Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-05-27 – False Seal

Tired, tired, tired.  The kind of tired that leads to physical fatigue and nausea and foggy decisions.

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 4:56 AM
Sunrise: 5:32 AM
Daylight: 16 hrs, 23 min

Got a chuckle out of a conversation with a coworker on third shift yesterday.  Well.  Early this morning.  He kept saying, “And you really climb all the way to the top of the Bluff?  Every single morning?  You really do that?”  And I kept saying, yes, yes I do.  And then he said, “But don’t you live in Cannon?”  About halfway between Cannon Falls and Red Wing, yes, I say.  “But how long does that take?”  Oh, about twenty-ish minutes to drive in.  The walk to the eastern overlook used to be about forty-five minutes, now it’s about twenty-five.  “Oh, because you don’t have all the snow to slog though.”  Well, that plus I’m in much better shape now.

It is so much fun to watch people’s expressions when I explain this project!  Particularly if they happen to be familiar with the topography of the area.

There were some marvelous cloud formations in the skies today!  Just enough of a space between clouds and horizon in order to see the rising sun, but not quite in the right position to create a lot of color.  But the patterns made up for that!

And on the way back down the hill, I paused to take pictures of the flowers I’d noticed a few days ago.  Not too much longer, and they’ll be well past blooming; so much of good photography is timing!

If I’m not mistaken, this is False Solomon’s Seal, Maianthemum racemosum.  Very common, very widespread – Canada, the U.S., parts of Mexico.  Why False?  Well, King Solomon’s Seal is in a different genus entirely, Polygonatum, though the two are in the same family and subfamily.  And they have different flowers as well as blooming in different months.  False Solomon’s Seal really likes partial shade and thick, moist soil – which is right where I’ve found these beauties.  The young shoots of the plant can be simmered in water and eaten – they apparently taste like asparagus.  BUT, since False Solomon’s Seal closely resembles some members of the plant genus Veratrum, DON’T EXPERIMENT unless you’ve positively identified the False Seal.  Veratrum is highly toxic, and it’s distantly related.

It’s funny.  As soon as I looked up this plant, I remembered being a Girl Guide while we were living in Canada, and being taught about this plant by our Guide Leaders.

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