Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wild Flower Tour

Wild flowers are subjects I've frequently written about, but not so frequently experienced. 
A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
-Walt Whitman
On the mid-morning tour at Borderland, I learned a little more about the wild flowers and plants of the area.  We each received a pamphlet, which contained photos and facts about some of the flowers we saw, such as buttercups, lilies, wood anemone, the Canadian Mayflower, and dandelions.  A little girl asked if she could keep hers forever.

Did you know that dandelion is a French word? It is named "lion's tooth" because of its pointed petals.
We smelled the tip of sassafras, which root beer is made from.  It smelled more like lime or lemon to me than root beer though.  Most root beers are made artificially now, but apparently Trader Joe's still sells one that is made from the sassafras root.  The tour guide told us that some sassafras leaves are shaped like a hand.  He seemed amused by this observation, and so were we.

Besides the dandelions and sassafras, we came across the fragile Pink Lady's Slipper flower.  If you see one of these, you aren't supposed to pick them.  They are protected by law.  These delicate Slipper flowers die if transplanted.

We passed by starflowers and buttercups.  A white violet, not to be confused with a wood anemone, grew among a clump of poison ivy.

Before snapping a photo, a mom says to her daughter, "say 'poison ivy'."


An indication that you have found poison ivy is leaves in threes. In that case, don't touch it.

Once we reached the pond, we noticed that the invasive weed, swollen bladderwort, had already covered a lot of it.  The tour guide told us that it had just started growing yesterday.  We learned that these flowers are from Asia.  In Asia, there is a species that controls the growth of swollen bladderwort.  We don't have that one here.

The tour guide informed us that dandelions, too, are not native to New England, but came as seeds on the European explorers' shoe soles.

Finally, we spotted a phoebe bird.  The little phoebe bird rested high in a nest in front of the former Ames' guest house.  It looked so frozen, still, and frightened as we admired it from below.

Inside the guest house, on the ceiling, the tour guide pointed out a sparrow nest and a nest where bats live (Luckily the latter ones come out only at night.)

When we came to the end, the tour guide thanked us and we thanked him, and then we went our separate ways.  I plan to attend more guided tours at Borderland Park.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, that really sounds like fun! I really love wild flowers, though sadly most people don't appreciate them.

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  2. Hi Lumina, Yes, it does seem that wild flowers are overlooked...they're missing out!
    It was a fun time. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. What an interesting post! I wish I knew more about wildflowers. I suppose I could easily amend that, though...

    Once when camping, my father dug up some sassafras root and made sassafras tea. It didn't taste like much but it was an experience!

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  4. Melee, Nature is a very interesting thing to learn about, isn't it? I'm thinking there must be some good books on wildflowers though I can't think of any.
    I've never tried sassafras tea. How fun. :)

    Mckenzie, thanks!

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  5. You see the beauty of everything, darling, and that makes you so beautiful too.

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  6. Thank you, Haze. You're so very kind. :) :)

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  7. Leaves of three, leave them be is a rule I live by! I didn't know that's where the name Dandelion came from, or that Pink Lady's were actually protected. Such stunning photographs- looks like heaven!

    Sara

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