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Living Things

>> Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Sunday's walk at Clark Reservation, we stumbled upon several glens just filled with trillium:

I usually think of trillium as coming in two colors: red and white.  However, there were many pink trillium (trillia?  trilliums?) at Clark Reservation, which I found enchanting merely because I don't often see them:

As with most of the places we go this time of year, there were huge patches of myrtle along the trail and stretching far into the woods:

I have no idea what these are, although they look naggingly familiar.  Without flowers, my odds of successfully identifying a plant are minimal.  I just loved the whorled pattern of their leaves, though, and the little touches of purple myrtle in the background:

A white throated sparrow nicely posed for me:

I desperately need to acquire a flowering trees and shrubs field guide.  I can't name this, although like so many other things we saw, it looks familiar.  I just love the hanging bunches:

And apparently it produces berries:
We saw quite a number of snakes, which I'm also terrible at identifying.  Add "reptile field guide" to my list of things to purchase.  I assume this fellow is just a garter snake, although I was particularly impressed by his white spots, which you can see in the second photo.  He wasn't patient with me, though, and was slithering mighty quickly away from me.  I don't blame him.  Every single time I see a snake move at full speed I am astounded by the physics of it.  How can they do that without legs???  Evolution is amazing.

There were some strawberry flowers about already, and an ant busily explored this one.

Again, this looks familiar, but I can't name it.  Anyone have a flowering shrub field guide to recommend?

My husband spotted some columbine clinging to a cliff.  I simply adore the stuff.  I'm not sure if it's the way the petals are nested, or the cute little crown points, or the spray of anthers and stamen from the center, but for some reason it's one of my favorite flowers:

Finally, I actually had to look this one up in the flower book, as I don't think I've ever spotted it before.  It's purple clematis:
I sometimes contemplate how much more exercise we'd get if we walked quickly and I didn't stop to photograph everything I see.  But then I promptly think, nah, that would be so boring.  And I don't think I'd be able to bypass all the flowering/hopping/slithering things if I tried.


Woodswalker May 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

Ooh, how lucky you were to find that Purple Clematis, also known as Purple Virgin's Bower. I think it's considered kind of rare. And those masses of Trillium make quite a sight! The pink ones are the same as the white ones, which turn pink as they age. That cluster of small white blooms dangling down is a Choke Cherry, but I'm not sure what the one with the hanging fruit clusters is. Could be a Wild Black Cherry? It's easier to ID a plant when its flowers open. I find the Newcomb's pretty good for flowering shrubs. Peterson's doesn't include shrubs. Here's another shrub book: The Shrub Identification Book by George W. D. Symonds, published by Quill, a Harper Resource Book. It's a companion book to The Tree Identification Book by the same author and publisher.

Woodswalker May 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

I forgot to comment on the plant with green whorled leaves. Since it looks smooth and not prickly, and has whorls of 8 leaves circling the sturdy stem, my guess would be Wild Madder, one of the numerous Bedstraws. Also, I too believe your snake is an Eastern Garter Snake. The first time I saw one so brightly colored I couldn't believe that it was a garter snake, but I looked it up and it was, indeed.

Ellen Rathbone May 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

>sigh< Jackie beat me on all accounts! The bedstraw, the cherries, the books. Symonds (my go to source for all things tree and shrub) also has a complementary tree ID book - I keep a copy of each in my backpack o' books that is always on hand for ID purposes.

Nice pink trilliums!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire May 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

You two are awesome! Who needs field guides when one has really smart blog readers? That being said, with two recommendations for the Symonds, I think I'll go see if I can find one. Thanks Jackie and Ellen!

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