What next?

I was asked earlier today by a friend if the count is continuing.

Yes it certainly is but I am taking time away from daily posting here to concentrate instead on writing a Local Natural History based on these observations. That will fill the winter months ahead and it will be well illustrated and available in PDF and EPUB format, maybe even Kindle too. If the stars align it may be free and either way it will be very cheap.

Meanwhile here’s a picture of a new species for the list. Hare’s Foot Inkcap fungus.

#504 Wood Avens … or is it?

This is very interesting. Initially we identified this plant as Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) and I believe that is not an unlikely proposal … certainly Geum sp. However, after posting the images on iNaturalist I received the comment from a botanist professionally well familiar with the genus to say “Looks sterile and the stipules not very large. Could be the hybrid Geum x catlingii”.

This Geum × catlingii, or Catling’s avens, is known from eastern Canada, where it arises from natural hybridization between the native G. canadense Jacq. (That’s the white avens) and the introduced G. urbanum L (the yellow avens). It is named after Paul M. Catling, the botanist who first observed the hybrid.

Geum ×catlingii is a hybrid taxon, and as such exhibits variable morphology. However, several characters in combination help distinguish it from other Geum species:

  • Hybrid vigor – hybrids tend to be larger than parents
  • Petals are creamy-yellow – intermediate between dark yellow (G. urbanum) and white (G. canadense).
  • Intermediate stem bract size
  • Highly sterile ovaries

It has been noted to bloom throughout the summer, after other species have shed their petals

#499 Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis)

17 July

Clintonia borealis is commonly known as bluebead, bluebead lily, or yellow clintonia. The term “bluebead” refers to the plant’s small blue spherical fruit, perhaps its most striking feature. However, the term can be misleading since all but one of the species in genus Clintonia have blue fruits (notably, the fruit of C. umbellulata is black). Thus yellow clintonia is probably a better name for C. borealis since the adjective refers to the color of the plant’s flower, a unique character among Clintonia species. Compound names such as yellow bead lily or yellow bluebead lily are also in use.

Clintonia borealis is not found in open spaces, only growing in the shade. It is extremely slow to spread, but established clones can usually survive many later modifications, as long as sunlight remains limited. Whereas crossed pollination is more efficient in producing seeds, self-pollination will still produce seeds, allowing the plant to propagate.

Like other slow-growing forest plants, such as Trillium species, Clintonia is extremely sensitive to grazing by white-tailed deer.

#498 Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)

16 July

A flowering plant native to the eastern United States and Canada. Grows to up to four feet high and prefers moist to wet soil and full sun. It blooms in summer. Each tiny, pink flower is about 1/16 of an inch wide and arranged in narrow, pyramid-shaped flowerheads that grow up to eight inches long. The flowers are followed by small, dry, brown fruit. The specific epithet tomentosa refers to the undersides of the leaves and the stems, which are covered in a dense white-woolly tomentum

#496 Rough Cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)

14 July

Norwegian cinquefoil is usually an annual but may be a short-lived perennial. It produces a basal rosette of leaves from a taproot, then a green or red stem growing erect up to about 50 cm (20 in) in maximum length, and branching in its upper parts. Native to much of Europe, Asia, and parts of North America, and it can be found in other parts of the world as an introduced species. Its natural habitat is arable fields, gardens, banks, hedgerows, wasteland, logging clearings, loading areas and occasionally shores, often on sandy or gravelly soils

#494 American Bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

12 July

A small dense cluster of 1/8-inch white flowers surrounds leaf axils along much of the stem, blooming from the bottom of the plant up and usually not all flowers in a cluster are open at the same time. Individual flowers are tubular, with 4 spreading lobes about equal in size. There are often tiny pinkish purple spots on the inside of the petals. 2 purple-tipped stamens extend out of the tube. The calyx is hairless, has 5 narrowly triangular lobes each with a sharply pointed tip and is about as long as the floral tube.

#488 Evening-Primrose (Oenothera sp.)

6 July

Flowering plant in the family Onagraceae, native to eastern and central North America, from Newfoundland west to Alberta, southeast to Florida, and southwest to Texas, and widely naturalized elsewhere in temperate and subtropical regions.

#487 Field Peppergrass (Lepidium campestre)

5 July

Apologies for the photograph which shows the plant in a rather late stage of its life cycle. Grows in disturbed land, crops, and waste places. It can tolerate most soils. The plant is edible. The young leaves can be eaten as greens, added raw to salads or boiled for ten minutes. The young fruits and seeds can be used as a spice, with a taste between black pepper and mustard. The leaves contain protein, vitamin A and vitamin C

#486 Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum)

4 July

Geum macrophyllum, commonly known as largeleaf avens or large-leaved avens is a flowering plant found from the Arctic south to the northern U.S. states, and in the Rocky Mountains and west to the Sierra Nevada in California and as far south as Northwestern Mexico.

It is even more distinctive in fruit than in flower, with spiky spheres of reddish styles. The fruits are a ball of tiny velcro like hooks that catch on clothing and animal hair.