Wednesday, July 22, 2009
What's Blooming at Skidmore Today?
A whole afternoon without rain! Whatever shall we do!? Well, I scooted out to Skidmore to check out some plants that my journal told me should be in bloom. And indeed they were. Wish I could show them to you. You'll have to take my word that Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya) and Pointed-leaved Tick Trefoil (Desmodium glutinosum) are blooming today, because my camera just would not focus on them in the dim light of the woods.
However, another tick trefoil, one called Large-bracted Tick Trefoil (D. cuspidatum), was blooming away in the sunlight, so I was able to take its picture. We have lots of different tick trefoils in Saratoga County, most of which have pink flowers. This one has flowers more purple than all the others.
Speaking of purple, just look at this sunflower stem!
As close as I can determine, it belongs to the Pale-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus strumosus), one of several woodland sunflowers now blooming at Skidmore Woods.
Their flowers all look pretty much alike, so it's quite a puzzle to tell them apart. The leaves of this one are indeed pale on the back, and rough on both sides, but no guide book ever mentions the vivid purple of its stem. They mention a "bloom," but hey, this color is more remarkable than that.
Here are some more sunflowers, these called Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus). Their tapering, very short-stalked leaves are diagnostic, but otherwise, they look much like any other sunflower from any distance. Cheerful. Sunny.
Sharing that sunlit space was lots and lots of Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare). Its fragrant leaves taste and smell much like the variety that grows in herb gardens, which is probably where this non-native Mint Family plant escaped from.
What do you think this grass is called? You guessed it, Bottlebrush Grass! I don't know its Latin name, but its common name is certainly right on.
And here's another St. Johnswort: Hypericum punctatum. See all the little black dots on its leaves? (Click on the photo to see them.) Its common name is Spotted St. Johnswort, another common name that seems just right.
I'm afraid this may be the last time I find this plant, which in past years grew abundantly in a sunny, rocky area under a power line. Here near the Skidmore Woods but nowhere else in my searches around the county. But surrounding vegetation is now encroaching, and this year I found just this one plant. Guess I'll have to widen my search horizons. If anyone knows where else it grows in Saratoga County, please let me know.