June 6, 2021
About a week ago I suited up in my various pieces of tick-proof gear and headed toward Wildflower Hill. Here’s some of what I saw on my perambulation.
1 Wildflower Hill is covered in dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis). I find these flowers beautiful and thought they were benign. Lynn Wohlers (bluebrightly.com) educated me. Alas, they are considered invasive across the U.S.
2 Dame’s rocket is often confused with phlox, which is in a different plant family. The visual give-away is that dame’s rocket blossoms have four petals, and phlox blossoms have five.
3 While the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says nothing about the invasive nature of the American native white water lily (Nymphaea odorata), other sites do. The problem can be serious in our western states. Do you wonder what those bits in the water and on the lily pads are? The white fluff is seeds from cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides), and the brown things are fruits of a nearby river birch (Betula nigra) at Island Pond. I’m happy to say that neither tree is considered invasive.
4 Water lilies, sedges, and willows—here along Rock Pond—have such different leaf forms. To the right of the water lilies is common spikerush (Eleocharis palustris), and above the sedge is either brittle willow (Salix fragilis) or black willow (Salix nigra), says my resident botanist. Let’s hope it is black willow; brittle willow is invasive.
5 Here’s a fuller view of the Rock Pond willows.
6 The Buttonbush Vernal Pool kept me for a long time. I just couldn’t tear myself away from the wind’s ripples on the water.