update: Maybe he just has mud in his eye?

I was out in the yard trying to decide how realistically I’d be able to teach the edible wild plants honor here at my house. It wasn’t looking that great if I got a big crowd of people. I still have blueberries and the blackberries are just coming in, but I need three berries. The wintergreen is in flower now, there just aren’t many berries out there. The partridge berries are still very unripe, as are the autumn olive and dew berries. So I can only manage two berries here right now. On top of that, all the hazelnuts I had seen earlier in the summer have been decimated:

Robbed!

Robbed!


Samuel Thayer, in Nature’s Garden holds that people can get to the hazels before the animals do – you just have to stay on top of them. Well, I’m going to have to contest that. I have been checking on them daily, and the ones I can still find are still not ripe. Maybe Thayer doesn’t have chipmunks. In fact, on Tuesday I picked one that I considered unripe and buried it in the mud (Thayer’s recommendation – this softens the prickly hull and makes it easier to get the nut out). When I did this, I counted about a dozen nuts on one small (but particular) tree. When I returned to that tree yesterday, there was not one nut still on it. I dug up the one I had buried, and I will open it soon to see if it was ripe or not. I don’t think it was though, as the color was definitely on the yellow end of the spectrum rather than the darker brown I would expect.

The bottom line is that I have decided to teach the Electricity honor instead. I just don’t have the quantities of plants needed here to support a troop of kids.

Beth and I took Penny for a walk down to Sandogardy Pond this afternoon after lunch. On the way I saw some asters in bloom.

Aster

Aster


I won’t even try to put a species name on these. There are hundreds of possibilities when it comes to asters, and I have not equipped myself to distinguish them.

When we got there, I went poking around the dock to see if I could find any arrowhead (Sagitaria graminea), and to my surprise, the floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) had bloomed.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)


I took several shots and then moved a little farther up the shore away from the dock when I saw a pretty large snake lying motionless in the pickerelweed. I watched it for a bit trying to decided if it was alive or not (it was so large I wasn’t even sure if it was real). I followed his body with my eyes until I found his head, and then I was sure that he was both real and alive, so I maneuvered my camera into position spooking him. So instead of a nice shot showing how big this guy was, all I could get was his head:
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

I went over to the other side of the dock and then walked up the shoreline where there was a lot of pickerelweed. I got these shots:

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


And a close-up of one of the blossoms:
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


Pickerelweed is trystylus, meaning that the styles (the female part of the flower) come in three distinct lengths relative to the length of the stamen (male part). Thus, when a bee comes by, it won’t transfer pollen from the stamen to the style of the same plant. I think that’s pretty cool.

I almost stepped on this little guy:

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)


This is one that I first saw last year, and was somehow able to remember its name. If my identification is correct, this is a insectivorous plant. The blossom here is tiny – maybe an eighth of an inch across.

While we were there I also went looking for some Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum). This is another plant that grows near water and blooms in the mid to late summer. It was in bloom the last time I went to Sandogardy, and I took several poor photos of it. Today I wanted to take some better shots, but I was hard pressed to find any with open blossoms. I did not think they quit flowering that quickly. I finally did find one with an open bloom:

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Beth and I then headed back to the house, and I took a nice two-hour nap. Va woke me for supper, and after we finished that, David asked if I wanted to go to Sandogardy. But of course I did! He didn’t know Beth and I had already been, as he also took a nap after lunch – only he started his well before we did. Beth wanted to join us for a second walk too, and of course, Penny never turns down an opportunity like that.

So off we went. When we got there, I found that the prodigious number of Virginia Marsh St Johnswort that is indeed there had all opened their blossoms while I slept. So I took a few more shots.

T. virginicum

T. virginicum

This one came out half decent (though if I ever fix my tripod mount on this camera, I’m sure I could do better). Pretty much all my shots this summer have been hand-held.

