Most of what you hear about dandelions, especially on television, is “How do I kill those weeds in my yard.” But instead of thinking of it as “that weed, the dandelion,” maybe you should think of it as “Taraxacum officinale, king of the backyard wildflowers.” Take a closer look.
For those who were hoping for, as Ed Sullivan would have put it, “A Really Big Shew,” the time has passed in 2009. However, that is relative to The Pocket, and the abundance of wildflowers still exceed what you’ll find in many areas. While the dominant flower along the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail seems to be Sweet Cicely right now, a species that isn’t exactly ‘showy,’ several of the “signature species” could still be found on Saturday, 4/25.
I kneeled down next to this toadshade to inspect another wildflower, and noticed this wasp on its nest dangling from beneath the plant’s leaves. Photo taken about two weeks ago in The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain.
If you’ll recall something I said in a previous article, you’ll be able to guess that the above flower is a member of the Aster family. Most folks have seen fleabane along roadsides and in fields. This small, daisy-like flower is very common, spread throughout Canada and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. This photo is of Philadelphia fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus, growing on our lot in northwest Georgia.
Cindy and I headed down to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain around 4:30 Friday afternoon. I knew the light would be failing on the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail soon after we arrived, but I was committed for Saturday, and wanted to make sure I was able to make a weekly report on the wildflower status during the spring season. If you’re into watching the seed-formation process, this is a good time for you. There is still an abundance of wildflowers in The Pocket, making a trip absolutely worthwhile, but of the “signature flowers,” Virginia bluebell and wood poppy are past blooming or almost so, and the bent trillium is abundant but in decline. The dominant species in the boardwalk area is probably the wild hyacinth, with the wild geranium still providing a pink splash around much of the trail.
This is a picture of Violet Wood Sorrel leaves. The leaves are as lovely to me as the flower itself.
Wood Sorrel is a common wildflower, with the USDA Plants Database listing 36 varieties in the United States, with 7 species listed in Georgia. Of those, only 2 species are confirmed in Walker County. One of those is Violet Wood Sorrel – Oxalis violacea. (The other is Oxalis dillenii, Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel.)
This lovely flower is Two-flower Cynthia, a member of the Aster family. If you see a rayed flower and don’t know what it is, guess “Aster.” There are 1104 varieties of this family listed in the USDA Plants Database. This one was photographed in May of 2008 in Grundy County, Tennessee.
When I saw this flower I initially thought “wild strawberry” – Fragaria virginiana. But when I went for confirmation, I started to notice some anomalies in that ID. I’d like some assistance from anyone who might be able to help.
I liked this Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) peeking over a moss-covered log along the southern end of the Estelle-Pocket trail this past Saturday, 04/11/2009. This trail has a delightful variety of wildflowers along the short section – about a mile – that I’ve walked so far. Stopping to photograph those flowers is the reason I haven’t been able to hike more of it.
By the way, “Photo of the Day” doesn’t imply that I’m going to start posting a photo every day. Folks that know me know better than to expect any consistency in an effort like that.
To avoid crowds like those that were on the Shirley Miller Trail at The Pocket on Pigeon Mountain last week, I headed down there early Saturday morning, arriving at the parking area shortly after 8 AM. The sky was overcast, but the wind was low – a good situation for wildflower photography. My first stop was the dogwood tree beside the parking area.
Due to rain and obligations, it had been 9 days since I’d been down to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain. Today was the Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church’s Keen-agers’ annual (I think) wildflower hike at The Pocket, so at 10 AM I joined the other folks in my age group at the church, and soon we headed on down to Pigeon Mountain. I returned from the hike with 381 photographs; two of them with people in them. After an initial run through the photographs, I’ve deleted about 150 of them; both photos of people remain.