Into The Wooly Woods

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Saturday afternoon I finished the planters at a friend’s house so I decided to go ahead and check the progress of some of the wildflowers in the woods. The above photo is where close to where I enter. To the left is kind of a small creek that starts from nowhere and goes toward the ditch along the highway. I enter the woods and head for the second creek which is to the right of the above photo. It is in the area between the two creeks where I spotted my first sighting of Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon) and Arisaema tryphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) (which some are still flowering). There are a lot more Green Dragon’s here while there are more Jack-In-The-Pulpit on the other side of the creek. There are also LOADS of Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) throughout the woods.

 

The above photo is the creek I walk in but usually much farther down where there is still plenty of water. I wear my rubber boots and actually walk in the water. The creek is like a path but in some areas I have to crawl under or over fallen trees or vines. Further down from this spot is another creek than merges with it that goes around the hill. It is kind of hard to describe and I should have taken more photos. This creek also runs into the ditch that runs along the highway which then flows into the East Fork Tebo Creek. Close to the end there is a steep hill which I climb and crawl under the fence… Once on top of the hill, the woods become much more open with HUGE trees.

 

At the bottom of the hill is a fence with a pasture on the other side. I was standing next to the fence looking up the hill when I took this photo. When I first visited these woods on April 23, the underbrush hadn’t leafed out and what grass is in there was still very short. This gave the early spring wildflowers a chance to grow and bloom. It was much easier to navigate and see where I was going.

Now, you may ask why I am tromping around in the woods with all the underbrush now. Well, it is very simple… There are several plants in there I was hoping to keep an eye on BUT I am having some difficulty. Just like two plants that have vanished along the creek. After a big storm, the Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches) and Cardamine concatenata (Cut-leaved Toothwort) completely vanished. On the third or fourth trip, I finally found ONE leaf of the Dicentra. It was involved in a mudslide, which I suspected, and was covered with mud and debris that ran down the hill during the storm. A few days later I decided to go back with my trowel and see if I could dig it up. It was no use because I couldn’t find the roots or bulbs. The Cardamine is next to a big tree but I have yet to find it the second time… I know it is in there somewhere because I have the photos. It is possible it was eaten by deer. You would think in all these woods there would be more than one Dutchman’s Breeches and Toothwort!!!

OK, I got kind of off-track… The reason I wanted to go into the woods in the above photo was to find two particular plants. Somehow, I managed not to post about them when I first saw them on May 10. One was flowering and one was not but both are worth searching for…

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20, #697-51.

Now you may wonder what is so special about this plant I identified as Triosteum perfoliatum, commonly known as Perfoliate Tinker’s WeedFever Root, Wild Coffee, Feverwort, Common Horse Gentian,  and Late Horse Gentian. For those of you who are versed in botanical language, the species name “perfoliatum” or the common name “Perfoliate” should give you a hint… This species is a member of the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) Family.

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20, #697-56.

The lower leaves on the plant kind of somehow merge together much in the way they do with Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common Boneset).

The genus name, Triosteum, is derived from Greek words tri, meaning ‘three’ and osteon, meaning ‘bone’, which together means “three bones” and refers to the 3 hard nutlets in the fruit which have bony ridges. The species name, perfoliatum, is derived from the Latin meaning ‘through the leaf’. The fruit can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute.

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

While the upper leaves haven’t quite merged they do have neat buds…

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

Sessile clusters of 1-5 flowers emerge from the leaf axils. You can also see in the above photo that the stems are pubescent (hairy).

 

Triosteum perfoliatum (Perfoliate Tinker’s Weed) on 5-10-20.

The large leaves grow opposite one another and at a 90° angle from the previous set of leaves.

What is so weird is that I only found ONE of these. What is weirder, even though I know where I saw it, I could NOT find it again on May 23… This is NOT a small plant and you would think I could have found it. At least that is what I thought. I spent quite a while walking through the underbrush, up and down the hill, back and forth, starting over several times. Nothing…

Right next to this plant was a member of the Caryophyllaceae Family…

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-10-20.

While there are MANY wildflowers with long lance-shaped leaves, the Silene stellata, also known as Starry Campion and Widow’s Frill, is a little different. So, of course I had to take photos so I could make a proper ID.

