Wildflowers of the Westborough Reservoir

Early July

Tall Meadow Rue, Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), Native

Tall Meadow Rue

In early July, plumes of lacy white flowers grace the tops of plants of tall meadow rue (Thalictrum polygamum), which can grow 6-8 feet high. The plants thrive by the sides of streams, such as the area around the Bowman Street parking lot. The foliage is intricate and attractive and fairly easy to spot as the plants grow in the spring.

Tall meadow rue usually has male and female flowers on separate plants. The flowers lack petals. The male flowers, for example, are made up of numerous thread-like stamens (male flower parts), which give the flowers their starry, lacy look.

Swamp Candles or Yellow Loosestrife, Primrose Family (Primulaceae), Native
Swamp Candles

In wet years, patches of swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) may appear on wet, sunny shores at the Reservoir. Their spikes of star-shaped flowers bloom from the bottom up and have a candle-like appearance from a distance. Also called bog loosestrife or yellow loosestrife, these plants are in the primrose family, not the loosestrife family.

Canada Lily, Lily family (Liliaceae), Native
Canada Lily More Photos

The large, nodding, bell-like flowers of the Canada lily (Lilium canadense) appear in moist places in early July. The flowers often occur in pairs on top of tall stems with leaves in whorls. Unlike the more familiar day lilies, Canada lily blossoms often last for several days. Because the flowers and buds are a favorite food of the increasing local deer population, it is not uncommon to find a Canada lily plant at the Reservoir with its flowers chewed off, looking as if they had been picked.

Also known as wild yellow lily, Canada lily typically has spotted yellow flowers, as shown here, but the flowers can also be orange or red.

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  Copyright © Anne A. Reid, 1999-2002.
  Photographs copyright © Garry K. Kessler, 1999-2002.