Author: Father Pitt

  • Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)

    Dense stand of Poison Hemlock

    Poison Hemlock grows very tall very fast. It bears innumerable compound umbels of flowers like Queen Anne’s Lace, but the plants are much larger (and of course much more poisonous), usually with a whitish bloom on the stalks. It was almost certainly introduced into this country intentionally, which tells us more about our ancestors than we wanted to know.

    Compound umbel

    These plants were growing in South Side Park, where they were photographed May 30.

    Conium maculatum

    For a fuller description, see the Conium maculatum reference page.

  • Alsike Clover (Trifolium repens)

    Trifolium hybridum close up

    Alsike clover is not nearly as common as Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) or White Clover (Trifolium repens). It does look rather like a cross between the two; Linnaeus thought it was, which is why it is saddled with the species name hybridum. The bicolored flower heads make this a very decorative plant. This patch was blooming May 30 in South Side Park.

    For a more detailed description, see the Trifolium hybridum reference page.

    Trifolium hybridum
    Alsike clover
  • Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

    Hydrophyllum virginianum

    Just up the hill from a large patch of Appendaged Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appendiculatum) in Beechview, we found two plants of Virginia Waterleaf (H. virginianum). Although old Pa Pitt has visited that patch of Appendaged Waterleaf annually for years, he has never seen Virginia Waterleaf there before, though he has run into it elsewhere more than once. It is an odd coincidence. Below, we see the divided leaves that distinguish H. virginianum from its relatives in these parts.


    For a fuller description, see the Hydrophyllum virginianum reference page.

    Cluster of flowers
    The same cluster
    Whole plant
  • Dandelion Seeds (Taraxacum officinale)

    We often picture the flowers, but the seedheads of the common dandelion are at least as decorative and probably more artistic.

  • Appendaged Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appendiculatum)

    Appendaged Waterleaf

    Every year we return to this patch of Appendaged Waterleaf in Beechview. It’s an unusual plant around here, but this patch seems to be flourishing and spreading, though menaced by the constant advance of Japanese monster knotweeds nearby.

    The bluish lavender of the flowers is hard to capture on the camera sensor, but Father Pitt has tried to adjust the colors to look as close to nature as possible. He used two different cameras with wildly different ideas of color balance, so there will be color differences.

    For a full description, see the Hydrophyllum appendiculatum reference page.

    Thriving patch of plants

    We took more than a hundred pictures on May 16 and picked out a dozen to publish. To avoid weighing down the main page, we’ll put most of them behind a “more” link.