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Mother Nature's Garden

Latest Mother Nature's Garden

Stalking the hoary yellow puccoon

Sometimes a plant just shows up in an unexpected location. Sometimes you walk by that location over and over, but not at exactly the right ... Read more

3 weeks ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Incised fumewort is problematic

I went to Powhatan State Park last week, walked the usual trails and searched for Dutchman’s breeches, which I didn’t find. When I got home, ... Read more

2 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Speedwell, a beautiful weed

Hiking in late winter or very early spring requires an open mind about the plants that can be found. Sure, there are always Christmas ferns, ... Read more

3 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Hiking can be a voyage of discovery

Spending time outside, whether gardening or hiking, is just plain good for you. Hiking and walking have been called moving meditations because they enable people ... Read more

4 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

New apps for field work

Not too many years ago, hiking meant carrying a heavy backpack filled with my favorite field guides – some for plants, some for mushrooms and ... Read more

5 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The aftermath of finding a rare plant

A good part of last year was spent hiking with a list of plants that needed to be documented in various counties. For example, common ... Read more

5 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Torrey’s mountain mint: A rare find

It’s been so hot and dry that I decided Oct. 4 would be my last major hike before the skunk cabbages emerge in late December. ... Read more

8 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

A tale of persistence and what grows in the swamp

While mucking about in a swampy area at Holliday Lake State Park last month, I stumbled upon an odd looking little plant that I had ... Read more

8 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Long-lobed arrowhead: An uncommon plant

In the early days of the commonwealth, the naming of rivers was arbitrary. Settlers along a particular waterway named it whatever they pleased. For example, ... Read more

9 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The difference in buttonweed

It’s been so hot that my hikes have been reduced to half-hearted slogs up and down the back roads near my farm. No enthusiasm and ... Read more

10 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Wood Betony: an interesting hemiparasite

There are some native plants that I just can’t keep straight in my head unless I see the leaves and the flowers together. Wood betony, ... Read more

11 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Slipper Orchids: Love and obsession

Wildflower people are both incredibly generous and seriously obsessive. This spring I’ve been the recipient of untold generosity. It’s common knowledge that everyone loves lady’s ... Read more

12 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The thrill of the find

In my ongoing rambles in the woods, I visit new places every year, but I also return to the same areas over and over every ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Lyre-leaf sage: An assertive native

Walk across any unkempt lawn (mine!), waste area or woodland clearing this month and you’ll find basal rosettes of dark green and purple leaves that ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Coltsfoot: an early sign of spring

By late February, most of us are so desperate for early signs of spring that we’re overjoyed to find henbit and purple dead nettle infesting ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Naming plants

When people on my Facebook wildflower page talk about plants, there can be massive confusion. Many of them are intimidated by scientific names so they ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Virginia Creeper: vibrant color to brighten a fall day

Visit that massive stone heap, Blenheim Palace, in October and you’ll find the walls near the main entrance and clock tower glowing red in the ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Blue Mushrooms and Hens for Dinner

When I was a kid, about a 1,000 years ago, mushrooms were an exotic food that came in small cans. They were precooked, brownish gray ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The Wild Onion Controversy

As many of you know, I manage a Virginia Wildflower Community Page on Facebook. It has just under 2,000 members, many of whom are very ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Dodder: An interesting parasite

Yesterday I was driving on the Powhite Parkway, getting ready to merge onto 288 S. when something bright orange caught my eye. There in some ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Thugs and potential thugs

I’ve been searching for wildflowers since I was about 12 years old. It’s what my dad and I did on Sunday afternoon. One summer when ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Species of roses

Roses are very old flowering plants. Fossil evidence shows that they’re around 35 million years old. The cultivation of roses probably began in China over ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The mystique of lady’s slippers

Virginia has quite a few species of native orchids. Some are showy, while others are almost drab by comparison; they don’t look the way most ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Yellow confusion in Mother Nature’s garden

It all began with a series of posts on my Facebook wildflower community page. There was a flurry of photos of plants with yellow blooms ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

A tale of two plants

Walk through just about any wooded area in Prince Edward or surrounding counties and you’re likely to find a short perennial plant with thick, dark ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Old friends rediscovered in new places

Nearly 10 years ago, I found some trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens) at Holliday Lake on the Lakeshore Trail. It was more than halfway around the ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Consider the dandelion

Dandelions. Children are endlessly fascinated by them. They’re often the first flower that kids can identify, and probably the only one that they can pick ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

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