Water Hemlock


One of North America’s most poisonous plants, and it’s growing right on the corner by our house. You don’t even have to ingest it; it’s poisonous to taste. Many recorded deaths of people, and apparently it kills a lot of grazing livestock. Can grow to 8 feet tall. Parsley  family. Native.

Water Hemlock, Cowbane, Poison Parsnip (Cicuta maculata)

Great Blue Heron

I happened to take Lucy for an early walk and lo, there was a big heron on the other side of the pond. It looked very slate blue. This is about one minute from our house… I feel lucky to live here and see this!

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Yellow Pond Lily

A rooted plant with floating leaves. In early spring the leaves are light green and below the surface, but by late spring they float on the water, and in summer, they often stand above the water. They have long horizontal roots in the lake’s sediments. The roots can be up to 6 inches in diameter and several feet long. The flower gives off a strong brandy-like odor that attracts insects.

Many cultures ate the roots cooked or dried and ground into flour for baking. The seeds were ground or popped like popcorn. The leaves and roots were used for dyeing and tanning. Leaves used to stop bleeding! and the roots as a pain remedy. Seeds are eaten by birds, and muskrats and beaver eat the roots. Native.

Yellow Pond Lily, Spatterdock, Cow Lily, Bullhead Lily (Nuphar lutea)

Bonus picture: other denizens of the pond.

Multiflora Rose

Was introduced to the eastern U.S. in 1866 as rootstock for ornamental roses. Then was widely used as living fences, for erosion control, etc. til it became considered a pest in natural ecosystems. Hm. Designated a noxious weed in several states. The fruits (hips) are eaten by many kinds of birds. Beautiful.

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)

Canada Mayflower

The little leaves for these just stand vertically right out of the ground and have been up for quite a while. Now at last they’re blooming. (I notice it’s also called Two-leaved Solomonseal — another Solomonseal to confuse us.)

Canada Mayflower ((Maianthemum canadense)

Bluets (Quaker Ladies)

At Centennial, I saw only one single bloom of this, but down the street by Walker Pond, there is quite a colony. They’re beautiful — the color so subtle. Cannot find why they are called Quaker Ladies!

Bluets, Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea)