Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

July 2012 Foraging Experiences

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July 2, 2012

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Merry Christmas Fern! It is a member of the Holly Fern genus (Polystichum). Some simple keys to identify this fern:



New York Fern (Parathelypteris noveboracensis) (Also known as: Thelypteris noveboracensis)

At first I thought this might be Eastern Hay-Scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) since it is a green-yellow color and did not grow in circular clumps. But Eastern Hay-Scented Fern is bipinnate-pinnatifid and the sparse and very small, cup-shaped sori are found on the sinus margins. New York Fern is bipinnate and the sori are more common, much larger, horseshoe-shaped and not on the sinuses of the margins. New York Fern has a long, hairy rachis (midrib of leaf blade) while Eastern Hay-Scented Fern has shorter and fewer hairs.

Some keys to identifying this fern include:



July 3, 2012

Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)

I knew that there was a bunch of pin cherry trees growing along the path, but I had to wait until the fruit appeared to be sure. There are quite a number of New England plants (19) in the Prunus genus. Much more than Pin Cherry, Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana) and Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). In a few days, I'll be having my fill of Pin Cherry! Key:



July 4, 2012

Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)

I wish there was is easier way to tell the difference between Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) and Black Oak (Quercus velutina) without looking at the terminal winter bud. Black Oak has a very long (7-10 mm) terminal Winter bud. There probably is an easier way to tell the difference, but I don’t know it yet.

There are only 5 oaks in New England that have leaves with bristle on the tips and lobes:

I thought it might be Pin Oak, but it is not found in New Hampshire (normally) and a closeup of the bud showed that the apex was hairy (see picture below).



Creeping Bellflower (Rampion Bellflower, European Bellflower) (Campanula rapunculoides)

A very interesting find. I had never seen any bellflowers before. According to the New England Wildflower Society web page, “It is edible. The leaves and young shoots are high in vitamin C and mild in flavor, and the roots are edible raw or cooked.” Key:



July 6, 2012

White Baneberry (Poisonous) ☠ (Actaea pachypoda)





Red Oak (Quercus rubra)





Elliptic Shinleaf (Waxflower Shinleaf) (Pyrola elliptica)





Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) (Also known as: Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos)





July 7, 2012

A little turtle egg on the trail.


Green Carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata)





Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)





July 9, 2012

Tumble Hedge Mustard (Tall Tumble Mustard) (Sisymbrium altissimum)





July 10, 2012

Bulblet-Bearing Water Hemlock (Extremely Poisonous) ☠ (Cicuta bulbifera)





July 14, 2012

Dewdrop (Robin Runaway) (Dalibarda repens) (Also knowns as: Rubus dalibarda)





July 15, 2012

Water Parsnip (Hemlock Water Parsnip) (Sium suave)





July 17, 2012

Canadian Clearweed (Pilea pumila)





Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)





Dwarf St. John’s Wort (Hypericum mutilum)

This little yellow flower looked to me like a St. John’s Wort (for some reason), but IDing the actual species was difficult. An in focus closeup of the flower (including the styles) would have helped. One thing to remember is that the flower petals of Dwarf St. John’s Wort are yellow with a strong orange tinge. Key:



July 19, 2012

Common Yellowcress (Bog Yellowcress) (Rorippa palustris) (Also known as: Rorippa palustris var. palustris)

This plant was at the edge of a dry field. But the field gets flooded during ocassional rain storms. I went through the Mustard family key several times to first confirm that this was a Rorippa and then confirm the species. Key:



July 20, 2012

Spotted Sandmat (Euphorbia maculata) (Also known as: Chamaesyce maculata)





July 22, 2012

Split-Lipped Hemp Nettle (Galeopsis bifida)