Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things to Look For in July

Summer is so abundant! We're looking forward to a month of flowers and wild edibles. (Links are to last year's LOOK FOR posts):

Photo credit: The Natural Capital
Milkweed is a beautiful, once-common roadside plant that is struggling in modern times. If you love monarch butterflies, you should show milkweed some love. Their lives depend on it: monarch larvae can only survive by eating milkweed leaves.

Photo credit: kthread
We're generally opposed to the Asian plants that have made it into our local woods, but the wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) might be one exception. For several weeks in July, these relatives of our native raspberries are abundant and delicious. And, if we can get to the berries before the birds do, and keep the plants from spreading, all the better. Get out there and do your part!

Photo credit: The Natural Capital
Jewelweed is a pretty flower, a sparkly wonder, a trailside snack, and a soothing skin treatment. What's not to love?

hummingbird and cardinal flower
Photo credit: The Natural Capital
I used to love cardinal flower just because it's a gorgeous flower. It took a few years before I realized that if you sit quietly for long enough by a large patch, a hummingbird will come by. And that takes it to another level.

Photo credit: brocktopia
Chantarelles are a choice culinary mushroom prized by chefs around the world. And they grow in Washington, DC.


Evan said...

It seems to be a strong butterfly time, but do you know of good venues to find them in the region? I've found them here and there, but can't find large flowering areas they'd enjoy.

Elizabeth | The Natural Capital said...

Look for a park near you that has sunny areas of flowers... things start to revert to woods unless someone is mowing to maintain a meadow. The butterflies don't avoid the woods necessarily -- many have host plants that grow in the woods -- but more sun usually means more flowers. Off the top of my head, the National Arboretum has a good butterfly meadow. Lake Artemesia is nice and sunny. But hands down the most butterlies I've ever seen around here is Jug Bay in August, when the pickerel weed and swamp milkweed and joe pye weed all bloom. We try to make it down there every year for the show.

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