Monday, November 10, 2008

Cushion Moss

Today was a cool and blue-skied day with a stiff breeze.  Hiked to the rocky ridge and crossed the fence line into new territory where long ago huge boulders rolled down from the ridge into mountain laurel thickets. There were many green plants around on this steep, north-facing hill: dwarf heartleaf, cranefly orchid, spotted wintergreen, christmas fern,  as well as pale pink maple-leaf viburnum, and cushion moss growing around a rock.  

Amid the brown leaf-litter I also found two 5" leaves with three distinctive lobes.  Back at home I found it first in my trusty Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to North American Wildlife - a handy reference book for wildflowers because it has paintings of the whole plant, and there are many times when I want to identify a plant by its leaves only - like today.  My mystery plant is named for its yellow, threadlike underground rhizome:  Goldthreads.  In May I'll go see it in bloom.


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