Dark Hollow Falls

no road applesA return to a section of Shenandoah National Park that I had visited not too long ago. This time I spent a lot more time trying to puzzle out plants (even though there were many that I passed by), so I covered the 3 miles out the horse trail, down the fire road, and back up from Dark Hollow Falls in a lazy 3:35. I was struck by the way some of the steeper slopes were dominated by ferns in the herbaceous layer.

I found several small patches of Houstonia caerulea. One of the common names for this wildflower is Quaker Ladies, and it’s appropriate, because the blooms come together in one place, but each flower retains its uniqueness.

pinker than thisMy attaboy comes from working out this Wild Pink (Silene carolinensis), of which I found only a few instances. The flower is actually a little pinker than in the image: my optics aren’t quite up to the task of rendering this color.

Several mystery plants that I took snapshots of—maybe I can figure out one or two later.

I heard and saw a few American Redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla). Or “yellowstarts,” if one is to judge from the colors of the female.