 

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-10-20.

It has four sessile leaves per swollen node… Hmmm… That sounds awkward.

 

Silene stellata (Starry Campion) on 5-23-20.

I did find this plant again on the 23rd but not necessarily where I spotted it next to the Triosteum… There is A LOT of this species and they seemed to multiply before my eyes. Silene stellata is a perennial that populates by seed and also spreads at the base where it can send up multiple stems. I wanted to check on this species because it supposed to start flowering in May and continue through September. It will have really NEAT flowers. Unfortunately, no flowers yet… Did I mention the flowers will be really NEAT?

There are 883 species in the Silene genus found pretty much worldwide! Missouri Plants describes eight but I have only found one…

So, there I was tromping around in the woods, trying to remain upright, talking to myself or whoever would listen. No doubt there were a few gnomes and fairies watching over the woods. They are probably having some fun with me by moving plants so I can’t find them again. Maybe next time I will have to sit and meditate and ask for their help… Hmmm…

One other species I completely can’t find that are here by the hundreds is the Erythronium albidum (White Fawnlily). They are members of the same family as tulips and their leaves only grow to 6″ or so long. To find anything in the underbrush now it would have to be very tall, make a weird noise, slap me, or have flashing lights…

A group of such plants lit up to be noticed…

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

It never ceases to amaze me how many species are in some photos. There at least five in this photo but the flowers belong to Sisyrinchium angustifolium. Otherwise known as Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass or Stout Blue-Eyed Grass. The pronunciation of the scientific name is sis-ee-RINK-ee-um an-gus-tee-FOH-lee-um but I have opted to call it sissy-wrench-um. Kind of reminds me of Happy on the CBS series Scorpion. She doesn’t have blue eyes but she is the mechanical genus on the series. ANYWAY… There are many species with grass-like leaves on the planet that turn out to have some pretty interesting flowers.

 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium is actually a member of the Iridaceae (Iris) Family with 204 species. This species readily self-seeds and you can see a fruit in the above photo. Missouri Plants lists three species which are quite similar. You have to pay attention to detail like how many inflorescences are on the ariel stems and whether they are stalked or unstalked, whether they are branched or unbranched, and whether they are subtended by two or more spathelike bracts. Hmmm… These are things you don’t know when you make your first encounter which is why you need to go back and check sometimes.

 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrow-Leaved Blue-Eyed Grass) on 5-23-20.

I am fairly certain this species is Sissywrenchum agustafolium… WHOOPS! I mean Sisyrinchium angustifolium.

 

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-23-20.

After walking up the hill and through the woods and getting closer to the third creek that kind of goes around the west side (or maybe the north side). There are areas with mostly vegetation and not so much underbrush. I had to get a photo of this HUGE Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) growing among a vast colony of Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed). To say there is a lot of Virginia Jumpseed in these woods would be a complete understatement…

I have to laugh a little every time I see a Jumpseed because I am reminded of my first encounter of a single plant growing under the steps by the back porch. I thought that plant was so neat at the time now there are probably 20 or so. Then last year when I was doing the post trying to find a good Jumpseed photo… I wound up finding a HUGE colony in the trees north of the chicken house that I didn’t even know were there.

 

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 5-23-20.

After deciding to leave the woods, I crossed the fence kind of where the second and third creek merge. ANYWAY, this tree is next to the creek where it curves. I love moss so I had to take a photo. If you have ever tried to identify moss you will find it very complicated because there are so many species in multiple genera and several families that look so much alike. I noticed this moss was quite a bit different…

 

Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss) on 5-23-20.

The close-up came out pretty good and it looks more like a shrub than moss. I uploaded the photo on iNaturalist and it said it was pretty sure it is Hypnum cupressiforme (Cypress-Leaved Plait-Moss). It gave a few other suggestions but thank goodness they were not a match.

Before I end this post I did make another discovery…

Nothoscordum bivalve (False Garlic, Crowpoison) on 5-23-20, #703-14.

