Friday, May 18, 2007
Biodiversity Corner: May quartet
1. Turtles are on the move. Motorists — of all people — shouldn't need a reminder to keep their eyes open, but please be on the watch for turtles on the roads near swamps and ponds like Brook Street and near the Maple Street bridge. Leslie Thomas acted as Crossing Guard for this Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) on School Street on May 4. Spotted Turtles are no longer 'officially' endangered but are not at all common. More on spotted turtles in the online Mosquito archive go to www.carlislemosquito.org and use the search box.
2. Uvularia sessilifolia is the Sessile-leaved bellwort or Wild Oats. The plant has one of those strange common names — it is not related to oats, as in oatmeal, and has nothing to do with profligate young men. It is a respectable member of the lily family. Each plant, not more than two feet tall, has a single elongated bell-shaped flower. It is blooming now in the Towle Woods, in the Estabrook Woods and at Greenough.
3. Morchella esculenta! It's Morel time of year. Some of you may have these mushrooms in your yards and it's also possible to find them in the woods — I found two on May 13. Both the cap and the stem are hollow forming a single cavity. The poisonous false morel has deep folds in the cap which you see partially filling the cavity when you slice it lengthwise.
4. I found this little Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum, in my basement on May 13. Milk Snakes are harmless to
humans and quite beautiful. This one could fit in the palm of your hand. More on milk snakes in the online Mosquito archive — go to www.carlislemosquito.org and use the search box.
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito