Latin: Coptis groenlandica
Habitat: Moist woods and bogs
Dicot: Does not have parts in series of 3's
Found: Cherry Plain State Park, moist woodland area
Uses: Dennis, from The Bioreserve, told me today they used the roots, on a survival expedition, for fishing line!
I thought at first this was part of the rose family because of five "petals." However, in reading Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, I realized those are sepals not petals. Still, the slight resemblance to a rose family flower had me looking up the differences between Rose family.
Thomas Elpel's my favorite "go to" for botany, and his website says this: For the purposes of identification, the most accurate pattern to look for is the multiple simple pistils at the center of the flower. In more advanced plant families there is typically only one pistil, the result of a reduction in numbers along with the fusion of several pistils to make a single compound pistil. A flower with multiple pistils is very likely a Buttercup, but could potentially be confused with species from the Rose subfamily of the Rose Family. A secondary pattern that is often easier to see, but not as consistent, is the hooked tips on the pistils. If you are not sure if you are looking at several separate pistils or some that are only partially fused together, then look for a hook at the tip of the pistil. Many species have hooked pistils, and the hooks often persist as the ovary matures after pollination.
Latin: Podophyllum peltatum
Family: Barberry/Berberidaceae; interestingly, berberidaceaes are in the order of Ranunculales, so they are somewhat related to the flower above.. same order but different family.
Habitat: Rich woods and pastures acc. to Newcomb's Wildflower
Found: Somewhat open hardwood forest
Dicot: Netlike veins in the leaves rather than parallel; flower is not in series of 3's
Uses: The fruit is poisonous when green - but edible when ripe. Dennis at The Bioreserve said that, despite many Mayapples, he only gets 1-2 fruits a year because the critters are too quick!
Latin: Ribus glandolosum
Family: Grossulariaceae; I'd never heard of this family. It's also known as the currant or gooseberry family. Elpel describes it thus, with the mention that the leaves alone will give it away once you become familiar with it: The gooseberries and currants have regular, bisexual flowers, usually about 1/4inch in diameter. The blossoms are yellow, white, greenish or sometimes red. The flowers have 5 united sepals and 5 separate petals (rarely 4 of each). There are 5 stamens, alternate with the petals. The ovary is positioned either superior or inferior and consists of 2 united carpels (bicarpellate) forming a single chamber. It matures as a berry with several to numerous seeds.
Habitat: Alpine or subalpine zones, forest edges, ridges or ledges, swamps, talus and rocky slopes or edges of wetlands
Found: In a ravine that was very rocky and mossy and had a small (likely seasonal only) stream at the bottom
Dicot: veined leaves; flowers not in series of 3's
Uses: The small red berries are edible, though they apparently stink when overripe - partly giving it the name skunk currant
Other: This one totally mystified me!! I saw it growing all over the bank and bottom of the ravine and went down for a closer look. I couldn't find it in my books though. The handy, dandy folks on the FB page "Plant identification" helped me out. :) The flowers are so incredibly minute. The photo doesn't do them justice. I didn't even spot any for the longest time as they tend to be a bit under the top of the plant. Finally, the entire plant is a bit skunky smelling, in my opinion.
Course Competencies Met:
Diversity: Learning the differences between plant families that may look alike on first glance such as Rose and Grossulariaceae;
Innovation: Found the Bioreserve; visited with a prep school field trip group; noted innovation in how the original family of the Corning glass estate had brought species from worldwide to this place; noted how these species had become more "wild" in subsequent years interacting with native species. This also relates to the diversity competency.
Stewardship: This land has been turned into a Bioreserve to be stewarded by Dennis and those part of his non-profit.
Community: Emailed Dennis; chatted with him; organizing a homeschool field trip; learned from his expertise on the property and plants there and his experiences with them.