Monday, April 24, 2017

Alien Egg?

I was walking  along the rail trail, south of Little Falls, looking for Spring flowers and sundry wild life.  Now that I recognize what the Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) plant looks like, I'm seeing tons of it.   This North American native perennial is large and lush, somewhat reminiscent to a violet, though much bigger.   The trick is in finding the flower, which is low to the ground and well hidden by the leaves.

I had to pull a couple of its leaves out of the way to get this shot.    For all the world, it reminds me of an egg from the Alien movie franchise.  See the facehugger ready to pop out?

The flowers are supposed to bloom from April through June, so I'll probably have more opportunities to photograph them.

According to Wikipedia, the pollinated flowers develop into a pod that later splits open and is eaten by ants.

I also learned that this plant has aromatic properties similar to real ginger.  But although it was used by native Americans as a medicinal herb, the plant contains aristolochic acid and asarone, both of which are carcinogens.

One group of early American settlers (witch hunters) called Wild Ginger (wartchase) and believed witches used it to rid themselves of warts so they would not be recognized.

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