Fern Sampler

On Saturday, I visited the Peter Desrochers Country Knolls Memorial Trails in the Town of Clifton Park to continue my wildflower inventory along those trails.  The day’s hot sun and humid air sapped my energy, but not my desire.  I simply slowly ambled along the shaded trails in search of more species.

In doing so, I came across several ferns.  Here is a sampler of the ones I observed –

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a variety of medicinal applications for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a variety of medicinal applications for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) – Its name is derived from the color of its fertile frond when it is sexually mature.

NOTE:  The Cherokee and the Iroquois were known to have used this plant in a decoction for treatment of rheumatism and joint pain.

Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia)

Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a decoction or in an infusion for treatment of a wide variety of ailments of women.

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

NOTE:  The Iroquois were known to have used this plant for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana)

Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) – It derives its name from the brown fertile leaflets that “interrupt” the green sterile leaflets along the larger fronds.

NOTE:  The Iroquois were known to have used this plant in a decoction for treatment of a few ailments.

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

NOTE:  The fiddlehead stage of this fern is one of my favorite wild edible plants.  When briefly cooked, the flavor resembles that of mild asparagus.  I urge you to cook them before eating them, however, because (according to page 232 of “A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants,” by Lee Peterson) the raw plant contains an enzyme that destroys vitamin B-1 (thiamine).

Happy trails!

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A spring bouquet…of first blooms

With the emergence and blooming of spring wildflowers now well underway, I wanted to offer this sampler – a bouquet if you will – of the blooming sequence of some wildflowers I’ve observed thus far.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

Beaked Hazelnut

Beaked Hazelnut

American Hazelnut

American Hazelnut

Smooth Alder

Smooth Alder

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Spicebush

Spicebush

Leatherwood

Leatherwood

Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy

Round-lobed Hepatica

Round-lobed Hepatica

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Marsh Marigold

Marsh Marigold

Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone

Northern White Violet

Northern White Violet

Smooth Yellow Violet

Smooth Yellow Violet

Common Blue Violet

Common Blue Violet

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Trout Lily

Trout Lily

Wake Robin

Wake Robin

Selkirk's Violet

Selkirk’s Violet

Common Shadbush

Common Shadbush

Dwarf Ginseng

Dwarf Ginseng

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

NOTE:  Garlic Mustard is a highly invasive species.  If you’d like to help in eradicating (or at least mitigating) the presence of this species, please check out these recipes and eat your way to a Garlic Mustard-free planet!

Henbit

Henbit

Sessile-leaved Bellwort

Sessile-leaved Bellwort

Hobblebush

Hobblebush

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry

NOTE:  Wild Strawberries can be distinguished from Wood Strawberries by examining the relationship of the leaves to the blooms (or, later, to the fruit).  The leaves of Wild Strawberry (shown above) are typically above the blooms/fruits; the leaves of Wood Strawberry (shown below) are nearly always below the blooms/fruits.  Both species are common throughout our area and are frequently found together.

Wood Strawberry

Wood Strawberry

Early Winter Cress

Early Winter Cress

Dog Violet

Dog Violet

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

NOTE:  Jack-in-the-Pulpit (shown above) exhibits purple coloration, even if only sparingly.  Northern Jack-in-the-Pulpit (shown below) does not exhibit any purple coloration.  Both species are relatively common throughout our area and are often found together.

Northern Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Northern Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Miterwort

