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Old 05-18-2010, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Wachusett Reservoir

This morning, my roommate decided to go fishing before work and, since he's my ride at this time, so did I. It turns out that neither of us caught anything (which I expected) but I, at least, had a great morning.
Since we only had about an hour and a half, we didn't venture far. There's an old asphalt road on the reservoir land which has been closed for decades and is slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding woods. It runs about twenty yards from and slightly higher than the rocky shore. I walked the shore for a while and fished a bit, with little expectation of action and then my eye was caught by some tiny white flowers growing in the rocks.
Wachusett Reservoir-highbush-blueberry-vaccinium-corymbosum-.jpg Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)

While I was checking these out, I noticed nearby a lonely little Violet, the only one I saw all morning.
Wachusett Reservoir-sweet-white-violet-viola-blanda-.jpg Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda)

Of course, once the camera came out, fishing just seemed to take a back seat to exploring. I headed up onto the road to check out the back of the cove that we were in. As soon as I reached the road, though, I noticed this.
Wachusett Reservoir-mountain-laurel-ladyslipper.jpg Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) & Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Me to Mother Nature, "You have my attention."
Another splash of purple caught my eye and I went to ground level to scope out this beauty.
Wachusett Reservoir-fringed-polygala-polygala-paucifolia-.jpg Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia)

While I was down there, someone else called for my attention with her single simple flower.
Wachusett Reservoir-eastern-starflower-treantalis-borealis-.jpg Eastern Starflower (Treantalis borealis)
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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Default But wait! There's more!

Lest you think that this was just a flower-filled morning, let me assure you it was so much more. For instance here's a lovely lichen I met in my travels.
Wachusett Reservoir-lichen.jpg

And then there was a nice roundy moss (Yes, I'm a Pats fan).
Wachusett Reservoir-interlude.jpg

There were, of course, many ferns, all loaded up with spores.
Wachusett Reservoir-fern-1.jpg

But soon, the flowers started to get my attention once again and I'm spotting old familiars like
Wachusett Reservoir-wild-strawberry-fragaria-virginiana-.jpg Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

and also
Wachusett Reservoir-bluets-houstonia-caerulea-.jpg Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) (And this time I recognized them immediately!)

By the way, anyone is more than welcome to ID the lichen and moss for me if they are able.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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Default That's not all!

All the flowers that I've shown so far are familiar to me (and, I'm happy to say, native), but I met some new friends while I ws out there this morning. For instance, these intriguing little specimens.
Wachusett Reservoir-clueless-2.jpg

and this...thing, which I didn't realize was crawling with tiny spiders until I looked at the picture this evening.
Wachusett Reservoir-curioser2.jpg

This was really cool looking and I think it's a flower. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised to find that it isn't.
Wachusett Reservoir-idunno1.jpgWachusett Reservoir-idunno2.jpg

Finally, as I headed to the truck, I was bid farewell by this lovely little flower, just waking to the day and groggily sending me on my way.
Wachusett Reservoir-hmmm1.jpg


Now, let me emphasize that I saw all this in less than an hour on a strip of land that's about 30 yards by 100 yards. I'm sure that I didn't even scratch the surface of what there was to learn there. I also didn't mention the soundtrack to my little adventure. Most of the WG members should know the track. It's called "Dawn in the Woods" and is, I'm sure, at the top of all our own personal Billboard Charts.
All in all, I'm glad my roommate made me get up this morning. It set a wonderful tone for the rest of the day and put me into perspective. I also have to say thank you to the staff and members of WG for making me much more informed about native plants and the natural world around me. The three months (yes, only three months!) that I've spent here have expanded my knowledge base immensely and thus added an extra dimension to an activity which I've enjoyed all my life. A walk in the woods.
Dan
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:32 AM   #4
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So you set the rod down and still filled the net with photos instead. Bravo!

The second one has Aphids on it.
The third photo is a pussy toes.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:37 AM   #5
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What a great place to have nearby. Places like this always make me wonder what the US looked like 400 years ago, or even a hundred.

