Thirst for knowledge drives wild flower expeditions – when the steelhead aren’t running, of course

Yellow Trout Lily

With more steelheading time on my hands this spring than fish in the stream, I’ve turned my cell phone camera’s attention towards other targets.

In this case, emerging spring wild flowers. No joke, so please don’t laugh. Truth is, any number of the photos I have shot have found their way to an online outfit that turns pictures into various products. Among them are tile coasters; the kind that one uses to protect the furniture, which in turn keeps the Ms’s. happy.

The really neat thing about my cell phone camera – besides the fact it really does shoot incredibly detailed and wonderful art – is an option marked “Lens.”

Touch this button and various blinking dots appear over wherever the cell phone’s computer decides is the center of attention. I have stored more than 200 flower images in the cell phone’s library (and saved on the cell phone provider’s “cloud”) the feature works wonders.

Using it, I can identify what the heck is the wild flower I had just taken a photo of. Eventually – and when I forward the photo to family, friends and fellow outdoor writers – I can amaze and fool them into believing I’m some sort of well-informed naturalist.

Fact is, however, I use the “Lens” feature so I can chalk up a running account of the various wild flowers I’ve come across. Kind of like my birders’ life list, if you will.

Yet it’s not just a head count of flowering plants I am seeking, though. And I see nothing wrong with being a budding naturalist, either.

So, when I obtain identification proof of a wild flower I have taken a close-up shot of, I will comb the Internet to learn more about the blossoming plant. And there have been some amazing finds.

The most recent dealt with a close-to-the-ground early spring flowering plant called a “red deadnettle,” which has leaves resembling those of mint along with possessing tiny purplish flowers. Trust me, you’ve seen this plant, too, as it is an invasive thing that grows everywhere.

During the research portion of the experience, I came to find out that red deadnettle leaves can be turned into a tea, a beverage I would say has an “earthy” aroma and flavor. Oh, and its leaves also can be applied to cuts to help stop bleeding.

Last year when I took a few photos of the common dandelion and then followed up with some research I discovered a few fascinating facts. Among them is that even in my neck of Northeast Ohio the plant can flower any month of the year, including the normally dormant winter months. And that this plant can be eaten and also has some medicinal uses.

In doing various background exploration of other plants I’ve taken photos of, I found pretty flowering ones that are at odds with native wild flowers, flowers that are particularly favored by bees and other nectar-loving insects, flowers that appear quickly after the ice has left my steelhead stream and are gone after the forest leafs out, that the type of wild daffodil I see along my creek is one called “jonquil daffodilla” from which many backyard garden varieties sprang, and how some flowering plants have really cool names like the “nodding beggertick” and the “white turtlehead.”

Anyway, my cell phone camera, its arsenal of neat features, and my thirst to learn something new when I go afield all continue to provide not only entertainment but have become keys to helping me unlock what lies at my hip wader-encased feet.

When the steelhead are not running, of course.

Categories: Ohio – Jeffrey Frischkorn

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