Cardinal Flower

Kudos to Alert Flowerophile Brian for leading me to this amazing sight, a flower to jolt the heart of any weary blossom-hunter. Quite big (about 4 feet tall) and showy, and only the second red flower I’ve recorded. On a little-used trail at Noanet. Flowers July through September. Likes to grow near streams, which is exactly where this one is. Pollinated mainly by hummingbirds because most insects aren’t big enough to manage the large tubular flowers. My book says it’s fairly common, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. Leaf teas brewed for medicinal use by indigenous tribes. Native. It was introduced to Europe in the 1620s. Campanula family.

Cardinal Flower, Scarlet Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis)

Fragrant Water Lily (2)

I posted a water lily photo previously, but they are only open in the morning, and this is the first time I’ve managed a morning shot. They are so gorgeous and exotic-looking, I wanted to include this one too.

Sessile-leaved Water Horehound

Growing by the water. A variety of bugleweed. The genus name Lycopus means wolf foot, and the plant is so named because some varieties have leaves that resemble a wolf’s foot print. (Seems unlikely!) This species has many historical medical uses, especially as a sedative. Sessile-leaved means the leaves are attached to the main stalk without any stem. Mint Family.

Sessile-leaved Water Horehound, Clasping Water Horehound (Lycopus amplectens)

True Forget-me-not

Grows in bogs and near water, blooms til first frost. Beautiful. Notice how the petals are not separate, but kind of pleated. Borage family. Native to Europe and Asia.

True Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides)

Flat-top Goldenrod

Growing at water’s edge at Longfellow and at the Needham Town Forest. Blooms late summer through fall. Aster Family. Native.

Flat-top Goldenrod, Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia)

Swamp Milkweed

I need enhanced macro power! Anyway, thanks to A.F. Donna for suggesting I check out Longfellow Pond. There are several new finds there. This is swamp milkweed—the flower clusters are not as spherical as common milkweed, and the color is brighter. Has specialized roots for swamp living. Attracts Monarch butterflies.

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Charles River Peninsula

Here are two HDR shots by A.F. Aaron, where I was only the art director (and HDR technician). The meadow at Charles River Peninsula — a shagbark hickory at the top of the hill and lots of bedstraw, madder, milkweed, clover and cypress spurge. And a snail on the bedstraw. It’s an Oxyloma retusa, a tiny land snail with some sort of topo map on its shell.

I took a walk here that was so fascinating, new things revealing themselves… and later read a blog entry at (July 13, 2012) that made a lot of sense to me: “Recently, I noticed a pattern among activities that people find fun: Go on a mission. There’s something about having a playful purpose, of trying to achieve something, that makes an activity more fun. For example, a friend told that she loved visiting flea markets and antique stores to look for old globes – not fancy ones, cheap ones. She has a rule that she’ll never pay more than $20. She’s the kind of person who loves poking around in those kinds of shops in any case, but having a mission makes it more fun, less aimless….. Taking photos is a common way to incorporate a mission into traveling. Not only does this help keep memories vivid, it also makes you more attuned to your environment while traveling.” Anyway. It’s funny how this project has transformed my perception of our walks — What will I find?!


One blooming at Charles River Peninsula, and one just getting started at Wilson. Furry little things. Was used by midwives to prevent uterine infection and for other pregnancy-related issues; that’s how it came to be called Motherwort. Mint family. Originally from Central Asia but widely distributed due to its medicinal uses.

Motherwort, Lion’s Ear, Lion’s Tail (Leonurus cardiaca)

Wild Basil

In a clearing at Noanet with asters and indigo. The dried leaves are milder than commercial basil. Looks a little like Self-heal, but on these, the top petal flips up, and in Self-heal that top petal flips downward. Mint family. Native.

Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare)