Pre-autumn Amble through Asters

Yesterday, I concluded my wildflower inventory at Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood, which is located in the Town of Ballston.  I was able to add one more species for this park and am now ready to assemble a wildflower field guide.  The guide should be ready for spring 2018.

During my visit, I saw –

Hairy White Oldfield Aster

Heath Aster

White Wood Aster

Small White Aster

Heart-leaved Aster

Purple-stemmed Aster

I also observed this red berry sampler along the way –

Happy trails!


Late Summer Stoll along the Champlain Canal

Yesterday, I concluded my wildflower inventory of the Historic Champlain Canalway Trail segment located in the Town of Waterford.  I found a few more species to add to my list; I am ready to expand my wildflower field guide for this trail, which will now include the segment in this town as well as a longer segment in the Town of Halfmoon.

Yesterday’s mostly sunny sky and blooming wildflowers belied the fact that autumn is rapidly approaching.  A sneak peek at fall colors is beginning to appear everywhere.

Lopseed exhibiting its fall foliage

During my outing, I observed the following –

Blue-stemmed Goldenrod

Gray Goldenrod

Calico Aster

Tall Goldenrod

Late Goldenrod

Garden Phlox

Climbing False Buckwheat

Canada Goldenrod

Cranberry Viburnum fruit – while edible, I don’t like their flavor.

Pale Jewelweed

Virginia Creeper fruit – highly toxic to humans.


Spotted Jewelweed

Gray Dogwood fruit – important food for songbirds.

Common Evening Primrose


Purple-stemmed Aster

Hog Peanut

Hog Peanut seedpods – these seeds are not edible.

Flat-topped Goldenrod

Autumn-olive fruit – can be made into a jam high in lycopene.

Devil’s Beggar Ticks (AKA Sticktight)

Tall Rattlesnake Root

Happy trails!


Minding my p’s and q’s, and Bidens, too!

During my routine wildflower inventory visit to Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood in the Town of Ballston today, I discovered several Nodding Bur Marigold plants and found one with an opened bloom.  Also referred to as Nodding Beggar Ticks, this native wildflower is one of several species that waits until September each year before beginning to bloom.

Nodding Beggar Ticks

All of these plants were located in the wetland area just beyond the end of the Hawkwood Trail (white markers) at the western end of this property.  Not far from that blooming specimen, I discovered a closely related plant also in bloom.

Swamp Beggar Ticks

On my way out of the wetland to rejoin the trail and continue my inventory, I found yet another closely related plant also in bloom.

Devil’s Beggar Ticks

These plants look very similar to one another and are indeed related to one another because they are in the same genus – Bidens, which means two teeth.

Of the three shown above, Bidens frondosa (Sticktight, but also referred to as Devil’s Beggar Ticks) is by far the most common Bidens that I encounter on area nature preserves, parks and trails.  Swamp Beggar Ticks (Bidens connata) is a distant second and Nodding Beggar Ticks (Bidens cernua) is not often observed.

Bidens provide a source of food for a number of species of songbirds and waterfowl (such as Wood Duck).  Muskrats eat the stem and leaves of Devil’s Beggar Ticks while waterfowl and songbirds (such as Swamp Sparrow) eat the seeds.

Happy trails!

Woods Walk at Hawkwood

Began my routine wildflower inventory at Anchor Park at Hawkwood in the Town of Ballston today under mostly cloudy skies with no real hope of seeing sunshine.  Sunshine is very helpful while conducting a wildflower inventory.  In addition to obviously providing brighter light to simply see everything, sunshine also entices blooms to fully open. Low and behold, not long after I started, the sun began shining.  Brightly.  That helped.

Not only did I find a few mores species to add to the property’s total, such as –

Cardinal Flower

Garden Phlox

…but I also noticed a couple of species on an additional trail where I had previously overlooked them.  For example, I spied an Indian Cucumber Root (in its fruiting stage, similar to the image shown below) along the Stonewall Trail (blue markers), which is a species I had previously observed along only the Hemlock Trail (yellow markers).

