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Friday, September 27, 2013

Look It Up

Do you know what this is? Do you know what it looks like before it turns into that big puffy ball of fluff?

I'm not going to tell you. If you know the answer, good for you. I've met a lot of people who don't have any clue where that thing comes from. If you do not know the name of it, please look it up.

Do you know what those little bell-like flowers turn into? Blueberries--wild blueberries. These low shrubs grow all over New Jersey. In fact, blueberries are New Jersey's official state fruit. I photographed this little blueberry bush in Turkey Swamp Park.

What is this amazing plant? Daughter #1 took this photo on a hike. The people hiking with her did not know the name of this unusual plant although it grows in woodlands all over New Jersey in the spring. It is called a jack-in-the-pulpit.

Why should you care about the names of plants?

Because they are part of the world around you. If you are a writer, you just might get a story out of it. :-)

While walking around the block one day, I noticed a large plant with small, white flowers. I looked it up and discovered it was boneset. Native Americans used it for fevers. (Though you should not try this at home.) You can read an article about it HERE.

Boneset plays a big part in Patriot's Heart, my Revolutionary War historical which will be released in February. If I had not been intrigued by the plant and had not looked into the background of boneset, I suppose I could have come up with something else for my story--but boneset was perfect considering the historical time period and the availability of the plant in this area.

So look around you. If you see something and you don't know what it is, find out. You'll be amazed at what is in your own backyard.

You might get a story out of it.


MarkD60 said...

Isn't that a dandelion?

endiusa 18

Penelope Marzec said...


Yes, it is. But you would not believe the people I've met who don't know that.:-(