Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Few Pretty Things at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve

I took a quick walk out to Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton yesterday, hoping to find the Fringed Gentians (Gentianopsis crinita) in bloom.  And I wasn't disappointed!

There were quite a few plants in the sandy open area, many still in bud but a few being coaxed by a warming sun to unfurl their  gorgeous royal-blue petals.  I have not found this flower anywhere else in Saratoga County, so I thank the spirit of the late Orra Phelps for providing such a happy home for them here.  And I also thank the staff and volunteers of Saratoga PLAN for working to keep this sandy area clear of the encroaching pines and poplars that had threatened to overshadow these rare plants.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana) actually prefers the shade of the woods, and I found quite a few of them along the wooded stream that runs through this lovely preserve.  Their little greenish, spidery flowers hide beneath the top tier of leaves in early summer, but by now the ruby-red berry stalks have migrated upwards to hold these shiny black fruits above the leaves, now splashed with a rosy blush.

A few days of rain had called forth a myriad of tiny mushrooms, which were dotting the forest floor with their miniature parasols.  Adorable!

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

Boy, those Fringed Gentians are gorgeous!