Wildflowers I Have Known

Garlic Mustard from our woods

After mowing our lawn today I needed to escape from the heat, so I took a stroll through the woods to see which of our wildflowers were blooming. I didn’t know what the garlic mustard was until I came back in the house and looked it up in one of my wildflower books (see the end of this post for the books), but there’s a ton of it. Apparently it’s an invasive plant from Europe, but it’s not doing any harm in our woods so I’m glad to see the pretty little white flowers.

May Apples, also blooming soon!

I knew to expect the May Apples because I had discovered them a couple years ago. They’re not blooming yet but I have a picture of their flowers from last year. Since the flowers hang beneath the big green umbrella of leaves, I pulled one out of the ground so I could get a better shot of the bloom.

Creamy white flower hidden under the big umbrella of leaves

I’ve read that later in the summer this flower turns into a yellow “apple” berry — I’ll have to make sure to look under the leaves in August this year. According to “The Secrets of Wildflowers” by Jack Sanders, these May Apples were highly prized by native Americans, who used them for insecticides. Sadly, sometimes they were also used to commit suicide (the plant is poisonous — which probably explains why it survives right beside one of our heavily-used deer paths).  May Apple extracts are also being used now in the treatment of various cancers because they can block the division of diseased cells — now that’s a valuable plant.

I also found a huge patch of Lillies of the Valley that I don’t remember seeing before — what a nice surprise (pictures below). I think I need to explore our woods more often; I wonder how many cool things I’ve been missing out there? Even though we only have 2 acres of woods, we’ve never been to the far side of our property because the woods are so hard to get through. One day a few years ago I planned to walk all the way back, but when a dog started barking on the outer edge of the woods I high-tailed* it back to the house. I guess I still have a bit of my childhood fear of dogs lurking around — I’d thought that was long gone.

*I rarely use the phrase “high-tailed it”, but when it came into my head just now I realized that it probably originated from the way deer raise their tails when they run away. (A quick bit of Googling seems to support that theory…) Interesting, huh?

Make sure to scroll down for the rest of the pictures!

Lily of the Valley, blooming soon!

Big patch of Lillies of the Valley!

Field Guide to Wildflowers - Eastern Region

I love this book's stories about wildflowers.

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2 Responses to Wildflowers I Have Known

  1. jack sanders says:

    Many thanks for the kind mention! But beware of that Garlic Mustard. It is a terrible invasive, and pushes out a lot of natives. =jack

    • Kim says:

      Hi Jack – Wow, I love it when I get a visit from an author! Your book is a pleasure to read, and has opened my eyes to the wildflowers I’d never even noticed before.

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