These are no knickers, Dutch or otherwise,
but a yellowed tooth the bumblebee drills for nectar
with her long strong tongue.
Where some see underwear, others —
judging from the common names — see hats,
white hearts or earrings, even butterfly collections.
It’s useful to know what you’re looking at.
Some wasps have learned how to steal nectar
by chewing a hole at the top,
where the Dutchman’s foot would go
into the breech.
I once spotted a white crab spider
hanging from the end of the line
like one more flower,
waiting for an undiscriminating drinker,
the trap of its legs set.
The Menominee used to use it as a love charm,
lie in wait for their crushes & try to hit them
with a well-aimed white heart.
Staggerweed, the old-time farmers called it,
for what the lacy gray-green leaves
could do to a cow.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- How to Know the Wildflowers: Preface
- Spring Beauties
- Red Trillium
- Painted Trillium
- Marsh Marigold
- False Solomon’s Seal
- Early Meadow-Rue
- Dutchman’s Breeches
- Appalachian Barren Strawberry
- Wood Anemone
- Wild Geranium
- Golden Ragwort
- False Hellebore
- Fairy Bells
- Trout Lily
- Yellow Violet
- Dwarf Ginseng
- Cutleaf Toothwort
- American Golden Saxifrage
- Blue Cohosh
- Ambrosia artemisiifolia