Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Pity the Lilies!

Canada Lily (Lilium canadense), photo taken along Bog Meadow Brook Trail on July 4, 2015.
Well, it's almost the Fourth of July, and you know what THAT means!  Fireworks! But not the kind that send our pets into hiding.  I mean the kind that send me off to Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail in search of Canada Lilies exploding into brilliant bloom, as spectacular as any "rockets' red glare!" (See how beautiful they can be, in the photo above.) Hoping to locate a few of these gorgeous native wildflowers at least in bud, I hurried over there today. But I did not find any gorgeous blossoms.  Nor any buds starting to bloom.  The Scarlet Lily Beetle larvae got there first. These disgusting poop-covered larvae had already eaten all the leaves of this lily and were starting to destroy the bud.  Looks like once again, we will have no Canada Lilies this year. Alas! I have read that a tiny wasp that predates on these larvae has been released in parts of the northeast, but it sure looks like they haven't yet found their way to the larvae chowing down on this Bog Meadow lily.

Ah well, at least we can expect a spectacular display of another beautiful flower, to judge from the massive numbers of Showy Tick Trefoil plants that are lining the trail this year. In all the years I've  been walking this trail, I have never seen so many of these plants, which later in July will bear thick spikes of pretty purple flowers.  This species isn't called "showy" for no reason!

Peering closely at the Showy Tick Trefoil plants, I could not detect any flower buds as yet. But I did see that a brief shower had decorated each leaf with crystal drops of rainwater. Very pretty!

At least I did find some flowers this trip, including several blooming shrubs.  The flat clusters of Elderberry blooms appeared a startling white against the deep-green of their leaves.

Even more lovely than in the flower clusters, the Elderberry florets were dropping off and spangling the Sensitive Ferns that thrive in the marshy soil beneath the shrub.

Other flowering shrubs along the trail included this Silky Dogwood, holding dense clusters of four-petaled, creamy-white flowers.

I had to peer close to appreciate the tiny flowers that clung tight to the twigs of a Winterberry shrub.  All of the wee little flowers on this shrub were staminate, holding pollen-tipped anthers above the waxy white blooms. The pistillate flowers bloomed on a separate shrub, open to the pollen that will waft on the wind from these yellow anthers, or be carried there by pollinating insects.

The warm humid air helped to carry the marvelous fragrance of this Common Milkweed blooming nearby.

Unfortunately, many of the flowers and shrubs that line this trail are not native species.  That is true for this showy Daisy poking up through the Tick Trefoil leaves, but that non-native designation did nothing to detract from the perky charm of the flower.

Deptford Pink is another non-native flower that likes it here, and again, its vividly colorful beauty helps to quell any disdain regarding its lack of native status.

The dainty flowers of Marsh Bedstraw are so tiny they might be overlooked, if not for how brilliantly white they are against the dark-green surrounding foliage.

More itty-bitty flowers, the tiny blue blooms of our native Small Forget-me-not.

A few weeks ago, this trail was lined with the showy purple flowers of our native Spotted Geranium.  The plants have long shed their blooms, but these geranium seeds are every bit as interesting as the flowers.  The "cranesbill" has split, releasing the "spring-loaded catapults" that have flung the ripe seeds all around.

Despite the preponderance of many invasive species along this trail that once was a railroad bed, many native species manage to thrive  Yes, there are way too many shrubs of Tartarian Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, and Glossy Buckthorn, but native shrubs like American Hazelnut, Choke Cherry, Red Osier Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Sweet Virburnum, Swamp Rose and others still manage to hold their own.  And a glance at the grassy verge beside the trail reveals many more native plants.  How many of these can you name?  (I'll be back in a couple of days to reveal the ones I could find.)

Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense); Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense); Mouse-ear Chickweed seedpods (Cerastium fontanum); Rattlesnake Root sp. (Nabalus sp.); Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana); Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta);Grove Sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora); Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis).
Long slender leaves, possibly Aster?
Low plant with shiny green opposite leaves, Prunella?
Small whorled leaves, Bedstraw?
Oval leaves with slender tips, No idea!


threecollie said...

That's the lily! The one we found at Logan's Pond. Just one plant, but I saw no beetles on it.

Woody Meristem said...

Too bad about the lilies, the ones down here have escaped so far.