Monday, July 8, 2019

The Lilies LIve!

All over Facebook, my fellow flower-nerd friends are posting gorgeous photos of Canada Lilies (Lilium canadense).  That made me wonder if I might find them myself along Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail near Saratoga Springs, a wooded wetland trail where they used to thrive.  But then came an infestation by the Scarlet Lily Beetle two years ago, which pretty much wiped them out for that year, and I found hardly any at all in 2018, either.   Maybe that nasty beetle has moved on by now, having destroyed all there was to eat around here.  Only one way to find out.  So off I went to Bog Meadow Trail today, entering from the Meadowbrook Estates spur, which approaches the main trail via a boardwalk through the swamp.

The swamp surrounding the boardwalk was lush and green with Skunk Cabbage, ferns, and horsetails, but no lilies beamed their glowing colors from anywhere in this area.  It wasn't until I reached the main trail and had walked some distance that I saw my first sign that Canada Lilies might yet make a comeback here.  No open flowers, as yet, but the bright orange buds held the promise that they would come.  No sign of the nasty, poop-covered Scarlet Lily Beetle larvae, either.  Hooray!

Only a little further along the trail, and here was an open bloom!  What a lovely combination of colors, yellow petals ribbed with orange, overlaid by solid orange tepals.

And there was a yellow one, not much farther away!

To truly appreciate all the beauty this lily has to offer, you have to either get down low and look up, or as I have done here, tilt the flower so you can see the speckled interior as well as the pollen-laden anthers. See how the anthers stained my hand with their intensely colored pollen.

Relieved to know that my beloved Canada Lilies had returned to their Bog Meadow home,  I relaxed my vigilance and just enjoyed a walk through the forested wetland.  The path today was lined with the starry-white flowers of Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus) protruding from extensive patches of their glossy green leaves.

Some distance off from the trail, in an area of standing water, the frothy flower clusters of Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens) seemed to drift like a cloud above a pool full of broad-branching Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile).

There aren't many flowers that bloom in the dark of the midsummer woods, but Pointed-leaved Tick Trefoil (Hylodesmum glutinosum) is one that does.  Their pea-like flowers are small, but they pack quite a punch of colorful pink.

The flowers of Clintonia (Clintonia borealis) faded long ago, but in their place now are the royal-blue berries that suggested this native wildflower's other common name of Bluebead Lily.

I discovered a companion on my walk when this toad hopped across my path.  How nice of it to sit quietly, then, as if it were posing for me to take its picture.  Now I can study this photo and try to determine whether this is a Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) or an American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus).

Well, to tell the truth, I just can't tell which toad this is! Some of its dark spots contain 3 or more warts, but some don't. Is the white line down its back significant or not?  I can't see its chin to see if it's spotty or not.  And then I learned that the two toads often hybridize! So all I am going to claim is that this is a toad.

I sure wish that toad and all of its buddies would do a better job of consuming the pesky bugs along Bog Meadow Trail.  Sticky tape on the top of my hat captured over 30 Deer Flies today, but I was most annoyed by the clouds of gnats that swarmed in front of my face. I would breathe them in with each breath and then cough and gag.  But I found the perfect solution.  One fern frond held and waved before my face kept the gnats away. Problem solved!


threecollie said...

So glad the lilies survived! It is an ongoing battle to keep their domestic relatives growing in the garden, what with those terrible beetle.

I loved your fern frond idea. When we were riding horseback a lot in the good old days we would pick a twig of leaves from a trailside tree and tuck them under the headpiece of our horse's bridle. Every jiggle and shake helped shoo away the deer and horse flies.

I am going to get some tape as you suggested for our visits to a pond we love. The deer flies make it nearly impossible to even get out of the car there.

Woody Meristem said...

That is one handsome toad no matter its species. Beautiful lilies.

The Furry Gnome said...

Thanks for the walk in the woods. Nice fern frond!