When is a violet not violet?

flower violet white2

When I was a kid I thought white violets were the most beautiful flowers in the world. One day as I was cutting through my neighbor’s yard to get to my piano lesson at Mrs. Howl’s (okay-Howell’s), I took a kitchen knife and a paper cup with me so I could dig one up from their yard to plant in my own yard. I was never been able to forget that indiscretion because that one plant spread and turned into hundreds of white violets all over my parents’ backyard. Fortunately they are great sprinkled over salads or sugared and used to decorate cakes. Or just eat them right when you pick them so you can say you did.

 

Blooms in August. Wait until next year… unless you know where to dig up the tubers now.

Flower Groundnut

Sorry I’m late sending photo of groundnut vine. Wonderful little bunches/balls of reddish-brown/maroon and cream, dense, pea-like blossoms grow in moist soil in August It’s still out there to be found in September but it is going to seed now. It is proof that Native Americans lived around here. It is edible and should be harvested in early November. It is considered an invasive by cranberry farmers.

Per Tamara Dean in Orion Magazine article, “Stalking the Wild Groundnut”:

Indeed, for centuries Apios americana was a staple in the diets of many Native Americans, which explains why it grows profusely where they once encamped. Almost every part of the plant is edible — shoots, flowers, the seeds that grow in pods like peas, but, most importantly, the tubers. These tubers (the groundnuts) are swellings that form along a thin rhizome, like beads on a necklace. They can be small as a fingernail or, rarely, large as a melon. And as with other root vegetables, they sweeten after a frost and overwinter well in a cool, damp place, offering sustenance in a time when the land provides little other food. Pilgrims were taught to dig and cook groundnuts by the Wampanoags, and these “Indian potatoes” probably spared the newcomers from starvation. Henry David Thoreau knew and ate the tubers. He wrote in his journal, “In case of a famine, I should soon resort to these roots.”

However, neither Thoreau nor the Native Americans nor the Pilgrims could have known how healthy groundnuts are. Like potatoes, they are high in starch. But they’re also relatively high in protein, containing up to 17 percent — about three times as much as potatoes. In addition, studies from at least two U.S. universities reveal that groundnuts contain a significant quantity of isoflavones, chemicals linked to a decreased incidence of prostate and breast cancers. Plants for a Future, a British organization that educates the public on “edible, medicinal, and useful plants for a healthier world,” ranks Apios americana as the fourth-most-important plant in its database of seven thousand.

r

First wildflowers for me in 2017

On a rainy Sunday morning I went for a walk, wondering what I would find for my blog. All of a sudden I noticed red swamp maple blossoms scattered on the road like tiny Valentines! Be warned. The sniffles you have may be the start of your annual tree allergies! flowers-swamp-maple

I thought the blossom tips fell when caterpillars nibbled on the tender branches. So much for that concept. At least I don’t think there are any caterpillars out yet. Reminder: Winter fireflies were out 01/01/17…

flowers-winter-cress

Then I noticed tiny white blossoms on delicious winter cress carpeting the road’s edge! Are we skipping winter in southern Maryland this year?