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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lovely Woods

Mayapple
The woods are lovely, dark and deep but I have promises to keep . . . Oh no! That's not correct. I have all morning! (Sorry Robert Frost.) I am really enjoying this wet, shady bit of woods. It feels comfortingly solitary and forgotten. (I have not forgotten that you are with me. We don't speak much, though, do we?)
From the less common plants of the last few days, to more common beauties, we keep finding treasures and none is any more beautiful than the virginal Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). Its stark white flower is decorated with the palest of stamens to temp pollinators.   Shyly it hangs beneath umbrella-like leaves, looking downward in a Princess Diana pose. 
Don't let this posture fool you, though.  Mayapples are extremely toxic.  According to Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States Native Americans may have used it to commit suicide and they used a concoction from its roots as an insecticide.   Even now it is used for some medical purposes.  Perhaps in the future I will become rich growing Mayapples for the pharmaceutical industry but for now I will be satisfied with the richness of beauty.
Just look at this stream and you can see what makes this place special.  The water's edge is just dripping in moss.  This particular stream seldom dries up. It comes from Deerlick.  Click on that link to read about the history of Deerlick and see the photos of this small consistent spring.
The canopy overhead is mature and almost solid
The trees, like this elm are old, large and many have moss growing around their base. The light that makes it through the leaves is powerful.  Many of my photographs came out bathed in yellow. It tried to tone it down - with little success.
But all things come to an end and it is time to head toward home. As we cross over land that has been more recently timbered, we can see the forest in the midst of regrowth.  Hopefully this tiny oak will one day tower over our heads, protecting the forest floor below. 
In the meantime we can enjoy what the sun brings out. The open woods not only encourages briars, but also plants of all colors such as this Golden ragwort (Senecio aureus)
 
See you tomorrow!

3 comments:

Jane said...

The funny thing is the very ripe fruit of the mayapple is edible, but it must be very ripe or it is still toxic. I have heard it taste like a mix of tropical fruits. I guess I will never find out because who wants to take that gamble. It might taste good or you might die. There is something so soul restoring about walking through a forest. I just love it.

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

A lovely series, I enjoyed it too !

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

A lovely series, I enjoyed it too !