Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wild yard

I am very fortunate to live at the edge of an Oak Hickory Forest, well actually I probably do live in the forest or it would seem that way if my neighbors didn't all insist on growing grass. I on the other hand really like to see the surprises that my yard produces each year. The ground is mostly shale with a little top soil so most of my flowers are tough and can tolerate the dry conditions. Way in the back there is a small run where some ferns grow and these flowers thrive a little better.

 This one grows in my yard and along the road to my house and is on of my favorites.
It is Star Chickweek ( Stellaria pubera ) a member of the Caryophyllaceae or Pink Family.

Did you notice the five pointed star?  The star is made up of the five green sepals. It also has five white petals but they look like ten don't they.  Each one is deeply bifurcated (divided into two, branched, forked)  which makes it look like two when there is really only one.

In the yard closest to the creek I have been noticing a lot of Cutleaf Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata) in the Mustard family, Brassicaceae.  It has a more purplish pink tint to it but my camera washed out some of the color.

I read that the root has a peppery taste but I would hate to pick it just to find out.

This is another favorite, Pussy Toes (Antennaria neglecta) a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae. I mean how can you not like a flower with a name like that...and I am a dog lover! With an abundance of these in the yard, I like to pick one and rub it on my nose, it is really very soft and good therapy, at least I like to think so. 

These aren't open fully yet. At this stage when you rub them in between your fingers they really do feel like kitten toes, without the claws of course.

Spring Beauty is the sure sign of spring. Claytonia virginica is a member of the Purslane family (Portulacaceae).  I'm not sure why but the ones in my yard this year were very white and didn't have the typical pink lines on the petals.

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)

Whenever I take in the smell of Blue Violets I always get the taste of Grape Soda in my mouth.  They are just so purple I can taste it. They are also the host plant for Fritillary butterflies so I like to see them scattered about the yard.

My mother always tells the story about how she and her cousin wouldn't let her brother play house with them unless he ate the plate full of violets they were serving. I have learned that they are OK to eat and can make a nice garnish to a salad but I suspect that what he ate had not been washed and was more than just garnish because he became sick and had to confess to his mother what he had done. My mother always gets a big laugh out of the story so I suspect that no one was punished or any worse for ware.

May Apple are also in bloom down by the creek but I haven't taken a photo yet. Maybe next time.

Enjoy more flowers at Today's Flowers.


Woodswalker said...

So many treasures! And beautiful photos of them. I especially love Star Chickweed. Most chickweeds are considered alien weeds, but this one is native, and when blooming in masses, makes a beautiful carpet of stars.

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Yes, I too wanted to get out this weekend to shoot the spring flowers, but it's just too cold and miserable! So! Thanks for letting me look at yours!

~Cheryl said...

I love your yard! Being a big sister, I also loved your mom's story! :)

Gaelyn said...

All so lovely. I have eaten violets on salad, but never made a meal of them.

Denise said...

These are absolutely beautiful! I love the little treasures of your garden :)

joanny said...

What a delightful walk through your garden -- a special up front and personal account of the wee ones....

I think now my favorite is the Star Chickweek ( Stellaria pubera )-- thanks for pointing out the details of this special flower, I know I would not have picked up on the white petals being deeply bifurcated.

I remember seeing them when I lived back east but I do not recall seeing them here in Oregon or Washington State?

Interesting horticultural information.


SandyCarlson said...

Your flowers are delightful. Through and through.

lazyclick said...

Beautiful flowers.

Naturegirl said...

Well you've won me over with the Pussy Toes and the Star Chickweed!I love kitten toes!
Such amazing little plants!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Lovely series of wildflowers. I want to touch the pussy toes! I have a kitten and so when you described it, I knew exactly what they must feel like--irresistably soft.

Daniela said...

Lovely photos, love them :)

Ellen Rathbone said...

I had a good chuckle reading your bit about pussy toes - I feel the same way about it! Up here it grows in everyone's yard...except mine! I've tried for years to get some to grow, and last year I finally had my first clump! Life is good.