Friday, June 6, 2014

Ramble Report June 6 2014


New summer schedule for Rambles:
Summer Rambles will begin at 8:00AM instead of 8:30AM 
New start time is in effect for June, July and August.
In September we will revert to the 8:30AM start time.


Sixteen ramblers appeared for today's walk.

Don Hunter's photos from today's ramble can be found here.

Today's Ramble Report was written by Hugh Nourse, with photos by Don Hunter.

We began with a reading by Hugh from The Folklore of North American Wildflowers, by Timothy Coffee (p. 154):

A quote from Shin Ying Hu (1976):

            According to conventional Chinese belief ginseng is the crystallization of the essence of the earth in the form of man.  It represents the vital spirit of the earth that dwells in a root.  It is the manifestation of the spiritual phase of nature in material form.  It is further believed that a small portion of ginseng can cure the sick, strengthen the weak, rejuvenate the aged and revitalize the dying." The USDA concluded that the extraordinary medicinal virtues formerly attributed to ginseng had no other existence than in the imagination of the Chinese.

Our ramble took us out the White Trail through the Dunson Native Flora Garden, across the road, up the trail to the Power Line Right-of-Way.  We proceeded about 2/3 of the way up the road to the fence, turned around and went down the Power Line Right-of-Way to the service road.  From there we went over to the Dunson Native Flora Garden again, and up the White Trail to the Arbor the same way we came.

Immediately in the woods we identified several red maples (Acer rubrum), as well as a sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum).  The black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) we had been observing over several week in bud, was now blooming.  Even one with a broken stalk was continuing to bloom.  At the road on the way out of the Dunson Garden Hugh pointed out Addison's leatherflower (Clematis addisonii), which had  been in bloom on Wednesday, but was gone today.

The yellow foxglove (a cultivar) was still blooming on the way to the Powerline Right-of-Way.  But the Bottlebrush Buckeye) Aesculus parviflora) was still in bud the same we have seen it for several weeks.

Queen Anne's Lace
Turning up (to the right) the road under the Powerline, we found a number of plants.  Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus
Queen Anne's "blood"
), which as Dale pointed is the plant used to derive the cultivated carrot plant from which our store bought carrots come from.  A little farther along we found one with a purple flower in the center.  There is a story that the common name, Queen Anne's Lace , is reference to a time when a queen sewing lace pricked her finger.  The blood dropped from her finger on to the lace which is represented by the purple flower.

Wild Petunia
Another plant here was wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), and across the road was bitterweed (Helenium amarum).  
Deptford Pink
Sue stated that it soured milk if cow's ate it.  Terry found a fine leaf that folded up when touched.  It was sensitive brier (Mimosa microphylla).  The spent blooms were seen a little farther up the road on another plant of the same species. There were quite a few mints with their square stems, which were probably going to become mountain or white horse mint (Pycnanthemum incanum).  Buried in the grasses we found yellow star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta),  summer bluet (Houstonia longifolia), and Don spotted the Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria).

We saw a lot of wingstems of which there are three species:  Those with alternate leaves could be either Verbesina alternaifolia (which will have yellow flowers), or V. virginica (which will have white flowers).  Those with opposite leaves are V. occidentalis.

We noted the insect damage on the redbud trees (Cercis canadensis). Dale talked about the insect that attacked the buds last year and are bare twigs this year.

White Milkweed
About the same place but up hill was a lone white milkweed (Asclepias variegata).  The milkweeds are used as larval food by monarch butterflies, but we have not seen them yet this year.

Sue talked about the Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), a colonial perennial that Heather Alley pulled up all over this meadow we were walking through.  She missed only a few.  Wilf Nicholls, the Director of the Garden, is Canadian and is currently in Nova Scotia.  When he read the report on what Heather had done, he thought it quite wrong to call this invasive species Canadian.  There are lots of other and more appropriate names, such as field thistle or green thistle.  The latter name refers to the green underside of the leaves on this thistle.  To pull them out is easy, but one needs gloves because of all the prickles on the leaves and stem.

