Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two Woodland Mystery Plants

On our little field trip into the ravine the other evening, I managed to get a few pictures of some wildflowers and a flowering shrub along our trail. I looked them up in my handy guide book, Alberta Wayside Wildflowers by Linda Kershaw and published by Lone Pine Publishing (2003).

Looking up the plants was kind of exciting as it was my first time using the book for reference rather than just browsing. It was also frustrating as there were two I couldn't positively identify (at least I think I positively ID'd the rest!).

Here are my best shots at identification:

Top: native viburnum (V.trilobum) This is a cheat, really, because I got the identity of this shrub compliments of the very helpful Gardening Zone 3b

Middle (L to R): L: Anemone canadensis (Canada Anemone); Centre: unknown (a prostrate plant almost flush to the ground on a steep, mossy, shaded outcrop); R: Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)

Bottom (L to R): L: Mertensia paniculata (Tall Bluebells) - notice the visitor in the bottom left blossom; R: unknown (the blossom looks kind of like the False Solomon's Seal and the leaves look like an Astilbe....hmmmm.

Any suggestions on the two mystery plants, savvy readers?

PS. I just have to add, I was at the Edmonton Horticultural Society meeting tonight where the guest speaker was the totally great Donna Balzer. Heard conversation between two cute white-haired gentlemen behind me:
First man: "I got six mls of rain so far - that's it!"
Second man: "A man could cry more than that!"

This is why I love gardeners -- they are all poets at heart!

Edit: I may have (at least partially!) solved the mystery of the plant in the bottom right. A look over at the excellent post on shade foliage by Northern Shade has given me the hint I needed. I think this mystery plant with the white bottlebrush flower may be a Cimicifuga simplex. I don't know if it would be a native species (I'm thinking not) or an escapee from someone's garden (more likely). Now if only I could figure out the plant in the middle with the yellow flower and most interesting leaves on spiny stems.

PPS: My guess above was wrong, Home Bug Garden solved the puzzle of the Bottom Right plant. See comments below for the answer. Many thanks to HBG!


Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Too funny about the conversation between the old men! :) -Jackie

The Garden Ms. S said...

Jackie: They were charming. And a sense of humour is, I think, necessary for a long-term gardener. :)

Gardenista said...

I always feel like I really learned something when I venture outdoors and am inspired to look something up. Good job at identifying the plants! We have most of those plants in my area too. Do you ever pick and eat/cook the V. trilobum berries? Some call them "highbush cranberries" and I've seen commercial syrups made out of them (not the best though, I'll admit).

The Garden Ms. S said...

Gardenista: I have never tried the berries, but would certainly be willing! Fruit syrups on pancakes make long winters so much more bearable... :)

GardenJoy4Me said...

You have me wondering about that yellow flowered plant now too ! It is a beauty and I hope you are able to ID it .. the flower itself has some what the same structure (to me) as a Double Bloodroot .. but in yellow : )
I love the conversation between the two old timers !

HomeBugGardener said...

Hi Garden Ms S:

The plant in the lower right with the divided leaves and raceme of white flowers is a baneberry, Actaea rubra. As you might guess from the name, the berries that may show up later are not good for you.

Here's a couple of good pictures of it:

I don't think I've ever seen the yellow flower, but it may be another Ranunculaceae. If the petals were glossy, then possibly a buttercup (Ranunculus).

The Garden Ms. S said...

GardenJoy: If I solve the yellow flower mystery I will post the solution :)

HBG: Thank you for the great information! I checked out the photos you linked and that is exactly the plant. The yellow one does look like it might be in the buttercup family.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Could the yellow flowered plant be a wild strawberry? It looks exactly like ones I have running around in the edges of my yard!

The Garden Ms. S said...

Jan: I think that is a good possibility as well. Particularly given the spiny stem and matte leaves combined with the prostrate form. I will be on the lookout for tiny stawberries later this season :)

miss m (InfG) said...

Hello Ms. S, I've stumbled upon your blog and am enjoying the read (very much). I'm always thrilled to find fellow Canadian gardeners in challenging zones.

In re to the middle plant (yellow flowers), my searches landed on: Chelidonium majus. A non-native, brought to North America by settlers as a herbal remedy for skin problems such as warts as early as 1672.

Google images don't all have the exact likeness but some do (except for hairy stems). What do you think ?

The Garden Ms. S said...

Miss M: Welcome to my blog!

I think you found the plant! I looked at the picture you linked to and that is exactly what the plant looked like. I really appreciate you taking the time to look this up. Thank you and please come back again :)