Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pink Grass, Blue Stems, Spiky Sedge

As it happened, I didn't meet New York's chief botanist today. Due to pouring rain and Travers Stakes traffic, we decided to meet sometime next week instead. In the meantime, I'm saving up a few questions to ask the expert, including this: What's the name of the grass that spreads these clouds of pink mist along the roadsides and across the meadows now?


I have a few books about grasses, but the more I study them, the more confused I get. This may be Fall Witch Grass. Maybe I'll know for sure next week. Whatever its name, it's lovely. Especially early mornings, when sparkling with dew.

One grass I do know the name of is Little Bluestem, just starting to sprout its little feathery puffs on purplish stems. When later in autumn the wind moves across whole fields of this, it's quite a sight, the stems waving gracefully, the white down sailing away on the air.



I think this spiky stuff that grows on damp shores is Three-way Sedge. I'm curious to know how it got its name. Maybe I'll soon find out.


10 comments:

swamp4me said...

Trying to ID grasses and sedges gives me a headache! How nice that you will have a botanist to lend a helping hand. Feel free to send him down my way ;)

swamp4me said...

P.S. I finally figured out the secret to posting comments on your blog. You see, the Post a Comment link is invisible on my screen for some reason. I have to move my mouse around until my pointer turns into a hand, indicating that I have stumbled onto the link. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Woodswalker said...

Hi Swampy, thanks for the comment and the heads-up about the comment problem. Another follower has mentioned problems similar to the one you described, but I don't know how to fix it. On my screen and the screens of other friends the word "comments" shows up white against dark teal. Any suggestions about this problem from other readers would be gratefully accepted.

Jackie Callahan said...

Hi Jackie! I love that pink grass! I've also been trying to find its name for ages. Our neighbor's field is covered with it and it makes a beautiful sight!Thanks for your beautiful pictures, too. Jackie

Jens Zorn said...

Jackie--
As another reader has suggested, you really should try a GPS for your work. A painless way to get started: Go on a walk (even just around your neighborhood) with someone who already owns one of these gadgets and will let you push some of the buttons. Once over that first try you'd find it a piece of cake. And then the GPS would be as indispensable as your Canon G7.

Jens Zorn said...

Another aspect of GPS:
I understand the element of private discovery in your work... the sense that these magical places are, in a sense, almost yours alone. Publishing their coördinates would destroy this aura, might compromise the intimacy of your relationship with the land.
So you might not want to reveal the coördinates, but they would be a powerful enlargement of your own private records for now. And in the long term, revealed in a controlled manner, the coördinates are sure to be essential parts of the historical record of which "Saratoga Woods and Waterways" is so strong a component.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Hm...any chance you could reschedule on a Monday? :D

Anonymous said...

Jackie, I just love your photos; and I am particularly partial to the butterfly shots. Also, the dragonfly shot was great.I find butterflies very difficult; they are usually so active, it's hard to get them to sit still long enough. I've had the best luck in butterfly houses, but that feels like cheating! Jackie

Steve said...

The pink grass is usually fall witch grass, Digitaria (Leptoloma)cognata but there is also purple love grass, Eragrostis spectabilis which can put on a similar show. Fall witch grass has one flower per spikelet on long slender pedicels whereas purple love has 7-11 flowers per spikelet.

Steve said...

Three way sedge (Dulichium arundinaceum) gets its name from the way the leaves are arranged. If you look at the plants from the top down they are arranged spirally in three rows towards the top of the plant. This makes it pretty easy to identify.