Weathering August

Sign of a Soggy Season: Ringless honey mushroom, Armillaria tabescens
(NYC 08 2021)

Sunny or cloudy, dry or damp: extremes of one or the other usually mark the last weeks of the summer season. The key variable is whether or not the given hurricane season is an active one, or not.

The passing presence of Henri and now Ida has brought an impressive amount of water to the New York region this August. The flora blooming most vigorously in response have been those types that drink it up.

One variety seen in abundance now is not a flowering in the specific sense at all, but a fruiting. The fungi known as the ringless honey mushroom, Armillaria tabescens, appears in large clusters wherever lawn and wood meet. The base of trees is one such spot.

Ringless honey mushroom is often found on or near wood.
(NYC 08 31 2021)

A species of true wildflower that thrives in the wet weather of August is the orange jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. A plant of stream sides and pond borders; it’s bright, speckled blooms, each suspended on a fine succulent stem, resemble a trumpet.

Jewelweed in full bloom.
(NYC 08 31 2021)

This flower is a touch-me-not. Agile bumblebees and hummingbirds love its nectar, but in rougher hands, like those of a human, even a light brush will cause the plant’s seed pods to burst, a type of dispersal known as explosive dehiscence.

Orange jewelwood reveals exquisite coloration.
(NYC 08 2021)

August days may be muggy, but such interesting plants are worth some outdoor time spent on a wildflower walk.

— rPs 08 31 2021

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