Sunday, September 15, 2013


It was a cool morning when nine of us wandered south on the Ontario Pathways from the water tower on Waddell Road.  Our scheduled guide was unable to join us which made for some confusion as none us felt quite confident enough to be a leader.  Thankfully, we were armed with a few wildflower guides, a tree/shrub guide, and enough knowledge between us to enjoy a grand mystery tour along the old railroad bed.  Tim Wilbur of the Ontario Pathways made sure to let us know about the 15th Annual Great Pumpkin Walk to be held on Saturday, October 19th.  I'll be back in early October to share more information about this creative fundraiser.

Following are nearly 70 pictures.  I think we did a decent job of identifying most of what we saw.  The  photos of unidentified species are at the end.  PLEASE don't hesitate to let me know if we've made any errors in our identifications, and of course, please let us know if you can identify any of the species that had us stumped.  You may leave a comment following this post or send an email to  THANK YOU!

aster  - possibly New York aster
aster - lilac like in show

The above three photos show the "huge old tree" which was later identified as a basswood
Joan took delight in opening seed pods - this one looked like a bird - but no chirping
The next six photos show Black-Swallow Wort.  It is a BAD invasive (
looks harmless enough ...
but look how it's over taken everything along the trail's edge - and beyond
interesting seeding
seed pods dispersing seeds
taking a closer look
we were right to put it in the same family as milkweed
This next species was a great mystery - seen frequently enough to keep Peggy persistent on it's identification:  BLADDER NUT
at first glance many of us were reminded of tomatillos
but these fruits/seed pods were more balloon like
taking a look at the seed
Lindsey shows the bladder nut - and wonders about the silver sheen of the leaves
looking at the silver sheen of the bladder nut
realizing it's actually translucent.  HM?
So, checking in with Lindsey's Mom, Jennifer, the reason for the translucent leaves: There are insects commonly called “miners” that burrow between the outer cells of the leaf tissue.  THANKS JEN!
Dames Rocket was right at the beginning of our walk.  It's familiarity gave us confidence to proceed!
FALSE Solomon's Seal with berries on the end.  Solomon-seal has blooms/berries hanging on the underside of the stem
can you find the little frog? (much easier to spot when it moves - which it won't here since these are just photos of our walk)
very interesting fungus on distressed tree
goldenrod - NOT RAGWEED
ragweed - the culprit of allergy symptoms
my best guess on this is heals-all
invasive buckthorn (I was pleasantly surprised we did not see more of this)
Milk weeds
milk weed pod
moss on trail
mullein - past bloom; this was one of Maya's favorite weeds
Want to test your knowledge of poison ivy?
Tim Wilbur of the Ontario Pathways tells about the collision of railroad trains just south of the 5.5/17.5 mile marker

checking out view of the ravine
inspecting seed pods
making comparisons
staghorn sumac
enjoying the trail

Many thought this reminded them of their clematis plants.  They were accurate!  It is virgin's bower (clematis virginiana)
virgin's bower up close - Perhaps Dr. Suess derived  inspiration from these?
Gray dogwood with white berries
which we thought resembled white baneberry -also called doll's eyes
Thanks to Leona's knowledge shared at the Burroughs Audubon Nature Sancuary this was very familiar and gave me the opportunity to research the difference between this White Snakeroot and boneset:

this is white snakeroot - which causes milk-sickness (resulted in the death of Abraham Lincoln's mother)  
More information on milk-sickness:

We all guessed correctly when we thought this to be wild cucumber
and we really liked the spiral vines
Barb stretches out the wild cucumber
wild grapes?
woodbine/redvine growing up a tree
hops hornbeam (thanks to Marty Dodge for helping with this identification)
This looked familiar - but still remains a mystery
unknown over common woodsorrel
unknown ground cover on trail
orange current berries - anyone have more detail?
current berries in red
something gone to seed - perhaps aster or goldenrod?
or Richweed?
I couldn't get a decent photo of the seeds - but they lined the stems on this panicle species like tiny peas in an open pod
Joan likely knew the source of this seed pod...but I did not make a note of it...another mystery!

Okay, now it's your turn.  Please leave comments or send an Email if you can identify any of the mystery species...or if you notice any errors.  - Laura

PS:  Looking back to our last visit to the Ontario Pathways in September of 2011 I was able to correctly identify some of our errors.* *


  1. Looks like fun! Wish we could have been there. The yellow loosestrife I'm pretty sure is a form of goldenrod, not loosestrife.


    1. Thank you Robert. I questioned that one myself - and considering all the different goldenrods....