Sunday, July 28, 2013

Delightful Sunday Afternoon

What a beautiful summer day! The cool weather (high of 80ºF and low humidity) is a delightful and unexpected treat. Here are a few portraits captured during my afternoon woodland saunter.

Bear's Foot or Yellow Leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalius)
Yellow Leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalius)
This course plant is also called Bear's Foot because of the large, lobed leaves. For the last two weeks, I have seen these plants playing host to bumble bees, swallowtail butterflies, and goldfinches. I think I prefer the name Bear's Foot.

Bear's Foot or Yellow Leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalius)
Bumble Bee on Bear's Foot
Spicebush (Lindera sp.)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
The fruit of the Spicebush are beginning to ripen. When they are fully ripe, I plan to collect a few and try them in my cooking. Some say the berries taste similar to allspice. I recently tried a tea made from leaves and also from the twigs. I preferred what I made from the twigs alone.

Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor)
Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor)
Not all orchids are showy. Although fairly common, most people have never noticed this summer orchid. With no leaves and the flower's diminutive size and nondescript color, the Cranefly Orchid is barely noticeable. The leaves come out in autumn and overwinter, but are withered and gone by the time the plant flowers in late summer. The numerous flowers on a slender scape easily blend into the colors of the shady forest floor.

Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor)
Cranefly Orchid

Thinleaf Coneflower or Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Thinleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia triloba)

Fungus at base of sassafras tree
Unidentified fungus at the base of a sassafras tree

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