Winter Plant ID Quiz

Sunny and 50 degrees yesterday. Historic Champlain Canal near south boundary of Town of HalfmoonYet a month of winter remains…and lots of snow on the landscape.  Mushy, but still a lot of it!

So, I chose to collect the following photos and challenge you to a quiz…to identify plants in their winter appearance.  On St. Patrick’s Day (or thereabouts), I’ll post the answers.  In the meantime, take a peak at these photos/questions and enjoy a winter walk over the next few weeks to collect your responses.  Then, either provide them as a “reply/comment” to this post or feel free to send me an email with your answers.  Have fun!

#1:  This introduced plant has clusters of tiny white flowers and is often found in dry fields; it is also referred to as “wild carrot.” Queen Anne's Lace#2:  The prickly heads of this introduced plant are noted for easily catching on clothing and are said to be the inspiration for Velcro.  It has pink-to-purple colored flowers. Burdock (Common Burdock)

  • Sidebar:  The seeds inside those prickly heads apparently serve as a food source… Burdock picked clean by turkeys
  • Sidebar #2:  …for a critter leaving this track… turkey track
  • Sidebar #3:  Said critter is a…

    Wild Turkey (click on image, look to right of pile in center of image)

    Wild Turkey (click on image, look to right of pile in center of image)

#3:  This introduced plant has clusters of tiny yellow flowers and is often found along the edges of roadways.  Never, ever touch this plant since it causes photo-dermatitis! Wild Parsnip#4:  This native plant has a fuzzy main stem and is covered with many tiny individual yellow flowers, each of which creates a tiny dandelion-like seed head. Horseweed#5:  This introduced plant has violet or purplish flowers and is considered a common weed.  Nevertheless, it has medicinal value in treating inflammation and also used as an ointment. Selfheal#6:  This native plant has a white flower, but derives a part of its name from the shape/appearance of its seedpod. Thimbleweed#7:  This introduced plant is often tall; it has yellow flowers and its leaves are velvety soft. Common Mullein#8:  This highly-invasive introduced plant has many purple flowers and a square stem. Purple Loosestrife#9: This introduced plant has numerous tiny white or yellow flowers along each of its branches, depending upon the particular species.  Beginning in late summer, this plant often has a vanilla aroma that is easily detected when walking amongst many of these plants, which are commonly found along roadsides. Sweet Clover#10:  This introduced plant has numerous white flowers forming clusters; its leaves are steeped for use as an aromatic tea. Yarrow#11:  This native plant is typically found in marshes.  Considered a culturally significant plant, some of its parts offer a variety of uses:  food (tuber from which to make flour; pollen as protein supplement to flour; shoots and unopened flower spike as a vegetable) or weaving materials to make mats and baskets. Cattail (Common Cattail)#12:  This native plant is also considered culturally significant because Native American tribes used parts of this plant for food, fiber or medicines.  When blooming, this plant is a critical source of nectar for the Monarch Butterfly.  Coming in a variety of colors (depending upon the particular species of this plant), all blooms are very fragrant. Milkweed#13:  This native plant has pink-to-purplish flowers; its seeds are an important food to American goldfinches. Thistle (Swamp Thistle)#14:  This native plant has numerous small flowers (very light blue) and towers over nearly all other non-woody plants due to its overall height. Tall Blue Lettuce#15:  This native vine has white flowers; it is found in moist thickets. Virgin's Bower#16:  This native plant has numerous flowers each with many petals in a variety of colors, but most often white or purplish.  This plant does not bloom until very late in the summer and most will continue to bloom until the first frost. Aster#17:  This introduced plant is often tall, has numerous large yellow flowers and its leaves (both sides) feel very rough to the touch. Jerusalem ArtichokeGood luck!

Advertisements

Icebow yesterday. Snow today?

Yesterday afternoon, I enjoyed a leisurely ski tour along the Historic Champlain Canal Trail in the Town of Halfmoon.  This trail is a multi-use trail for hiking, biking and skiing.  Parking at the lot off Upper Newtown Road, I skied to the south town boundary and back, approximately 6 miles.

View of McDonald Creek from atop Stone Weir near Old Lock 7 along Historic Champlain Canal

View of McDonald Creek from atop Stone Weir near Old Lock 7 along Historic Champlain Canal

Sign at McDonald Creek along Historic Champlain Canalway Trail

Sign at McDonald Creek along Historic Champlain Canalway Trail

Along Historic Champlain Canalway trail

Along Historic Champlain Canalway trail

Trailside "wildlife"

Trailside “wildlife”

Along the way, I noticed a faintly colored halo around the sun.

Ice halo around sun

Ice halo around sun

So, will it snow today?  Forecast calls for snow showers this afternoon.  It is sunny this morning as I write this.  Let’s see what develops…

During my outing, I saw/heard the following birds:

  1. blue jays
  2. American goldfinches
  3. red-tailed hawks
  4. American robins
  5. white-throated sparrows
  6. red-bellied woodpeckers
  7. tufted titmice
  8. downy woodpeckers
  9. Eastern blue birds
  10. house sparrows
  11. cardinals
  12. black-capped chickadees
  13. white-breasted nuthatches
  14. pigeons
  15. mourning doves
  16. white-crowned sparrows
  17. Northern mockingbird

In addition, I saw tracks from deer, coyotes, gray squirrels, red squirrels, mice and Eastern cottontail rabbits.

Happy trails!

New Content Added – Check out “Area Nature Preserves, Parks and Trails”

I have added more content to this blog, namely a page entitled “Area Nature Preserves, Parks and Trails” that features information about those areas where I have completed or am conducting wildflower inventories.  Check it out.

Please stop back to see updates to this information as well as more content that will be added to this blog.

Hope you find it helpful.

Happy trails!  Happy Groundhog Day!