Monday, June 18, 2012

Waynesville, NC - Strawberry-Raspberry!!!


This flower cannot be found in any of my field guides.  It grows along a shady path behind our cabin outside of Waynesville, in the Southern Appalachians, opening in June.  It's neighbors are Christmas and Lady Ferns, Hemlock Trees, Jewelweed, Mountain Asters,  Yellow Buckeye Trees, various Maples and Ashes, Virginia Creepers, and a healthy population of Poison Ivy plants. It looks like it would be in the Rose family, but the seed looks not at all like a Rose Hip, and more like a big, red, but very dry raspberry.  The leaves are very angular and stiff, and have thorns along their main stems.  When I tried to pick this branch I got quite tangled in its thorny hold.

Anyone with information on this flower should contact me immediately!  (This is not the first time I've tried to figure out what it is.)

The nice part of the outing was being with my friends and neighbors, Rose and Rachel, who walked down the hill mid morning with their sketch books.   We wandered down the path that runs behind their old farmhouse to find something to draw.  Even though the bugs were out - mosquitoes being the main irritant - we persevered and got a good bit of drawing done.

We were at our cabin in the mountains for a week, with cool and wet weather for the first half, listening to the rain on our tin roof - and cool and dry weather for the latter half of the week.

Here are some photos from our week in the mountains.   As you can imagine, it was hard to come home.

!!! UPDATE !!!!  
I went to a botanist's house for dinner tonight and took my journal with me.  With the help of her 6" thick, Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, we figured out what the flower is:  Rubus illecebrosus, common name: Strawberry-Raspberry, member of the Blackberry family.  A rare plant, it is a native of Japan.  My friend said it would have been an early garden plant that escaped.  The fruit was stewed or made into preserves.

The plant was first recorded by Wilhelm Olbers Focke (1834 - 1922), a medical doctor and botanist who did much work throughout his life on the taxonomy of Rubus (Rosaceae) and published several studies.

One of several websites where Rubrus illecebrosus can be found:

:-)  I am happy now!  Thanks Gil!

Bunny in our yard

 Rhododendron blooming beside the cabin

 my favorite morning activity: breakfast with the birds

East Fork of the Pigeon River

 Wonderful big rock

 a storm rolling in over the mountain

 storm clouds hover over the mountains

 Fog rolling over Devil's Courthouse - we drove in thick fog for quite a while

 Skinny Dip Falls in Pisgah Nat'l Forest

 Looking Glass Rock as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway


Betsy said...

Lovely post Helen, though of course I haven't a clue about your pretty but thorny flower! The photos are quite beautiful, but as ever, I love your drawing the best. Always a pleasure to visit Middlewood or Apple Tree in person or online~Bets

prudy said...

lovely pics but one of devil's courthouse is magnificent - but i am always a sucker for fog and mist. will look up flower probably can't find it either - so it is yours to name!

Anonymous said...

Hey Helen! I am enjoying your posts so much, and have spent some time with various field guides and online, looking for a name for your mystery flower. Alas, no luck. But I am reminded of my doctor's advice "don't go looking for elephants when you're hunting rabbits.". Which is to say, there is probably some relatively straightforward answer to your question! We just need to find the person who knows.
Have you thought about contacting Doug Raynor at Wofford? I think that if you sent him your pictures and/or drawings and descriptions, he could help. I hope you will let your readers know when you do find a name.

Louisa said...

And Helen, re the above comment: I'm not anonymous; I just don't know how to navigate this comment process!

Louisa Coburn

Helen said...

Thank you, Betsy! Maybe you and I can go up for an overnight sometime. ;-)

Prudy, What a great thought - naming the flower myself! Btw, when we came around the corner of the parkway and i saw the fog over the mountain I startled the driver by screaming - STOP STOP - PULL OVER! There was really no need to hurry though. The mountain seemed to be holding the clouds back. We all got some nice shots.

Louisa - Now, why did I think of that? I know Doug, and I bet he'll know what the name is.... or know where to find it. Oh, and I also know Gil Newberry, (USCU) and will be at her house Saturday. I can ask her or use her books to look it up. Thank you Louisa!

Botanicals said...

I have been watching every day to see if the plant is identified. It's a great mystery. It looks like part of the blackberry/raspberry family except for those leaves. I can't wait to find out what it is.

Helen said...

Botanicals, and everyone else! Check back to see the update! We found the plant. It is rare, which explains why it is not in any current field guides. Botanicals, you are right about it being in the Blackberry family. Read on!

Louisa said...

Helen, yeah! So happy you have found your answer! Love pondering on who may have acquired and planted this long ago, and the method and means of its escape! Thanks for the update.

shirly said...

The pictures are so amazing and dreamlike, like a paradise!

Helen said...

Shirly, that is exactly how I feel about the mountains of Western North is like a paradise! Beauty at every turn!

Helen said...

Shirly, that is exactly how I feel about the mountains of Western North is like a paradise! Beauty at every turn!