Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Green Life in the Brown Woods
Wood Fern and Christmas Fern (center) share the same niche,
and both will stay green under the snow.
It may look like all is dead in the woods -- the flowers all shriveled, the leaves all down or brown -- but there's still lots of living green to be found. Here are just a few of the green things I found on my Red Oak Ridge scramble yesterday. All of these plants stay green all winter.
Common Polypody commonly grows on rocks,
along with mosses and Rock Tripe, a lichen (the grey stuff).
Hepatica leaves won't shrivel and fade until after next spring's blossoms have bloomed.
This sedge (I don't know its official name) will have spikey yellow flowers next spring.
I just remembered its name: Carex plantaginea or Plantain-leaf Sedge.
but I'd call these leaves striped, not spotted.
Here's Pipsissewa, a close cousin to the Striped Wintergreen.
They both have white waxy flowers in the summer.
A close-up view of that moss reveals a little patch of verdigris-colored lichens.
My walk yesterday on the Red Oak Ridge Trail was taken while grieving the death of my friend Elaine. I felt a kind of consolation, finding all these lovely green plants sprouting up from the brown dead leaves and cold hard stone. Our individual lives may fade like the grass, but Life itself endures.