Wildflowers of the Westborough Reservoir

Early July, p. 2

Deptford Pink, Pink family (Caryophyllaceae), Alien
Deptford Pink Deptford pink (Dianthus armeria) inhabits roadsides and dry fields. It has stiff, grass-like leaves and small, deep pink flowers with a scattering of distinctive white spots. The half-inch blossoms open only briefly during the middle of the day, so they are easy to miss. Sometimes called grass pink, this plant came from Europe, probably as a garden escapee.

Pale-spike Lobelia, Bluebell family (Campanulaceae), Lobelia subfamily (Lobelioideae), Native
Pale-spike Lobelia

Fields are good places to find pale-spike lobelia (Lobelia spicata). The small blossoms can be various shades of blue. In shape, they resemble the blossoms of other lobelias, such as Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata) and cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis).

Shinleaf, Wintergreen or Pyrola family (Pyrolaceae), Native
Shinleaf Pyrola Blooming in wooded areas in early July, shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica) is the most common pyrola. It has several waxy white flowers. Each has a long pistil (female flower part) protruding from the center.

The term wintergreen has been used for several groups of plants, including the pyrolas. A different plant, known as checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens), is the "wintergreen" that has been a source of oil of wintergreen, traditionally used for treating bodily aches and pains. Checkerberry has the characteristic "wintergreen" scent. It is in the heath family (Ericaceae).

Spotted Wintergreen, Wintergreen or Pyrola family (Pyrolaceae), Native
Spotted Wintergreen

The narrow, striped evergreen leaves of spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) are evident at the Reservoir as soon as the snow has melted in the spring, but the blossoms usually do not appear until July. These small plants are abundant in some areas, typically under pine trees. The nodding, waxy blossoms are white or slightly pink.

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