Wildflowers of the Westborough Reservoir


Sheep Laurel, Heath family (Ericaceae), Native

Lamb's Kill

The leathery, evergreen leaves of sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) may be poisonous to livestock, giving this low shrub other common names such as lambkill. It blooms in mid-June, around the same time as mountain laurel, to which it is related.

The dark pink, cup-like flowers appear in clusters. As the photo shows, each flower has ten stamens tipped with pollen-bearing anthers that are tucked into pockets in the flower petals. When an insect pokes at the center of a flower, the stamens spring out of the pockets, sprinkling pollen on the insect.

Nodding Trillium, Lily family (Liliaceae), Native
Nodding Trillium  

Nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum) blooms in some damp areas at the Reservoir in June. The white, three-petaled flowers face downward, hidden as they dangle beneath the trillium's characteristic three leaves. Like most trilliums, this one has a mildly unpleasant odor that attracts flies as pollinators.

Pasture or Carolina Rose, Rose Family (Rosaceae), Native
Pasture Rose

Just as mid-June is the time for roses in Westborough's gardens, so it is at the Reservoir. In wooded areas near the water, especially on peninsulas, wild pink roses such as pasture rose (Rosa carolina) bloom and perfume the warm air with their delicate fragrance. The petals are fragrant even after they have fallen from the blossoms.

The fruits, or rose hips, develop through the summer and turn reddish in the fall, lasting on the bushes into the winter. Roses have long provided food, going back to the Native Americans. Rose hips are rich in vitamin C. They have been made into jam, tea, and candy.

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