Nothing is more soothing on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon than the coolness quiet of the woods. Gazing at flowering plants of Lilium michiganense, collecting blue beads of Clintonia borealis, checking on the Trillium and Uvularia fruits, taking a closer look at an Indian-pipe, and another one at Desmodium nudicaule…perfect!
The Indian pipe or ghost plant (Monotropa uniflora) is a very ‘cool’ plant – parasitic on fungi that are mycorrhizal with the trees (a so called myco-heterotrophic plant). It grows in the understory of the woods, always close to trees, of course. Who needs light, eh?
Clintonia borealis – the blue-bead lily is another interesting perennial for shade; not very noticeable in the spring with its clump of green, fleshy leaves and few greenish-yellow flowers, but nobody can miss it from mid to late summer because of its conspicuous blue fruits, which start glistening through the woodland filtered light.
To be grown as a rarity; it is slow to propagate and to reach flowering size from seeds. Underneath the thin blue skin, the seeds are enclosed into a white, fleshy coating. According to Cullina, they require moist storage; I should have listened a few years ago when I tried to germinate (with no result) dry seeds. One for the collector gardener.