Plant Identification

Wildflowers flourish in late spring throughout the New England woods, nurtured by abundant sunshine that pours through a still-bare forest canopy. Once the leaves emerge overhead, however, these so-called spring ephemerals soon fade away within the forest shade. So, enjoy peak wildflower season while it’s here! To help you do so, definitely check out these…

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It’s early October 2015, and Marielle Anzelone is strolling among the wildflowers—some of them past bloom, others still pushing out petals in spite of the shortening days. There are violets, fritillaries, evening primrose, roundhead lespedeza, milkweed, mountain mint, dogwood, and white mulberry, all of whose heads have either gone to seed or long crumbled to…

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A furry head skims the surface of the pond a few feet from the trail. Then it’s gone, just a ripple and a question remaining: Was it a beaver? A river otter? I’m eager to get another look. I’m only 100 yards into my weekend run, following the Dike Trail through Great Meadows National Wildlife…

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With Spring only weeks away, red maple buds are poised to burst into flower.         If you’ve never had a chance to greet these early bloomers at eye level, prepare for a welcome blast of winter-busting color. Red maple flowers are spectacular, and they come by the bazillion.     Some trees…

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The more you think you know a place, the more likely you are to be proven wrong. I’ve written about New England—especially Massachusetts—for years, and while I feel like I know every nook and cranny, I’m always delighted to find a new piece of the outdoors to love. Such is the case with Camp Sayre,…

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If you’re able to recognize only one plant, it better be poison ivy. Memorize these helpful hints to identify it in any season.  “Leaves of three, leave them be.” Poison ivy leaves always occur in clusters of three. “Longer middle stem, don’t touch them.” The middle leaflet of the trio will have a longer stem…

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A predawn light has begun to brighten the eastern horizon, but I still need my headlamp as I scramble along under a cloak of maples and oaks. I make up time on a clear stretch of trail but immediately slow down again to avoid stumbling on loose stones. I’m hurrying because I’m late. I was…

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Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Perfect for young and old alike, this activity—also known as a treasure hunt in some family circles—lends itself to camping trips, birthday parties, even your own backyard. From close-to-home forays to summer-long hunts all over New England, an outdoor scavenger hunt introduces a healthy dose of competition and discovery…

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According to the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS), native plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate. In a report released this spring, researchers detail the trend—and what can be done to halt it. One easy measure is to make space for native plants in your own yard. Daniel Jaffe of NEWFS recommends starting…

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