nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘hedge

identifying an unknown plant

with 2 comments

This is NOT a how to identify a plant post. If anything, it is a how not to identify a plant post.

It started with a plant I saw on one of our ‘field trips.’ In my own defense, I had never seen this plant before.

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I thought it looked like a sumac, a plant very common in our province. It had pinnately compound leaves and a terminal inflorescence. The flower didn’t look right; it was too diffuse, too brown and ragged. The leaves had a very wrinkled look, unlike the leaves of sumac. But I took lots of photos, enough to show me stem hairiness, a characteristic I know is important to the identification of sumac.

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tight, red flower cluster of staghorn sumac

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Back at the house with my photos, the computer and my plant identification books, I proceeded with my detective work. Humph. Didn’t seem quite right. I even asked a biologist friend and consulted an excellent How to know the sumac species video. I now know the three local sumac species: Rhus typhina (hairy twigs), Rhus glabra (smooth twigs) and Rhus copallina (winged twigs).

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None were quite right. Rhus typhina or staghorn sumac was closest, but the flowers were not right at all. Since plants of staghorn sumac are either male or female and no one shows photos of the male flowers, I decided it must be a male staghorn sumac.

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staghorn sumac near our cabin

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Fast forward a week and I went to see the beautiful flower garden of my biologist friend. Saw something that looked like my mystery plant and proudly said, “Your sumac is a male.” Bzzzz! Not a sumac but an Astilbe. Ahah! My mom had Astilbe in her garden. That must be it. I sang all the way home. Back to the computer. Hmmmmm. None of the leaves were quite right.

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I gave up, but feeling closer than ever, I went to a group I belong to on Facebook. ‘Plant Identification‘ is a no-nonsense, no chit-chat group. I posted my photos and my whereabouts and, within a couple of comments, I had the answer. Sorbaria sorbifolia. False astilbe. False spirea. False goat’s beard. I looked at some reference photos. The leaves are right! The flowers are right (past flowering and brown). The description is right! Yayyyyy!

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Sorbaria sorbifolia. Source: Hydro-Quebec

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Now, after a little more research, I can write my poem!

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Now for all the comments that say you recognized the mystery plant right away!

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

mudflats and hedgerows

with 4 comments

For eight months now, I have been encouraging myself to exercise by pretending to cycle far from home.  I use Street View in Google Earth to explore the countryside in parts of the world where I have never been except in imagination.  From January 30, 2013 to June 28, 2013, I cycled virtually in Central France, from Lusignan to Ile de Ré.  Since July 1, 2013, I have been following the coast in Cornwall, beginning in Rame.  In each post, I have presented Street View images I have ‘seen’ along the road.  I have also shown you the drawings and watercolours inspired by the images.

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Change is always refreshing to me, so I am going to alter the way I report my bike trips.  In part I am doing this in order to be able to do more posts in my ‘colour of the month’ series and about writing my novel.  I might also return to posting some of my poems.

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In each post, I’ll report on one or more of my days of exercise, and I will show you the drawing or watercolour and the Street View image that inspired the art.  I hope you enjoy comparing the ‘real’ image with my artistic interpretation.

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map day 32 to day 34

map showing distance travelled for day 32 to day 34 (map from Google Earth)

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7-32  Sept. 24, 2013  40 minutes  3.0 km  (Portscatho to Bohantha)

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South of Portscatho, fields are separated by hedges and rows of mature trees.  I loved this view of trees against the blue water of the Atlantic …

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tree line south of Portscatho

inspiration for ‘row of trees south of Portscatho’ (Image from Street View)

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September 21, 2013  'row of trees south of Portscatho'   Jane Tims

September 21, 2013 ‘row of trees south of Portscatho’ Jane Tims

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7-33  Sept. 28, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  (Bohantha to St. Mawes)

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My virtual bike trip on September 28 took me along the Froe River at low tide.  The brown mud dominated the scene and reminded me of some of the areas around Moncton, New Brunswick where we have huge differences between high and low tide and spectacular carved mudflats …

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Froe Creek

inspiration for ‘Froe Creek’ (image from Street View)

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September 19, 2013  'Froe Creek'   Jane Tims

September 19, 2013 ‘Froe Creek’ Jane Tims

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7-34  September 30, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (St. Mawes to St. Just in Roseland)

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I continue to be enchanted by the way the roadside vegetation is managed in Cornwall.  There are strict rules about how and when to trim the vegetation of the verges (the area between the hedge and the road surface) and the hedge.  The Cornish roadside hedges are unique in having a ‘stone and turf’ structure.  The hedge is basically a stone-faced earth bank,  The vertical face of the hedgerow is populated by ferns and flowering plants. On top of the hedge is turf or a shrubby hedgerow.  This area is often occupied by oak and other mature tree species.

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The resulting environment provides habitat for wild life species, including the wild flowers that have been a delight along every bit of my virtual journey.  When vines occupy the face of the hedge, it means the hedge has been cut back too severely.

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For a fascinating read, have a look at the leaflet ‘Cornish Hedge Management For hedges adjacent to highways’ at http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=13777

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road tunnel

inspiration for ‘road near St. Just in Roseland’ Image from Street View)

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September 26, 2013  'road near St. Just in Roseland'   Jane Tims

September 26, 2013 ‘road near St. Just in Roseland’ Jane Tims

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I hope you have enjoyed this part of my virtual journey.  Please let me know what you think when you compare my watercolours with the images that inspired them.

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Copyright 2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 16, 2013 at 6:48 am

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