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Volume 5 Spring Number, 1939 Number 1



April - May

Amelanchier canadensis - Rose family.

Found in swamps and moist soil.

Stem Sometimes 30' high. Shrub or tree.
Leaves Oval, oblong, elliptic, acute at the apex, rounded, or sometimes narrowed at the base, finely and sharply toothed nearly all around, seldom over 1" long.
Flower Densely white - woolly when young, often nearly or quite glabrous when old, 5 petals, 5 sepals.
Fruit A sweet, edible berry-like miniature apple smaller than peas and varying in color from crimson through magenta to dark or black purple.

Throughout New England this plant is knovn by the common name Sugar Pear. It is frequently gathered to make jelly. As well as providing food for people, it is also food for many of the birds, especially the thrushes.

Other species of this vicinity and of similar aspect are A. laevis, A. oligocarpa, and A. oblonifolia.



Late May - Early June

Antennaria plantaginifolia - Composite family.

Perennial, found in dry fields, hillside pastures, and open woods in early spring.

Root Slender, fibrous.
Stem Downy or woolly; the erect flowering stems 6"-8" high; leafy runners spread in all directions.
Leaves Silky, woolly when young, at length green above and silvery beneath; those of the flowering stems alternate, small, lance-shaped; the basal leaves are oval, rather large, three ribbed, white at first.
Flower-heads White, small, silky-haired, silvery white, borne in clusters at the summit of the stem. Blossom made up of many tiny florets.

Antennaria is named from the resemblance of the flower husk, after fruiting, to the antennae of certain insects.

The flowering heads differ in appearance. Some are small and pointed (A; others larger and rather flat at the top (B). The smaller (A) which bear pistils only, are silvery white; the others are creamy white with brownish, orange-tipped stamens, which give a brownish color to the heads (B). After those heads have shed their pollen, which happens by early June, they droop, the stems wither, and a general collapse sets in. Their work is done. The others, the pointed pistillate heads, wax strong, the stems grow high, keeping level with the grass and their heads take on a tinge of color. By July the seeds are mature and the plant becomes lost in the surrounding foliage.




Aralia nudicaulis - Ginseng family

Perennial. Rich, shady, moist woods.

Root Long, horizontal, aromatic.
Stem Short, inconspicuous; this bears one leaf-stem and one flower-stem.
Flower stalk Bears from three to five, usually three umbrella-shaped clusters of greenish-white flowers.
Leaves Long-stalked, compounded of three divisions, each of which has five leaflets, oblong-oval, toothed, pointed.
Flowers Small, greenish white, borne in three to five umbrella-shaped clusters at the top of the flower-stem. Clusters two or more inches across. Five sepals joined into a tube. Five petals, oblong, strongly reflexed. Five stamens, alternate with the petals, conspicuous. Ovary two to five-celled; styles two to five.
Fruit Shining, dark-purple berries in clusters.

Pollinated by flies and bees.

The true plant stem hardly gets above the ground. The aromatic root is used as a substitute for the true sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis of Mexico and South America). It is popular as a general remedy for various aliments.



Early June

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Heath family.

On exposed, rocky ledges usually. on mountain slopes.

Stem Somewhat shrubby, hairy, rough branches.
Leaves Thick, dark evergreen, rounded at the tip, narrowed at the base, finely veined, 1/2"-1" long.
Flowers White, bell or vase-shaped, 1/6" long in terminal clusters.
Fruit Opaque, red, berry-like, rather dry and tasteless.

Largely restricted to mountain tops on Mt. Desert Island.

The scientific name means literally "a bear", "a berry".



June - September

Arenaria groenlandica - Pink family.

Found on dry rocks, usually on mountain tops.

Rootstock Slender, densely tufted, smooth.
Stem Slender, 2"-5" high.
Leaves Slender, thread-like.
Flowers 1/4"-1/2" broad, sepals oblong, petals notched at tip.
Fruit Oblong pod.

This common resident of the Cadillac Mountain summit is a native of Greenland and Labrador and was probably carried down to New England on the last continental ice sheet, 25,000 years ago.



