A Walk in the Woods

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I had the pleasant opportunity to take a walk recently along a mountain ridge. The area had many rock formations with dry, shallow soil. Here’s a little of what I saw growing in these harsh conditions. I was reminded that even when life is difficult, or my spirit is dry, God surprises me with beauty.

Wood Strawberry - related to the Wild Strawberry but has a yellow flower; the berry is not as sweet as the Wild Strawberry.

Appalachian Sandwort - this plant is only found in a few of Pennsylvania's counties and is considered endangered here.

Low-bush Blueberry - it will be a few more weeks before the berries are ripe and sweet.

Greenbrier - this prickly, woody vine provides cover for small wildlife.

Greenbrier Thorns - when these plants form a thicket, they are difficult to pass through.

One of the many lichens on the mountain.

A few more types of lichen growing on rocks. A lichen is a composite of fungus and algae.

Sweet Fern - named for its aromatic leaves. Sweet Fern is nitrogen fixing allowing it to grow in infertile soil.

Wild Rosa Rogusa - a beautiful surprise among the rocks.

Since this wasn't in bloom, I'm unsure if it's Solomon's Seal, or False Solomon's Seal. The plants are closely related.

Hickory Nuts - I think. Do Hickory Nuts trees have catkins?

Can you help? I'm inclined to say this is Wild Radish.

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  1. says

    I’ve often found myself looking in our backyard or the woods…wondering what everything was or if I could use it somehow, but I have no idea…I am “jealous” that you know what you are looking at!

    • susanv says

      Kara, when I was 17 I bought a wildflower book and spent part of the summer trying to identify them. I don’t do that as much as I like anymore, but part of the fun is NOT knowing and finding the answer. I only knew about half of these to start.

  2. Alica says

    I wouldn’t know the names of all I was looking at on such a walk, but it’s beautiful! It’s amazing what will grow…just about anywhere. God must have fun! :)

  3. says

    Susan I love these photos. I see some old favourites and some new faces in your walk in the woods! Two summers ago, I did the botanical identification component of our provincial forest inventory so spent my entire summer looking down at the ground, and it really enhanced my plant identification skills. I love that I can’t walk in the woods now without their names, habitat requirements, and wildlife uses popping into my head, and I’d really like to further develop this skill. Your photo of British soldier lichen is my favourite, I think. So bright and cheery. :)

    • susanv says

      Thanks, Rosalyn! Wow, I envy your education – a summer in the woods identifying plants sounds wonderful. I did a little of that on my own the summer I was 17. No one to look over my shoulder and help, though. I haven’t done as much plant identifying as I would like over the years. I always intend to, but life gets in the way. :) So, the lichen IS British soldier. For some reason, I decided against that but now I can’t remember why. I love it, too.

  4. Mary says

    These photos are beautiful! I love all of them, especially the yellow wood strawberry. It reminded me of the buttercups the grew near my childhood home.


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