Summertime is the season of family vacations and road trips to see new sites and experience things out of our regular routine. Perhaps the newness and first time encounter makes the memories sweeter. Pictures help etch the memory for later retrieval. I am an observer of nature during these trips noticing the trees, animals (even road kill), and plants alongside the road. Today I want to share some the flowering wild plants dotting the wild areas off the pavement but still plainly visible showing off their colors and blossoms for all to see from the windshield or bravely photographed from a pull-off area.

queen anne's lace

Queen Anne’s Lace, (Daucus carota) is a common sight in fields and roadsides. It is a wild carrot in the parsley family. The orange carrot we grow and eat is a subspecies derived from this wild plant, native to Europe and Asia. Queen Anne’s Lace root is edible, best eaten when young as the root becomes woody as it ages. The many tiny, white flowers are clustered together making an umbrella shaped unit atop a stem up to three feet high. Pollinating insects are attracted to the nectar provided by the multi-flowered perennial.

bouncing bet

Bouncing Bet, C.Quish photo

Bouncing Bet, (Saponaria officinalis), is a perennial native to Europe and Asia, also, but has become naturalized here in the U.S. Sapo from the Latin name means soap, referring to its root used to cleanse. Rubbing the roots will result in a foaming action.

early golden rod

Early Golden Rod, C.Quish photo

Early Goldenrod, (Solidago juncea), is one of the many different species of native goldenrods in the Northeast. As its name states, it blooms early and is the about the first to shows it yellow-orange flowers. Goldenrods are incredibly attractive to many insect due to its heavy pollen and nectar production. Goldenrods take an uncalled for hit with allergy sufferers when people blame this brightly flowered plant for hay fever, when in fact; its pollen does not provoke or cause allergies. Some people are highly allergic to ragweed pollen which blooms at the same time, but with a fairly unnoticeable flower, so the showy goldenrod is blamed.

 

St. John’s Wort, (Hypericum perforatum), is a native perennial about 18 inches tall, with yellow flowers, five-petaled flowers with many noticeable stamens. Antidepressant medication is made from chemicals extracted from this plant. St. John’s Wort can be weedy as it reproduces from seed and spreads via rhizomes.

Fleabane 2

Fleabane, C.Quish photo

Fleabane

Fleabane, C.Quish photo

Fleabane, (Erigeron sp.), is the common name of many daisy flowered plants. The genus Erigeron has numerous species which are difficult to tell apart. There are annual, biennial and perennial ones. One thing they all have in common is the ability to repel fleas, hence the name. Previous generations ago folks dried the leaves for scattering in the living spaces.

squash beetle

Squash Beetle on Squash Leaf

squash beetle eggs and squash bug eggs

Squash Bug eggs(reddish) and Squash Beetle eggs(yellow) on the same leaf.

Upon returning home and to my vegetable garden neglected for a week, the yellow squash plants have new occupants trying to set up housekeeping. I found one squash beetle adult feeding on the leaves and her mass of yellow eggs on the underside of the leaf. I also found a group of brick colored eggs on the same leaf. These were of the squash bug. Both the beetle and egg masses were squashed, (pun intended)! If squishing insects and eggs are not to your liking, wrapping duct tape around your hand, sticky side out and patting the egg masses will easily remove them. Toss in the garbage when done.

cows 4

UConn Cows, working on the ice cream ingredients.

Once vacation is over, these beauties are another form easily spotted on my daily commute. I do notice them each day and they never cease to make me smile, just by their mere presence.

-Carol Quish