I took a walk to the grocery store during lunch, and was surprised to see several new blooms. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – these things are fairly predictable! Here’s some of what I saw:

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Cherry (Prunus spp)

Cherry (Prunus spp)


I’m not sure what kind of cherry tree this is. In fact, it might even be some sort of crabapple. I really ought to learn this.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)


This spiderwort grows in a little garden by our main entrance. There was also a bit of salsify about open up, but the photos of that were not really postable.

When I got home I put on my rain gear and headed into my wood lot. Penny came along in case there were any sticks out there. I think it was raining lightly, but with rain pants and a good rain coat, it was hard to tell. Actually, I was also wearing my replacement Tilley! It came in Saturday when I was in Maine. That was a lot quicker than I was expecting, and of course, I am delighted. Here’s what I found around my yard and in the woods:

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)


The other name for this is “false lily-of-the-valley.” But when I found it had a more honorable name, I adopted that instead. It’s a beauty in its own right, and I don’t think “real” lily-of-the-valley holds anything on this one.

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)


I had to venture off my path for this shot. Pretty much all the lady slippers along the path have been mowed down. I think it was probably Penny carrying a five-foot stick in her mouth as she chased down a basketball and brought it to me. Whodathunk she could wipe out so many beautiful flowers so quickly?

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)


The starflowers are in full-force now. They don’t seem to hold up to rain too well though, as it makes them all nod a bit. These two were facing up more than the rest, so I chose them to represent their species today.

Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)

Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)


All the blooms on this tree were at least seven feet off the ground. The tree has several branches on its west side that are four feet high, but none of them had any flowers. I had to hold the camera up over my head for this shot. Hard to hold it still that way, so none of the shots were very impressive. I tried to frame the shape of the leaf in the photo.

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)


This is a rare thing on my property – a cultivated plant.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)


I posted some photos of these at an earlier stage of development last week. Carl Strang of Nature Inquiries correctly identified them as aspen aments (catkins). If I’d have waited another week I might have been able to figure it out on my own, but it sure is nice to have Internet friends speed things up for me. I arranged these three aments in order of development. It’s easy to see why the poplars (including aspens) are also called cottonwoods.

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)


I found three tiny batches of bluets. These things grow in profusion around here in a lot of places, but they just barely hang on in my yard. These grow right under Carl’s aspen (which is what I will call that particular tree now).

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine from church described to me some plants he had seen in his woods. He wanted to know if I could identify them. One of them I nailed from the description as Wild Sarsaparilla, which I wrote about yesterday. The other two I couldn’t guess from the description.

Today at church I brought him a little of the tea I had brewed yesterday, and he brought in the two specimens which he (or his wife) had potted. The first was Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata).

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila umbellata)

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila umbellata)


I had never seen it before in real life, but I did know that it shares the Chimaphila genus with the pipsissewa (C. umbellata) I wrote about earlier this week. See how similar the flowers are?
Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila umbellata)

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila umbellata)


Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

The second plant had me somewhat befuddled. It looked kind of plantain-ish, but the leaves were starkly variegated. He had described it as looking like a spider web, but his wife thought it looked more like snakeskin. If I had put two and two together, I would have had its id, but this is another I had never seen before:

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)


When I got home I found it in short order in one of my field guides: Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens). Nice.

He gave me the Rattlesnake Plantain, and I am going to plant it somewhere in my woods. I’m not sure where I’ll put it, but I will put it in the shade since that’s where he had found it.

From what I read about it, this plant is more common in southern New England. Also, because the leaves reminded the Native Americans of snake skin, they used it to treat snakebite (though not efficaciously). The shape or appearance of a plant being similar to a diseased organ (such as the liver in the case of liverwort) or a disease cause (such as a snake in the case currently under consideration) is not generally a reliable indicator of its pharmaceutical virtues.

When we got home from church, and after we had some lunch, Beth, David, and I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. There were some new blooms there too:

Virginia Marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia Marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)


Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)


I especially liked the way this last photo turned out.