Nestled delectably in the rose family, the Rubus genus numbers its raspberry and blackberry species into the hundreds.

At least one of these recently ripened from white to red to “black” berries here beside a mowed field.

By the second week of July, it was picked clean, probably by birds and other animals.

101_1599cropA101_1742cropB101_1597cropBFriends call these “wild blackberries.”   But a more specific appellation derived from minutely observed variations eludes me.

Does it matter?

In his Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Bradford Angier writes:

Although there are differences in taste, all are good to eat, so as far as the amateur gourmet is concerned, the precise identification can be a matter of no more than casual curiosity.” *

Casually speaking, then, what would you call these berries?

. . .

*I’d be remiss in not noting this:  Angier writes that all raspberries and blackberries are good to eat.  Maybe so. But that’s certainly not the case for everything that grows among them.  Look closely at these pictures and you might discover poison ivy, something you definitely don’t want contacting your berry-picking hands & arms, let alone your food.

Native to Europe, snowdrops (Galanthus) suddenly appear on the loamy banks of Little Crum Creek.


But how?

Perhaps, years ago, someone tossed the hearty bulbs over a fence. Maybe a neighboring garden washed downstream.  I have even read that ants can carry the seeds.

Certainly no one has gardened this ground for 25 years. 

Yet here are the snowdrops, not only free of cultivation or protection but perennially flourishing on their own each February and March.


These early bloomers battle ivy and debris to beat the soon-smothering lesser celandine and towering knotweed. 

They even penetrate lingering snow to reach sunlight. 

Fortunately, in the process, deer find them distasteful.


Undisturbed, these crowded clumps of determined scapes, cradling tightly furled flowers in protective spathes, reach just inches above the leafy litter before each bundle of tepals pops free to bloom in pendulous florescence, one by one.


No doubt these impressive little plants made their way here from the careful cultivation of a domestic garden.

But now they seem just fine on their own, according to their nature, and wherever they may go.

Though not native, they are “naturalized.”

What’s to keep them, finally, from being “wild”?



   Before January’s snow drove one to the backyard suet, I’d been wondering if the Hairy Woodpecker mingled indistiguishably here with the Downy.  The two are said to be nearly identical, though the smaller Downy is much more common. Then first sight of the rarely visiting Hairy dispelled any doubt.  Even with tail tucked beneath the feed, he clearly outsized the other. This Hairy Woodpecker appeared occasionally, for about a week, and I haven’t seen him since.  


Hairy Woodpecker


Downy Woodpecker




Who will appreciate         

the rooting determination         

of a common lawn weed         

to flower in season         

where it can?