Sunday, June 28, 2009
Bog Meadow Midsummer Beauties
No rain today (amazing!) but threatening skies kept my wanderings close to home once more. Hmm, I thought, maybe the Canada Lilies are blooming along Bog Meadow Trail. Well, they weren't, but I found lots of swelling lily buds, so maybe later this week. I still enjoyed a four-mile walk and found a few pretty things.
The shaded parts of the path were bordered with Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus), smaller than its earlier-blooming cousin R. flagellaris and with shinier leaves.
Standing tall on either side where the trail passed through wet meadows was Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum polygamum), its fluffy white flowerheads seeming to float at the top of its slender stems.
Some things were so tiny I almost missed them, like the minute white blossoms of Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea quadrisulcata), hardly a showy plant, but worth peering at closely. This plant does not belong to the Nightshade Family, despite its name (it belongs to the Evening Primrose Family). But the shade it grows in is almost as dark as night. It was some kind of enchanter's trick my photo is in focus. (Parts of it, anyway.)
The fluffy little burrs of Yellow Avens (Geum aleppicum) are also worth a close look. Subtly colored but really beautiful.
What looked like a plain brown beetle grazing the flower head of Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) turned out to have striped and curving antennae worth a second look. (All parts of this plant are deadly poisonous for us humans to taste; I wonder if the pollen and nectar of its flowers are exempt.)
When I reached the boardwalk over the open marsh, it wasn't hard to spot the showy beauties that flourish there. Including this just-coming-into-bloom Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).
And this Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia terrestris), also known as Swamp Candles for the way its bright yellow blossoms cluster together in a terminal raceme. This is one of our native loosestrifes, not closely related at all to the alien aggressor Purple Loosestrife.
Not all the beauties I found today were flowers. These bright red berries of Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) are far more eye-catching now than were its greenish-white flowers back in May.
The same goes for Dwarf Raspberry (Rubus pubescens), whose greenish-white flower has barely visible petals, but whose bright red berry was glowing like a ruby in the sun.