Wildflowers of the Westborough Reservoir

Early August, p. 2

Bluecurls, Mint family (Labiatae), Native
Bluecurls The low plants of bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum), found in dry clearings at the Reservoir, bloom profusely after summer rains in August. The notable long "blue curls" are actually the flowers' stamens (male flower parts). This small, easily missed plant is a member of the mint family.

Beaked Hazelnut
Beaked Hazelnut

Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is noticeable in the woods in late summer or early fall not because of flowers but because of its nut, which has an unusual beaked-shaped husk. The nuts are edible but popular with wildlife so they may be hard to find in the fall. These and other hazelnuts have been roasted as a snack, ground into flour, and candied.

Orange Hawkweed, Composite or Daisy family (Compositae), Alien
Orange Hawkweed

Orange hawkweed (Hierarium aurantiacum), commonly called devil's paintbrush, blooms sporadically in fields at the Reservoir in the summer. It can also be spotted in other Westborough locations, such as the lawn at Hastings Elementary School, as early as June. The flower looks somewhat like an orange dandelion.

The plant has some of the same unpopular characteristics as the dandelion: it can spread quickly, is hard to get rid of, and can choke out other plants. Farmers in the midwest despise it because it can quickly take over entire fields, forming tough mats on the ground. The plant came to this continent from Europe, probably traveling with crop seeds.

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