Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kudzu, Gerardia, and Small Wood Sunflower

This morning was cool and breezy when I headed out to hike around 8 o'clock. As I walked through the woods I noticed a beautiful fresh black feather with regular white spots down one side. It's about 4 " long and lay peacefully in the center of the path. My guess is it's from one of our frequent woodpecker guests - red bellied perhaps, or Hairy or Downy. I emerged from the dark woods and really felt the damp breeze in my face. Daisy and Radu and I walked along the pipeline (well, they ran - I walked) and I started seeing the many things I've noticed before but have forgotten to mention. So, today I decided to make a list of things I noticed as I went along. I always do this while in a kayak, or hiking in other places, so today I did it here.

Woodpecker feather in the woods
Slow-moving Buckeye lands on Aster
Upland Bonset growing on NE slope above Meetinghouse Creek
Evening Primrose blooming in thick growth along creek
along with Pale Indian Plantain
and Dodder Vines coiled around Joe Pye Stalks, blooming
as well as Starry Campion in full bloom
Winged Sumac on far hill in bloom - although the actual blooms and greenish
white, they look yellow from the thick pollen on
stamens of newly opened flowers
Wingstem
British Soldiers are wearing their red caps
Dew on Grass Spider webs
Heal-all blooming
Hyssop-Leaved Boneset and Tall Goldenrod blooming everywhere

With all that going on it's amazing that I noticed the small yellow flower drawn above. The blooms are just opening - only two were open on this plant - and they are not very tall - no more than 2 feet, and growing amidst the wild growth of the pipeline. I looked them up at home and think they are Small Wood Sunflowers. Their rough topped leaves (minute hairs all pointing toward the leaf tip make them feel like a cat's tongue) were helpful in identification.

The middle lobe of a Kudzu leaf was so distinctive that I couldn't wait to paint it. To me the spots are like a brown-spotted pony's. Then I noticed how hairy the leaves and stems are! I guess I hate how Kudzu acts, but enjoy the plants details. If you've never smelled the flowers of this pest, go out now and look for vines. The purple "wisteria-like" blooms are hidden beneath the huge leaves but give themselves away by giving off a scent reminiscent of NuGrape Soda. Yum.

The bright pink Gerardias are just beginning to open on the hill around our bench. Last year we had a profusion of them interspersed with goldenrod. It was an amazing site. I hope this year's show will be the same.


1 comment:

Nancy said...

I hope to be visiting when you have that beautiful show! Can't wait to have a glass of wine with you and Ben on that bench ......