Saturday, May 12, 2012

April 23: Virginia Bluebells and Celandine Poppy

The name "Bluebell" is applied to several types of flowers. "The Conservation Volunteers" website says that Bluebells are common in much of  Britain and Ireland, but rare in the rest of Europe and absent from the rest of the world -- but they're talking about Hyancinthodes non-scripta. Another type of Bluebell is also called Harebell and is listed in books about Michigan wildflowers.

But on our walk at Fenner Nature Center, we saw another type of Bluebell, called the Virginia Bluebell. It is even more beautiful than its cousins. It is called "The Most Elegant of Native Woodland Perennials."
Virginia Bluebell
This plant is not found in Michigan wildflower books and is not native to Michigan. But no one is complaining that it's here! As a matter of fact I think the wildflower guide renamed it "Michigan Bluebell" on the tour. :-D Not sure what its uses are -- the flowers don't last long -- but it's said that when cooked, the leaves taste like oysters. So at least the leaf is edible when cooked.

Another beautiful non-native flower which has been warmly accepted by Michigan wildflower enthusiasts is the Celandine Poppy, (also called Wood Poppy) which we also saw on the tour at Fenner.
Celandine Poppy / Wood Poppy
Perhaps one reason that this flower is welcomed at Fenner, even earning a little wooden plaque to label it, is that it is listed under Ontario's Endangered Species Act. The plant is supposed to be resistant to deer and rabbits though. The "Celandine" in the name comes from its resemblance to the Celandine flower.

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