Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another green meme

Thank you to Jennifer (ponderosa) for this wonderful meme, also called the Ethnobotany Meme by SandyD. I love learning about native plants so this is particularly welcome.

Think of the plants (trees, flowers, etc) which grow within 50 yards of your home. Which is your favorite?

The maples...I think they're Norway maples, not a native like the Sugar maple. I'm feeling a bit abashed that I can't properly verify this. One problem is that it's 10:30 pm and about 35F out so I'm not inclined to go check the bark, buds or leaf shapes (if I could find any still in one piece on the ground).

Is any portion of this plant edible in any form? Can you boil the root, eat the berries, make tea from the leaves?

We can make maple syrup from the sap.

Can you use any portion of this plant to make something that would be truly useful for you? Alternately, can you use any portion of this plant to make something just for fun, just one time?

For fun, we made leaf crowns this autumn. Maple wood would be extremely useful for making furniture or other durable wood products (like flooring).

Can this plant survive on the groundwater available to it, or does it need to be watered?

We don't water anything around here...plenty of groundwater and precipitation.

Do you see any other creatures -- birds or bees or squirrels -- using this plant?

I've seen squirrels and chipmunks eating the seeds; nuthatches, bluejays, hawks and woodpeckers using the trees for food and/or shelter.

What does this plant look like right now, during this season and at the time of day you're writing?

Right now the maples are bare of leaves but quite colorful with lichens of many sorts. (Of course, right now it's pitch black night so I'm conjecturing from what I see in the day!) The bark is a grayish-brown, a bit furrowed but not greatly so. The branches make incredible patterns against the sky, particularly when it's cloudy.

3 comments:

(un)relaxeddad said...

I really should have a go at this, if only to address my dismal record with dealing directly with actual plants...

Kerryn said...

I think I might have a go at this, too, even though I live in an apartment and have only a motley assortment of potplants to choose from. Could be interesting...

Henitsirk said...

I used to know so much about the native plants back in Sacramento. Now I'm completely bamboozled; the ecosystem in New York is completely different. Back there I could identify probably 75% of the native/wild plants. Here I'm lucky if I get 10%. Sigh.

I had a great reference book: Weeds of the West. All I could ever need for any wild plants in the west of the US. Some of those plants live in NY too, but I'm on the hunt for a similar East Coast resource.