Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Flower Hunt Yields Hidden Treasure
We actually had a few hours today with no rain! My friend Sue and I made the most of this brief dry spell to go flower hunting along the Warren County Bike Path near Glen Lake. Sue, who lives nearby in Queensbury, had been checking the swelling buds on these Yellow Lady's Slippers all week, and today we found them in glorious full bloom. And lots of them. What a treat! Here's a perfect pair, just waiting for that Lady to Slip on her feet.
We even found twin flowers on a single stalk -- VERY unusual!
The bike trail near Glen Lake is a real hot spot for Nodding Trillium, a flower that is disappearing from parts of its range, according to the New York Flora Association, which last year put out a call to search for them. Well, we found lots of them. And as this photo demonstrates, they aren't that easy to find, with their flowers hiding under their leaves, and the whole plant hiding under other vegetation.
It's worth the effort to get down on the ground and peer up at the hidden flower, with its lavender stamens and curlicue styles.
Those two were the rarest flowers we found today, but we also encountered many other plants to delight us, even though they may have been as common as this grape vine, whose flower buds mimic the shape and color of the fruit yet to come.
When Staghorn Sumac first sprouts new leaves from its red-velvet stalks, it conveys an aspect of some exotic plant, seeming as out of place in this northern swamp as a tropical palm would be.
Striped Maple today was dangling its strings of dainty green flowers that swayed with the slightest breeze.
Such a pretty array of tiny mushrooms sprouted along a moss-covered log.
On my way home, I stopped off at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton to look for Star Chickweed. One of our few native chickweeds and a rather uncommon one, this little white flower was sparsely blooming amid its masses of foliage along a high ridge. As with all chickweeds, each of its five petals is so deeply cleft, it seems to have ten petals, not five.