I first saw this species growing in the wooded area across the highway from this set of woods on May 3. I don’t know that much about Allium species, but what I do know about any species of wild onion and garlic is that they have an odor. I have several in my yard I let grow for the heck of it. These plants have NO smell whatsoever. FINALLY, I decided to Google “false Allium with no odor” and came up with Nothoscordum bivalve commonly known as Crowpoison or False Garlic. Some websites say these plants are poison others say there is no proof this plant is toxic. Legend has it that the Cherokee Indians used this plant to make a poison to kill crows feeding on their corn. I don’t think I will be eating it…

For the record, I deleted a HUGE paragraph then wrote another then another and deleted them as well. I was venting…  After writing and rewriting, let me just say onions, garlic, and their relatives, including Nothoscordum are currently in the Amaryllidaceae Family and not Liliaceae or Alliaceae.

While walking through the woods I see a lot of familiar plants and many species I have never bothered to identify. Some are quite common weeds. There are LOADS of a species of Ranunculus which I think are probably R. sceleratus (Cursed Crowfoot) and they are in many photos I have taken of other plants. I will not start writing about the Ranunculus species or this post will be much longer and I need to finish it.

So, I will close for now and will not say I will do a post exclusively for the many Ranunculus species on the farm or a few in the woods. I did that with the Persicaria last year and it took several months to get the post finished…

I am not sure how often I can revisit the woods during the summer as the underbrush will continue to get worse. The mosquitos will be very bad and I already noticed several HUGE swarms along the creek.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful.

13 comments on “Into The Wooly Woods

  1. What an interesting post!!!! My favorite is the Hypnum cupressiforme!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie says:

    Lovely cool green shady pictures. I like the plant with leaves going different ways alternating. Some interesting leaf structures. Like Diane I love the moss

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tonytomeo says:

    huge trees? They do not look like much. The mulberry trees looked bigger.

    Like

    • Hello Tony! Hmmmm… Obviously, the trees in the photos are not the big trees I was talking about. GEEZ! 🙂 BUT, the tree with the moss at the base is a big tree. I can post about some big trees if you want, but California probably has the record for that. SO, I don’t particularly want to get in a big tree contest with you. I still have not posted about the Pawpaw trees I found in “the other” woods… Take care and thaks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, at home, my shower was built inside the hollow trunk of one of the smaller redwood trees. An outhouse was built on top of another hollow trunk. I had planned on building a guest cabin inside one of the larger trunks. I sort of doubt there are such big trees there.
        What are the big trees there? I did not recognize the bark on the tree with mossy base.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very interesting your shower is inside a tree. 🙂 Our biggest trees are Oak, Sycamore, Shagbark and Bitternut Hickory, Catalpa, some Locust are very large, and a few others I don’t know. Some Mulberries like the one in the back of the farm also get pretty big. A lot of the larger oaks have fallen. It is weird, but I have a HUGE Birch tree of some kind north of the chicken house but most are not near that big. Some Box Elders are also fairly large. Some Cypress trees at the park have also gotten very big. When we have ice storms and trees get damaged on top it does something whacky to the trees and some of them, especially Oaks, fall within 10 years. I didn’t take a good look at the tree with the moss but maybe I will have a better look next time I visit the woods.

          Liked by 1 person

          • tonytomeo says:

            I remember some of these from Oklahoma, although not many were very big where we were at.
            There were some tall sycamores in the low spots. I remember them because I had never seen that species before. They are not as big as ours, but they were definitely sycamores. American sycamore might be one of the parents of the London plane. I never got a definitive explanation of that. Some say one parent is the American sycamore. Others say it is ‘an’ American sycamore, but not identify the species!
            The only oaks I remember growing wild in Oklahoma were just blackjack oaks. The only red oaks I saw were in landscapes rather than natives.
            Supposedly, the box elders are the same that live right outside here. Those that are here are deteriorating, as they do when they get older.
            Hickories were interesting. Besides the pecans, there were two species of hickory where we were at in Oklahoma. I believe one was pignut hickory, and the other was a Texas hickory, but I really do not know. They were fascinating because I had never seen them before. I do not believe that there where shagbark hickories there.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I always enjoy looking at your blog, Lonnie. When I read it I realize how little I know about the multitude of plants you write about. Keep writing, keep healthy, and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Helen! Thanks for your kind words. Someone can know a lot and still realize how little they know when walking in the woods. I will keep writing as long as I have something to write about. 🙂 You take care and keep healthy as well. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.