Miterwort

Foamflower

Foamflower

American Black Currant

American Black Currant

Red Baneberry

Red Baneberry

Field Pennycress

Field Pennycress

Ovate-leaved Violet

Ovate-leaved Violet

Toothwort

Toothwort

Golden Alexanders

Golden Alexanders

Dwarf Raspberry

Dwarf Raspberry

Golden Ragwort

Golden Ragwort

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium

Garden Red Currant

Garden Red Currant

Celandine

Celandine

Swamp Buttercup

Swamp Buttercup

Long-spurred Violet

Long-spurred Violet

Hooked Crowfoot

Hooked Crowfoot

Striped Maple

Striped Maple

Starflower

Starflower

Painted Trillium-blog header-spring

Painted Trillium

Highbush Blueberry-blog header-spring

Highbush Blueberry

Goldthread

Hawthorn

Hawthorn

Pink Lady's Slipper

Pink Lady’s Slipper

Cleavers

Cleavers

Canada Mayflower

Canada Mayflower

NOTE:  The scent of this bloom resembles lily-of-the-valley, hence its other common name, False Lily-of-the-Valley.  When found together as a large cluster and in full bloom, these tiny flowers produce a surprisingly potent perfume.  I recommend hiking the loop trail at Ann Lee Pond Nature & Historic Preserve when these are in full bloom (later this month and into very early June) if you’d like to experience this olfactory delight.

Pineapple Weed

Pineapple Weed

NOTE:  When crushed, the blooms of this plant smell like fresh-cut pineapple.  View this recipe for tea.

Early Azalea

Black Chokeberry

Black Chokeberry

Indian Cucumber Root

Indian Cucumber Root

Yellow Clintonia

Yellow Clintonia

Blue Scorpion Grass (Myosotis stricta)

Blue Scorpion Grass

Mayapple

Mayapple

Tower-mustard

Tower-mustard

Prickly Dewberry

Prickly Dewberry

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Sweet Woodruff

May and June are the best times to view the most species of blooming wildflowers in whatever types of habitat that your nature outings explore.  Wondering where to visit next?  Check out my Area Nature Preserves, Parks and Trails page for inspiration.

Happy trails!

The 2016 Wildflower of the Year is…

The New York Flora Association (NYFA) has announced that Fringed Polygala is its 2016 Wildflower of the Year.  Please be sure to read all about it on their web site – lots of great information can be found there.

Have you ever seen this beautiful bloom in its natural environment?  It typically begins to bloom in early May and can presently be found in bloom at the locations listed below.

Fringed Polygala

Fringed Polygala

I have found Fringed Polygala along trails at these local destinations:

Happy trails!

The cascade of blooms has begun!

The rainy weather and near absence of bright sunshine largely kept me captive inside this past week.  At last, the sun appeared on Saturday, and I spent the better part of it outdoors to catch-up on my wildflower inventories.  My how things are greening up!

I began my trek by visiting the northernmost segment of the Zim Smith Trail.  Not only was I treated to a variety of blooms, but I also added a few more species to my inventory list.  I then visited Old Iron Spring Fitness Trail and afterward rounded out my day’s assignment with a hike at the Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve.

Over the course of the day, I observed these blooms –

Foamflower

Foamflower

American Black Currant

American Black Currant

Swamp Buttercup

Swamp Buttercup

Red Baneberry

Red Baneberry

Field Pennycress

Field Pennycress

Ovate-leaved Violet

Ovate-leaved Violet

Toothwort

Toothwort

Golden Alexanders

Golden Alexanders

Dwarf Raspberry

Dwarf Raspberry

Golden Ragwort

Golden Ragwort

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium

Garden Red Currant

Garden Red Currant

In addition, I also observed other plants in bloom; those included:

  • Wild Strawberry and Wood Strawberry
  • Wood Anemone
  • Hoary Alyssum
  • Common Blue Violet
  • Dog Violet
  • Japanese Honeysuckle
  • Coltsfoot
  • Small-flowered Crowfoot
  • Field Pussytoes
  • Apple
  • Henbit
  • Ground Ivy
  • Canada Violet
  • Early Winter Cress and Common Winter Cress
  • Thyme-leaved Sandwort
  • Thyme-leaved Speedwell
  • Pin Cherry
  • Celandine

Interested in seeing more?  Consider joining me for a Wildflower Ramble at 2pm on Saturday, May 14, as part of the 3rd Annual Open Space Day celebration in the Town of Clifton Park.

The months of May and June provide the best opportunity to view the most species of wildflowers in bloom.  I encourage you to find an opportunity each week over the next two months to visit a variety of local open space areas of your choice to enjoy the colorful array of blooms that await us.

Happy trails!