1-Mystery Plant

Spring Greens and Frog Porn

Today’s nature walk was meant to find out whether any fiddleheads were beginning to grow. I didn’t see any fiddleheads, but I found my first edible greens of the year, and found some other interesting stuff to boot.

I’m going to start this off with a question to all of you. What is this plant?

2-Mystery Plant Context

It’s a small, very distinct patch of shoots and I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’m thinking it could be jack-in-the-pulpit, or some other arum.

3-Mystery Plant Closeup

The shape of the leaf and the ribbing is throwing me off. Let me know if you can identify this plant!

And then I found this!

4-Winter Cress

This was the highlight of my walk. A kind reader mentioned winter cress to me, and after looking it up I decided to keep an eye out. I think this is it, but if it isn’t please let me know. I left it to grow a bit bigger, since it was the only plant I could find in this area.

Towards the end, I came to an area that is usually a bit swampy, but had flooded in the recent rain.

5-Vernal Pool

This has formed a nice vernal pool, and it sounded like I was surrounded by a flock of noisy ducks. There was not a bird in sight but when I approached the water, it looked like it was boiling. There must have been hundreds of wood frogs in this series of pools, but they all dove into the mud as I approached.

8-Missionary Frogs

These two were too tied up to hide properly. When wood frogs mate, the male will usually hold onto the female and ride on her back (called amplexus) until she lays her eggs, which he immediately fertilizes. This guy must have gotten confused, because he grabbed her belly instead of her back and now neither can swim properly. They are persistent, though…

7-Wood Frog Amplexus

Even after I picked them up, he did not let go. I took a quick picture and put them back. It appears that in wood frogs, large numbers of males try to grab onto any one female. Maybe this frog took hold where he could in the mass of frogs, and will switch to a better position later.

6-Wood Frog Eggs

The other frogs have been doing well… These are egg masses. The eggs will hatch in 10-30 days, so I’ll try to come back to take pictures of tadpoles.

The last photos I want to share are of a hornets’ nest that I found in the brush.

9-Hornet Nest

This side was fairly intact, but on the other side, the walls had peeled away and you could see the comb inside.

10-Hornet Nest 2

I am terrified of hornets, but I can appreciate their beauty and the beauty of the nests they build. I’m just glad I didn’t bump into it last year when I was picking berries.

~The Homesteading Hippy

 

3 thoughts on “Spring Greens and Frog Porn

  1. Dave Benson

    That mystery plant looks like Hellebore- often found in the same places as skunk cabbage. And yes, looks like you’ve got a winter cress to keep an eye on- the flower bud-clusters and newest leaves are excellent when cooked briefly.

    Reply
    1. The Homesteading Hippy Post author

      Thank you for the quick reply! I looked up hellebore, and I think it is a species of Veratrum, Indian or False Hellebore. I’ll watch it as it grows up, and check the ID later in the year.
      ~The Homesteading Hippy

      Reply
  2. Tessa

    I think those shoots might just be horsetail. That was my first instinct, although I was second guessing it, when you enlarge the picture you can see what appear to be fallen, decomposed horsetail in the background. I’m voting horsetail.

    Reply

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