Two other plants hiding among the grasses up the hill were skullcaps and a phlox. The skullcap
Hairy Skullcap
was hairy skullcap (Scutellaria elliptica).  On site I thought it might be hyssop leaf skullcap, but Don's photos of the hairs made a clear identification.  I should have had my hand lens with me.  The phlox is probably thickleaf or Carolina phlox (Phlox carolina).  Once again I called it Phlox glaberrima, but the Tennesse book does not have the Carolina Phlox listed, and it is also in our list of plants in the Garden.  Don's photo convinced me that it is Phlox carolina.

Ronnie found an ant cemetery.  Dale could not figure out what the other white things were mixed up with the dead ants.

Walking back down the Powerline Right-of-Way a group of us were really bowled over by the beauty of an indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) that flew by us.  They are such an electric blue!  Next we saw a blue bird (Sialia sialis)

Butterfly weed
On the ground near the service road we found a group of butterfly weeds (Asclepias tuberosa).  The bright orange was stunning and stood out dramatically.  Once again we talked about the monarch butterflies that need milkweeds.

Swamp Milkweed
Crossing the road we entered the bottom of the Dunson Native Flora Garden.  Our first plant was the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) covered with unripe green berries.  Next was another milkweed, the swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).  A huge elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) was in full bloom, actually almost past.  There used to be one on the other side of the path, but it died and the curators planted this one.  The Spanish Bayonets (Yucca filamentosa) gave Dale an opportunity to discuss the moth that is necessary to pollinate these flowers.    A lot of insects were shaken out of the flowers:  a Leaf-footed bug, some Yucca moths, and Soldier beetles.

In the adjacent wetland area the lizard tails (Saururus cernuus) was in full bloom.  Reading from the Tennesse Wildflower book, p. 45: "This species is also called Water Dragon and Breastweed, which refers to its use by Native Americans as a root poultice on infected breasts, wounds, and inflammations.  It has been studied for its chemical and pharmacological properties ;  several of its compounds haves a sedative effect."

Our next stop was the Silky dogwood or silky cornel (Cornus amomum).  A dispute over spelling was adjudicated by the sign in front of the plant.

At long last we stopped to see the ginseng (Panax quinquifolia) which had a flower bud on it.  We discussed the meaning of Panax.  The Tennesse book suggested it meant cure-all, but Silvio thought it meant all pain which would be cured in the context it was written.  Two more ginseng plants were around the corner.  This plant is not necessarily a rare plant.  It is not listed in the Guide to the Rare Plants of Georgia, but trading in this plant requires a permit.

Our last stop was the goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), a rare plant in Georgia.  Only the red berries were beginning to show.  The curators for the Garden had put little net bags over the failing flowers to catch the seeds so they might propagate more.

Then it was on to Donderos' for our usual post-ramble fun.


Common Name
Scientific Name
Red maple
Acer rubrum
Oxydendron arboreum
White Tailed Deer
Odocoileus virginianus
Black cohosh
Actaea racemosa
Bagged trilliums
Trillium sp.
Leather Flower clematis
Clematis addisonii
Digitalis sp.
Bottle brush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora
Common yellow wood sorrel
Oxalis stricta
Wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniana
Queen Anne’s Lace
Daucus carota
Sensitive brier
Mimosa nuttallii
Deptford pink
Dianthus armeria
Daisy fleabane
Erigeron sp.
Verbesina occidentalis
Canada Thistle
Cirsium arvense
Fire ants
Solenopsis invicta
Hairy skullcap
Scutellaria elliptica
Yellow Star grass
Hypoxis hirsuta
White milkweed
Asclepias variegata
Summer bluet
Houstonia longifolia
Blue phlox
Phlox carolina.
Trumpet vine
Campsis radicans
Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Indigo Bunting
Passerina cyanea
Eastern Bluebird
Sialia sialis
Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata
Sambucus canadensis
Yucca filamentosa
Silky Dogwood
Cornus amomum
Panax quinquefolius
Leaf-footed bug
Hydrastis canadensis
Leptoglossus phyllopus


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