Monday, August 17, 2015

Pond Flowers

In a new annual tradition, we spent an August week in a cabin at the Appalachian Mountain Club camp on Ponkapoag Pond's eastern shore--our third annual stay. Ponkapoag is in a little corner of eastern Massachusetts' wonderful Blue Hills Reservation, near enough to two highways that, when the insects and frogs take a breather, you can hear the hum of the traffic.  

 Our first full day there was a rainy one, but no one minded.

 This is a boating crowd--mostly human-powered.

 After three years, this is "our" cabin.

 There is something very relaxing about a rainy day, Beatrice and Golda agree.

 The boys would chime in, if they weren't so busy.

Lots of things in flower in Ponkapoag Pond, Canton, MA.  In fact, more of the true pond plants appear to be in flower than not.  In a few hours of paddling over several days I managed to photograph most of them.

 White water lily (Nymphaea odorata) is our most fragrant and perhaps most beautiful pond plant.

 I was surprised to see a pink water lily for the first time ever.  This turns out to be
a form of the same species that's usually white.  Since I didn't see it the last two years,
I expect it is the same plant, but triggered by the environment to produce the pink color. 

 The yellow-flowered asterisk-like plants in front of the pink flower are bladderworts (Utricularia inflata) that get nitrogen by sucking tiny creatures into their tiny underwater bladders.  White branches filled with air (hence the Latin name), keep flowers where pollinators can reach them.

Yellow water lily is in the same family as the white, though you wouldn't think so 
by looking at the flowers.  Outside the flowering season, you can tell them apart 
by leaf shape: leaves of white are nearly round, those of yellow are larger and oval. 

 Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana) usually grows entirely underwater as long stems covered 
with lacy leaves with forking branches (the whole effect giving it another common name: 
coontail), but at flowering time the growing tip begins producing simple, oval leaves 
and emerges from the water to make its white and yellow flowers available to pollinators. 

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordatum), though in the same family as the two water lilies, has smaller leaves than they do, and a bundle of roots suspended below the leaves.  It is not in flower now.

Wild celery, aka tape grass (Valisneria americana), is neither a celery, nor a grass, but a member of the Frogbit family.  Its long strap-shaped leaf has lateral divisions that give it a chambered look.

Water shield (Brasenia schreberi), differs from pond lilies in having oval leaves with the
leaf stem attached at the center of the bottom of the blade.  It is not in flower right now.

 Half the Michals-Brown armada was in residence a the camp, including the sail/rowboat Bebe, above, and below Serendipity (green) and Musketequid (blue, dead center).

On our last day, Beatrice joined me for a paddle around the entire pond. 

I have ideas brewing from the pond for future posts.

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