Posts in: Hiking

Rachel and I took a quick walk in Murray Forest at lunch today. We saw a box turtle and both a pileated and red-headed woodpecker.

We also saw jack-in-the-pulpit, fire pink, and trillium. The main reason we went today, though, was American columbo (frasera caroliniensis). At some point this morning I came across a mention of this plant and realized it sounded like something I had seen in one of my favorite spots in Murray Forest. Its normal state is as a rosette of large leaves:

But after a number of years—anywhere from five to thirty, from what I’ve read—it will suddenly develop a long central stalk that will bloom into dozens of flowers. According to Midwest Naturalist, the flowering is not on a fixed schedule and it is not known what triggers it. Thankfully there are several in this spot in Murray Forest that have developed the stalk. I hope to see them blooming in the next few days. I will keep you updated!

From the weekend: the view from a lookout point at Brown County State Park

Spring wildflowers

My recent hikes have been all about the wildflowers. The Indiana woods - even abused places like Murray Forest - are full of tiny, beautiful flowers. To find them, though, you must look carefully and walk slowly, so slowly that you hear your boots squeak. It also helps to have an app like Seek for plant identification. I’m not much of a photographer but here are some pictures from the past week.

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What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wilderness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wilderness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

  • G.M. Hopkins
    Final stanza of “Inversnaid”