This is how I spent my birthday ... a last minute trip to Middletown RI for an autumn wildflower identification hike. In case you don't know the area, Middletown RI is on an actual island. So yes, I spent my birthday on an island looking at wildflowers. Heavenly.
The area was gorgeous and our guide wonderful and knowledgable. Being the nerd that I am, I wanted to bring pen and paper along, but somehow managed to forget the paper. So I tried writing on my hand, arm, a leaf. Nothing was working. A woman next to me was cradling a Strathmore journal and how I wanted to ask for just one sheet. One little square. Can I please borrow one little square? Would she have a square to spare? (channeling Seinfeld) But I was a bit terrified to ask. Strathmore paper is precious after all. So I had to remember everything in this aging head of mine. Later, when I got in the car, I wrote on my forgotten paper like a mad woman. Even so, I'm sure many of the names of the flowers are wrong. I'll now spend my nights researching to get them right. Nerd.
Some of the colors may be a little washed out in the photos - these are SOOTC:
Chicory. We see this in New England often on the side of the road, but not usually this late in the season. It was surprising to see one little bloom though. In real life, this was a very bright blue.
Grassleaf Goldenrod. I swear it's not a weed! I love goldenrod. It is quite popular among the pollinators, too.
I'm thinking a Bush Aster.
An aster - a New York or Smooth aster. We learned how to ID using Newcomb's Wildflower Guide but quickly learned that even with this excellent guide, there can be confusion. We narrowed it down to those two asters.
New England Aster.
Tall Goldenrod. There is a specific bug that creates a gall (worm filled ball) in only this species of goldenrod. Both very specific ... and gross ... at the same time.
Wood (i think) Aster. The number of small asters and daisies in fields and woods are amazing. And small daisies and asters can look much alike. If you look very carefully you are able to see the differences and ID them correctly. Of course, if I had a PIECE OF PAPER, I'd have photographic record of the differences right here.
I think this may be Common Fleabane which is a daisy. But I could be wrong.
You can see Wood Sunflower that's almost gone among the grasses here.
Jerusalem Artichoke. Monstrously tall plants. You can make beer from the roots.
Horse Nettle. Not a true nettle, but in the nightshade family. Like tomato and potato.
There was more ... but I'm going to leave this photo heavy post for the day. More tomorrow.