Sunday, August 2, 2009

Devil's Club, Mountain Berries, Baneberry and a chipmonk

Top 3- Pic 1 Thimble berry (rubus sp) 2 Red Huckleberry Vaccinium parvifolium (today they were a bit tart, but I like this flavor) they are at their peek of ripeness right now. The leaves are alternate along the stem (pic 3), snow berry is white and the leaves of that plant and the bush itself look similar but they are opposite (across from each other) along the stem, keep this in mind when you are trying to ID the plant if there are no berries on it (clearly if they are white berries they are snowberry).

Next 3 are Devil's Club I wrote about this a few years back here
The leaves are huge! The pic does not do it justice, there are even spines under the leaves (so I found when I went to look under one to snap the shot of the stem) Really amazing plant! You really have to be in it's presence to know what I mean, it literally stopped me in my tracks as I was walking by (and it did not reach out to grab me with those thorns either), very powerful, and if you break a stem, the smell is very penetrating as well, it made me sneeze and my eyes water a bit. See how by the picture the leaves sort of resemble the thimble berry? But, if you are mindful and really look at plants as you are walking this stands out because the leaves are just huge in the full grown plant, they do kind of cover the whole plant (as you can see in the photo) , so I did not immediately see the spiny stems- they are hidden under those leaves. I was done for the day and heading back to the car, so this was the last plant I got to see before my drive home.

Next Baneberry (with the red berry cluster) Actacea rubra - sometimes confused with sweetroot, an edible member of the umbel family (I saw some of these near by as well, the do not have the red cluster on top) In herbalism Tilford from Edible and medicinal plants of the west states it should be handled with extreme care, that it is useful as a strong antispasmodic. I have not used this plant, this is the only one I found in the local area where I was walking today. I am sure there are more if I keep my eyes peeled:)

Creeping Raspberry rubus
I also enjoyed these wild raspberries on my walk, and noticed the salal arn't quite ripe yet, but I found so many I will be checking back.

I think the chipmunk was hoping for me to toss him some food (I was pretty close to camp sites) unfortunately, I had none with me. He hung out for quite a while on that rock, until of course I tried to zoom in for a closer shot.

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