Starflower – 5/14/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/14/11 Observation Time: 2:05 p.m. Observation Location: Town conservation land near Beaver Brook Common Name: Starflower Scientific Name: Trientalis borealis Comments: This member of the primrose family likes moist woods. It blooms in May. Please do not dig up native wildflowers. They typically do not survive transplantation. More Information: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

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Wild Mustard – 5/12/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/12/11 Observation Time: 8:35 a.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road near soccer field parking lot Common Name: Wild mustard Scientific Name: Barbarea vulgaris Aiton Comments: Also called yellow rocket, or early winter cress, introduced from Eurasia. More Information: Wikipedia

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Bird’s Foot Violet – 5/12/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/12/11 Observation Time: 8:15 a.m. Observation Location: meadow near Gavins Pond dam Common Name: Bird’s Foot Violet Scientific Name: Viola pedata Comments: The leaves of this pretty wildflower are reminiscent of bird’s feet. Not a common violet locally, only one site in Blue Hills. Likes dry sandy soils; has also been spotted in woods north of Knollwood Cemetery in Sharon. More Information: US Wildflowers […]

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Hay-Scented Fern – 5/12/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/12/11 Observation Time: 6:55 a.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Common Name: Hay-scented Fern Scientific Name: Dennstaedtia punctilobula Comments: Hay-scented fern is very common in Sharon. It is often found growing in large colonies, forming a green carpet on the forest floor. It can be identified by its lacy, light-green fronds. It can be confused with New York fern, […]

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Tussock Sedge – 5/12/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/12/11 Observation Time: 6:50 a.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon boardwalk Common Name: Tussock Sedge Scientific Name: Carex stricta Comments: A clumping, upright sedge with narrow, yellowish green leaves. Reddish brown flowers bloom early summer. Prefers moist fertile soil but will tolerate dry or wet sites. More Information: North Creek Nurseries

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Yellow Toadflax – 10/3/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 10/3/10 Observation Time: 9:10 a.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road Common Name: Yellow Toadflax (a.k.a. Common Toadflax) Scientific Name: Linaria vulgaris Comments: Also known as butter and eggs plant or wild snapdragon, this invasive perennial weed from Eurasia thrives in poor soil where there is little competition from larger plants. More Information: Wikipedia

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Common Mullein – 7/11/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 7/11/10 Observation Time: 9:45 a.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road Common Name: Common Mullein Scientific Name: Verbascum thapsus Comments: Mullein is widely used for herbal remedies, with well-established emollient and astringent properties. Mullein remedies are especially recommended for coughs and related problems, but also used in topical applications against a variety of skin problems. The plant has also been used to […]

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Chicory – 7/7/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 7/7/10 Observation Time: 7:05 a.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road near soccer fields Common Name: Chicory Scientific Name: Cichorium intybus Comments: A perennial herb with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers, chicory grows as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia, where it has become naturalized. Common chicory is also known as […]

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Spotted Knapweed – 6/27/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 6/27/10 Observation Time: 8:15 p.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road-soccer parking area Common Name: Spotted knapweed Scientific Name: Centaurea maculosa Comments: Knapweed is a pioneer species found in recently disturbed sites or openings. Once it has been established at a disturbed site, it continues to spread into the surrounding habitat. This species outcompetes natives through at least three methods: A tap […]

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American Chestnut tree – 6/24/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 6/24/10 Observation Time: 3:45 p.m. Observation Location: Beaver Brook near tennis courts Common Name: American Chestnut Tree Scientific Name: Castanea dentata Comments: The term “dentata” in the scientific name refers to the “teeth” around the edges of the leaves. American chestnut trees were decimated by chestnut blight. Remnant root systems continue to send up shoots such as those shown in […]

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Princess Pine – 6/24/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 6/24/10 Observation Time: 3:40 p.m. Observation Location: Beaver Brook near tennis courts Common Name: Princess pine Scientific Name: Dendrolycopodium obscurum Comments: Despite its name and pine-like appearance, princess pine is not related to pine trees. It’s actually a type of clubmoss, an ancient group of plants that had its heyday long before there were pines, dinosaurs, or flowering plants. Also known […]

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Skunk Cabbage – 6/24/10

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 […]

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Red Clover – 6/4/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 6/4/10 Observation Time: 12:10 p.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road soccer field parking lot Common Name: Red clover Scientific Name: Trifolium pratense Comments: It is widely grown as a fodder crop, valued for its nitrogen fixation, which increases soil fertility. For these reasons, it is used as a green manure crop. More Information: Wikipedia

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Iris (Harlequin Blueflag) – 5/30/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/30/10 Observation Time: 4:10 p.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Common Name: Iris (harlequin blueflag) Scientific Name: Iris versicolor Comments: The species has been implicated in several poisoning cases of humans and animals who consumed the rhizomes, which have been found to contain a glycoside, iridin. The sap can cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals. More Information: The Flower […]

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Violet toothed polypore – 5/30/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 5/30/10 Observation Time: 4:00 p.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Common Name: Violet toothed polypore Scientific Name: Trichaptum biforme Comments: Tree fungus growing on a dead tree. The specimens in this photo are past their prime. Younger specimens exhibit a violet fringe that gives this fungus its name. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/ophis/3067412819/ More Information: InsectImages

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British Soldier Lichen – 12/4/09

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 12/4/09 Observation Time: 3:30 p.m. Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road opposite soccer fields Common Name: British Soldier Lichen Scientific Name: Cladonia cristatella More Information: Backyard Nature: Lichen Compare the British soldier lichen to the pink earth lichen below. These photos were taken at about the same time, and in the same area.  

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Pink Earth lichen – 9/12/09

Observer: Paul Lauenstein Observation Date: 9/12/09 Observation Time: 11:00 a.m. Observation Location: near Gavins Pond Common Name: Pink Earth lichen Scientific Name: Dibaeis baeomyces More Information: Lichens of North America

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Milkweed – 10/17/08

Observer: Peter Higgins Observation Date: 10/17/08 Observation Time: 5:00 p.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (Trustees of Reservations) Common Name: Milkweed Scientific Name: Asclepias syriaca Comments: Milkweed is an important food source for butterflies, moths and other insect species. It has been decimated by the application of glyphosate herbicide (a.k.a. Roundup) on vast fields of corn and soybeans that have been genetically modified to tolerate […]

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Blue Flag Iris – 6/08/08

Observer: Peter Higgins Observation Date: 06/08/08 Observation Time: 6:55 a.m. Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Common Name: Blue Flag Iris Scientific Name: Iris versicolor Comments: This beautiful group of wild blue flag iris was growing in the field near the boardwalk. More Information: LakeForest.edu

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Autumn Olive – 11/6/06

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 […]

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