Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pretty Finds along Bog Meadow Trail

After spending this beautiful morning in the deep woods, I decided to head for a brighter spot in the afternoon: the sunlit marshy parts of the Bog Meadow Nature Trail. I was on a quest to find Nodding Bur Marigold (Bidens cernua), a sunny yellow flower that likes its feet wet. Abundant clumps of it were growing along a little creek.

There were masses of Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) growing there as well, and many plants were dangling the fat green seed pods that give this plant another common name: Touch-me-not. But I can't resist touching them, holding them very gently in my palm until POP! the pod splits open and hurls its seeds far afield.

But I close my palm around them in order to catch the seeds and look at the burst pod, its sections curled tightly back like tiny coiled springs.

If you gently peel the green coat off the seeds, the kernel inside is the most beautiful robin's-egg blue. They have a pleasant taste, as well, a little bit like walnuts.

The snowy blooms of Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) have now sprouted long silky seed-heads. At this stage, this lovely native clematis is called Old Man's Beard. For obvious reasons.

On a shadier, woodsier part of the trail, I found this Jack-in-the-pulpit seed head, so bright shiny red you couldn't miss it. Often, the leaves have disappeared before the red berries form, but this plant still had them nice and green. Very pretty.


Lindsey said...

I love this post so much. I just came inside from eating jewelweed seeds! I never thought to open one...such an amazing hue of blue! I'm delighted by them, I haven't been able to eat walnuts the past few years after developing an allergy to them, so I'm so glad there's something else out there with the same flavor.

Paul said...

Good grief, all the many years I have "popped" jewel weed and impatiens pods and never thought to peel the coating! what a reward for being curious although I'll leave it to you to try sampling the taste of such discoveries.

squirrel said...

Oh Wow. Now I have to go find some jewel weed. Who knew?

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Lindsey, it was you who first told me about the walnut flavor. I never would have thought to taste them. I wonder what their nutritional profile would look like? Calories, protein, fat, etc. Any record of native people using these for food?

Paul, I am passing on info that others taught me. I forget who first showed me the blue kernels, but Lindsey (above) is the one who told me about how they taste. She also said Asiatic Dayflower seeds taste like sweet corn. I haven't tried those yet. But I will.

Squirrwl, be careful, popping jewelweed pods is kind of addictive. Like popping bubblewrap is.

Trillium said...

Another gorgeous informative post.
You identified the Jack in the Pulpit fall berry cluster for me. I just photographed it from a walk in a nearby park. Thanks!
Guess I'll be chomping on Jewelweed this Sunday with Squirrel...perhaps we will add some to an apple cobbler.