I went to France

DSC_0332I didn’t make a study of their wildflowers, but I had to notice this one!  I can’t figure out what it is, maybe a kind of lavender?

French produce market

And on another botanical note, I can tell you that in the small town open-air markets and on the sidewalks of Paris, they have splendid produce stands. They look beautiful and everything seems to be perfectly ripe and ready to eat.


And I can tell you they love wisteria. And lilacs.

Also, we visited the chateau where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life, and here is one of his drawings… we can recognize that he was out in the yard drawing the violets… peonies or roses? fuschia?

Da Vinci flowers

Common Strawberry


Our current sort of strawberries were first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s, a cross of Fragaria virginiana (the wild kind pictured here) from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714.

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

Yellow Rocket


Member of the Mustard family. Blooms all summer. “Historically” used to make a medicinal tea. Several moth and butterfly varieties lay eggs on them. Native to Eurasia.

Common Winter Cress, Yellow Rocket, Bittercress, Wound Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris)

Celandine Poppy, Wood Poppy

Celandine poppies Celandine foliageThey are wild and native to eastern and midwest North America. Poppies produce latex, and in Celandine Poppies, it’s a bright yellow sap that was used as a dye by Native Americans.

Wood Poppy, Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

Bird’s-eye Speedwell


There are several similar-looking kinds of Speedwell. This kind has flowers on long stalks instead of stalkless in the axils. In Italian it’s known as “gli occhi della Madonna,” which means “the eyes of the Virgin Mary.” Native to Europe. Photo: May 8, 2013.

Bird’s-eye Speedwell, Persian Speedwell (Veronica persica)

Violet varieties

Freckles violetYellow violetRed-eye violet

Varieties of violet originally from Dr. Whiteside’s garden in Charleston, Illinois, now growing in my yard. Freckles, Common Yellow Violet, and Red-eye. Little masterpieces.

Freckles Violet (Viola sororia)

Common Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens eriocarpa)


Jack in the PulpitThe first Jack in the Pulpit of the season, a very dramatic black and green striped and slightly ruffled one! Some folklore from Wikipedia: “One account from the Meskwaki Indians states that they used it to determine the fate of the sick by dropping a seed in a cup of stirred water; If the seed went around four times clockwise, the patient would recover, if it went around less than four times they would not.” Native. Photo: May 3, 2013.

Jack in the Pulpit, Indian Turnip (Arisaema triphyllum)

Dwarf Ginseng

DSC_0024This is not the ginseng used in herbal medicine but it’s the same family (Ginseng). Native. They bloom for about three weeks in mid to late spring. Has yellowish clustered berries in July to August. US Forest Service: Native Americans “used tea of the whole plant for colic, indigestion, gout, hepatitis, shortness of breath, fainting, and nervous debility. Its distinctive tubers can be eaten raw or boiled.”

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Sessile Bellwort

Sessile Bellwort

Sessile means sitting or resting on the surface —  these have sessile leaves, which means the leaf comes directly out of the main stem, but the leaf itself has no stem of its own. Lily family. Native. Photo taken May 3, 2013.

Sessile Bellwort, Wild Oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Wood anemone

Wood AnemoneThese are common in the local woods, can cover large areas. They grow from rhizomes. Buttercup family. Poisonous. Native. Photo: May 2, 2013.

Wood Anemone, Windflower, Nightcaps (Anemone quinquefolia)