We held our first wildflower walk of 2014 last week and had a blast walking around our orchard, through the woods, and into the West Meadow learning how to identify wildflowers, shrubs, and vines along the way. You can come and see these bursts of color at our sanctuaries any time. After a quick walk through the North Meadow at Gilsland Farm, here are a few of the common wildflowers I encountered:
A very common flower you can find throughout the summer is the Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), a long-stalked member of the composite family with white flower heads 1-2” wide and 15-30 slender rays. Native to Europe, it was introduced in North American where is has become a noxious weed. It is very difficult to eradicate because of an ability to regenerate from small rhizome fragments.
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) has recently gone into bloom all along the edges of our meadows. This is a non-native shrub that was introduced in 1886 and now is often used for erosion control, as “living-fences” for coraling livestock, and as a crash barrier along highway medians.
Another very common (and unfortunately invasive) wildflower that you can find around our meadows in late June is Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca). Also known as Tufted Vetch, these violet-blue clusters grow as vines and are common in most fields and along roadsides. They are actually legumes, as apparent by their small pea-like seeds.
Many more wildflowers are ready to bloom! This Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), a lovely native wildflower now covering our meadows will be showing its small, pink, bell-shaped flowers any day now. Come on down to Gilsland Farm and see if you can find this and other wildflowers in our meadows!
A Maine native, Doug grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job.” In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv and serves as York County Audubon board member and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.