The first picture in the third post is Epigaea repens, trailing arbutus, or mayflower, the state flower of Massachusetts. Some people say the ship that the pilgrims sailed to Plymouth was named for this plant, but a hawthorn is also called a mayflower, (and grows in England) so who knows. The other ship was called the Speedwell, a Veronica species - it seems strange to name ships after plants, but with so many ships, I guess they had to name them something.

The third picture in the first post shows an Aronia blooming on the left, and a bunch of Kalmia angustifolia, latin for narrow-leafed Kalmia (laurel). Also called lambkill or sheep laurel or swamp laurel. I have a tiny one in my garden, I wonder if it will ever bloom.
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
So you set the rod down and still filled the net with photos instead. Bravo!
Oh, that's...that's...brilliant!

Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
The second one has Aphids on it.
The third photo is a pussy toes.
Thanks for the info. I've seen pictures of Pussytoes before but this is my first encounter with them (that I can recall). Still, I should have recognized them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp thing View Post
What a great place to have nearby. Places like this always make me wonder what the US looked like 400 years ago, or even a hundred.
That's a recurring scenario in my time-travel fantasies as well! I am lucky to have access to some beautiful, diverse places, although I've always managed to find the wonder of nature wherever I've been in the country. Still, I'm really becoming fond of the New England countryside. It seems to fit me somehow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp thing View Post
The first picture in the third post is Epigaea repens, trailing arbutus, or mayflower, the state flower of Massachusetts. Some people say the ship that the pilgrims sailed to Plymouth was named for this plant, but a hawthorn is also called a mayflower, (and grows in England) so who knows. The other ship was called the Speedwell, a Veronica species - it seems strange to name ships after plants, but with so many ships, I guess they had to name them something.
Well, I suppose I should have known that one then, although, in my defense, it isn't in full bloom. (Hint: I wouldn't have known it anyway).

Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp thing View Post
The third picture in the first post shows an Aronia blooming on the left, and a bunch of Kalmia angustifolia, latin for narrow-leafed Kalmia (laurel). Also called lambkill or sheep laurel or swamp laurel. I have a tiny one in my garden, I wonder if it will ever bloom.
While I don't know Aronia, I should have known it wasn't Mountain Laurel. Thanks for catching that. Incidentally, the Connecticut Botanical Society's website (a primary reference of mine) lists three genus names for Chokeberry, with Photinia as primary and Aronia and Pyrus as secondary. Taxonomy can be confusing at times. Also, do you know if there's a way to differentiate between Red and Black Chokeberry before the berries themselves arrive?
If I'm correct that thisWachusett Reservoir-066.jpgis the Kalmia angustifolia that you're talking about, then you can see that it will be blooming here soon and I will be sure to get out and see it when it does. Of course, photos will be taken.


I have been less active on the forum of late as I am working some long hours. This is a good thing as work has been somewhat scarce for me over the past few months. Please understand that if I don't respond to your posts promptly, it is due to tiredness or absence, not disregard. I will always be a part of WG, though I may not always be as prolific as I have in the past.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:28 PM   #7
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Part of the USDA is calling chokeberries Photinia too, (but not ARS-GRIN, see the link below), but I was told by a tree expert that name probably won't be accepted by the powers that be. Regular folks like us do well to just be aware that there are synonyms for the names, and let the taxonomists hash out what's what.

Pyrus arbutifolia information from NPGS/GRIN

Quote:
...a way to differentiate between Red and Black Chokeberry before the berries themselves arrive?
Generally black chokeberry is a smaller plant. I've never seen one taller than three feet or so, but they do get larger than that. Red chokeberry will easily get to six feet or taller. And, they hybridize (purple chokeberry, Aronia x prunifolia). Another trick they have is that they can set seeds without being pollinated (apomixis).

Now that I think about it, that Aronia in your picture is probably black chokeberry, since it's only about as tall as the K. angustifolia / sheep laurel. Funny, I thought you meant the sheep laurel was a mountain laurel, not the chokeberry.

New England has my favorite plants and forests, but I've never been to an oak savanna in person, so I might change my mind some day..
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