Wildflowers on the RailTrail

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Lazy, Hot and Hazy Days of Summer

05 August

When the Bracken Fern starts to brown and the maple leaves begin to look more purple and red, you know that late summer is here.

The Early Goldenrod and the Late or Giant Goldenrod have been blooming and you can tell the Canada Goldenrod is ready to bloom.  The Rough Goldenrod and Grass-leaved Goldenrod are  budded up as well.  The first of the Asters–the Parasol or Flat Topped White–is beginning to bloom.  The Big Leaf and Heartleaf Asters are blooming in the woods.

Wild Bergamot or Beebalm is still blooming everywhere, to the everlasting joy of the bees and butterflies.  Joe Pye Weed has started it’s show and the numbers are eclipsing the Swamp Milkweed, which is still blooming prettily in the lower parts of the drying ditches and wetlands.  There are some Boneset blooming but since the deer tend to eat it, it appears in more inaccessible areas.  Do you think they need the aspirin like compound in its leaves?

The Black-eyed Susan is still blooming but is overshadowed by it’s cousin the Thin-leaved or Brown-eyed Susan.  The primary difference is that the Black-eyed Susan has hairy stems and leaves and emerges to bloom a little before the Brown-eyed Susan with thinner, non-hairy leaves (more like the cultivars you get in the garden stores).  Black-eyed tend to have longer and more numerous rays and Brown-eyed tend to have fewer, shorter rays but bigger colonies of plants.  The Orange Coneflower is the one that looks like Black-eyed but has an Orange tone at the joining of the Ray and the Composite flowers.

American Germander is blooming among the Wild Mint and the occasional Horse Mint can be spotted (is that why they call it Spotted Horse Mint?).  The first of the Flowering Spurge is blooming and in the swampy areas you can find Jewel Weed and Cardinal Flower along with lots of the wild spirea called Meadowsweet.  Evening Primrose continues to bloom.

Coreopsis and Campanula have been blooming in various areas as well as Purple Cone Flower.  The Sunflowers are all set to bloom as well.  Mullein and SowThistle dot the roadways, giving another yellow highlight.  The Cattails are full “cigars” now and the grasses, sedges and rushes have all produced great seedheads.  Lots of Queen Anne’s Lace has replaced the very robust yellow Wild Parsnip.  Plenty of Everlasting Pea, Crown Vetch, some Bird’s Foot Trefoil and  Showy Tick Trefoil is blooming as well.

Alternate leaf and Silky Dogwood berries are turning purple–to the endless delight of the Robins and other berry lovers.  Elderberry is setting berries and they will be joining soon.  Grapes are starting to turn as well.  The red of the Mapleleaf Viburnum and other viburnums can be seen as well.  Lots of red and orange berries on the invasive honeysuckles.  Invasive Buckthorn and Autumn Olive berries are ripening as well.   Lots of seeds on the pretty Buttonbush and the Ninebark as well as the invasive European Spindle Tree (relative of the Winged Euonymous).

I recommend early morning or late evening walks because the plants are easier to take pictures of and it is not so hot.



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