Thursday, July 26, 2012

A late July walk

The recent hot, humid weather has caused me to take a different route on my walks for the past couple of weeks. Besides, I had some visitors last week filming me as an expert for a documentary they were shooting, and then earlier this week I visited some friends in Eastport and Indian Township. But today, having re-grouped some, I went back on my old route through the woods. Birds were singing as they had for the last couple of months; I heard the black-throated green warbler, the white-throated sparrow, and the hermit thrush. Deer flies and mosquitos were flying around making it a bit unpleasant. A small tree had fallen across the path. I pulled it back into the woods on the right side.

Last year I remarked on the heal all self-heal plant that is common along this walk. It has been in bloom for at least six weeks now, and the flowers are in a diminished mode at present. I photographed a little patch, and then a closeup of one of them, from the top. A photograph of the plant in more abundant bloom is in my blog entry for June 8, 2010. 

Heal all is a remarkable medicinal herb, wild-growing throughout temperate climates in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It is antibacterial and can be used in a poultice on a wound, or as a tea for internal infections such as gingivitis. It shows promise in treatment of AIDS and allergies. The whole plant may be used. It may also be eaten in salads, raw.

The skunk cabbages at this time of the year remain large-leaved, with some leaves as much as two feet in length; but the insects have eaten and damaged parts of the leaves. The skunk cabbage grove now shows the other plants, especially grasses, that have grown in while the rains have slowed down and the swampy area has become much drier. 

Jack-in-the-pulpit is widespread along the path. Not all grew large or well enough to form seed pods, but this one did; this pod is still in the green stage and in a month or so will turn red. A red pod from an earlier plant is barely visible at the upper left in the photo.

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