Friday, June 16, 2017



I am a person of nature and have been all my life.  I have hunted, fished, trapped, canoed, been a survival instructor and a Maine State Guide.  

One of my pleasures is identifying plants as I take walks.

In the military as a survival instructor I needed to be familiar with edible plants and poisonous plants.   After I retired from the military my wife and I attended college.  One of the courses we most enjoyed was field botany, and I have remained interested in plant identification ever since.  

I don’t go out looking for plants; but as I take walks I enjoy knowing the names of the plants I see in bloom, and if I find one I am not familiar with I look it up. 

There are many plant and wildflower identification books on the market and most try to make identifications by color – this can be a hit or miss.   The absolute best wildflower identification guide available in my estimation is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.  Once you master the key you are almost guaranteed of identifying any wildflower, shrub or vine you find.


The old Newcomb’s guide I have had for years was written for the north-east; but I have used this guide from Maine and Kentucky, across Canada and Alaska and have always been able to find any plant in question.

If you are walking in rural Maine at this time of year you might wonder what plant is turning most of the fields yellow: 

Among the ferns

It is Silvery Cinquefoil.   I know: because it is in Newcomb’s.

Have a good day
the Ol’Buzzard


  1. I would never have guessed that. I was going to say a lupin.

  2. Replies
    1. You got that right: Lupin is on top

  3. The yellow looks like buttercups to me -- or is that just what we ordinary folk call cinquefoil?

    I'm pretty good at identifying wildflowers. I did a 4-H wildflower project several years in a row and still remember most of what grows in the upper Midwest. The two flowers I rarely see anymore are turk's cap lilies and turtlehead, both of which are nifty plants. The native plants garden we started at the museum last summer is coming along -- most of the stuff I transplanted survived so I'm adding more this month. I'll be digging up a nice clump of trillium this afternoon to bring down there tomorrow along with more blue-eyed grass and black-eyed susans. The trillium will go towards the back of the bed where it stays shady most of the time and the others toward the sunny front edge. The flower bed is only 8 x 16 but has at least three different zones in it thanks to the shade the building casts.

  4. Lupine, btw, is the one plant I do not want in the wild flower garden. That shit spreads too easily; it would take over the whole bed in no time.


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