What To Watch For – June

By Bryan Hamlin

This is somewhat of a down-time for wildflowers on the woodland floor where it is now very shaded. But there are some that manage. Look for the attractive False Solomon’s Seal. I think it’s too nice to be anyone’s false. It is in the same genus – in other words closely related –  as Canada Mayflower (see May page) – but the plant arches over the same way as the earlier blooming Solomon’s Seal. In late May and blooming through much of June – Yellow Star Grass (which is a lily). In the second half of June the pairs of feathery white Patridgeberry flowers decorate the already attractive patches of small dark green leaves on banks. And where the sun gets through more – where there are meadows in the Fells and open spaces on hill-tops and around the larger bodies of water and along the trails, then there will be blossoms galore; in other words where the plants can get enough sun.Four-leaved Milkweed is a more attractive cousin to the Common Mikweed; and Rattlesnake Weed – is a nondescript yellow hawkweed save for its striking rosette of basal leaves with their dark purple veins. There are other hawkweeds blooming but these are not native. Another woodland bloomer in June in somewhat damp places is the cute-looking Indian Cucumber Root, a very small-flowered lily. And two laurels bloom – the bushes of white Mountain Laurel and the smaller Sheep Laurel with its magenta flowers.

Mountain Laurel – Kalmia latifolia

Yellow Star Grass – Hypnoxis hirsuta

In really wet places, including on the sides of ponds look for the striking native Iris or Blue Flag. On the north shore of Wrights Pond there are also Yellow Irises but these are an introduction, and I have to say I prefer our native iris. Also by the sides of ponds the sweet scented Swamp Azalea and Swamp Sweetbells, the latter looking a bit like a late-blooming High-bush Blueberry except that the white bell flowers are hung out in long rows on slender twigs. And on the open water of ponds throughout the Fells are to be seen both white and yellow water-lilies. In short, much to delight the eye and nose in beautiful June.

The information and images in this post initially appeared on Found in the Fells, a project of Friends of the Middlesex Fells Board Chairman Dr. Bryan Hamlin.