Jim Chatfield recounts his recent trip to nature

For me, the last few weeks have been a mixed bag of plants.

My sister and I were on Lake Lilana on the Michigan Peninsula to the Ethereal Indian Pipe and scary white strawberries.

In South Maine, I saw purple tempting invaders and fresh white peppers and dolgo slices in my brother’s nursery.

In Columbus, the ruler’s residence and heritage garden was the Devil’s Rod (Aria Spinosa) In the flower (another name is Angelica, so go to the picture) and in the whole fruit of the southern magnifier.

The trunk of the Devil's walking stick.
Flowers and fruits of Cusa Dougwood in Chatspeck this week.

Returning to Wine County, Cusa Doug Dud (filled with beautiful but shocking bugs) still holds its flowers as their fruits change from green to purple-red.

And Chatspeck looks set to get a good harvest of pawpaws that will ripen in the next six weeks.

Vitex in Chatscape.

Almanac notes

Vitex. Over the past two years, in addition to Chatspek, it is now flourishing. It is a short (6 foot) pure-tree version. Lavender: Blue is a growing Mediterranean Central Asian plant that seems to be resistant to mid-summer flower buds, fresh leaves, and, importantly, deer. It can be cut back in early spring because it will recover from pruning. The flowers grow on new wood, so they do not cut the flower buds. The common name is associated with various hormonal effects in women and is used only with caution to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Consult your doctor. The flowers of this mint-family plant are beautiful.

The fruit of a squash and a stumbling block.

Oak-apple stalks. Insect-borne pathogens are abnormal growths of plants due to feeding and laying eggs. Gals are amazing and incredibly diverse (probably over 1,000 unique species on oak alone). One group of gallstones on oak trees is caused by several species of synaptic wasps. They have the shape of a small apple or a rotten apple – this is the only reason for their “apple” name. I had an Oak-Apple Gall Triptefa last week — first at some of the Michigan landings, a little red-spotted marble — on balls of oak leaves to Pingong, mostly with shiny fibers, but one pierced one. With headphones. This is one of the glamor of gall – often other insects find a place to live after the ghosts have left.

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