During a plant walk I led with Jenny as part of the Maine Primitive Gathering, our group came upon this late-blooming beauty known as Greater Fringed-gentian (Gentianopsis crinita). We were struck by the details of this wildflower: green flower buds with four neat creases, the twisted forms of the unfurling pale-blue flowers, the eyelash-edged petals of the open blossoms.
That night, I found a poem by William Cullen Bryant written in 1832 called To the Fringed Gentian, part of which I shared with participants of the following day's plant walk and which you can read in its entirety at the Poetry Foundation. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)
A perennial plant native to Europe, Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) now grows nearly throughout North America as a cultivated plant or garden escapee. Common Soapwort has smooth stems and leaves that are oppositely arranged, with entire margins and a few prominent, parallel ribs. The five-petaled, pink-to-white flowers are clustered near the tops of the plants.* The roots and flowering stems of Common Soapwort can be crushed and mixed with water to produce an effective wild soap. Visit Go Botany for more photos of this plant. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)
Note: Double-petaled (i.e., ten-petaled) varieties also occur.
Dawn (who blogs at Things with Wings) has planted a number of search images in my mind over the years, including several this summer of the Primrose Moth (Schinia florida). More than once she's reported finding these pink winged-ones on the (edible) flowers of Common Evening-primrose, where they often rest during the day. Last week, while on a walk in Falmouth, Maine, I scanned a few plants and noticed this moth attempting to go unseen. Thanks, Dawn, for widening my awareness, and perhaps, reader, this post will help to widen yours.
Northern Blazing Star (Liatris novae-angliae) often grows in grassland habitats that are kept open through the use of fire. One well-known public site to view them is the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. Every August and September, this disturbance-adapted species blooms here abundantly. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)
"Slow down and smell the roses especially when you think you are busy. Stop and look at something beautiful. Just admire the beauty in what you are seeing. Then go on your way. Stop again and admire the next piece you see. Just simple admiration."
--Ray Reitze, And We Shall Cast Rainbows Upon the Land (2004), p. 86
Photo caption: This is not a Rose, but rather Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).