Posted on August 2nd, 2010 5 comments Add a comment >>
I paddled the Jessup and Kunjamuk rivers near Speculator this weekend and saw lots of wildflowers on the banks and in the water, including cardinal flowers, pickerelweed, buttonbush, and pond lilies.
I need some help identifying the flowers shown here.
The purplish flower was photographed on the Kunjamuk in a marsh above Elm Lake. I saw it frequently on both rivers. I think I know what it is, but I want to be sure (and don’t want to prejudice anyone with my speculation).
The white flowers to the right also were a frequent sight along the river’s edge, often mingled with alders. The plants often have red stems. There are two opposing leaves just below the flowers and more leaves along the stem.
If you are familiar with these flowers, please let us know.
Posted on June 29th, 2010 6 comments Add a comment >>
Last weekend I paddled with our publisher, Tom Woodman, on four ponds south of Floodwood Road. Tom wrote about our trip for the Explorer’s Adirondack Dispatches blog, so I won’t cover the same ground (or water, rather). I’m just taking the opportunity to post a photo of one of my favorite wildflowers, blue flag.
I took the photo on the shore of Horseshoe Pond, at the start of our carry to Follensby Clear Pond. Blue flag often grows near water and in swamps or wet meadows.
There are actually five species of blue flag in North America. The one that occurs in the Adirondacks most often is Iris versicolor. Its color ranges from deep blue to purple. White specimens are occasionally found. The flower blooms in late spring.
I hope you enjoy the photo. Let us know if you have a favorite Adirondack wildflower.
Posted on May 5th, 2010 Add a comment >>
In this age of climate change, it’s nice to know that April showers still bring May flowers.
This afternoon, I took my customary jaunt up Baker Mountain and found many wildflowers in bloom, including spring beauty, trout lily, red trillium, saxifrage, yellow violets, and Dutchman’s breeches.
I am always amused by the last flower—both its name the shape that inspired it. They look like tiny pantaloons hung on the line to dry.
Dutchman’s breeches bloom in early spring. In Trailside Notes: A Naturalist’s Companion to Adirondack Plants, Ruth Schottman notes that the plant’s fernlike leaves photosynthesize food in the weeks before trees bring forth foliage.
Ants help with the flower’s reproduction. Schottman says the seeds have a nutritious appendage called an aril. An ant will drag a seed to its nest to eat the aril. After its meal, the ant will leave the seed in the nest debris, where it takes advantage of the fertile ground to sprout.
We don’t recommend eating Dutchman’s breeches, not that you would think of such a thing. The flowers have made grazing cattle act drunk, giving rise to another nickname: staggerweed.
But enough of my words. You should be out in the woods seeing these and other flowers for yourself. May won’t last forever.
Posted on May 12th, 2009 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Last weekend (May 9) I hiked to Owl Head Lookout in the Giant Mountain Wilderness with my friend Lynda. The early wildflowers were out in force. When we stopped to admire a red trillium, Lynda referred to it as a “wake-robin.”
I didn’t know that this was a name for red trillium. When I got home, I looked up the term in the Oxford English Dictionary, which says it’s a common name for a variety of plants in England and the United States, including other trilliums.
The OED says what may seem obvious: the name derives from the verb wake and the noun robin. The trillium blooms when the robin returns in spring, and so the conceit, apparently, is that the flower wakes the bird. Or is it vice versa?
In Trailside Notes, Ruth Schottman writes that red trillium (Trillium erectum) often can be found as high as 3,500 feet in the Adirondacks and occasionally as high as 4,000 feet. Red trillium favors hardwood forests. She says the painted trillium (Trillium undulatum), which is mostly white, is more often found under conifers in moist woods.
We saw a number of other flowers on the trail to Owl Head, including violets, spring beauty, columbine, Dutchman’s-breeches, and trout lily. It’s a good time to be out in the woods.
Posted on May 6th, 2009 2 comments Add a comment >>
Early-spring flowers are blooming on Baker Mountain, the small peak just a few miles from our office in Saranac Lake. My favorite is trout lily, a yellow flower that grows on a longish stalk.
Ruth Schottmann, a wildflower expert and the author of Trailside Notes (Adirondack Mountain Club, $12.95), tells me that the naturalist John Burroughs gave the flower its name. The plant’s mottled leaves reminded him of trout.
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