A sunny day, at last! Yeah, it rained (as usual!) by early afternoon this past Monday, but we did have a blue-sky morning. And my friend Sue Pierce and I had a truly gorgeous place to spend it: the banks of the Hudson River at Riparius, a hamlet in the upper Hudson River Valley of Warren County. And we had some great company, too.
And yes, there were some beautiful plants. We found Water Smartweed (Persicaria amphibia) growing both on the banks and also floating out in the water, holding tight clusters of pretty pink florets erect.
Purple-stemmed Asters (Symphyotrichum punicium) also contributed their evidence that aster season was truly upon us. This tall species, with its large pale-purple flowers and more-reddish-than-purplish stems, is sometimes called Swamp Aster, due to its preference for dampish habitats.
The most abundant wildflowers we found were numerous patches of Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes sp.), a pretty little multi-flowered white orchid that is native to New York State. A couple of years ago, I could have asserted that the ones we found this day were the species called Nodding Ladies' Tresses (S. cernua), but taxonomists have since informed us that that species does not grow this far north. The Ladies' Tress orchids likely to be found blooming this late in August in Warren County could be either Spiranthes incurva (Sphinx Ladies' Tresses) or S. arcisepala (Appalachian Ladies' Tresses). I'm afraid that even if these florets were open wide enough to warrant accurate ID, I would have no confidence in my ability to distinguish them. So simply Ladies' Tresses will have to do. But wow, did we find a LOT of them!