Josef BeeryJosef Beery

Flora Appalachee

06.26.20 Forest Candelabra

The forest is now dark, the light seeping through the thick overstory of many-layered leaves is fleeting. It appears only as an occasional tiny, sparkling presence which crawls across the woodland floor or creeps across trunks of towering trees. Woodland flowers have become rare, insect-dependent blossoms now appear in the meadows or forest edges filled […]

06.12.20 Butterfly Bonanza

Labelled one of the showiest wildflowers in North America by naturalists, Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa is blooming! Beloved by many of our favorite butterflies such as monarchs and swallowtails, it is also a good place to discover lots of new ones. Asclepius was the Greek god who gave us the caduceus (snakes twined around a […]

06.02.20 Fishin’ Worm Tree

Children who run free and make their own adventures love this grand flowering tree, the Catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides. The tree is home base for games and imaginary play as kids climb its large, low, gently-curving branches. In late summer the tree produces long, tough, green “beans” which become excellent swords, spears, and even make-believe cigars. […]

05.27.20 Laurel Hell

Thickets of Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia, are common in the Appalachian forest. These tough-branched shrubs can grow densely and often as high as twenty feet. To a foot traveler they are impenetrable, the groves are described as “laurel hells.” Some particularly remarkable stands are named for the unfortunate visitor who disappeared within. The mountain laurel […]

05.22.20 Tulipfest

One of the most spectacular flower shows of the Appalachian forest is hardly noticed by humans. It occurs above our heads, high in the leaves of tulip poplars, Liriodendron tulipifera. This magnificent tree is the soldier sentinel of the Appalachian forest. It is responsible for the return of woodlands to an area denuded by the […]

05.19.20 True or False?

  This is Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum. Its flowers dangle delicately like tiny greenish-white ornaments from its single stem. [If you are familiar with asparagus in your vegetable garden, you will notice a similarity between their flowers and these. Apparently the plants are actually in the same family.] Interestingly, there is a plant, very similar […]

05.14.2020 Fleur-De-Lis

Gracing the edges of still water in our neighborhood and at the same time enriching one’s view of a rubbish-filled ditch, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus, is always a joyful discovery. This patch was found in a drainage ditch on my drive into town. Two days later I discovered a tiny pond in our mountain neighborhood […]

05.08.20 Woods On Fire!

This brilliant scarlet flower is Fire Pink, Silene virginica. Although reportedly uncommon, I came across a small patch along a rural road outside of town. This year when I stopped to take a photo, I found that it is actually a large colony of well-established plants. This flower, related to the carnation, has a stem […]

05.03.20 Blind Eyes

I only just learned the name “Blind Eyes” for what I have always called Corn Poppies, Papaver dubium. I am so attracted to the ephemeral beauty of this blossom, the petals are many times more delicate than the wings of a butterfly. Yet these dainty bits of color have no difficulty staying secure in strong […]

04.30.20 Trillium Trouble

I usually go hunting for trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, in late April near my birthday. I love one particular walk in the Shenandoah National Park where, not far from the pull in, you can find solomon’s seal, trillium, stonecrop, and a number of other fabulous spring wildflowers. Driving to this spot last week resulted in being […]