Monday, June 10, 2013

In spring are already signs of decay

Spring is still mostly in full bloom, with bright green foliage and a seemingly unending and ever-changing supply of flowers. And yet, some flowers are already done blooming and have moved into the next step in their life cycle. The sight of this flower was a reminder to me that even in spring blooms end.  It's not just in fall that plants finish up their business for the year and prepare to close shop for winter.
Spring's early-bloomers have already developed seed pods or hips, the “fruit” part of the flower. I’ve also discovered that while I can identify a fair number of flowers when they are blooming, once those blooms fade, so does my identification skill.

Are these the hips of dame’s rocket, of wild pink? Perhaps something else? I don’t know the answer, and for that I blame my flower ID books. They show all kinds of flowers in bloom, but have virtually no information about how those same plants look after they are done blooming. Perhaps it’s the birdwatcher in me who knows birds have multiple plumages depending on their age and gender, and I expect to find photos of each of those in my bird books. So why are wildflower books only about the flowers and not the rest of the plant, before and after the blooms? Aren’t those “plumages” too?

So I am unable to positively identify these flower fruits, today. The lack will bother me until I can figure it out—unless one of my gentle readers can provide an identification and save me from hours of research through a mind-numbing array of reference guides? Ah well, if not, you’ll simply have to wait until I can figure it out.


Scott said...

Carolyn: I can't help you on a positive ID, but I can tell you without a doubt that the fruits pictured are not those of dame's- rocket (I have many, many growing here in my preserve). Dame's-rock is a mustard, with a characteristic mustard fruiting body: a collection of slender, upward-pointing pods with a row of small seeds inside. If you've got garlic mustard in your woods, look at those pods--they're very similar to the pods produced by dame's-rocket.

Sabine said...

In Europe this flowering plant is called Silene, in Germany, we call it pigeon's goiter herb. We transplanted a bunch into the garden six years ago and it doubles in size every year. It's rare now in the wild.

Sabine said...

This one?

Carolyn H said...

Scott: thanks! I didn't think it was dame's rocket, but it was close enough that I wasn't sure.

Carolyn H said...


I think you are right about the plant. I was pretty sure it was a wild pink of some variety--there are so many. I just couldn't figure out which one. And after looking at a lot of photos, I was even more confused. So many seemed like viable possibilities. Thanks!