Count the blossoms!

flower dandelion bouquet

That is a trick question. Each dandelion ‘flower’ head is actually composed of thousands of small ray flowers. So you might think of each dandelion as a very compact bouquet! Each ray flower makes an individual seed that will eventually fly away with a little help from you or a friendly breeze. The leaves, blossoms and roots of the dandelion are edible. You can pick the greens in your yard or buy larger dandelion greens at Whole Foods. The flowers are also collected to make wine. I had dandelion wine once at a farm in Ontario. It was over 40 years ago so I don’t remember it very well. I do recall that I thought it was very strong! But I was able to finish my glass. You can find dandelions all over the world. People used to plant them in their gardens. Maybe they still do… I have started planting them around my mailbox…

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Joy of cherry blossoms!

Tree cherry blossom

Look what I found behind an old barn at the back of a field! So overwhelmed by the beauty of such incredible masses of cherry blossoms I forgot to take a photo of the snowfall of white petals swirling around me and blanketing the ground. You’ll just have to imagine!

These pawpaws aren’t ready to pick up.

tree pawpaw

Pawpaw blossoms are among my favorite spring flowers. The pawpaw fruit is delicious but squirrels and deer usually get to it before I do. Do you know the nursery rhyme song, “Pickin’ up Pawpaws! Put ’em in your pocket?”

Call it the American Custard Apple or the West Virginia Banana, but it’s neither apple nor banana. It’s the Paw-paw (Asimina trilob), the largest native fruit of North America, and it grows throughout Appalachia. There are about seven other members of the genus Asimina, all growing in the southeastern U.S. Mature pawpaw trees produce fruits 2″ wide by 10″ long, which turn from green, to yellow, and then black as they ripen in the fall.

Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Come on, boys [or girls, or kids], let’s go find her,
Come on, boys, let’s go find her,
Come on, boys, let’s go find her,
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

—The Paw Paw Patch
Traditional folk song

Paw-paw fruits are rich in minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus. The fruit also contains abundant concentrations of Vitamin C, proteins, and their derivative amino acids. The Peterson Field Guide mentions that the seeds, along with being an emetic, have narcotic properties.

Paw Paw treeThe paw-paw pulp may be eaten raw, made into ice cream, baked, or used as a pie filling. Some Appalachian cooks make a custard out of “Poppaws.” Seed them, mash them, add milk, a little sugar, an egg and some allspice. Pour the batter into custard cups and set those in a bread pan with some water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at a medium heat. Stick a broom straw or toothpick in, and when it comes up clean it’s done. Paw-paw also makes an excellent dry, white wine. It can be made from fresh or canned fruit.

The paw-paw is sensitive to ultraviolet light, thus, paw paw seedlings may not grow back after forests have been clear cut, and there are very few virgin forests left in the United States. Paw-paws can be found growing there abundantly, but once the forests are harvested, the paw paw will not usually re-establish.

sources: www.fred.net/kathy/pawpaws.html
http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/

Beyond cherry blossoms!

Flower Veronica Speedwell2

There is more to admire than cherry blossoms this time of year! Check out the flowering weeds! At the edge of a tiny park in Leonardtown, MD I was startled to discover Veronica (Speedwell) in full bloom, carpeting a large area with the most darling tiny flowers in endless shades of sky blue. A perfect bouquet for a fairy.

Veronica is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Plantaginaceae, with about 500 species; it was formerly classified in the family Scrophulariaceae. Common names include speedwell, bird’s eye, and gypsyweed. Wikipedia
Scientific nameVeronica
RankGenus
Flower Veronica Speedwell
I just can’t get over the blue veins!

Flower making a face in the rain!

Flower Violet 3-30-18

First violet of my spring takes a bow, making a face in the rain. Does it look like an alien to you? Violets are  hosts for local butterflies! They make fun people food too! But instead of eating them, I am watching all my violets for the first butterfly!