Boneset is blooming at various locations around the Wetlands. The flowers should be fairly easy to locate. Look for clusters of small white flowers atop a straight 2-4 foot plant growing close to the water. The leaves of the plant are opposite. The bases of the leaves are joined at the stem of the plant, surrounding the stem (perfoliate) – an interesting configuration. Boneset is also called Thoroughwort, Fever-weed, and Sweating Plant.
Besides some lingering Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, and Queen Anne’s Lace there are still some Butterfly Weed and Clover blooming in Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild. There’s a very large Trumpet Creeper way up high in a tree behind the Sailboat Pond which has many, many trumpet-shaped flowers. I also saw a few Goldenrod flowers about to pop open and there’s at least one Cardinal Flower in bloom in the Wetlands.
Most of the flowers or plants that I mention in this journal are considered to be weeds by many people. Of course, one person’s weed may be another person’s favorite flower, or food plant, or may even have medicinal uses. And certainly, many creatures utilize plants that some of us would rip out of the ground or mow down without a second thought. Pokeweed happens to be a food for many birds, especially Gray Catbirds – they love the juicy, deep purple berries. The young shoots of this otherwise toxic plant can be, and are, harvested and eaten by many folks as table greens. The leaves have to be boiled down and well drained before they are eaten. Have you ever heard of Poke Salad, or Polk Salad Annie?
I don’t recommend anyone tearing off a Pokeweed leaf and chawin’ it while strolling around the Museum – I wouldn’t eat it, boiled or not. But, like I said, one person’s weed….
Pokeweed grows in many locations around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. A few particularly large and healthy specimens of this red-stalked, herbaceous plant can be found next to the boardwalk in the Wetlands. Look down between the two “switchbacks” of the boardwalk as you stroll down into Explore the Wild.