alewife tick-patch and on the way to work

I biked out to my favorite abandoned spot out behind Alewife station. Was very careful about ticks this time – still residually wigged out from the vast numbers of them that were crawling on me after I came out from near the buttonbush and oil-slick stink-river two weeks ago. I remember that I’ve seen a few homeless camps in the woods around here. With the ticks and the ubiquitous poison-ivy (not to mention the numerous and voracious mosquitoes – at least last year) this seems like a Bad Place to Live.

There wasn’t anything particularly interesting here, and so I headed on out the Minuteman path. After a few miles of pure celandine and garlic mustard, I got bored and hungry and headed back. But on the way, right by the pond where last year I saw all those great turtles hiding in garbage, and that tragically misplaced heart-leaved umbrellawort (a plant I’ve not seen again anywhere else) growing from the sidewalk, I caught a flash of purple, and

  • Narrow-leaved vetch (Vicia angustifolia) (pea family) – these are really quite beautiful. I find vetches particularly charismatic for some reason – I guess it’s my fondness for any member of the pea family, combined with their weird grabby leaf tendrils. I think this is the fourth kind of vetch I’ve run across. A catbird was running through some of its licks while I keyed this one out.

Afterwards, I remembered something I’d seen near work, and biked on over. For some reason the name “cranebill” had come into my head the other day, and I was disappointed when I looked it up and found something unlike the flower I’d seen. But with a key, turns out my friend here is

  • Storksbill (Erodarium cicutarium) (geranium family) – the seedpods are hilariously long, and don’t seem to have finished elongating.
  • Field pansy (Viola kitaibeliana) (violet family) – I thought perhaps this was a garden plant, since I couldn’t find it in Newcomb. But on a closer look the seemingly divided leaves were actually huge divided stipules, and the leaves were just lobed. It was a white flower with a yellow throat, and I could see blue on the more stemwards part of the flower.  I don’t know why this is called kitaibeliana by Newcomb and arvensis by other sources…

2 Responses to “alewife tick-patch and on the way to work”

  1. ellen mass Says:

    See http://www.friendsofalewifereservation.org for beauty and extraordinary wildlife at Alewife Reservation.
    Short-sighted at best.

    http://www.friendofalewifereservation.org

    Really, real explorers needed!

    Ellen
    Friends of Alewife Reservation

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