Butterfly Loop 2

See Part 1.

Butterfly Loop Trail

Here’s what the meadow looks like from the first loop of Butterfly Loop Trail. I want to jump ahead and start with this photo today to make the simple point that, while scenic views are nice, and have a lot to do with why people like visiting or even living in the country, they don’t tell you all that much. Stand back and squint and this could be almost any field. A farmer would recognize that this hastn’t been planted or used for pasture recently, and would probably recognize the dominant “weed” as goldenrod, interspersed with non-native perennial grasses (mostly brome). But even a farmer would have to get quite close to see that it hasn’t been cultivated in a very long time, as indicated by the presence of things such as moss, polypody fern and ground pine (lycopodium). Continue reading “Butterfly Loop 2”

Butterfly Loop 1

Indian hemp

Meet Indian hemp, A.K.A. hemp dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), the more common — and less showy — of the two species of dogbane on the mountain. Why “dogbane”? The Latin name gives a clue: Apocynum means “toxic to dogs”… though people aren’t exactly immune, either. Why “Indian hemp”? “Apocynum cannabinum was used as a source of fiber by Native Americans, to make hunting nets, fishing lines, clothing, and twine,” the Wikipedia article informs us.

We’re standing right above the barn, at the beginning of Butterfly Loop. I aim to give y’all a guided tour of some of the commoner plants blooming in the meadow right now, if you’re up for it. This could take a while. Continue reading “Butterfly Loop 1”