ACADIA NATURE NOTES
Oakesia sessilifolia - Lily family.
An inconspicuous May blossom of the rich moist evergreen woods.
The common name, False Oat, indicates the resemblance of the flower to the drooping oat. The scientific name is in honor of William Oakes, an early New England botanist.
YELLOW ROCKET or WINTER CRESS
Barbarea vulgaris - Mustard family.
A path of yellow in field, meadow, and waste places.
A similar appearing plant is Brassica nigra, page 37, a widely-branched species, hairy, never with clasping upper leaves.
This plant is one of the commonest spring weeds that bloom in fields, waste places, and along roadsides. In ancient times it was known as the herb of St. Barbara.
Late May - Early June
Brassica nigra - Mustard family.
Another yellow weed of field, meadow and roadside.
This plant bears the scientific name of the Cabbage.
A very common field weed.
Clintonia borealis - Lily family.
Along the borders of woodland streams in the cool moist shade of the evergreens grows the lily-like Clintonia.
Many plants bear the name of some well-known botanist or famous person. Clintonia is in honor of DeWitt Clinton, once Governor of New York and an ardent amateur botanist.
The blue berry of the Clintonia fruit is a rare case of pure blue color in nature. The purplish tinge usually found in blue colors is absent here.
MOUNTAIN FLY HONEYSUCKLE
May - June
Lonicera caerulea var. villosa - Honeysuckle family.
Common on low ground and in bogs, also frequent on mountain slopes and summits.
This plant is a relative of the common honeysuckle of cultivation which is usually cross-fertilized by the larger long-tongued bees, moths, and butterflies, as well as the humming bird.
Medeola virginiana - Lily family.
Found in the cool, moist, shaded woodlands.
The crisp, juicy root tastes somewhat like cucumber and was relished by the Indians, hence the common name.
YELLOW CINQUEFOIL or FIVE FINGERS
Potentilla canadensis - Rose family.
Abundant in dry fields, on hillsides and along roadways.
The name "Potentilla" is derived from potens, refers to the medicinal properties of some of this meaning powerful and group.
Ranunculus acris - Crowfoot family.
One of the common buttercups of field and meadows.
Naturalized from the old country.
Acrid juice, if stem carried in mouth, causes blisters to appear on the lips and tongue. Hence, it is sometimes called Blister Flower.
The scientific name is from the Latin, rana, meaning "a small frog", applied by Pliny because ome of the Crowfoots grew where frogs were plentiful.
May - August
Ranunculus bulbosus - Buttercup family.
Open sunny fields and meadows are often dotted with the yellow cup of this plant.
Over fifty species of insects visit the common buttercups.
The buttercups abound undisturbed in pastures and fields, for a very interesting reason. Certain relatives of Aconite and Larkspur have poisonous qualities, and the kinship is evident in the acrid, caustic juice of the buttercup. Because of this juice horses and cattle intentionally avoid the buttercups and leave them free to abound in any pasture land.
When dried as hay, the buttercup loses its acrid juice and makes good fodder.
Late May - September
Taraxacum officinale - Composite family.
Found in fields and waste places.
The dandelion blooms early and late in all kinds of soil.
The name Dandelion is said to be a corruption of the French "dent-de-lion", meaning lion's tooth and referring to the leaf outline which is said to resemble that of the lion's tooth.
"Dear common flower that grow'st beside the way
WOOD BETONY or LOUSEWORT
Late May - June
Pedicularis canadensis - Figwort family.
Usually found in meadows and along stream banks, occasionally in very open moist woods.
Looking straight down on the blossom one immediately notices the rip-saw symmetry. The name Pedicularis means louse and was applied by farmers who thought that when sheep ate the plant they developed lice. The plant belongs to a family of nearly 2,700 species, most of them yielding narcotic poisons.
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