A Day in the Life…Part 35

This last week of August has been quite nice, with cool temperatures and low humidity it has felt more like October. But all of the wildflowers in bloom are typical of last summer- like the Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) seen below. The tall purple plant has an extremely strong stem which may have contributed to its common name.

Joining Ironweed is  the white Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum). The species name “perfoliatum” refer to the fact that the stem pierces or perforates the leaves. The common name is reference to the past medicinal use of this plant to treat Breaks Bone Fever.
 The Jewelweeds or Touch- me-nots are also well into blooming stage. Below is Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) with bright orange-red flowers. Notice how the dew beads up on the leaves like little “jewels”.
A larger relative, the Pale Jewelweed ( Impatiens pallida) with larger yellow flowers is seen below.
When the seeds of both plants mature, they explode at the slightest touch expelling the seeds- thus the name Touch-me not.

Joining its cousins Cardinal Flower and Indian Tobacco is our third Lobelia- Great Blue Lobelia    (Lobelia syphilitica). The species name of this plant is reference to its use to treat venereal diseases!

In stark contrast to the showy flowers above  is the Autumn Coral-root (Corallorhiza odontorhiza) seen below.

This is our last native orchid to bloom and it can take a keen eye to spot it in the woodlands. This year we have a large patch, with several dozen plants, right next to one of our main hiking trails. The coral-roots are saprophytic plants that get their energy from decomposing organic matter in the soil-thus they have no leaves. 
And finally, it’s Tussock Moth caterpillar time. These hairy caterpillars will be quite numerous over the next couple of months and can be seen crawling on the ground, on plants and dangling from silk threads. 
Posted by Tom

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