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Tuesday, June 13, 2017





Tuesday, 9:15 AM.  62 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch; seldom are both the same reading,  Wind NE, mostly calm with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 68%.  The barometer is steady for now, at 30.00".  Today's high temperatures will be around 60, then will rise to the mid-seventies tomorrow, with a falling barometer, mixed skies and chances of rain for the balance of the week;  but, this is a very fine morning.
   False Solomon's seal is blooming.  My recorded blooming dates are: 6/09/16; 5/27/15; 6/14/14; 6/20/13; 6/05/12; 6/11/11; 5/26/10; 6/17/09; 6/07/08.  First bloom can vary by at least several weeks, depending upon whether it is an early or late spring.
   False Solomon's seal, Smilacina racemosa, in the Lily Family, is a widespread plant native to every state in the US except Hawaii.  Its creamy white flowers are, as the species name implies, borne in terminal racemes (they have a rather pungent, earthy odor), and are followed by edible berries that turn from a spotted orange to bright red when fully ripe in September.  The berries have a rather pleasant taste and I think would make good preserves (seems to me I had some a few years back), and for the first time I found plants  last year in great enough numbers in a large colony that it would be feasible to do so (I have eaten them with no ill effect, but don't you  do so without further investigation). Bears like them as well.   En mass they are nearly as beautiful and effective as a woods full of trillium.  This patch is located in the woods at the top of Old Military Road.
   The true Solomon's seals,  several species in the genus Polygonatum,  have flowers and berries in pairs along the stem at each leaf node.
   I walk up Old Military Road several mornings each week.  The  colony of false Solomon's seal is at least a quarter of an acre in size, and I never noticed it until last spring.  It is amazing the things we often don't see in our own back yard, and how rich our every day environment really is, if we only open our eyes.

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