This is certainly a breezy summer. Elizabeth apologises for the lack of clarity in some of the photos once again. It seems that as soon as there is enough light to shoot, the breeze has come up. For many of these little flowers, the very slightest breath of air sets them swaying. But you should be able to see them clearly enough to identify them, she thinks…
This is one of Elizabeth’s favourite wildflowers, Jewelweed – Impatiens capensis
This is really a very interesting plant for those who spend time in the woods here. Not all of our plants are two-legger friendly. We showed you one called Stinging Nettle the other day. It can give you a nasty rash if it touches your bare skin.
This is Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron rydbergii. Don’t ever touch it. Even the latin name says it’s poisonous!
There is another plant that two-leggers here learn to watch out for very early in their lives because it can cause blisters when it touches skin. If those blisters break, and they most likely will because they itch so badly that two-leggers can’t resist scratching them, they release a liquid that spreads the rash. Two-leggers can sometimes end up in hospital in agony and exhaustion once they’ve come into contact with Poison Ivy. It’s so noxious that some people can even pick up a rash from stroking the fur of a pet that has walked through it.
In our attempts to get a flower close-up, we got mooned by a bee.
Two-legger vets often prescribe calamine lotion to be applied to the area of the rash. Elizabeth has only had Poison Ivy once, and she knows from experience that calamine really doesn’t help that much. She didn’t know about Jewelweed back then, so she can’t say if it’s any more effective but she’s heard that it is. One day she’s going to try using it on a rash. The whole plant can be used; it’s quite succulent. She’s been told to throw it into a blender and puree it, then spread it over the affected area. It’s also said to be very good on insect bites.
Jewelweed likes to grow in moist soil. It’s easy to identify by its beautiful flowers, so take note of it and familiarise yourself with what the plant looks like. It isn’t always in bloom when you may need it!
Growing next to this Jewelweed, we found another plant that likes moist soil, a member of the Mint family:
Hemp Nettle – Galeopsis tetrahit
We found some other medicinal plants today, too.
Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris is a herb that was brought over to North America by Europeans. It’s just considered a weed now.
It has rather strange flowers, too, not unlike the Field Sagewort we showed you last week.
On the edge of the woods we found an interesting composite flower. This plant was thought to aid the setting and healing of broken bones, hence it’s common name.
Common Boneset – Eupatorium perfoliatum
Many of the flowers we’ve shown you before have gone to seed now. Some of them look rather beautiful in this state.
Yellow Goatsbeard – Tragopogon dubius
We didn’t start this series early enough to get a photo of this shrub’s flowers, but today we found some nuts growing!
The squirrels always seem to get these before Elizabeth does. She’s going to go out today and pick all the Beaked Hazel Nuts – Corylus cornuta she can find. They will ripen after they are picked.
If you would like to try picking them, be sure to don a pair of good gardening gloves first. Those hairs on the bract covering the nuts are more like bristles, and they come off easily in two-legger skin. Ouch!
Rabbit-foot Clover – Trifolium arvense is a new flower for us. Elizabeth thought it was a grass until she looked at it closely to see the tell-tale clover leaves on it. They are much narrower than on the other clovers we find here, though. We’ll go out and try getting some good flower close-ups for next week. She just loved the way the early morning light hit these!
Just as we finished getting this photograph, Kay called us in for breakfast. Too bad. I’d just found a really nice spot to wait while Elizabeth took our photos!