Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The other things

Amongst the rest, there are still the small fall things that remind us that this is November, scene and site of disaster for many, and also month-before-winter, for the things that grow, those that cannot think and feel no guilt, and do what their genes and the length of days tell them. I think those are woodland asters, above: Aster cordifolius.

And turning to seed, visited by the sweetest little birds called kinglets, with a bright yellow bar in the middle of their heads, another aster. Perhaps white woodland aster? Aster divaricartus.

These leaves with flowers gone to seed perplexed me for a good half hour, until I saw the light on a mulched path a little later and barked, SOLIDAGO! Golden rod.

Earlier, I had rubbed the leaves between my fingers and had been transfixed by the strong and very attractive scent. A cross between camphor and something else resinous. I had no idea it was fragrant. I also do not know what species it is. There is a golden rod known commonly as "fragrant" - Solidago odora -  and people say it smells like anise. I did not pick up fennelish tones, here. That golden rod was used by Native Americans in medicinal teas.

We came upon an enormous tree whose falling had felled, in turn, a neighboring and enormous osage orange.  The fruit lay like marbles on the grass. Big, very heavy marbles. A stippled thunder in that night amidst the tossing and cracking and perilous bending of branches.

It's been a long time since I saw a real marble. I think they are beautiful.


  1. OK, my favorite post, bar none: latin names of plants, tree trunks, and weirdly textured hedge apples. Wiki says "Maclura pomifera," and that horses or other large livestock may eat them. That is sweet-memory news b/c the one osage orange tree I have ever seen in real life was at the barnyard where our family horse was kept. I've never seen a kinglet, that I know of. So nice to turn the guilt off, if possible.

  2. Have always loved to see banks of golden rod, but didn't know it was fragrant. i hate it that it gets confused with ragweed (how?) and blamed for fall allergies. it's one of the best signs of fall!

  3. There are several species of golden rod and only some have scent. We did a nature study with the kids and found numerous types of goldenrod around here. One of them smelled so good that I wanted to eat it. It didn't smell fennel-y either, but smelled more of a sweet dessert.


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