Mystery Plant

I first created this blog as an incentive to get me outside and walking every week following my hip replacement surgery last October. The goal was to regain the strength in my leg and eventually to build up to longer or slightly more complicated hikes. There has been some success in this area. Although I am still aware of some slight discomfort in my hip, I have accomplished a few walks over 4 miles and I have also managed some uphill walks during vacations.GreenLakesUnknown

I also wanted to become more aware of the natural world around me. I think I have accomplished this. However, I seem to have acquired a new hobby (or obsession) during the process. I have now become obsessed with identifying the wildflowers I observe in my travels. Weeks are spent pouring over “Petersen’s Guide to Wildflowers in the Northeast”, the Go Botany New England website and a number of other websites in the attempt to identify that nameless plant.

When I have identified a plant, I will label it in my posting for that week; sometime with certainty, most times with some trepidation. And here is where the obsession comes in. For the photos I have not identified, I will continue trying to hunt it down. Sometimes I will give up for a while but I always return to the hunt (And I always thought my daughter inherited this trait from her father).

With that rather long preamble, let us turn to my mystery plant. Back during the first weekend in July, we were up in Central New York and took a stroll through Green Lakes State Park. I posted a photo of this mystery plant, asking anyone who had a clue to drop me a comment. But did I leave it there? Of course not!

I have spent months looking in various identification books, probing websites and emailing people who had backgrounds in gardening, wildlife ecology, botany, etc. I asked people if they knew of anyone who could help me identify this plant. The hunt went on for months.

Finally, a coworker came up with a response from someone she knew. My mystery plant is an Epipactis Helleborine, also know as Common Helleborine. For confirmation, now that I had a name, I searched for images of this and found what I was looking for on the Ontario Wildflowers website. If you scroll down to images 9 and 11 you will find my mystery plant. Apparently, this wild orchid was discovered in the Syracuse, New York area around 1879 not too far from where we were that weekend.

And so, I can breathe a little easier knowing that I have solved another mystery.


3 thoughts on “Mystery Plant

  1. Hi Mary, I found your fine blog by clicking on your name when you left a comment on my own blog Saratoga Woods and Waterways. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve enjoyed reading through your entries and discovering a kindred spirit who needs to know the name of everything that grows. The resources you name are fine ones, but there’s another one that both professional botanists and wildflower hobbyists swear by, and that’s Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. It has an ingenious key system that is tremendously helpful for identifying flowering plants, including shrubs and vines. I highly recommend it. Looking forward to reading more of your outdoor adventures and wishing you continued recovery.

  2. I usually have a good time trying to find mystery plant and animals too. I almost always rely on somebody else to help me with the plants because I’m terrible at identifying them. 🙂

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