May - September

Capsella Bursa-pastoris - Mustard family.

A common weed growing in fields, waste places and along roadsides.

Root Deep, fibrous.
Stem 6"-18" high, branching.
Leaves Clustered in a rosette at the base of the stern, toothed, 2"-5" long; stem leaves shorter, clasping.
Flowers White, small, a long series of single blossoms at the top of the flowering stalk. Four petals, four sepals, six stamens.
Fruit Heart-shaped, or purse-shaped pod. Very variable in fruit shape.

Shepherd's Purse is one of the hardy weeds that send up seedlings in the autumn. The seedlings withstand the cold winter and bloom in the early spring.

The long blooming period from May to September is due to the fact that all the blossoms grow from the side of the stem, hence the growing tip, which never bears a blossom, can grow on as long as climate will allow.

The Latin name is literally a "shepherd's little purse".



Early June.

Cerastium arvense - Pink family.

One of the commonest weeds of field, meadow and lawn.

Root Tufted.
Stem Simple or sparingly branched, usually smooth.
Leaves Stem leaves 1/2"-1" long, narrowly lance-shaped.
Flower White, petals cleft or notched, five sepals, five petals.
Fruit Pod, somewhat horn-shaped.

The scientific name "Cerastium" is from the Greek "horn", referring to the shape of the pod.

This plant might be confused with Stellaria media. page 25. The differences are:

Cerastium arvense - petals longer than the sepals.
Stellaria media - petals shorter than the sepals.

Another species found in this region is the Hairy Chickweed, C. vulgatum, which, true to its name, is very hairy throughout.

The little cares that fretted me
     I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
     Among the winds that play.

—Elizabeth Browning.



Late May - June

Chamaedaphne calyculata - Heath family.

Typical of bogs.

Stem Branching, 2'-4' high, shrub.
Leaves Oblong, thick, leathery, narrowed at the base, densely covered on both sides with minute round scurfy scales, at least when young, 1/2"-1-1/2" long, upper leaves gradually smaller, the upper-most reduced to floral bracts.
Flower Blossom 1/4" long, white, bell-like, in one-sided clusters.
Fruit Capsule depressed-globose, 1/6" in diameter, about twice as long as the ovate sepals.

The scientific name is from the Greek meaning "laurel on the ground".

Along the edges of Mt. Desert's many fresh water ponds grows this dainty blossomed heath, occasionally standing in the water.



Late May - June

Chiogenes hispidula - Heath family.

Common in cool damp woods and peat bogs, frequent on hill-tops.

Root Slender, long.
Stem Creeping closely over rocky and mossy ground.
Leaves Stiff dark olive evergreen, tiny, broad, ovate, pointed; sparsely covered with brownish hairs beneath; margin of leaves rolled backward. Wintergreen flavor. 1/6" to 1/2" long.
Flowers White, bell-shaped, four-cleft, solitary.
Fruit Shining china white, ovate, and about 1/4" long. Wintergreen flavor.

The name (Greek) means "snow-offspring"; it is appropriately dainty.

The Creeping Snowberry is found on Mt. Desert in very moist Sphagnum bogs.



Late May - June

Coptis groenlandica - Buttercup family.

Peeping through the wet, mossy floor of the evergreen forest is the Goldthread.

Root Long, bright yellow-gold, bitter fibers.
Flower Stalk No leaves, slender, wiry.
Leaves On stalks from the base of the plant. Three leaflets 1/2" to 1" long, 3/8" to 1/2" wide, oval, wedge-shaped, toothed, shiny, evergreen.
Flower White, many parted, 1/4"-1/2" wide.
Fruit Pods, pointed 4 to 8 seeded.

Named from the Greek "to cut", referring to the divided leaves. The golden root easily identifies this plant.

This root was used by the Indians for making a dye.

The dried root brewed as tea is also used for the treatment of mouth canker.

How lovely is the forest deep
As winding paths we stray,
Where mosses and the wild vines creep
Near streams where willows seem to weep.
Each turn we make, each ancient tree,
Each living thing a mystery,
I love a winding path to stray
That keeps me guessing all the way.

