Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Design*Sponge had a post on Queen Anne's Lace not too long ago, which reminded me that I keep meaning to pull over to the side of the road and gather some to take home. It's all over the place around here right now, especially since so many of the roads on which I drive are bordered by fields, too. I recently inherited some small crackle glass vases, and I thought Queen Anne's Lace would look beautiful in them.

So today, on the way home from the market, I stopped to get some, hurriedly pulling up the tall white wildflowers, because all the kids were in the car on the side of the road, too. (I'd pulled into a small cross road, so they weren't on the side of the main road, but still.) Once home, I unpacked the groceries, arranged the flowers, admired them, and photographed them on the deck, which has better light and less clutter than the dining room table.

But wait a second! Only some of that is Queen Anne's Lace. Most of it is something else entirely. I took a good look at it, consulted my trusted Newcomb's, and I'm pretty sure the other white wildflower is Yarrow. I cheated a bit--I wasn't having luck keying out the plant, so I went to the page that had Queen Anne's Lace on it, and sure enough, there was Yarrow--common on fields and roadsides, says Newcomb's. No kidding! In case you're interested in this sort of thing, Queen Anne's Lace has flowers arranged in umbels (like it sounds, it sort of looks like an upside-down umbrella), while Yarrow's flowers are arranged in corymbs.

If only we were having as much luck keying out our jellies! We see two species of jellies when we go netting in the salt pond behind the barrier beach. One is a comb jelly, and I can attest that it doesn't sting, since my daughter decided she didn't need a net and scooped one up with her hands. (That link talks about different species than we have in our bay, which is farther north than Chesapeake Bay, but I couldn't find a similar online guide for the species of Narragansett Bay. We have a great book, though.) The other is a glob of gelatinous goo that doesn't hold its shape at all. We think it's a kind of jellyfish, but we can't find it in our book. But maybe, like the comb jelly, it's not a jellyfish at all and we're looking in the wrong section. 


Donna Lee said...

G tried to pick up a jellyfish? She's a brave little soul, isn't she? There's something about them that spooks me.

Michelle said...

Most of our field guides are for icky critters. I really need to pick up one for local plants and wildflowers.

Yarrow, huh? One of those front yard gardening books suggested growing it out front. Hey, isn't yarrow good for something . . . herbally? I've heard it mentioned several times recently, and I can't remember for what.

Bells said...

how lovely to go picking QAL. It made me think at once of the shawl I've meant to knit for years of the same name. Pretty.

Yarrow is a medicinal herb I believe. My dream is to find locally all the useful herbs that grow wild and go collecting on the side of the road, just like that. There's an old couple I see in the open ground down the road from my house, collecting stuff in a bag. I want to go and ask them what they're collecting but I never feel brazen enough!