Another Long Ride to Middlesex Fells

On Monday. I saw the first one within a couple dozen feet of the trailhead:

  • pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule) (orchid family) – Lady’s slipper is another one I remember my mother showing me, though I think perhaps not this kind. I saw this within 50 feet or so of the trailhead. It apparently enjoys highly acidic soils, often growing under pines and oaks. I saw dozens of these today, and they were all in these circumstances – white pines and red/black oaks, mainly. The understory had a bunch of hickory, shagbark I believe, and sassafras. It made me happy for some reason to see something like that possibly succeeding oak/pine in a Massachusetts badland.
  • yellow stargrass (Hypoxis hirsuta) (amaryllis family) – I think wikipedia has this in the liliaceae. Not that personable a plant. Growing in the middle of a trail, in only one place at all.
  • greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia) (lily family) – Smilax is the only shrubby lilial (if that word’s forgivable) in the region. There are a lot of them, and I only keyed this out in Newcomb’s, not the Peterson Trees & Shrubs I just got. It was quite common.
  • blue toadflax (Linaria canadensis) (figwort family) – I saw this last year, but I think only ever next to a lamppost on Mass. Ave. It was happy in the sandy, sunny land up by the tower on the skyline trail.
  • wild peppergrass (Lepidium verginicum) (mustard family)
  • maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) (honeysuckle family) – also called “dockmackie”. This was very common.

And at the Mystic River Reservation on the way home:

  • lesser stichwort (Stellaria graminea) (pink family) – This is essentially another chickweed, with big flowers.
  • Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) (honeysuckle family) – This is a lot like cranberry viburnum, but European.

8 Responses to “Another Long Ride to Middlesex Fells”

  1. Bryan Hamlin Says:

    A friend alerted me to your 6.03 blog entry which I liked very much. You are clearly knowledgable about plants – I particularly note your entry on Viburnum opulus from the Mystic River Res.

    Please check out my website – URL given above. Betty Wright and I (we are both members of the NE Botanical Soc) are attempting a complete floral survey of the Fells. As you may know, one was published in 1896, following the Fells creation, but nothing covering the entire Fells has been done since. We’d appreciate any advice, input from you.

  2. desultor Says:

    I’m very glad you liked the post! I’m a complete amateur, but I love plants and have been having a great time at the Fells. This site is functioning as a way for me to keep notes on new stuff I find.

    I’m intrigued by the idea of a floral survey at the Fells, and will write you about that. Your site, by the way, is a wonderful resource – I love the breakdown by months.

  3. sabrina Says:

    my family and i went out hiking one weekend in the woods with some friends and there kids… a few days later i went to clean my daughters ears and there lay a tick with its head inbeded into her head. i freaked out…we burned the end like every one says that we should do and then pulled it out because it wouldn’t come out. the whole thing head and all came out. well i googled it and came to a site that told me the symptoms to lymes disease. the only difference is that my daughter doesn’t anything around the area where we found the tick but… there is the very rash that start out small on her face that has grown to take up most of her face. not only that but her face in those spots hurt. i was wondering if you have any answers to what this may be all about and if this is infact the infection! one other major question that i was wondering… do these [articular ticks that i see are called “dog ticks” are they found in the woods as well or would they primarily be found on a dog or cat or in the woods as well?

  4. desultor Says:

    Hi Sabrina,

    Dog ticks are found in the woods to some extent. Like deer ticks, they don’t have anything to do with trees though. They like to climb up to the top of grasses and wait for things to walk by. Unlike deer ticks, dog ticks can’t carry Lyme disease.

    I don’t know anything about the rash your daughter has. It sounds to me like it might be unrelated to the tick, but I’m not a doctor, and one of them would be the person to ask.

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