—Columbus Dispatch.



Early June.

Cornus canadensis - Dogwood family.

Common in cool, moist woodlands.

Rootstock Slender, creeping, rather woody.
Stem Flowering stems scaly, 3"-9" high, four-sided, and grooved.
Leaves Upper leaves crowded into an apparent whorl in sixes or fours, oval, entire, pointed, conspicuously veined, scale-like.
Flowers Small, greenish, surrounded. by four large white ovate leaves 1/3"-3/4" tubular, minutely four-toothed. Four petals, oblong, spreading, greenish; four stamens.
Fruit A bunch of bright red, globular berry-like fruits, 1/4" in diameter.

The blossom is a copy of that of the Flowering Dogwood, having a similar, great white involucre whose four leaves look like four white petals, so that the blossom, which is rather unusual, looks like a single, large, white flower with a greenish center. This greenish center is really a bunch of tiny green tubular florets, each of which will in autumn produce a bright scarlet berry.

The berry, considered edible, has a rather dry, pulpy taste.


Wild Strawberry

Late May.

Fragaria virginiana - Rose family.

Found in rough dry pasture lands and fields.

Root Slender, creeping.
Flower stalk Hairy, rising directly from running roots, 2" to 6" long.
Leaf Divided into three bread wedge-shaped hairy leaflets, 1" to 3" long.
Flower Wheel-shaped, 5 rounded petals, orange-yellow stamens, green cone-shaped center.
Berry Scarlet, ovoid, edible.

Scientific name from the Latin, fraga, meaning fragrant.

Whittier crystallized a well-remembered experience when he spoke of the "Barefoot Boy":

"With thy red lips; redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill."



May - July

Houstonia caerulea - Madder family.

Growing in tufts in grassy places both moist and dry.

Root Small, slender.
Stem Smooth, slender, erect, 3" to 6" high and sparingly branched.
Leaves Oblong or spatulate, small, opposite, lower and basal 1/2" long, upper leaves shorter.
Flowers Small, pale blue, lilac or cream-white with yellow eye, four sepals. Petals joined into a tube with four oval, pointed, spreading lobes that equal the slender tube in length. Four stamens variable in position. Ovary two-celled; style variable in length.
Fruit Capsule; seeds few.

Pollinated by flies, bees and butterflies.

Houstonia, named in honor of Doctor William Houston, an early English botanist.

The blossoms are set on the tip of the stem, where they nod in the bud, but are erect in bloom. In color they fade from sky-blue to white, but the yellow eye remains. The flowers are extremely sensitive to atmospheric conditions; at night and in rainy weather the blossoms bend down, to become erect again when sunshine appears.



Late May - Early June

Ledum groenlandicum - Heath family.

Found in bogs and on rocky mountain slopes in moist situations.

Stem Shrubby, 1' to 3-1/2' high, slender, light brown bark.
Leaves Small, evergreen, leathery, narrowly oblong, dark green above, rusty-brown woolly beneath, margins curled back, 1" to 2" long.
Flower White, small, in terminal clusters of 12 or more blossoms, petals 5.
Fruit An ellipse-shaped capsule 1/4" long.

The leaves of this plant are astringent and frequently used as a substitute for tea, hence the common name. When crushed the leaves give off a slight turpentine odor.



Late May - June

Maianthemum canadense.

Perennial. Open woods and roadsides.

Rootstock Slender
Stems Slender, usually two-leaved, sometimes with but one, rarely with three, 3 to 6 inches high, often zigzag.
Leaves Broad oval, clasping, parallel-veined, shining; fertile stem has two leaves, the sterile but one, 1"-3" long.
Flowers Small, white, in a terminal, many-flowered cluster, slightly fragrant. Petals and sepals four, separate and spreading, four stamens inserted at base of petals.
Fruit Small, globular berry, pale red, speckled.

The Canada Mayflower appears in open, sunny woodlands where the soil is thin and composed largely of leaf-mould, and gathers about the trunks of trees or upon the few inches of soil above rocks. These leaves have a certain likeness to those of Smilacina and of Solomon's Seal but are shorter, more rounded, and heart-shaped at base.

