Friday, July 7, 2017

Lovely Lilies Along the Creek

 I was happy my friends in the Thursday Naturalists chose to walk in the Boice Family Park near Rock City Falls this week.  For one thing, this park offers pleasant wooded trails along the Kayaderosseras Creek, and for another, I wanted to check on the health of the Canada Lilies I knew might be flowering there.

As my last blog post related, the Canada Lilies (Lilium canadense) along Bog Meadow Trail just outside Saratoga are being devastated by the Scarlet Lily Beetle, whose larvae are consuming both leaves and flowers of most of the lilies I used to find there. So imagine my delight when we found lily after lily in glorious bloom at Boice Family Park.

This orange one seemed to glow like a lamp from within the dark shade of the woods.


We also found some in an orange so deep they were almost red.

And to complete the color options for this beautiful native wild lily, we also found a few in sunny yellow. And I am overjoyed to report, we did not find a Scarlet Lily Beetle larva on any of them.

Regarding the rest of the plants we found, the most common were Silky Dogwood shrubs, thickets of Stinging Nettles, and tangles of Black Bindweed.  But we were also treated to patches of Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) abloom with pretty yellow flowers dangling downward.

I had long puzzled over the "fringed" part of this Loosestrife's common name (or the "ciliata" part of its scientific name), but this is why it's so great to go walking with folks who know lots of stuff about plants that I don't.  Oh, said Ed Miller, just check the leaf petioles.  That's where you'll find the fringe (cilia) that's diagnostic for this species.  And there it was!

I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of other fascinating things we saw, but sometimes I just like to walk along enjoying the scene without halting my steps to try to focus my camera lens.  But I did draw to a halt when I saw these giant melon-sized spheres of the flowers of Great Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea).

I also couldn't resist taking a photo of these fuzzy Beaked Hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta).  In my usual haunts, I see many American Hazelnut shrubs (Corylus americana), but seldom a Beaked Hazelnut.

To demonstrate how the bedstraw Galium aparine got its common name of Cleavers, I had picked a prickly stem and stuck it to my shirt, where it clung as if Velcroed there for the remainder of our walk.  I forgot about it until we sat at a picnic table to eat our lunch.  Then I pulled the Cleavers stem from my shirt and laid it on the table, where I was surprised to find this tiny brown sac hanging from a fine thread.  Oh, I remember this!   Some years ago I had found something identical and had sent its photo to, and the amazing folks there had promptly informed me that this was the egg sac of the spider Theridiosoma gemmosum.  A very long name for a wee little spider!  And just imagine how tiny the wee little baby spiders are, inside that cleverly constructed egg sac. I was careful to return this plant stem to the grass, where the babies might find a safe haven when they emerge.

When I got home from our morning walk, I discovered a friend who lives in Ohio had posted a photo of Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) on Facebook.  That reminded me to go look for that magnificent shrub around Saratoga.  And find it, I did!  There are two small shrubs of it in a wooded section of Yaddo (the artists' retreat in Saratoga Springs), and a magnificent specimen of it along a creek at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton.  The Orra Phelps Nature Preserve is where I took this photo of its gorgeous flowers just opening into bloom.

1 comment:

Woody Meristem said...

Interesting post, the Canada lilies down this way are at least a week from opening their buds. A beautiful flower, hopefully you won't lose too many plants to the beetles.