Category Archives: Wildflowers

Fall Flowers: Greater Fringed-gentian

Photo of Greater Fringed-gentian

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.)

Useful Plants: Common Soapwort

Photo of Common Soapwort

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.

Moths: Primrose Moth

Photo of Primrose Moth

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.

Photo of Primrose Moth