Rhymes With Fuchsia

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Flowers: A Walk on the Wild Side

The other day I realized that I hadn't walked in the woods since the big floods of late winter, and that I'd better get down there in a hurry if I didn't want to miss the show.

Walking by a stand of these ferns always makes me wonder if I've gone back in time a few epochs. Some of them are nearly my height.

Maianthemum canadense, known as false lily-of-the-valley or Canada mayflower. I used to think it a poor imitation of the real lily-of-the-valley, but considering it just for itself I find it quite lovely.

The gorgeous pink lady slipper.

For some reason I've always loved the jack-in-the-pulpits most of all the spring wildflowers, maybe because I remember my mother's showing them to me when I was about four.

The wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum) don't look much like the red geraniums blooming in every window box, and in fact (I do so love Google), the red ones belong to a different genus, Pelargonium.

The starflower, Trientalis borealis. The Connecticut Botanical Society's starflower page points out that the starflower "has the unusual feature of being based on sevens: seven leaves, seven petals, and seven sepals." Most of them do, but (apologies for the blurry pix, clearly I don't quite get the macro thing yet)...

some flowers have eight petals (I can't tell for sure how many leaves this one had originally)...

...and a few have six (I do count six leaves here).

There are obviously mutants in the ranks. I wonder if it's easier for a flower to make an even number of petals. Would my favorite botanical experts care to enlighten me?

Labels: ,


  • So I'm still at work, gads... Number of flower petals is a family affair. So all the mustards (Brassicaceae formerly Cruciferae) have four petals, thus the cross reference in the old family name. (Roses 5's, Lilies 3's or multiples thereof)... Mutants abound! When I was in NY (and I've been blathering about this here and there so you may have seen it), I used to frequently visit (dog walking) a population of large flowered trillium (the plain white ones) that had green flowers! Some had stripes, the stripes varied in width amongst the different flowers, and a few were entirely green. These tended to be smaller and misshapen, probably something related to their mutantdom. Those ferns are cinnamon ferns, Osmunda cinnamomea. The ones that look much like it but with the spore bearing parts in the middle of the leafy stem are interrupted fern, Osmunda (not interrupta as one might guess) claytoniana. And there's a 3rd Osmunda that looks on the surface nothing like the other two, Osmunda regalis, royal fern (now that name makes sense). Oh, and we got a request the other day, 'what is the most common plant in Maine?' Um, most common in terms of what? We (Kristen of the blue mitts and I) decided that in sheer number of stems and that it is found nearly in all forested habitats, Canada mayflower was a contender. See ya Sunday!

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 5:46 PM  

  • Oh, and here's the other thing, the plants don't read the books, so sometimes they aren't what you expect...

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 9:46 PM  

  • You have lady's slippers? I am SO jealous! Those are such awesome flowers!!

    By Blogger Roxie, at 12:44 PM  

  • Wonderful walk! We are a little too civilized here, and don't have quite the variety.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 4:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home