The fruit is a favorite food of the Grouse.




Polygonatum biflorum - Lily family.

Found in woods and thickets.

Rootstock Thick and jointed.
Stem Slender, leafy, unbranched, angular and curved, 8" to 3' in height.
Leaves Toothless, oval, pointed or lance-shaped. Appear alternately, smooth above, paler and hairy beneath, 2" to 4" long, 1/2" to 2" wide.
Flower White or yellowish green, bell shaped, usually in pairs; 6-lobed, 6 stamens, 1 pistil.
Fruit Round, pulpy, blue-black berry.

This plant was formerly used in healing bruises, wounds, and skin eruptions particularly about the eyes. It has also been used in the manufacture of cosmetics. The berries are reputed to be poisonous.

The scientific name literally means "many knees", referring to the joint of the rootstock. The scar left where the stem breaks away from the rootstock is said to resemble King Solomon's Seal, hence the common name.



Early June

Prunus virginiana - Rose family

Grows in all types of soil in field, meadows and along roadsides. On Mt. Katahdin up to 4,000 feet altitude.

Stem A tall shrub or tree, dark bark, smoky gray and smooth. Twigs have a prussic acid taste.
Leaves Olive green, smooth, widest above the middle, 2" to 4" long.
Flower White, in thick cylindrical clusters, petals rounded, at the end of leafy branches.
Fruit Purplish-black, slightly bitter, berry-like with a bony stone.

This plant is often called the Bird Cherry, because such birds as the thrushes, vireos, and sparrows eat the fruit.

Make me a home in the forest,
   Where its shadows linger deep—
Where truth shall know my spirit
   And the pines their vigil keep.

—Harry T. Fee



Early June.

Pyrus arbutifolia - Rose family.

Common in moist situations and in woods.

Stem A shrub 3' to 9' high, slender, dark brown stems.
Leaves Elliptical, oval, abruptly pointed, finely toothed, the teeth glandular-tipped, deep olive green above, smooth and densely woolly beneath, 1" to 3" long.
Flowers White, sometimes magenta-tinged, 1/2" broad in mostly terminal clusters.
Fruit Berry-like, a bright garnet red, about 1/4" thick; astringent.

Also found on the mountains here is Pyrus melanocarpa, a lower shrub with very dark, almost black fruit.

The name Pyrus is the classical name of the common pear of cultivation, Pyrus communis, and the common apple, Pyrus malus.

The common name indicates the power of the berry to constrict the throats of those who eat it because of its astringent quality.




Rubus triflorus - Rose family.

Found in meadows, fields and open woods.

Stem Trailing, or ascending, no thorns, slightly woody sometimes branched, 6"-18" long.
Leaves On stalks, divided into three leaflets, oval oblong-shaped, 1-1/2"-3" long, coursely toothed.
Flowers 1/3"-1/2" broad, 5"-7" white, erect, oblong petals.
Fruit Red-purple, about 1/2" long.

The name Rubus is close to the Roman "ruber" meaning red.

This plant is a relative of the common raspberry and blackberry, but unlike these has a rather strong acid taste, and consequently is not picked for eating.


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

—Lord Byron.



Early June

Sambucus racemosa - Honeysuckle family.

In rocky places, along roadsides.

Stem A shrub, 2' to 12' high, twigs and leaves commonly hairy; stems woody, the younger with reddish-brown pith.
Leaves Five to seven oval, pointed at apex, often narrowed at base, 2" to 5" long, toothed.
Flower Whitish, turning brown in drying, plume-like cluster terminating the branch.
Fruit Scarlet or red 1/6" to 1/4" in diameter, nutlets very minutely roughened.

Another species not so common here is Sambucus canadensis, which has broad flat flower clusters.

The berries of this plant are sometimes used to brew a wine.




Saxifraga virginiensis - Saxifrage family

Exposed rocks and hillsides in both moist and dry situations.

