Tag Archive | Nature Story

Saving Wild Orchids

Saving Wild Orchids

Out in eastern Long Island, New York, one summer’s day a colleague and I visited a bog surrounded by dunes to determine the health of the habitat. As we approached the area we noticed pinkish/purple flowers growing throughout the bog amongst bulrushes, sedges and wild grasses. At the fen, we discovered the flowers were part […]

Helping an Endangered Orchid

Helping an Endangered Orchid

When I worked for state parks in New York on Long Island, one of my responsibilities was to monitor the populations of rare plants. I do not recall what year it was, but it was in the 1990’s when we had a very dry summer. In July of that year, I happened across the crested […]

Wild Orchids Part 1

Wild Orchids Part 1

When you think of orchids, large showy blossoms of various colors seen in plant centers is what comes to mind to many people. But the wild orchids of the northeastern U.S. are smaller and tend to be a single color. Summer in the north is the time of year to find various species of wild […]

The Soap Bush!

The Soap Bush!

When I worked in state parks in New York, I frequently conducted guided tours of parklands to school, scouts and the general public. One of the shrubs I featured in the early summer was sweet pepperbush when this plant bloomed. I tore off a flower and demonstrated how it became an abrasive soap to wash […]

The Fragrant Berry

The Fragrant Berry

When I grew up on Long Island and visited the sea shore, I always enjoyed the fragrance of the native northern bayberry. Breaking off a leaf and crushing it in your fingers releases the bayberry scent often used in candles today. Later in the summer, the flowers turn into fruit that are green at first, […]

The Clever Wildflower

This wildflower deceives tiny gnats into thinking it is a fungus to trick the insects to pollinate it. Fungus gnats seek mushrooms to lay eggs so the larvae have a food source. Jack-in-the-pulpit gives off a faint mushroom-like odor that attracts the gnats. These insects land in the spathe shaped male blossom where they become […]

Plums by the Beach

My favorite shrub of beach environments is the beach plum. I always look forward to its prolific blooms of five-petaled white flowers in the spring. Once pollinated by bees and other pollinators, it produces lots of fruit that are green at first, but by the end of the summer the fruit ripen into a deep-purple […]