Don’t Forget About the Grasses

Grasses are flowering plants, after all, so why not consider them wildflowers? This is the inflorescence of Elymus hystrix, which translates roughly to “covered porcupine”. The common name is eastern bottlebrush grass. It ranges from the eastern Great Plains and northern parts of the South through the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, and into Canada. Look for it in woodlands and woodland edges: unlike many grasses bottlebrush likes some shade.

 

 

And with that, I’m off for two weeks, heading for a high latitude destination. If I find wildflowers I’ll post some pictures. Landscapes, too.  In the meantime, here’s a shot of my beloved Potomac River near Glen Echo, taken a few days ago in the early morning.

 

 

This is How it Should Be

I took this shot late Monday morning, on one of the many seasonal islets in the Potomac – the small spits of land that are islands when the river is running high, but connected to the mainland via channels when the river is low.

Isn’t it glorious? The entire forest floor was carpeted in Virginia bluebells, as well as significant quantities of wild blue phlox and some golden ragwort. I didn’t look hard, but there were no alien species visible.

I bet a Weed Warrior is maintaining it.

In other news, the season is moving along. Dutchman’s breeches and cut-leaved toothwort are pretty much done, and so are the trout lilies. Spicebush is leafing out. Look up and you can see bladdernut and pawpaw blooming. Look way down and you can see wild ginger. There’s also sessile bellwort, golden Alexanders, short-spurred corydalis, and Coville’s phacelia.

Three Views

And here’s the final view for 2015, after a few days of rain. Don’t forget to visit the Three Views page to see how things change month-by-month.

December 4
41 degrees F at 9:40 am; sunny 

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9: 54 am EDT  31mm  f/8.0  1/250sec  ISO 100

Billy Goat B trail, east end, looking southeast across a narrow channel toward Vaso Island


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11:11 am EDT  30mm  f/10  1/100sec  ISO 100

Billy Goat B, mid-way between trailheads, looking upstream (more or less northwest) with Hermit Island on the left.


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11:45 am EDT  28mm  f/8.0  1/640sec  ISO 100

boat launch ramp near Old Angers Inn, looking downstream and more or less south

Farewell for Now

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The weather’s getting colder [actually not, we’re having an unusual warm spell], the leaves are off the trees, the perennial wildflowers are dormant: the season is done. And so is this blog, for a little while. I’ll make an occasional post if I find something interesting or lovely while out and about, things like plants going to seed or nice landscapes. I’ll post the Three Views shots in early December. And probably some time in early March I’ll be out again looking for harbinger-of-spring to emerge, and the blog will re-emerge, too. Farewell for now!

 

above: bumblebee departing riverbank goldenrod

below: sunset on the Potomac near C&O Canal Lock 8, October 20

bottom: harbinger-of-spring last March

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Three Views

Less than a month ago, leaves were still green.  Now half of them have fallen. Recent heavy rain for a day throughout the Potomac River basin has left the river high, brown, and moving fast. Don’t forget to visit the Three Views page to see how things change month-by-month.

By the way the yellow leaves in the foreground of the first picture belong to spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

October 30
60 F at 11:36 am; mostly sunny and breezy

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11:47 am EDT  24mm  f/9.0  1/800sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B trail, east end, looking southeast across a narrow channel toward Vaso Island


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12:02 pm EDT  27mm  f/9.0  1/640sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B, mid-way between trailheads, looking upstream (more or less northwest) with Hermit Island on the left.


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12:35 pm EDT  24mm  f/8.0  1/1000sec  ISO 200

boat launch ramp near Old Angers Inn, looking downstream and more or less south

Three Views

Finally, we got some rain!  Though mostly not from Hurricane Joaquin, which turned east before getting as far north as the Potomac.  Regardless, the rain was quite welcome; the river is running high, brown, and fast. The asters and goldenrods are perking up, too.

Don’t forget to go to the Three Views page to see the same views in from earlier this year.  The change in river level from early September is dramatic.

October 5, 2015 
54 F at 9:17 am; partly cloudy

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9:28 am EDT  24mm  f/9.0  1/160sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B trail, east end, looking southeast across a narrow channel toward Vaso Island


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9:39 am EDT  30mm  f/9.0  1/160 sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B, mid-way between trailheads, looking upstream (more or less northwest) with Hermit Island on the left.


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10:12 am EDT  30mm  f/9.0  1/500 sec  ISO 200

boat launch ramp near Old Angers Inn, looking downstream and more or less south

Three Views Delayed

The intersection of rainy weather (finally!) and obligations unrelated to hiking and photography means that it might be a few more days before I can get out to take photos for Three Views.  And depending on how strong hurricane Joaquin is when it passes near or lands in the mid-Atlantic area, one or two of those spots could be flooded for awhile.  It’s going to be an interesting weekend, weather-wise.

Joaquin

This looks a lot better than last night’s map, which showed the storm moving right up the Chesapeake Bay.

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Here’s a still-life of a blade of Chasmanthium latifolium (a native grass) in flower, just because.