Root Slender, fibrous.
Stem 4"-12" high, naked, with sticky hairs.
Leaves Rather thick, oval or spatulate, toothed. Basal leaves clustered. 1"-3" long.
Flower White, small, clustered, spreading. Five petals. Five sepals. Ten stamens inserted with the petals. One pistil with two styles.
Fruit Purplish-brown pods, many-seeded; seeds small.

Name from saxum, a rock, and frango, to break, referring to the habit of several species of growing upon rocks.

The roots of this plant grow down into the crevices and cracks in the rocks and assist in the process of weathering, which makes soil from rocks.



May - June

Smilacina racemosa - Lily family.

Perennial herb of moist woods and thickets.

Rootstock Thick, fleshy, creeping.
Stem One to three feet high, zigzag, smooth, leafy, usually curving, somewhat angled, nonbranching.
Leaves Many on stem, alternate, oval, pointed, strongly ribbed, margins entire, hairy, 3"-6" long, 1"-3" wide.
Flowers Small, white, fragrant, borne in plume at the tip, six parted, spreading segments oblong, six stamens inserted at base of petals, one pistil, ovary 3-celled, stigma three-grooved.
Fruit A bunch of pale-red berries, specked with purple, abundant in the early autumn, aromatic in taste.

Pollinated by bees, flies and beetles.

Each tiny flower of the plume has six white sepals, six stamens, and a pistil. In midsummer a cluster of speckled, pale-red aromatic berries crowns the stem and invites the birds.


Three-leaved False Solomon's Seal

Late May, Early June.

Smilacina trifolia - Lily family.

Found in bogs or wet woods.

Stem Slender, erect 2" to 15" high.
Leaves Two to four, usually three, from the base of the stem, 2" to 5" long, 1/2" to 2" wide.
Flowers Small, white, in an upright cylindrical cluster.
Berry Red, similar to Canada Mayflower.

Canada Mayflower is often confused with this species, the essential differences are:

Maianthemum canadenseSmilacina trifolia
4 sepals6 sepals
Leaves heart-shaped at base.Leaves not heart-shaped at base.

This plant grews in cold bogs from Labrador to New Jersey and westward to British Columbia.



Early June

Stellaria media - Pink family.

In waste places, meadows and weeds.

Stem Annual, weak, tufted, much branched, 4" to 16" long, smooth except a line of hairs along stem and branches.
Leaves Lance-shaped te oval; 1/6" to 1-1/2" long, pointed, the lower with leaf stalks, the upper against the stem.
Flower 1/6" to 1/3" broad, in terminal leafy clusters solitary in the leaf axils; sepals oblong, mostly pointed, longer than the two-parted petals; stamens 2 to 10.
Fruit Capsule ovoid, longer than the calyx; seeds rough.

The chickweeds are reputedly good for birds especially the canary.

The scientific name of the plant is from "stella", meaning star and referring to the star-shaped flowers.



Late May - June

Trientalis americana - Primrose family.

The star flower seeks the cool moist shade of the evergreen forest.

Root Long, horizontal and slender.
Stem Simple, erect and smooth, 3" to 9" high.
Leaves A few alternate scale-like leaves on the lower stem and a whorl of five to ten pointed leaves just below the flowers. 1-1/2"-4:" long, 1/3"-1-1/4" wide. Lance-shaped.
Flowers White, solitary, star-shaped on slender wiry blossom stems. Sepals seven-parted, petals seven-parted about one-half inch across. Seven stamens, one pistil and one stigma.

This graceful star of the woodland produces no nectar, and is a rare instance of floral parts appearing in sevens. Usually floral parts appear in fives, threes or multiples of these.

The name "Trientalis" means a third of a foot and refers to the usual height of the plant.

Go slowly; we have hurried for so long
That we have missed the flowing water's song;
Have passed by all these treasures that are free -
The tinted flower, the singing bird, the skillful bee.




May - June

Trillium undulatum - Lily family.

In the shady damp woods dwells this commonest of the Mt. Desert trilliums.

Root Short, tuber-like.
Stem Stout, simple, reddish at base.
Leaves A whorl of three at the top of the stem, broadly oval and pointed, 3"-8" long, 2"-5" wide.
Flower White, marked with crimson V near center, three petals, wavy edged, three sepals, six stamens.
Fruit Three-lobed or angled, dark scarlet, 3/4" long.

