White Flowers

Mock orange blooming, 1 June 2020 (photo by Kate St. John)

Songbird migration is over so I’m paying more attention to flowers even though there aren’t very many in early June. April’s woodland flowers are long past and July’s field flowers aren’t here yet. Even so, I found a few blooms last week in Schenley and Frick Parks.

Above, an ornamental mock orange shrub bloomed along the Lower Panther Hollow Trail in Schenley Park. Below, daisies are blooming at the tiny meadow next to Bartlett Playground.

Daisy near Bartlett Playground, June 2020 (photo by Kate St. John)

In Frick Park I found cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) along Lower Nine Mile Run Trail.

Cow parsnip at Frick Park, June 2020 (photo by Kate St. John)

This native plant can grow 7 feet tall. Here I stand by one at Mingo Creek in 2013.

Because their flowers and leaves are similar, some people mistake cow parsnip for giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), an invasive plant from Eurasia that’s so toxic it causes nasty skin rashes if you merely brush against it. Fortunately it’s easy to tell the difference by looking at the stems and leaf joints.

Cow parsnip is all green. (2 photos above)

Giant hogweed has purple blotches on its stem and leaf joints, just like poison hemlock. (2 photos below)

Giant hogweed plant and stem (photos from Wikimedia Commons)

Both plants are so big that you can identify them from afar before getting too close.

Green is good. Purple is bad. The flowers are white on both of them.

(photos by Kate St. John except where noted in the caption which is linked to the originals on Wikimedia Commons)

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