Sightings – Other Plants

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 11/6/06

Observation Time: 2:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Autumn Olive

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus umbellata

Comments: Autumn-olive is a hardy, prolific shrub that thrives in a variety of conditions, in part because it is capable of fixing nitrogen. Some varieties can produce up to 80 pounds (37 kilos) of bright red edible berries in a season, which ripen in October and give the plant its common name. Introduced from Japan in 1830 and widely planted in the 1940s to revegetate disturbed habitats, it is now invasive in many parts of North America. Birds (especially starlings) and mammals relish its copious fruits and spread it far and wide.

Having a sweet and tart flavor when ripe, the berries can be eaten fresh or processed for jam, condiments, or fruit leather. When mature, the red berries contain carotenoids, including considerable amounts of lycopene, a substance also found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, and rosehip.

More Information: Go Botany and Wikipedia

 

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/23/18

Observation Time: 9:10 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Autumn Olive

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus umbellata

Comments: Autumn-olive is a hardy, prolific shrub that thrives in a variety of conditions, in part because it is capable of fixing nitrogen. Some varieties can produce up to 80 pounds (37 kilos) of bright red edible berries in a season, which ripen in October and give the plant its common name. Introduced from Japan in 1830 and widely planted in the 1940s to revegetate disturbed habitats, it is now invasive in many parts of North America. Birds (especially starlings) and mammals relish its copious fruits and spread it far and wide.

Having a sweet and tart flavor when ripe, the berries can be eaten fresh or processed for jam, condiments, or fruit leather. When mature, the red berries contain carotenoids, including considerable amounts of lycopene, a substance also found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, and rosehip.

More Information: Go Botany and Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/29/11

Observation Time: 11:35 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Blueberry

Scientific Name: Vaccinium

Comments: These unripe blueberries were growing in sandy soil in the vicinity of Gavins Pond near a bluebird nesting box. The baby bluebirds will probably fledge around the time the berries ripen.

More Information: Mother Earth News

Blueberry

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/28/10

Observation Time: 2:00 p.m.

Observation Location: 154 Wolomolopoag St.

Common Name: Dewberry

Scientific Name: Rubrus species

Comments: Not sure if this is Rubrus flagellaris the northern dewberry, or some other Rubrus species such as Rubrus hispidus, the swamp dewberry.

More Information: Dewberries and Brambles: University of Massachusetts

Dewberry

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/11/15

Observation Time: 1:36 p.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Groundnut

Scientific Name: Apios americana

Comments: Apios americana is found in every state east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a perennial vine that grows to 10 feet long in wet areas – marshy meadows and thickets, stream and pond banks, and moist woodlands. Both the tuber and the seeds are edible. Apios americana was a noteworthy food of both native Americans as well as early colonists of New England. It is a good source of carbohydrates and protein.

More Information: Wildflowers of the United States

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/30/10

Observation Time: 4:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Highbush blueberry

Scientific Name: Vaccinium corymbosum

Comments: The northern highbush blueberry, is a North American species of blueberry which has become a food crop of significant economic importance. It is native to eastern Canada and the eastern and southern United States, from Ontario east to Nova Scotia and south as far as Florida and eastern Texas.

More Information: Highbush Blueberry

Highbush Blueberry

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/22/18

Observation Time: 10:55 a.m.

Observation Location: Town-owned conservation land near Sandy Ridge Circle

Common Name: Honeysuckle

Scientific Name: Lonicera spp.

Comments: Bush honeysuckles are invasive deciduous shrubs that grow up to 20 feet tall. There are three species of bush honeysuckle common in the region including tartarian (Lonicera tatarica), Morrow’s (Lonicera morrowii), and Amur (Lonicera maackii). All species are similar in appearance, with simple, opposite, oval-shaped leaves. Honeysuckles bloom in May and June, producing fragrant white or pink flowers. Berries are round, fleshy and red. The center of twigs on invasive bush honeysuckles are hollow, a trait that distinguishes the invasive species from their native look-alikes.

More Information: Adirondack Park Invasive Plants

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/14/09

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm, Trustees of Reservations land

Common Name: Indian Pipe

Scientific Name: Monotropa uniflora

Comments: Indian pipe, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe) or corpse plant, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of European Russia, Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. It is generally rare in occurrence.

Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. It is often associated with beech trees. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.

More Information: Wikipedia

Indian Pipe

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/26/10

Observation Time: 3:20 p.m.

Observation Location: headwaters of Beaver Brook

Common Name: Indian Pipe

Scientific Name: Monotropa uniflora

Comments: Indian pipe, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe) or corpse plant, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of European Russia, Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. It is generally rare in occurrence.

Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. It is often associated with beech trees. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.

