Birding for Botany May 20, 2007
The OOS Conference was held in Mohican State Park and Forest this year, and it was a riot! Great birds and great birders convened for one goal- and then there is me, :) a not so great birder, thrilled to have any opportunity to be in the woods. I ruined a couple of perfectly good birders by teaching them the "proper" use of a pair of binocs: using them end-for-end as a magnifying lens. What do you expect from a weed-picker like me?
One of my favorite spring flowers is just starting to bloom along the covered bridge trails. It can be found flowering in pale violet or white forms, and occasionally a pinkish form as well. I thought this one looked exceptionally dark, perhaps they fade as they age. These plants are named for the mottled spots on many of the more juvenile leaves. They look like water-spots or water-marks.
VIrginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum puts on a beautiful display of clustered, bell-like flowers. They are in the family Hydrophyllaceae which also includes the Phacelias. A second type of waterleaf, the Broad-leafed water leaf is also found along these same trails. It blooms a little later and it leaves are very reminiscent of a maple leaf. Be sure to watch for both varieties.