Wachusett Mountain

This trip was more about hiking than naturalizing, but I busted out the books during one rest break.

  • Red Elderberry (Sambucus pubens) (honeysuckle family) – Growing all over. Delicious! I only sampled a couple, since my books didn’t really say anything either way about their edibility. But they were awesome in small quantity, and it’s always nice to have more wild nibbles. I could even see these, given how plentiful and tasty they are, being a nice jelly choice.

    Wikipedia has Sambucus in the newfangled moschatel family (adoxaceae), according to modern genetic evidence. It looks like that’s how the viburnums roll these days too. But I have them in the caprifoliaceae here for consistency, since I’ve been giving family names from Newcomb’s; I find an antiquarian charm in learning plants with the old-fashioned taxonomy, and I’m sure I’ll also pick up the new stuff as I go along.

  • Fringed Bindweed (Polygonum cilinode) (buckwheat family) – I hate to deprecate one of God’s creations, but to my eye this was just another charmless polygonaceous bindweed, distinguished mainly by how common it was along the trails. The convolvulaceous bindweeds rock harder.

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