Friday, September 05, 2008
a walk in the woods
That same weekend I enjoyed a solitary walk in a nearby nature preserve.
I'm a sucker for wildflowers. This is one I didn't know right away, but its common name is so descriptive I won't forget it again: Starflower, of the Primrose Family, Tridentalis borealis. Isn't that Latin name lovely? Go ahead, say it out loud. With an Italian accent is better yet.
... Tridentalis borealis... Ahhh, bene.
(Remember, you can click on the photos to see a better version.)
These pink flowers carpeted the forest floor in some areas. I wasn't familiar with them either.
You wouldn't think anyone could get lost on such a well marked path, now would you?
Note how the paint marker color coordinates with the pink wildflowers. Do you think the trailkeepers did that on purpose? Everything on the Mission Peninsula IS so perfect ...
When I returned to the B&B, we found their wildflower guide wasn't where they'd left it (the house is full of bookshelves, my kind of place) but I showed Bob the photos on my camera (ain't digital grand?) and he recognised it as Fringed Polygala, of the Milkwort Family, Polygala paucifolia.
A rather common Michigan wildflower, I just haven't noticed it before. Another common name in the field guide was Flowering-Wintergreen obviously on account of the leaves, but the flowers are all wrong for that name to stick. Wintergreens flower with little waxy whitish bells.
In his classic wildflower handbook, "Michigan Flora", Dr. Voss wrote: "... the first few flowers and leaves at the summit [provide] a striking touch of color, often abundant in northern damp woods in spring. An old beach ridge carpeted with polygala, calypso, and dwarf lake iris is a feast of beauty not soon forgotten." I was "there".
Well, almost. I didn't see any of the endangered species, Dwarf Lake Iris' but I did find plenty of these, unnoticed at first glance in the leaf duff on the forest floor:
No, not Calypso. I'm still not sure which of the native Ladyslipper Orchids these are, another week along and the blossoms might have bloomed. I was so happy just to discover them. (Sorry for the blurry photo, it was beiginning to sprinkle.)
A peaceful pond. Not another thing to disturb the the sounds of bugs and birds and frogs.
And for a small lagniappe on the way out, a few Jacks waved goodbye.
If you go there, remember ... take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.