White Mountains, July 27-30

A backpacking trip.

  • Purple Fringed Orchis (Habenaria spp.) (orchis family) – This was growing by a wet trailside. I couldn’t tell whether it was H. psycodes or H. fimbriata, but Newcomb says they intergrade anyways, and may be the same species.
  • Swamp Candles (Lysimachia terrestris) (primrose family) (pic) – The first one I saw was growing on an abandoned beaver dam. Another dam had broken, leaving this one well above the water. The others I remember seeing were by trailsides. When I saw the first one, a wild hope welled within me that it might be solanaceous. I wasn’t disappointed to have it be swamp candles, though.
  • Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) (pink family) (pic) – Apparently only to be found on the summits of the White Mountains! In the Eastern U.S., that is. That qualification was lost on me in my excitement when I first read about this, atop Mt. Garfield. It’s a global North-dweller, and in the U.S. it’s also found in the Rockies.
  • Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana) (wood sorrel family) – I was shocked to hear this lovely white-and-pink flower described as “common”, when I’m so used to the omnipresent yellow stuff. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even realize that there were multiple wood sorrel species.
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) (pinaceae) – This is the one that smells so warm and wonderful.
  • Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica) (pyrola family) – The pistil was to one side and all the stamina to the other.
  • Hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium) (honeysuckle family) – Or at least so I think. The viburnum I saw was pervasive, and grew caned over like brambles in the understory. It hardly branched at all. Someone I read figured the name was from it hobbling horses, and I could see it growing across paths in some places, low enough to be a hindrance.
  • Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata) (pyrola family) – I’ve seen Chimaphila maculata at the Fells, and I wanted to call it pipsissewa. This was on the same glorious day I first noticed the bristly sarsaparilla, and I was thrilled to have such picturesque names. But the C. maculata seems to go by “striped wintergreen”. The C. Umbellata is pipsissewa, or prince’s pine.
  • Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens) (rose family) – Another understory plant with li’l white flowers.
  • Northern Bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus) (mint family) – A li’l minty plant seen by lots of trailsides and water features.
  • Clasping-leaved Dogbane (Apocynum sibericum) (dogbane family) – This was growing in a marshy meadow, and seemed unhappy; the leaves seemed to have gone red. I wasn’t 100% positive about the ID.
  • Marsh St. Johnswort (Hypericum virginicum) (St. Johnswort family) (pic) – This was growing by the shores of Black Pond. Also present around here: blueberry, sphagnum and some bog plants (below). The pond itself was home to leeches, which we stirred up and watched. Also tadpoles, newts, bug nymphs etc…
  • Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) (sundew family) (pic) – These are tiny jewels! I captured a mosquito and fed it to one of these. It got good and stuck, but the leaf didn’t curl around at all during the few minutes I watched. I’d hoped for a sort of horror-movie timelapse of the mosquito being enveloped.
  • Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) (pitcher plant family) – Hooray! One of these that I looked into had three living bugs of totally different kinds thrashing about in its water. I forget what kind. I sacrificed another mosquito to these guys’ wrath.

31 Responses to “White Mountains, July 27-30”

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    Where are these “White Mountains” located? It sounds like a really neat place and someplace I’d like to visit to see it for myself.

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