More Information: Wikipedia

Indian Pipe

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 10/7/10

Observation Time: 3:15 p.m.

Observation Location: end of Lee Road

Common Name: Japanese Barberry

Scientific Name: Berberis thunbergii

Comments: This specimen was a few yards beyond the end of Lee Road near the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp drainage ditch. Japanese barberry is often planted for hedges, and easily spreads to natural areas, as this specimen evidently did.

“In recent years the plant has been recognized as an invasive species in parts of the eastern United States; it is avoided by deer and has been replacing native species. Further, the plant raises the pH of the soil and affects its nitrogen levels. In Canada its cultivation is prohibited as the species can act as a host for Puccinia graminis (black rust), a rust disease of wheat. Currently there are breeding and selection programs aimed at producing cultivars that are either sterile or produce relatively little seed.” Wikipedia

More Information: Wikipedia

Japanese Barberry

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/26/10

Observation Time: 5:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook headwaters area

Common Name: Partridgeberry

Scientific Name: Mitchella repens

Comments: Called “noon kie oo nah yeah” in the Mohawk language.

More Information: US Forest Service

Partridgeberry

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/23/18

Observation Time: 9:35 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Poison Ivy

Scientific Name: Toxicodendron radicans

Comments: Everyone should learn to identify poison ivy and avoid contact with its glossy, notched leaves. As both its common name and its scientific name suggest, the triplicate leaves of this plant can cause an intensely itchy rash that lasts for weeks. Jewelweed, which often grows near poison ivy, is also an antidote for poison ivy.

Poison ivy is often seen in disturbed areas along roads and paths, but it can also climb up trees as a thick vine. When ripe, the white fruits are a favorite food of many migrant and game birds, as well as white-tailed deer. The seeds are adapted for sprouting after digestion softens the seed coat.

More Information: Go Botany

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/29/14

Observation Time: 11:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Purple pitcherplant

Scientific Name: Sarracenia purpurea

Comments: This carnivorous plant captures and digests hapless insects.

More Information: Harvard Forest

Purple Pitcherplant

Purple Pitcherplant

Purple Pitcherplant

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/24/10

Observation Time: 3:40 p.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook near tennis courts

Common Name: Skunk cabbage

Scientific Name: Symplocarpus foetidus

Comments: Tearing a leaf produces a pungent but not harmful odor, the source of the plant’s common name; it is also foul smelling when it blooms. The plant is not poisonous to the touch. The foul odor attracts pollinators, such as scavenging flies, stoneflies, and bees. The odor in the leaves may also serve to discourage large animals from disturbing or damaging this plant which grows in soft wetland soils.

Eastern skunk cabbage is notable for its ability to generate temperatures of up to 15–35 °C (27–63 °F) above air temperature by cyanide resistant cellular respiration in order to melt its way through frozen ground, placing it among a small group of thermogenic plants. Even though it flowers while there is still snow and ice on the ground, it is successfully pollinated by early insects that also emerge at this time. Carrion-feeding insects that are attracted by the scent may be doubly encouraged to enter the spathe because it is warmer than the surrounding air, fueling pollination.

Eastern skunk cabbage has contractile roots which contract after growing into the earth. This pulls the stem of the plant deeper into the mud, so that the plant in effect grows downward, not upward. Each year, the plant grows deeper into the earth, so that older plants are practically impossible to dig up. They reproduce by hard, pea-sized seeds which fall in the mud and are carried away by animals or by floods.

More Information: Wikipedia

Skunk Cabbage

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/25/10

Observation Time: 11:10 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Staghorn Sumac

Scientific Name: Rhus typhina

Comments: Staghorn sumac grows in gardens, lawns, the edges of forests, and wasteland. It can grow under a wide array of conditions, but is most often found in dry and poor soil on which other plants cannot survive. Some landscapers remove all but the top branches to create a “crown” effect in order to resemble a small palm tree.

More Information: Wikipedia

Staghorn Sumac

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/23/10

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Sweetfern

Scientific Name: Comptonia peregrina

Comments: Sweetfern leaves are very aromatic. Edible fruit ripens in July and August. Sweetfern partners with actinomycete fungus that live in its root nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen, so it can flourish in infertile soil. The soil in the area near Gavins Pond is relatively infertile because fill for the nearby Highway I-95 was taken from this area. It appears on some maps as “Sand Pits.”

The common name, sweetfern, is confusing, as it is not a fern. It is a deciduous shrub, growing to a maximum of five feet tall.

More Information: Wikipedia

Sweetfern

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/7/18

Observation Time: 12:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Wild Onion or Crow Garlic

Scientific Name: Allium vineale 

Comments: Instead of flowers, they have bulbils, which are miniature sprouts not unlike garlic cloves.

More Information: Wikipedia or GoBotany