Common name for the beautiful coloring of the petals. "Trillium", meaning "three" since all the parts appear in threes.

This is the only Trillium common on Mt. Desert, the other, Trillium erectum, being very rare here, but common on the mainland.

This is one flower that should not be picked because picking means the destruction of the entire plant, leaves, stem and blossom.



Early June

Vaccinium pennsylvanicum - Heath family.

Open, exposed, rocky places.

Stem Low branching shrubby, 6" to 2' high, green, warty branches and nearly or quite smooth throughout.
Leaves Oblong or oblong-lance-shaped, green and smooth on both sides, or slightly heavy on the veins beneath, sharply toothed, pointed at both ends, 3/4" to 1-1/2" long, 1/4" to 1/2" wide.
Flowers Few in clusters, longer than the very short flower-stalk, oblong, bell-shaped, slightly constricted at the throat, 1/6" to 1/5" long, about 1/7" thick, white or pinkish.
Fruit Blue, very sweet, 1/4" to 5/12" in diameter.

The valuation of the wild blueberry crop reaches approximately millions of dollars annually. In blueberry districts the yearly shipment from one small town often brings in about ten or twenty thousand dollars.

Ordinary plants would die of poison or starvation in the very acid soil demanded by the blueberry.




Viburnum alnifolium - Honeysuckle family.

The Hobble Bush is common in cool, damp woods.

Stem Woody, shrub-like.
Leaves Heart-shaped, finely and irregularly toothed, veiny, light green, finely downy above when young, smooth when old, but very rusty-downy beneath especially on the prominent veins, 4"-8" long, with rusty-hairy stems about 1" long; turning maroon red in late summer and the fall.
Flower Five rounded white or sometimes pinkish lobes, in large flat clusters; marginal flowers large and showy, sterile.
Fruit Bright scarlet or coral red, berry-like, tipped with the brown dot of the withered calyx, 1/3" long, in flat, struggling clusters, finally turning dull dark purple.
Bark Dull madder, purple or brown, smooth.

The branches often droop to the ground and take root, forming loops which may trip up a careless wayfarer; hence the common name.

Another species, Viburnum cassinoides, Withe-rod, blooms on mountain slopes later in June.



Late May - Early June

Nemopanthus mucronata - Holly family.

In damp, cool woods on mountain slopes.

Stem Shrubby 1' to 10' high, bark ashen gray, on new stems, greenish.
Leaves Light green above, pale beneath, ellipse-shaped 1" to 2" long, very slender stemmed.
Flower White, inconspicuous, less than 1/4" across, in small clusters at the base of the leaves, on long slender stalk.
Fruit A dull berry-like fruit, light crimson red, 1/3"' diameter. August - September.

This plant should not be confused with the mountain holly of New York State (Ilex monticola) which is frequently a tree 20' to 25' high and 6" to 8" in diameter.

The red fruit of Ilex verticillata (winterberry) is very similar to that of the mountain holly, except the fruit of the latter is on long slender stalks.

The Holly family is generally characterized by small inconspicuous flowers and the colorful fruit which makes one of our prettiest Christmas decorations.



Early June

Viola blanda - Violet family

Swamps and moist lands.

Rootstock Very slender.
Leaves Small, light green, orbicular to kidney-shaped, heart-shaped with shallow sinus obtuse apex, creante, 1/2"-2-1/2" wide.
Flowers White, small, 3"-6" broad, slightly fragrant, sepals lanceolate.

This is the smallest of the violets and also one of the earliest to bloom, a tiny creature of the spring nestling in a mossy or grassy bank. In the type the small white petals are broad and rounded, but the type varies into varieties; one with upper petals long, narrow, and somewhat recurved, often boarded and less distinctly veined; another with broader leaves, loving woods and thickets, the white blossoms beardless and veined. All are white, all stemless, and all most attractive and beautiful.

Other species found here are the lance-leaved V. lanceolata and V. palleus, similar to V. blanda.

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