Indian Cucumber Root fruit

Thus far, my inventory is summarized as follows:

  • Total species for property = 212 (including 170 native species)
  • Total species for Hawkwood Trail (white markers) = 151
  • Total species for Hemlock Trail (yellow markers) = 114
  • Total species for Stonewall Trail (blue markers) = 119
  • Total species for Old Field Trail (orange markers) = 86

The species totals above are consistent with what any visitor to this property will visibly notice:  far less variety of trees, shrubs and other plants along the Old Field Trail than anywhere else.  With that being said, though, it is also important to note that a couple of native species found here are only located along that same Old Field Trail!  One of those native species is –

Herb Robert

If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll make a point of visiting this wonderful new park in the near future and make frequent return visits.  With its diversity of habitats and scenic trails throughout this sprawling woodland, it is a great destination to go explore nature.

When you do so, I hope you’ll find something interesting to view, such as –

Pinesap – new blooms in foreground, stems with seed pods from last year in the background.  Pinesap is one of our native parasitic plants; read more.

Happy trails!

Summertime Wildflower Sampler #2

During my wildflower inventory visit today to Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood in the Town of Ballston, I decided to take some extra time to explore the wetland area bordering the clear-flowing stream that enters the property from the far west end of Hawkwood Trail (white markers).  I’m so glad I did!  Within an area about the equivalent of the footprint of an average home, I found a surprising variety of blooming wildflowers.

Here’s a sampling of what I observed –

Arrow-leaved Tearthumb

Clayton’s Bedstraw

Blue Vervain


Water Horehound

False Pimpernel

Big Bur Reed

Wild Mint

Spotted Joe-Pye Weed

Canada Thistle

Common Smartweed

Spotted Jewelweed

Ditch Stonecrop


Dwarf St. Johnswort

While quietly and slowing walking about wetland area in search of another bloom, I noticed that I was being observed by the watchful eye of this spectator –

Great Blue Heron

While walking the woodland trails, I also observed these blooming wildflowers –

Mad-dog Skullcap

Indian Pipe:  New blooms on the left, stems and empty seed pods from last year on the right

Happy trails!

Summertime Wildflower Sampler

After yet another soggy week, today’s sunshine beckoned me to take another stroll along the Historic Champlain Canalway trail.  I returned to the segment in the Town of Waterford to continue my wildflower inventory.

Here is a sampling of what I observed –

Creeping Thyme


Woodland Sunflower


Blue Plantain-lily (someone must have planted three plants along the trail)

Garden Phlox


Smooth Sumac

White Vervain

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Dillen’s Tick Trefoil

Purple Loosestrife

Red-osier Dogwood

Ripening now – American Black Currant; Recipes to consider:  Currant Parfait and Cherry Ginger Chicken with Currants


Wild Mint

Mad-dog Skullcap

Check out my revised page for the Historic Champlain Canalway Trail, now with information and photos of the trail segment in the Town of Waterford.

Happy trails!

Big Bird and a Bouquet of Blooms

Stretched my legs for a relaxing hike along the Historic Champlain Canalway Trail in the Town of Waterford today to celebrate my pre-holiday day of vacation.  Bountiful sunshine was a wonderful bonus.

Not far beyond the railroad bridge, I glimpsed the long wing of a large bird flying above the tree canopy overhead.  After shuffling along a little further while continuing my wildflower inventory here, I spied the silhouette of my trailside companion –

Great Blue Heron

Here is the virtual bouquet of wildflower blooms I found along the way –


Pointed-leaved Tick Trefoil

Common Blue-eyed Grass

Lesser Daisy Fleabane

Enchanter’s Nightshade

Asiatic Dayflower

Yellow Wood Sorrel

Great Chickweed


Virginia Stickseed


Deptford Pink

Orange Daylily

Horse Nettle


Bouncing Bet

Fringed Loosestrife

Tall Meadow Rue

Daisy Fleabane

Hedge Bindweed

Creeping Bellflower

Water Hemlock

Common St. Johnswort

Rough Cinquefoil

And one last splash of color –

Red Baneberry fruit

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy trails!