This is yellow avens or Geum aleppicum. The flower looks, to me, similar to a buttercup and I thought at first that it might be a marsh marigold, especially since I found it by water, in a small field like area by a creek. But that guess was completely off. I used Newcomb's Wildflower Guide and looked in the section of flowers with regular parts. I learned that "regular parts" indicates a flower as you'd draw one when you're a little kid, basically a flower with petals at regular intervals around it. An "irregular parts" flower, on the other hand, does not have a stereotypical flower shaped blossom - think irises, violets, and orchids for example. There's no center with a nice sort of circle of petals around it. The irregular are too exotic looking for such mundane regularity. At least that's how I remember it all...
Anyway, having looked in the "regular parts" section of the Wildflower Guide, I just paged through looking for the correct leaf shape. The picture above is a bit deceiving on foliage. The three long narrow leaves behind the blossom in the photo actually belong to another plant growing beside it! The photo below shows the foliage much better.
Family: Rocaceae - I'm getting pretty good at spotting these right off with their 5 petals surrounding numerous small hairy looking stamens.
Latin: Geum aleppicum
Common Name: Yellow avens
Habitat: part shade, sun; moist soil; meadows, open woods, thickets, swamps - this was found in partial shade by the edge of a stream
Life cycle: perennial
Uses: Grieve's A Modern Herbal reports that the roots are "astringent, styptic, febrifuge, sudorific, stomachic, antiseptic, tonic and aromatic"
Dicot: 2 leaflets, non parallel veins in the leaves
Latin: Cardamine maxima or Dentaria maxima; I was a bit confused over the name. Wildflower Guide said Dentaria maxima but then I also found Cardamine maxima online. One source said fka Dentaria maxima.
Common Name: White toothwort
Dicot: I can tell because the veins on the leaves are not parallel.
Family: Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
Life cycle: Perennial
Habitat: by woodland streams or on calcereous (calcium rich) woodland slopes; this was found by a woodland stream
Uses: roots are used as a stomachic, though given its endangered status there are better alternatives for sure
Learing that this plant is endangered in many states had me curious to know what other plants are rare or endangered in NYS. I found this site helpful, though it didn't list Cardamine maxima. I did find a lot of violets are endangered, and considering that I've been seeing some really amazing species of violets that I'm not familiar with, I'm now eager to identify them all.
Course Competencies Met:
DIversity: Again, learning a few more of the vast number of plants that grow locally
Innovation: Learning how to use field guides, how to look plants up by leaf type or by whether the flower is regular/irregular
Stewardship: Seeing that white toothwort is endangered in some places led to a lengthy search of NYS endangered plants; NYS and other plant conservation websites; and lenghty purusal of lists of plants to see if there were any I know or had seen. I also look up uses for each plant identified.
Community: Reached out to a FB plant identification community when I was stumped and fairly quickly got an answer