July 25, 2004
Pico Peak from US Rte. 4
A fine day for being outdoors! The rain took a break, and the temperature range was a comfortable 65-70.
The four of us (Mary from Burlington, Mary from Montpelier, Jane from Bennington,
and the trip leader left the parking at Sherburne Pass and walked a mile down US 4 to its
junction with the Long Trail. We followed the LT south to Jungle Junction, stopping at Churchill
Scott Shelter for lunch. At the Junction we switched to the "old LT", now called the Sherburne Pass Trail,
and headed back north.
At Pico Camp we detoured up to the summit of Pico.
Halfway down we decided that Spencer (Jane's dog) had been left behind.
He could not figure out which path to take, to get down to his master's call, so sat down and waited.
Once he saw a familiar face, all was well.
We met several other people on the trail, but it was hardly crowded. A north-bound AT through-hiker was cruising,
and several Youth Conservation Corps boys were coming out for rest. They have done considerable rock-work
on the new LT.
Total time on the trail was 6:45. Drive time from Montpelier was 1:15 each way.
The first photo is Shining Clubmoss; the second is Clintonia. Plant photos identified by Duncan
W. and Nona E.
The website Bluepete's Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia
(http://www.blupete.com/Nature/Wildflowers/Wild.htm) offers this description of Clintonia:
Clintonia; Blue-bead Lily; Corn-lily (Clintonia borealis):
Named after the former governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton,
the clintonia blossoms from May through to July in the cool woods; it is of the lily family.
"Two or three yellowish green bells rise on a leafless stalk above 2 or 3 broad, shining basal leaves..."
Each flower consists of 3 Sepal and are grouped 3-6 in an Umbel.
The leaves are tulip like, "parallel-veined leaves are oval to elliptical and
wrap around each other at the base of the plant." (Griffin.)
The plant produces in the place of the flowers two or three deep blue berries.
The very young leaves, we read in Griffin, might be used as eatable greens,
but they become bitter as they become older (just like some people I know).
The berries are poisonous.
"Hunters used to rub their traps with the roots because bears are attracted to the odor." (Griffin.)
[Reference:- Diane Griffin, Wayne Barrett and Anne MacKay; Atlantic Wildflowers (Oxford University Press, 1984).]
writes: The first is Shining Clubmoss, with spores in "leaf" axil, not
at the top of plant, as in a similar clubmoss, called bristly clubmoss. I love
this plant! The second, is handsome Clintonia. Beautiful at every
season, late Spring to Fall. Yellow sort of bell-like flowers, turning to
blue berries, which I believe may be poisonous. Children in Vermont call
this plant Blueballs. Great color blue. I call that Wedgwood blue for
God knows what reason.
The website of the Hubbard
Brook Ecosystem Study (www.hubbardbrook.org/yale/watersheds/w6/
herb-stop/club-moss.htm) in New Hampshire includes this description of the
clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum) is a clonal
evergreen "herb" which is the second most common herbaceous species on
the watershed. It most commonly spreads by layering. The aboveground shoots in
the photo are 10 - 15 cm long and are partially buried each year by the
deciduous litterfall. The buried part of the stem then forms roots and the end
continues to grow. Thus the plant "moves" outward from an originating
plant. The stem forks dicotomously. Spores are produced in the axils of the leaves and the masses of
sporangia are the yellow dots at the base of each leaf.
Mary, Mary, Jane, and Spencer|
Two Marys at Churchill Scott Shelter
Looking North from the Sherburne Pass Trail
Shining Clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum)
Clintonia; Blue-bead Lily; Corn-lily (Clintonia
(Photos by Ken H.)