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.

This Striped Wintergreen is sometimes called Spotted Wintergreen,
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.


Pyrola, also called Shinleaf, has a spike of white bell-shaped flowers in summer.


I love how the delicate moss on this boulder grows out of the cracks in spider-like arrays.


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.

5 comments:

birds butterflies and blossoms said...

Jackie, I loved your most recent posts. I know you will be a great help toward my learning my ferns!I loved the moss growing on the rocks photos, the first reminded me of the cave paintings of Lascaux!Just beautiful.

desertnutmeg said...

Love (!) those photos of the spidermossboulder. All the photogs are great, but I love the boulder ones. Thanks for sharing!

catharus said...

Very nice photo story of the "greens in the brown woods". Yes, that sedge you refer to....I haven't figured that one out yet either...when you do, be sure to let us know.
Thanks!

Woodswalker said...

birds butterflies and blossoms: Thanks, Jackie, for your comment comparing the spidery moss to the cave paintings. Yes, I see it! How apt!

desertnutmeg: What a pleasure to meet you and have a chance to visit your lovely blog. Thanks for stopping by.

catharus: I just remembered that way back in April a commenter (Tom Arbour) suggested the name of that sedge:Carex plantaganea (or plantaginea). Sure enough, when I googled that name, photos of plants that look just like this appeared. Its common name is Plantain-leaved Sedge.

Allan Stellar said...

God bless Elaine...