Related to Chickweed — the same deeply divided petals (this is five petals divided to look like ten). So many plants are called worts… wort is from Old English “wyrt” meaning root or herb. It often was used to name plants that had medicinal uses, and the first part of the word was the problem it could cure, like for instance, spiderwort to treat spider bites. Was this good for curing stitches? I can only find that some varieties are edible…
Common Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)
One of my favorites because of its excellent name and color, and because mere ovoid petals weren’t enough, they needed that little barb on the ends. There are several varieties of blue-eyed grass—Stout is often pale blue like this. Native perennial. Iris family.
Stout Blue-eyed Grass (sisyrinchium angustifolium)
Another one that resembles Blackberry, but it’s a prickly creeping vine instead of a bramble of arching canes. It has a black fruit, large and sweet! Rose family.
Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris)
Looking at plants that resemble each other… This Common Blackberry looks a lot like the multiflora rose (previous post), but without the yellow stamens. I’ve read that blackberries were found in the stomach of a body found preserved in a Danish bog (Haraldskaer Woman), dated to 490 BC. So people have been eating them for thousands of years. Native. Rose family. (June 4)
Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
Thorny climbing shrub. Can be white or pink. introduced to the eastern U.S. in 1866 as rootstock for ornamental roses. Native to eastern Asia. (Photo June 4.)
Multiflora Rose, Seven-Sisters Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Each flower lives only one day, but each plant produces 20 or more flowers per stem. The sap has a viscous quality and can be stretched between your fingers like a thread of spider silk. The stems, leaves and flowers are edible, raw or added to stew. The flowers can garnish your salad!The Lakota made a blue paint from the flowers and a poultice for insect bites and stings from the crushed leaves.
(The spiderwort genus is named after John Tradescant, who was a gardener for King Charles I of England (1600-1649). His son brought spiderwort seeds or plants from Virginia to England in 1637. It became a popular exotic plant. Native. (Photo June 4.)
Spiderwort, Cow Slobber, Widow’s Tears, Trinity Flower, Indian Paint (Tradescantia virginiana)
This is a dramatic, rare wildflower I admired in the garden of Dr. Wesley Whiteside, and he gave me some! Can grow to 2.5 feet tall. The flowering stalk is leafless and has a single flower, which is a sort of green hood (spathe) and a long spadix extending out like a dragon’s tongue. (In this photo, you can see 3 of the “blossoms.”) Will have berries later in the summer. Closely related to Jack-in-the-Pulpit, but more rare. The foliage is very toxic, so deer leave it alone, but many birds like the berries. (Although something ate all the leaves off the tops of two of mine!)
Also, many wildflowers are noted as preferring disturbed areas —this is the only one about which I’ve read “the presence of this species is an indication that the original woodland flora is still intact.” (illinoiswildflowers.com) Native perennial. (Photo taken June 5.)
Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium)
Another cinquefoil, but distinctive because the blossoms are paler and larger than the others. Also it’s the tallest (1 to 2 feet tall). Heart-shaped petals. 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets on each palmate leaf. Native to Europe and Asia. Rose family. Photo: June 4, 2013.
Rough-fruited Cinquefoil, Sulfur Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)
Okay, this cinquefoil is similar to the previous one, but each leaf has three leaflets instead of five. Also it’s non-trailing and has a fuller fancier flower with green calyx lobes showing between the petals. What makes it “rough”? Perhaps the hairy stems. Rose family. Photo: May 28, 2013.
Rough Cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)
Maybe we should do a comparison of all the little yellow flowers out there, to help keep them straight! They’re all different! This is a trailing vine, kind of like a wild strawberry plant. It has compound leaves with 5 toothed leaflets — cinquefoil is an anglicized version of cinq feuilles (French for five leaves). It has 5 petals on the blossom. The blossom grows on a long stalk from the axil. Rose family. Photo: May 27, 2013.
Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)